Berlin Cathedral rises majestically and magnificently, right in the heart of the German capital. It is one of the most beautiful attractions in Berlin and the largest Protestant house of worship in Germany.
Moreover, the must-see offers treasures such as the Hohenzollern crypt and a breathtaking view of historic Berlin.
Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know before visiting the house of worship. Read on for helpful information on admission, tickets and directions, as well as the history of the Berlin Cathedral.
Let's start with the things to do!
Things to Do in the Berlin Cathedral
Berlin Cathedral, once the house church of the Hohenzollern dynasty, is one of Berlin's most important landmarks. With its turquoise-green dome, the cathedral dominates not only the Museum Island, but also the silhouette of the German capital.
The building combines religion, architecture, art and German history and thus belongs on the itinerary of every traveler to Berlin.
Here are some highlights that you should not miss during your visit to the cathedral:
1. Admire the Architecture
The Berlin Cathedral is a magnificent Wilhelminian building and its architecture should be admired in every detail. The imposing house of worship was designed by Julius Raschdorff in the Italian Renaissance style.
It impresses with a striking facade and a monumental dome, which is visible from many points of the city. The turquoise dome, 33 meters in diameter, is framed by four towers and crowned by a golden cross at 114 meters. It can certainly be understood as a Protestant answer to the Catholic St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
It is worth looking up to the northwestern tower to see the bells, which can be heard ringing in full twice a day.
2. See the Interior
A granite open staircase leads to the lavishly decorated interior of the Berlin Cathedral, which is just as magnificent as the imposing exterior.
Immediately upon entering the cathedral, visitors are overwhelmed by the grandeur of the Sermon Church (Predigtkirche), which is adorned with gold ornaments, monumental windows, reliefs and dome mosaics. A highlight of the Sermon Church is the famous Sauer organ as well as the magnificent chancel, with the marble altar designed by Stüler, the baptismal font by Christian Daniel Rauch, and stained-glass windows depicting the Nativity, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.
Then proceed to the Baptismal and Matrimonial Church (Tauf- und Traukirche). You will find the entrance across from the organ loft. As you enter, look for the magnificent sarcophagi by Andreas Schlüter. Inside, the altarpiece "The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit" from 1820 awaits you. It was created by Carl Begas and is one of the most valuable works of art in Berlin Cathedral.
Also worth seeing is the Imperial Staircase, one of the most sumptuous spots in the Berlin Cathedral. It is adorned with marble of different colors, gold ornaments and 13 paintings by Albert Hertel.
3. Descend into the Hohenzollern Crypt
The Berlin Cathedral is home to the dynastic tomb of the House of Hohenzollern, the most important dynastic burial place in Germany as well as one of the most notable burial sites in Europe. Therefore, do not miss the opportunity to descend into the Hohenzollern crypt, which covers almost the entire basement of the church.
A total of 94 members of the House of Hohenzollern were buried here from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Among them are electors and kings who had a decisive influence on the history of Brandenburg and Prussia, including the Great Elector, King Frederick I, - the first king of Prussia -, his wife Queen Sophie Charlotte and Queen Elisabeth Christine. Some of the coffins are very ostentatious, while others are very simple in design.
- Important: The Hohenzollern Crypt has been closed for three years since March 1, 2020 for renovation work and is therefore currently not accessible to visitors.
4. Ascend the Dome
The imposing dome gives visitors a terrific 360-degree view of other sights of the German capital, including the TV Tower, the Red City Hall and Museum Island.
Climb the 270 steps to the top and enjoy the breathtaking view of the city center at a height of 50 meters. You can also get a close-up view of the eight bronze angels that adorn the dome of the cathedral with their musical instruments.
5. Explore the Cathedral Museum
In the Cathedral Museum you can get an impression of the eventful history of the construction of the church. Presented here are mainly drawings as well as models true to the original.
This is also where the painting "Nazareth" hangs, which was considered lost for a long time until it was rediscovered in the so-called foreign ownership catalog of the Alte Nationalgalerie.
6. Concerts in the Berlin Cathedral
Thanks to its excellent acoustics and unique ambience, the Berlin Cathedral provides a magnificent backdrop for concerts.
If you would like to attend a concert and listen to the famous organ, you can purchase tickets for concerts and events either at the concert box office or online in advance.
- You can find the current concert dates and prices on the official website of the Berlin Cathedral.
7. Attend a Mass
Services of worship, prayers and vespers take place daily in the Berlin Cathedral. For many visitors, the Sunday service with communion at 10 a.m. is a particularly unique experience.
- Further details and current dates can be found here.
8. Unwind in the Cathedral Café
Once you have finished your visit to the Berlin Cathedral, you will come across a small café with a cozy atmosphere that invites you to linger a while.
Coffee and pastries are best enjoyed on the outdoor seating directly on the Spree River.
Entrance, Tickets & Tours for the Berlin Cathedral
- Entrance: Berlin Cathedral is open daily. Mondays through Thursdays it is open from 10 am to 6 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm, and Sundays from 12 pm to 5 pm. Last admission: one hour before closing. Please note: Large bags, suitcases and bags larger than DIN A4 may not be taken into the Berlin Cathedral. A limited number of lockers are available on site.
- Tickets: Although it is a church, you will have to pay an entrance fee to visit the Berlin Cathedral. For ticket prices, please visit the cathedral's website. Please note: Cash payment on site is not possible, so we recommend purchasing tickets online in advance.
- Tours: Those who wish may participate in one of the regular guided tours. 20-minute site tours, where you sit in the pews and learn more about the cathedral, are included in the ticket price. Other themed tours are also offered. All details can be found here.
- Travelers' Tip: Use the YourMobileGuide audio guide app to explore Museum Island and Berlin Cathedral on your own. The self-guided audio tour takes you to all the attractions on Berlin's Museum Island in an entertaining way and tells you all kinds of interesting facts about the sights.
How to get to the Berlin Cathedral?
Berlin Cathedral is located on Museum Island, in the historic center of Berlin.
- From Alexanderplatz: Take the U5 for 2 stops to U Museumsinsel (Berlin). The Berlin Cathedral is just a few steps away. Alternatively, take bus 100 (to U Museumsinsel) or walk 15 minutes.
- From Potsdamer Platz: Get on bus line 300 at the Varian-Fry-Str stop and go 6 stops to the Museumsinsel station. From here it is only a few minutes walk.
FAQ about the Berlin Cathedral
The Berlin Cathedral stands on the Museum Island, in the historical center of Berlin. The address is: Am Lustgarten, 10178 Berlin, Germany
After Elector Joachim II converted to the Protestant faith in 1539, he unceremoniously had the Catholic cathedral, then still at the southern portal of the City Palace, transformed into a Protestant one. This cathedral was not representative enough for Emperor Wilhelm II, so he had one built by the architect Julius Raschdorff. This is how the Berlin Cathedral came into being in its present form.
The Berlin Cathedral is a Protestant church. In fact, the cathedral is the largest Protestant house of worship in Germany.
From the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 20th century, 94 members of the House of Hohenzollern were buried in the Berlin Cathedral. Among them are the Great Elector, King Frederick I, - the first king of Prussia -, his wife Queen Sophie Charlotte and Queen Elisabeth Christine.
History & Facts about Berlin Cathedral
The history of the Berlin Cathedral, officially the Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church, dates back to the Middle Ages. Elector Joachim II had converted to the Protestant faith in 1539 and thereupon had the Catholic cathedral, at that time still at the southern portal of the city palace, unceremoniously transformed into a Protestant one.
It was Emperor Wilhelm II who decided that this cathedral was not representative enough and had one built by the architect Julius Raschdorff. This is how the Berlin Cathedral came into being in its present form.
The Berlin Cathedral was severely damaged by the bombings during the Second World War. It was not until 30 years after the end of the war that the GDR began reconstruction work in a simplified form. In the process, the underpass at the southwest tower and the memorial church on the north side of the cathedral were demolished for ideological reasons, even though they had survived the war nearly intact. The work continued until 1983. After that, the renovation of the interior of the church was started, which was not finished until after the reunification in 1993. In 2008, the dome received a new golden cross.