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

Overall rating
4.7 / 5
based on 22,845 reviews

Great Tour but group far too big for price

Our tour guide Jim was excellent. The tour covered all the main areas of interest. Physically an easy cycle. There were 17 in our group and apparently can be as many as 20!! Too difficult to get through traffic lights with a group that size. Also slower to get moving after every stop with so many people. They made over €470 for one group. With one tour guide. Seems greedy to me. Smaller groups or reduce your price! One or the other.

Berlin Highlights: 3-Hour Bike Tour Reviewed by

We spent two weeks in Europe & this was everyone's favorite activity!

Amazing tour! Jonathon was an utterly incredible tour guide! Incredible detail for the history- and politics-interested folks, and amazing context and general color for those less interested in history. Jonathon was super engaging and knowledgeable. We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed this tour!

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by

Educational tour to understand Berlin better

In general, the Berlin walking tour is well-designed. Communication prior to the tour was clear, meeting point was easy to find. Our guide Sam Z knows Berlin well and was able to answer questions clearly. A good way to start exploring Berlin if you are here for the first time.

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by

Another great tour with Free Berlin... My second one in my short stay

Another great tour with Free Berlin... My second consecutive one in my short stay in Berlin. Dominic was lovely and very informative. Even about sites i had been to before i learned something new. Highly recommended

Berlin: Guided Bike Tour of "Berlin's Best" Reviewed by

Great tour, excellent guide with a ton of knowledge!

This was a fantastic tour of 41 participants and we had a lot of fun while learning a ton! Our guide Nathan is American however knows EVERYTHING you need to know on Berlin's history. Thanks!

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by

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