A harbor or harbour (see spelling differences), or haven, is a place where ships may shelter from the weather or are stored. Harbours can be man-made or natural. A man-made harbour will have sea walls or breakwaters and may require dredging. A natural harbour is surrounded on most sides by land.
Harbours and ports are often confused. A port is a man-made coastal or riverine facility where boats and ships can load and unload. It may consist of quays, wharfs, jetties, piers and slipways with cranes or ramps. A port may have magazine buildings or warehouses for storage of goods and a transport system, such as railway, road transport or pipeline transport facilities for relaying goods inland.
A natural harbor is a landform where a part of a body of water is protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage. Natural harbors have long been of great Military strategy and economic importance. Many of the great cities of the world are located on a natural harbor.
For harbours near the poles, being ice-free is an important advantage, ideally all-year round. Examples are Murmansk (Russia), Petsamo (Russia, formerly Finland), Hammerfest, Vardø, and Prince Rupert (Canada).