The Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall), which has been built between 2007 and 2016 and opened on 11th January 2017, is something like the latest signature attraction of Hamburg. Originally planned to open in 2010 already for a sum of 77 million Euro, the Elphi, how it is called in Hamburg, finally took roughly eleven times of the expected budget and three times the construction time (including a construction stop). The major philharmonic hall is of course the key attraction, but there are also restaurants, a parking garage, a hotel and even living space in the complex.
During the Covid-19 period, when concerts were banned, the Elbphilharmonie offered self-guided tours through the building, which featured certain waypoints where you can explore the building and also ask questions to more or less informative guides (unfortunately, I have to say that most of them felt pretty lame). When in the city in July 2020, I took opportunity to explore the building and share it with you in one of my Pictured Stories, i.e. a posting with major size pictures and reduced volume of text.
Elbphilharmonie – Location
The Elbphilharmonie is located in the Speicherstadt district. Germany’s best rated tourist attraction, the Miniatur Wunderland, for example, is just a short walk away. The most fancy (and likely: Hamburg-alike) way is to use its public ferry station. The U-Bahn (metro) rail stops at Baumwall (Elbphilharmonie) for a short walk to the attraction.
The Plaza is open from 10:00 to 23:00 hrs at the time of writing. Times for the self-guided tour varied per day / per assumed demand. The adult price for the tour was 9 Euro. Nowadays, Elbe Philharmonic Hall again offers guided tours in English and German for 15 Euro per adult.
Elbphilharmonie – The Tour
The Elbe Phiharmonic Hall Tour ticket also included the potential to visit the Plaza (which is the entrance area) and the balconies, from which you have a nice view of the harbor and the city (see below). Thus, you first had to take some escalators up. Before the time slot at which you can do the self-guided tour, I had some looks around the Plaza, which is also the entrance area to the concert halls.
The first parts of the tour is a somehow endless walk upstairs, so that you reach the very top of the (major) concert hall. Here, upstairs really means stairs, no escalator, no elevator (which are available, but not for the tour). The waypoints were not all very clear and lead to some confusion. For example at the waypoint which explained that the concert hall is in fact a construction separated from the building and built on shocks to avoid any vibrations from outside, you had no chance to explore this feature.
The view through the glass windows was already promising, while the went more and more to the top.
Being at the very top of the concert hall at the rear of the stage, you more and more worked yourself down to stage level. Interesting that – apart from some partner seats – all seat categories had the same seating material.
The doors are by the way the perfect spot to see that there is no connection between the concert hall and the remaining building.
The tour went down to the Kleiner Saal (small hall), which is – expectedly – lousy compared to the big one. Overall, I did not like the way the tour has been organized, but it was of course somehow cool to see that building from inside.
Elbphilharmonie – Views from the Plaza
Even if you do not make it to the tour or don’t want to buy a concert ticket for Elbe Philharmonic Hall, the view from the Plaza and its balcony is lovely. The Covid-19 concept was very confusing, though, as some areas were signposted with one-way directions while others were not… So that you have been surprised by people happened to face you as they took another entrance.