25 Most Popular Attractions in Berlin [with Tickets]

15 Most Popular Attractions in Berlin

Berlin is big and has a lot to offer. There are so many sights to discover, it can be hard to pick out the cherry.

Most tourists come only for a few days in the German capital and do not have much time. That’s why they want to see only the best of the best.

Even though it was hard for us to choose, we decided on 25 attractions that we would like to present to you in this article. Now it's up to you to determine your favorites in this list and then visit them.

Note: If this is not your first visit to Berlin and you already know the top sights, we have written a second article with another 60 things to do, which should be interesting for you.

Now, have fun picking your favorite attractions in Berlin...

1. Brandenburg Gate

The sandstone Brandenburg Gate was built by Carl Gotthard Langhans between 1788 and 1791 and is inspired by the Acropolis in Athens.

Once a symbol of Berlin's division into East and West, the Brandenburg Gate on Pariser Platz has been the symbol of Germany's unity since the fall of the Berlin Wall and is one of the metropolis' most important landmarks. The only preserved city gate of the original 18 city gates of Berlin is one of the most beautiful examples of German classicism.

The Brandenburg Gate is bordered to the east by Pariser Platz. It is home to the Academy of Fine Arts, the American and French embassies, and the luxury Hotel Adlon Kempinski. To the west of the gate is the Platz des 18. März. It is the counterpart of the Pariser Platz and is often used for rallies and events.

2. Reichstag Building

The Reichstag building on the Platz der Republik was built between the years 1884 and 1894 by the architect Paul Wallot in neo-Renaissance style. It is one of the most important sights not only of Berlin, but of all Germany. Since 1999, the architecturally impressive building has been the seat of the German Bundestag. The glass dome has become a much-visited attraction in the city.

The dome, roof terrace and the restaurant there can be visited. You can also attend a session in the plenary hall and take one of the guided tours of the Reichstag building. All this is free of charge, but only possible with prior registration.

3. Museum Island

Berlin's Museum Island is the largest museum ensemble in the world and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. With the Pergamon Museum, the Neues Museum, the Altes Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, and the Bode Museum, there are no less than five world-famous museums located here. Nefertiti, the Pergamon Altar, and the Ishtar Gate are some of the most important exhibits. Since 2019, guests of the Museum Island are welcomed in the James Simon Gallery as the central entrance area.

4. Humboldt Forum

Since July 20, 2021, the Humboldt Forum has expanded the Museum Island's offerings with collections from the Ethnological Museum Berlin, the Museum of Asian Art, the non-European art collection, the Berlin Exhibition and the Humboldt Lab.

Built in eight years, the building, seen from the outside, is a faithful replica of the Berlin City Palace, which stood on the same site until 1950 and was considered a major work of northern German Baroque architecture. Visible from afar, the museum covers an area of around 30,000 square meters. The construction costs amounted to 677 million euros. This makes the Humboldt Forum the most expensive cultural building in Germany.

5. Berlin Cathedral

The magnificent Berlin Cathedral is one of the most beautiful attractions of the German capital. With a total height of 116 meters on a floor space of almost 6800 square meters, it is the largest Protestant house of worship in Germany. The mighty dome can certainly be understood as a Protestant answer to the Catholic St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The monument is barrier-free and is home to one of the most important dynastic burial sites in Europe, the Hohenzollern Crypt.

Although it is a church, you will have to pay an entrance fee to visit the Berlin Cathedral. The cathedral management argues that it has to generate 97 percent of the costs itself, since only three percent comes from church taxes and grants from the state of Berlin. This does not meet with everyone's understanding.

6. Spree River

Until the 20th century, shipping was of immense importance for supplying Berlin with food as well as building and heating materials. Barges sailed in all directions and served the city. Today, the river is a tourist attraction and is dominated by passenger shipping. According to a Wikipedia list, there are 43 shipping companies in Berlin, with about 150 ships plying the Spree.

During a one-hour Spree River cruise with our partner BWSG, you can explore Berlin's attractions from a completely different perspective from the water. You will glide gently past the Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral, the Nikolai Quarter and the Reichstag, to name a few, while receiving information worth knowing via the on-board loudspeaker or via the "Berlin River Cruise" app from YourMobileGuide, which you can download to your smartphone.

  • By the way, the Spree River is crossed by exactly 50 bridges in Berlin, 14 of which you can see during the one-hour boat ride. For more information on this topic, check out our article Spree River Cruise".
  • The paths along both banks of the Spree invite you for leisurely walks and jogging.
  • Read more details about this sight in our complete guide to the Spree River.

7. Berlin TV Tower

At 368 meters to the top of the antenna support, the Berlin TV Tower is the second tallest TV tower in Europe after the Moscow TV Tower and the tallest building in Germany. It welcomes more than 12 million visitors a year. From its observation deck at a height of 203 meters and the Sphere restaurant, you have a spectacular 360-degree view of the Spree metropolis. With good visibility, you can see up to 70 km away.

8. Alexanderplatz

Located in the northern end of the Berlin-Mitte district, Alexanderplatz sees more than 360,000 people a day. It is not only one of the most visited places in Berlin, but the largest square in Germany and the fourth busiest square in Europe. It is home to the Berlin TV Tower, the Park Inn Hotel, the World Clock, the Fountain of Friendship between Nations, the Alexanderhaus and the Berolinahaus, a shopping mall, a cinema, a department store, as well as stores and restaurants.

9. DDR Museum

Take a trip back in time to the former GDR! In the DDR Museum you will learn everything about life in the German Democratic Republic. You are invited to expand your knowledge in an entertaining way and experience history up close. Authentic originals and worldwide unique interactive installations are waiting to be touched and tried out.

Highlights of the exhibition are the Trabi driving simulation in an original Trabant P 601, a faithfully furnished Plattenbau apartment with five rooms, numerous interactive games for young and old, the monumental mural "In Praise of Communism" and the opportunity to touch many of the exhibits. This is where grown-ups, teenagers and children can get active themselves.

10. Unter den Linden

The grand avenue Unter den Linden connects the Brandenburg Gate with the Schlossbrücke Bridge, which leads to the Museum Island.

Important sights of the city, such as the State Library, the Humboldt University, the Neue Wache, the German Historical Museum in the Zeughaus, the Kronprinzenpalais, the Bebelplatz with a building, the Alte Palais as well as the equestrian statue of "Alter Fritz" line the eastern end of the boulevard. Stores, restaurants and cafés line the approximately 1.5-kilometer-long avenue in the direction of the Brandenburg Gate.

The boulevard was initially just a bridle path. The first linden trees were planted in 1647. From 1701, the linden trees were developed into a boulevard for the splendor of Frederick the Great.

11. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe - Holocaust Memorial

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is Germany's central Holocaust memorial, commemorating the up to six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The memorial is an undulating "field of stelae" with a total of 2711 cuboid stelae.

Due to the fact that the memorial is freely accessible, you can experience and feel the Holocaust memorial by walking through the field of stelae. This walk is meant to make you think, but also to remind you of the horror and the victims. Due to the uneven, supposedly swaying ground, a sense of confusion is often evoked in the visitor.

In addition to the field of stelae, you can also visit the underground Information Center, which is part of the memorial. Here, the persecution and extermination of the Jews of Europe and the sites of these crimes are documented. 

12. Nikolaiviertel

The idyllic Nikolai Quarter is the oldest residential area in Berlin. This underrated gem, consisting of narrow streets, historic buildings, picturesque houses and traditional German pubs and restaurants, is the historical founding place of the city and also known as the "old Berlin".

In the 13th century, the first merchants and craftsmen settled on the eastern bank of the Spree River and built St. Nicholas Church as the center of the settlement, probably between 1230 and 1250. The listed church is the oldest preserved building in Berlin. The narrow winding streets with their small houses, the Knoblauchhaus, the Ephraim-Palais and the bronze statue depicting St. George as the dragon slayer are worth seeing, among many other sights.

  • Read more details about this place of interest in our guide to the Nikolaiviertel.

13. Gendarmenmarkt

For many Berliners and tourists Gendarmenplatz is the most beautiful square in Berlin. It was created from 1688 as a part of the Friedrichstadt, newly laid out by Emperor Frederick I. At that time, mainly Huguenots settled in the quarter. The emperor had the Friedrichstadtkirche built for them. The Lutheran church was built opposite it. Both churches were built after 1701, without the towers that were added later.

The "soldier king" Frederick William I had stables of the cuirassier regiment of the Gens d'armes built here in 1736, which Emperor Frederick II had demolished less than 40 years later. In memory of the stables and because the square had originally been laid out as a market, it was given the name Gendarmenmarkt in 1799.

Between 1780 and 1785, the two churches received their identical domed towers, which henceforth characterized the square. Between the two churches, a small French comedy theater was built in 1774, which later served as the National Theater and, from 1821, as a stage theater. Since 1984 it has been the Konzerthaus Berlin.

From the observation balustrade of the Französisches Dom, you can enjoy a magnificent view over the Gendarmenmarkt and the surrounding area. The Huguenot Museum is also located here. The Deutsches Dom houses an exhibition of the German Bundestag.

  • You can find more information about this attraction in our main article Gendarmenmarkt.

14. Checkpoint Charlie

The former military checkpoint Checkpoint Charlie is probably the most famous border crossing at the Berlin Wall and not because it was the scene of various spy thrillers like "James Bond - Octopussy" and "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold".

The former control post of the American occupation forces is today a tourist attraction with great appeal and a very popular photo motif, although the control barrack, turnpike, flag, sandbags and warning sign are merely faithful replicas that were placed on August 13, 2000 in the locations where the originals once stood. The main reason for this is probably that the former division of the city can be experienced and felt here.

15. Topography of Terror

At Topography of Terror, on the site of the former Nazi terror headquarters, you can explore Germany's darkest chapter. With around 1.3 million visitors, the documentation center, which retraces the terror of the National Socialists under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, especially during the period of rule from 1933 to 1945, is the most visited museum in Berlin.

The exhibitions, to which you have free admission, focus on the following:

  1. Topography of Terror. Gestapo, SS and Reich Security Main Office in Wilhelm- and Prinz-Albrecht-Straße.
  2. Berlin 1933-1945. Between Propaganda and Terror
  3. The historical site Topography of Terror. A tour via 15 stations

16. Potsdamer Platz

The beginnings of Potsdamer Platz date back to the 18th century. In the Golden Twenties, the square developed into a traffic hub with the first traffic lights in Europe. Berlin's cultural elite met in the cafés and restaurants around the square.

After the Allied occupation of the city, the demarcation lines between the Soviet, British and American sectors met here. After reunification, the largest construction site in Europe was built on the empty space crisscrossed by a wall; within a few years, an urban center emerged from nothing.

In addition to the Panoramapunkt Potsdamer Platz viewing platform, the Kohlhoff Tower offers a panorama café with sun terrace and a permanent exhibition on the history of the square. You can reach the attractions located on the 24th and 25th floors with the fastest elevator in Europe, which takes you up 100 meters in just 20 seconds.

  • Check out our complete guide to Potsdamer Platz for more details about this attraction.

17. Berlin Wall Memorial

During the time of the inner-German division, the Berlin Wall ran along Bernauer Strasse. It separated the city districts of "Mitte" in the east and "Wedding" in the west. Over the course of time, the former border strip was the scene of numerous escape attempts and dramatic events. Today, the historic site on Bernauer Strasse is the central place of remembrance for the division of Germany and for the victims of death at the Wall.

The Berlin Wall Memorial is divided into four thematic areas and covers a length of 1.4 km on 4.4 hectares. It contains the last section of the Wall, which has been preserved in its depth and can give you a good impression of the structure of the former border fortifications. Admission is free to all areas of the memorial.

  • For more details, read our complete guide to the Berlin Wall.

18. Victory Column

The Victory Column was built from 1864 to 1873 in commemoration of Prussia's victories in the so-called Wars of Unity. The path to the founding of the German Empire is shown on the bronze reliefs and mosaics in the colonnade.

As part of the transformation of the "Reichshauptstadt Germania", the Nazis moved the Victory Column to the Großer Stern in the middle of the Tiergarten, its present location.

You can reach the viewing platform of the Victory Column at about 51 meters above sea level via a spiral staircase with 285 steps. As a reward for the climb, Berlin is at your feet. Tickets for the viewing platform can be purchased at the ticket office of the Victory Column.

  • Großer Stern: The Victory Column stands on the square with the beautiful name Großer Stern (Great Star), which was laid out around 1698. In 1742 and then again from 1833 to 1840, it was expanded into a representative square.
  • Straße des 17. Juni: The Straße des 17. Juni is part of the large east-west axis and runs from the Brandenburg Gate over the Großer Stern to the Ernst-Reuter-Platz in Charlottenburg. The name of the 3580-meter-long boulevard commemorates the 1953 uprising in the GDR.
  • Read more details about this sight in our guide to the Victory Column.

19. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

One of the most famous landmarks in Berlin is undoubtedly the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. During the bombing of the city in World War II in 1943, it was destroyed, leaving only parts of the tower. Restored several times, the ruined tower is now a symbol of the city risen from ruins as well as a memorial against war and destruction.

20. East Side Gallery

With a length of 1,316 meters, the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain is the longest continuous section of the Berlin Wall that was not demolished. 118 artists from 21 countries painted and spray-painted 106 works of art on this section in the months following the fall of the Wall.

The open-air gallery opened on September 28, 1990, and was listed as a historic monument a year later. The socialist brotherly kiss of Honecker and Brezhnev and the Trabant seemingly breaking through the concrete are the most photographed paintings.

  • Find out more information about this attraction in our complete guide to East Side Gallery.

21. Hackescher Markt

Hackescher Markt is an important transportation hub on the one hand and a creative trendy district and starting point for Berlin's nightlife on the other.

The square and its surroundings attract with the newly designed Hackesche Höfe, as well as design and fashion stores, small manufactories, restaurants and a weekly market. Night owls get their money's worth with a huge range of theater, cinema, variety shows and clubs and bars.

  • Hackesche Höfe: The Hackesche Höfe consists of eight interconnected courtyards between Rosenthaler Straße and Sophienstraße. Covering 27,000 square meters, they house apartments, commercial enterprises, cultural institutions, cafés, stores and a cinema. The design of the facades in the first courtyard is particularly worth seeing.
  • Read more details about this sight in our main article Hackescher Markt.

22. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

All the tourist attractions we have described so far, and many more, can be viewed comfortably from your seat on a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour. You can hop on and off at any stop to see your favorites up close or visit them from the inside.

You can choose between 24-hour or 48-hour tickets. Many tourists like to buy the combined ticket with Hop-On Hop-Off bus ride and one hour boat tour on the Spree River. For the combined ticket, we recommend our partners Stromma and BWSG.

23. Olympiastadion Berlin

When Berlin was named the site of the 1936 Olympic Games in 1931, the Nazis immediately recognized the prestige value of this international event and arranged for the planning of the Reichssportfeld with the Olympiastadion for 110,000 spectators.

You can easily reach the observation deck of the Olympic Bell Tower near the stadium by elevator. It offers a wonderful view from Spandau to Alexanderplatz and, on a clear day, even to Potsdam and the Müggelberge mountains.

  • Tickets for the guided tour of the stadium
  • Tickets for the self-guided tour are available at the visitor center in front of the stadium.
  • Tickets for the bell tower are available at the tower's ticket office.
  • Read more details about this sight in our complete guide to the Olympiastadion Berlin.

24. Charlottenburg Palace

With Baroque, Rococo, and Classicism - Charlottenburg Palace awaits its visitors with no less than three architectural styles that reflect the taste of the respective eras in which the palace was inhabited.

Built in several sections from 1695 to 1791, the former summer residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty, including the palace garden, Belvedere, Mausoleum and New Pavilion, is the most important palace complex in Berlin and is now home to the Palace Museum with the crown treasure of the Hohenzollern dynasty.

25. Sanssouci Palace & Palace Park / Neues Palais

We conclude our top 22 sights with a site that officially does not belong to Berlin at all, but Potsdam. Nevertheless, it definitely belongs in this list, because very many tourists cannot resist coming here by public transport or car.

We are talking about the fairy-tale Sanssouci Palace complex, which has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin" since 1990. In addition to the Sanssouci Palace and Park, the magnificent Neues Palais ("New Palace") also awaits you here within walking distance.

Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam was built between 1745 and 1747 by order of and according to the sketches of King Frederick II. As the name Sanssouci suggests - without a care - the small summer palace on the famous vineyard terraces was intended to serve as a retreat for Frederick the Great, who was also buried here at his own request.

Over the years, a masterpiece of art of international standing was created on the grounds. No wonder the palace grounds are often described as a Prussian Versailles. Exploration of the palace grounds, including the palace park, is generally free of charge. If you would like to see the inside of Sanssouci Palace as well, you will need to join a guided tour.

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