The Old Elbe Tunnel, or Alter Elbtunnel in German, runs under the Elbe River from St. Pauli Landing Stages to Steinwerder in the Port of Hamburg. During the 1870s the port area on the south side of the river started to grow, and the number of workers who needed to cross the river twice a day to get to and from work increased dramatically. The ferries that transported people back and forth couldn't keep up with the increase, and they couldn't run in bad weather, so this became a problem. The tunnel was finally approved in 1901, and construction was completed in September 1911. The tunnel has continually been modernized over the decades.
Vehicles are carried 24 meters (79 feet) down to the tiled tunnels by vehicle lifts. Today many people still use the tunnel to get to work, however it has also been a protected monument since 2003. On its 100th anniversary, it was named Historic Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany. Numerous film crews have shot on location here, art exhibitions have been on display, and the tunnel can also be rented out for events. Walking through the tunnel to the south side of the river will provide you with an incredible view of the port and Hamburg's skyline.
The Old Elbe Tunnel is open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday. It costs €2 for cars and motorized two-wheelers. It is free for pedestrians and cyclists.