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Visit the Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie. Founded shortly after the construction of the Berlin Wall, this museum had a vital role in…
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Top sights in Berlin
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
- 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
An excellent introduction and overview for a first-time or returning visitor. Inspiration for further discoveries and valuable tips beyond your average guide(book) or website. Expert knowledge combined with anecdotal local insight, presented in a digestible and engaging manner in impeccable English. The tour makes you reflect upon and appreciate Berlin's defining historical moments and their link with architecture, urban planning and contemporary culture. An ideal balance between serious content and more light-hearted and friendly dialogue with a qualified professional. The personal viewpoints and interpretation provided food for thought. We particularly appreciated the effort to make the tour enjoyable even for children (aged 9-12) who remained engaged throughout and set up with appropriate bikes. When your bike tour is organised and run by a Dutchman, you are in good hands. :-) Also an asset in providing a refreshing and open-minded take on German history and culture.
We had Celine as our tour guide and she was incredibly knowledgeable + insightful. What made it exceptional were all the first-hand accounts of the experiences her parents had gone through and the stories of all the people she had met along the way who had experienced the cold war. Would highly recommend Celine as your tour guide and seeing Berlin by bike is a great way to discover the city.
We joined Mike on his Third Reich and Cold War tour yesterday and it was outstanding. He is a superb tour guide, enthusiastic, energetic and enthralling. We brought our sons to Berlin to help them in their history studies and Mike's tour engaged and inspired them more than anything else that we did during our tour of the city. And it was excellent value for money! Highly recommended.
This is a tour I would strongly recommend to anyone who just arrives in Berlin and wishes to get an overview and in-sight of Berlin tourist attractions. The tour is most informative and entertaining. It covers lots of area of interest in 3.5 hours. You get to know Berlin well in a nut-shell. You can then come back and spend more time exploring your area of interest.
Every step of this tour is a learning moment with moments of the satirical and moments for tears. Sarah our guide was so generous with her knowledge, her passion to share this tragic part of history and with other aspects of Berlin life. Sarah thank you I have taken so much away with me...and am reading more and more. An enlightening roller coaster of a tour