Berlin Wall
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Berlin Wall: Tours & Tickets

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5 historical facts about the Berlin Wall

For 28 years the Berlin Wall symbolized an ideological stalemate and its fall was swiftly followed by that of the Soviet Union. It's shaped the contemporary life of a city and the attitudes of its residents, so here are some things to know before your trip.

It was built in 1961 to cut off access to West Berlin

It was built in 1961 to cut off access to West Berlin

Berlin was the main route for the 3.5 million East Germans emigrating to the West prior to 1961. The 155km wall was intended to stifle a hemorrhaging workforce!

The wall couldn't stop emigration...

The wall couldn't stop emigration...

An estimated 100,000 still escaped East Germany after the wall went up. In the first two years, 1,300 of them were border guards!

...But it could slow it down!

...But it could slow it down!

Crossing wasn't easy, of course. At least 98 people were killed as a result of trying to sneak through, although some counts put the death toll well above 200!

There were plenty of imaginative escapes

There were plenty of imaginative escapes

East Berliners devised many daring ways of entering the West, from tightropes, zip-lines, and hot air balloons to crashing through in a speeding train!

It was torn down in 1989

It was torn down in 1989

Misinformation about relaxed regulations spread across East German news, driving citizens to gather at the wall hoping to cross. Outnumbered, the border guards eventually gave way!

Our insider tips

Where is it now?

Most of the wall has been demolished, but tourists can still visit preserved segments, such as the Eastside Gallery (so-called for its large graffiti murals running along the Spree River's east bank between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain). A notable section is also visible at the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse. City tours should cover most of the sites, including Checkpoint Charlie – the famous American checkpoint on Friedrichstrasse.

When to visit?

Berlin is a true summer city and there are few better ways to spend a sun-soaked visit than to tour its sights by foot or by bike! If your visit has been cursed by cold or rainy weather, however, visit the segment at the Berlin Wall Memorial. It can be viewed from the top floor of its Visitors' Center, which also provides fascinating insights into life behind the wall.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Outdoor areas are always open, but the Visitors' Center is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM.
  • Is it expensive?
    The open areas and Visitors' Center are free to visit, but the Center does accept donations.
  • Will I need a guide?
    A tour is definitely worth it! Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    Depending on the exhibit you wish to see, directions will vary, but the wall is easily reachable!
  • Additional information
    ** Remember to remain respectful during your visit. | Check the weather! Berlin can get windy quickly so plan ahead.*

What people are saying about Berlin Wall

Fantastic tour of major sites throughout East Berlin with Nathan!

Our tour guide Nathan (originally from Chicago) was a fantastic wealth of knowledge throughout our tour across the major sites of East Berlin. While the weather was not fantastic this did not stop the tour being very enjoyable throughout.

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Thomas, 03/10/2019

Great tour with an excellent guide, thank you Charlotte, history came

Great tour with an excellent guide, thank you Charlotte for making those history lessons cone to life.

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Karen, 03/09/2019

Very informative and off the tourist drag.

Barnby had in depth knowledge and I learnt a lot. The tour took us to places that we would not have gone to otherwise and pointed out things that we would have missed.

Berlin Insider's Cold War Walking Tour Reviewed by Richard, 02/27/2019

Rochale was knowledgeable, informative and funny.

When we first approached Rochale, our guide, I was a bit disappointed because she was not German. However, after the first couple of sentences when she introduced herself, I had a feeling we were in good hands. She was funny and engaging, and extremely knowledgeable in her presentation. Our tour started at the Brandenburg Gate, and we toured through some of the darker history of Germany, with stops at the Memorial for Murdered Jews, Hitlers Bunker, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Topography of Terror. A very informative and satisfying tour, despite the subject matter, and Rochale injected just enough humor to keep us from sinking into depression, while respecting the topic. I would highly recommend Rochale to anyone, even Germans, to conduct an historical tour of Berlin.

Berlin Free Walking Tour with Booking Fee Reviewed by a GetYourGuide customer, 02/22/2019

Fantastic tour guide and history of Berlin told amazingly well

Tour guide-girl was an amazing storyteller and she kinda put us on a time machine and we were navigating through the history of Berlin, almost visually! This tour is the first thing you should do as soon as you arrive Berlin to soak in all it's history/events.

Berlin Free Walking Tour with Booking Fee Reviewed by Abhishek, 02/19/2019

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