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

Extremely knowledgable guide made this tour unforgettable.

This was one of our best tours ever, not just for the number of sights covered, but also for the skillful way in which we were introduced to the history. Matti, our guide, ensured every site was placed in context, often with additional photos to demonstrate how buildings looked in the past, which made the experience so much richer. Recommend highly!

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Suzanne, 10/15/2018

Liz was a fantastic guide! All the sights and descriptions were great.

Wonderful overview of a lot of historical details and depth about why the Berlin Wall happened and the impact that it had on the city and people who lived in the city during that time. Our guide (Liz) was very well organized and knowledgeable taking questions as well as giving us very nice descriptions of the many places we visited. Overall it was a wonderful experience and i can highly recommend it to anyone who is considering.

Red Berlin: Secrets of the Communist Capital Reviewed by David, 10/14/2018

I heard a lot of new facts about Germany.

The guide was nice and his speaking clear. He knows his subject and that is what I expect.

German Tour: Reichstag with Plenary Chamber & Cupola Reviewed by a GetYourGuide customer, 10/03/2018

Rob is a fabulous guide and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge!

The walking tour of Berlin was fabulous. We saw all of the major sights that we wanted to see and learned about key historical facts. I would highly recommend this tour.

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Nancy, 09/29/2018

Rachel was a super tour-guide-she was very strong on history.

Really liked the walking tour. We thought Rachel was terrific! Her knowledge level of German history was super, which was important to us. Though long (almost 4 hours) the tour covered so much and gave us great information. It was very worthwhile.

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Jane, 09/20/2018

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