Old Elbe Tunnel (Alter Elbtunnel)
Built to provide the growing number of dockworkers in Hamburg with a more convenient and reliable way to cross the river, the Old Elbe Tunnel was completed in 1911. It was a technological innovation at the time of its creation, as both vehicles and pedestrians are carried down 80 feet (24 meters) in specially designed elevators. The tunnel has enjoyed continued modernization over the past 100 years and has been a protected monument since 2003.
Nostalgic and cozy, the well-lit bores are tiled in art-deco style, and the pedestrian side is decorated with artwork, making it popular with photographers. The observation platform on the south side provides panoramic views of the port and Hamburg’s skyline. Stroll over to the 1,500-foot-long (450-meter) tunnel as part of a day enjoying Hamburg’s sights on foot, or make it a stop on a private city tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Old Elbe Tunnel is a must-see for engineering aficionados.
Use of the tunnel is free for pedestrians and cyclists (cyclists must follow the flow of traffic or walk their bikes); vehicles are charged a small fee.
Access the tunnel via the elevators or the staircases at either end.
The tunnel is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers via the elevators.
There’s a more modern New Elbe Tunnel for vehicles just downriver.
How to Get There
The Old Elbe Tunnel is located southwest of Hamburg’s city center. On the St Pauli (north) side, the U-Bahn and S-Bahn both stop at St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken; on the opposite (south) side, the best access is by bus from the Steinwerder station.
When to Get There
The tunnel is open to pedestrians and cyclists all day, every day. Cars and motorbikes can use the tunnel on weekdays only (except bank holidays) from 8am to 1pm (one-way from St. Pauli to Steinwerder) and 1pm to 6pm (one-way from Steinwerder to St. Pauli). It is typically busier during rush hours.
Hamburg’s Warehouse District
Combine a walk through the Old Elbe Tunnel with a visit to the Warehouse District (Speicherstadt), which is approximately 1.5 miles (2 kilometers) away. The largest integrated warehouse complex in the world, it’s also now home to a choice of family-friendly museums and attractions that help bring its former industrial history to life.
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