Landing Bridges - History and Facts | History Hit

Landing Bridges

Hamburg, Germany

Amy Irvine

18 Feb 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Landing Bridges

Sometimes also known as the St. Pauli Piers, the Landungsbrücken by the River Elbe are the largest landing place in the Port of Hamburg at 688 metres long, and also one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. They consist of floating pontoons, accessible from land by 10 movable bridges.

History of the Landungsbrücken Piers

The first pier pontoons were built in 1839 and served as a terminal for steamships, with the coal they needed for their engines also stored here. As these ships were fuelled by coal, the pier also ensured a sufficient safe distance from the city whilst they re-fuelled, helping reduce any fire risks.

The piers were expanded between 1907-1909, but then later the old piers were destroyed during the Allied bombing in the Second World War.

The pontoon pier area that exists today was rebuilt between 1953-1955, with the last section destroyed in the War (between bridges 2 and 3) not rebuilt until 1976. Further modernisation began 1999.

Landungsbrücken Piers today

Once a landing pier for steam ships, the Landungsbrücken now function as a central transport hub, connecting various lines of Hamburg’s local train and ferry stations. They have become a major tourist magnet due to the numerous (mostly fish) restaurants, food stalls and souvenir shops, as well as being the departure points for harbour pleasure boat cruises and to the waterfront theatres. It’s easy to forget you are walking on a floating platform.

At the western end of the Landungsbrücken is the entrance to the Old Elbe tunnel, and the eastern end is marked by the Pegelturm (water level tower). There are two prominent green-roofed towers that mark the the 205-metre-long terminal building, which became a listed building on 15 September 2003.

The Landungsbrücken is a great spot for viewing some of the large container and cruise ships that come into Hamburg’s port, along with being an interesting location to go for a bracing walk by the Elbe – whilst avoiding the other tourists and seagulls.

Getting to the Landungsbrücken Piers

The piers are located in the St. Pauli area of Hamburg, between the Reeperbahn and Fischmarkt in the lower port area. The piers are a transport hub, with the S-Bahn and U-Bahn stopping at Landungsbrücken station. Line 112 bus stops nearby and the piers are approximately a 35 minute walk from Hamburg’s main central station.

Featured In

Historic Sites in Hamburg

Discover some of the best historic sites in Hamburg, Germany - from its famous port to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the world’s largest warehouse complex at Speicherstadt.