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 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, 19/02/2019

Excellent tour and a chance to visit the main sites

This was a very good tour if you have just arrived in the city or have been there for a few days. Our tour guide Jules was very friendly and helpful. The tour covers a lot of the main sites in Berlin.

Berlin Free Walking Tour with Booking Fee Reviewed by sharon, 01/02/2019

Excellent tour providing an understanding of the history of Berlin

Our tour guide Lizzie was exceptional! She knew everything about the history of Berlin, and took us to all the main attractions as well as a few attractions that easily could’ve been missed, had we not gone on the tour, such as Hitler’s bunker and the previous headquarters of the German Air Force. In January in Berlin , walking around the city for 2 hours and 45 minutes is not exactly ideal, but Lizzie kept the whole group in high spirits with her jokes and sense of humor. She also provided us with recommendations of things to see in the city and places to eat which was very useful! She was always open to any questions throughout the tour.

Berlin Free Walking Tour with Booking Fee Reviewed by Clíona, 11/01/2019

our tour guide Nathan is excellent, the best !

Our tour guide Nathan is really extremely knowledgeable! it was a really amazing tour!

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by , 10/01/2019

Swen is a fantastic, friendly and knowledgeable tour guide.

Swen was great with our group. Our group were mostly blind/partially sighted but this didn't phase Swen, as it had done with other guides we have had in Berlin. His description of everything was clear, and the many various food stops along the way were wonderful. Some food tours flatter to deceive, but we were well and truly stuffed by the end and impressed all the way through. I would recommend this tour, and Swen, to any future groups.

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