3 Famous Northern European Port Cities

The port cities of Copenhagen, Hamburg and Rotterdam are often used for ships sailing on a Northern European itinerary. Here is a sampling of what is waiting for you if you decide to  stay over, pre or post cruise.

Copenhagen, Denmark


Copenhagen was founded in 1167 under the name Hafnia, which translates to “haven”. The canal city was home to the writer of fairy tales, Hans Christian Anderson. He is paid homage to right in Copenhagen Harbour by the star of one of his stories, ‘The Little Mermaid’. She resides as a statue on the waterfront of Copenhagen.

  • The National Museum

The National Museum has a large amount of anthropological exhibits from almost every single period of history. The National Museum is housed at The Prince’s Palace, which was constructed in the 1740s. Although it is now not used by the royal family, it contains artefacts from the Stone Age and Viking Age, right up to Modern Danish History.

  • Rosenborg Castle

The royal family resided in Rosenborg Castle until the 1720s and since then it has served as a historical museum. Its sister, Amalienborg Palace is also a museum. The highlight of the palace is the Grand Hall featuring a coronation throne, which is guarded by three lions of silver. The Rosenborg tapestries are draped here and have been hanging in the same location since 1693.

  • Trivoli Gardens

Trivoli is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world and is a perfect place for a family outing. Their wooden roller coasters hit the 100-year mark and are being restored to their former glory. There are public film screenings every Sunday during summer.

Hamburg, Germany


Hamburg is a port city that contains an unique history and many sightseeing opportunities. The harbour district is the place to walk along the promenade to boat tours on the River Elbe. However, Hamburg works as a good base for a quick day trip to visit Berlin too.

  • Speicherstadt

The warehouse district of Speicherstadt has become a draw for visitors and The International Maritime Museum is just one of the reasons as to why. Those who enjoy the themes of seafarers and shipping history will spend hours examining the paintings, large models and miniatureones too. Everything is chronologically displayed on nine decks.  For railroad buffs, Miniature Wonderland (Miniatur-Wunderland) contains the largest model railway in the world.

  • St Michaels Church

The landmark church is affectionately called “Michel” by the citizens of Hamburg by how much of an impact this building makes. Dedicated to the archangel Michael, the church dominates the skyline.

  • The City Hall

Although a city hall is not a traditional location for sightseeing, the one in Hamburg is exceptional and is one of the more visually stunning buildings in the city. It is still as functional as it was when it opened in 1897.

Rotterdam, Holland


This sister city to Amsterdam certainly has plenty of appeal on its own. Besides containing one of the largest ports in the world, there is traditional Dutch and avant-garde architecture.  Rotterdam is worthwhile for a short stay with museums and many forms of efficient and modern transport including trams, water taxis and bicycles.

  • Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

Get your appetite ready for a feast of art of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Dalí, Leonardo da Vinci and the Dutch Masters at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. This museum houses over 140,000 pieces of art from the classics to more contemporary fare as well as a sculpture garden.

  • Kunsthal Rotterdam

Kunsthal features 25 rotating cultural exhibitions a year and is situated in Museum Park. The exhibitions cover a large variety of diverse topics and art forms. Past exhibitions included ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ and ‘The Second World War in 100 Objects’. There are always five exhibits simultaneously on at the same time, ranging from abstract paintings to professional photography.

  • World Art Museum

As the name would suggest, the World Art Museum takes a keen interest with works from all around the world. The artefacts that are exceptional are those on display from Africa and Asia. Providing enjoyment to visitors since 1885, the museum houses more than 2000 items.

Pre and post-cruise stopovers for a day or two make sense as an add-on to any cruise holiday. Not only does the holiday get extended but it also allows you some in-depth time to discover a city rather than just arriving at the dock.