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Places to see the remains of the Berlin Wall today

When visiting the German capital, you can't miss Berlin's most important landmark. The Berlin Wall!
Luckily, this giant construction has been broken down almost completely. The remains of the Berlin wall today tell its history, so that things like this would never happen again.
Some parts serve as a history lesson, others have been transformed into a beautiful park.
Are you planning a trip to Berlin soon? Then you should of course know some things about the Berlin Wall. In this article I'll tell you more about it.

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Guided tours along the remains of the Berlin Wall

Of course it’s great to see the remainders of the Berlin Wall, but a guide really does make everything more interesting. A guided tour to some of these impressive leftovers isn’t expensive at all and will give you a better understanding of what it must have felt like to live here during this period in time. I always use GetYourGuide to book tours, because they have a lot of possibilities but also because you can cancel for free up until 24 hours before your tour.

 


berlin wall

The most famous symbol of Berlin is of course the Berlin Wall!

Berlin Wall

The east and west of Germany were completely separated from each other in 1961 when the construction of the Berlin Wall was completed. During the Cold War era under the leadership of DDR leader Walter Ulbricht and Soviet leader Nikitia Chroesjtsjov, the capital was given a concrete wall that was supposed to prevent people moving between east and west. The wall was armed with barbed wire and soldiers were placed at numerous places. People who wanted to cross had to go through border control and this could only happen in very rare cases. It lasted until 1989 before the Berlin Wall finally fell. The political changes with open borders in Hungary ultimately meant that Germany couldn’t wait much longer, and finally it got freed from the prison-like wall.

Where can you see the remains of the Berlin Wall today?

Originally there was more than 45 kilometers (28 miles) of wall in the German capital. Nowadays there’s almost nothing left of it. The remains of the Berlin Wall today make it one of the top things to do in Berlin.
An interesting way to know where the wall was is to follow a walking or cycling route through the city. This way you make sure that you’ll see all the remnants of the Berlin Wall. This road network is named ‘Berliner Mauerweg‘ and has become one of Berlin’s major attractions since its opening in 2005. Since it covers quite a big distance, I recommend to hire a bike or plan with public transportation. There are also quite a lot of guided tours with bikes that you can book, starting from $25 per person.

East Side Gallery

The most famous remains of the Berlin Wall that you encounter during a walk or bike ride is undoubtedly the Mühlenstraße, which is better known to the general public as the East Side Gallery. This is for many people the reason to visit the Berlin Wall.
Along the river Spree you’ll find more than 1300 meters (1 mile) of authentic wall with all kinds of beautiful paintings by artists of all kinds. Often the work caries a political message.

east side gallery berlin wall today

One of the most famous remains of the Berlin Wall: the East Side Gallery.

Bernauer Straße

The remains of the Berlin Wall that you find at the Bernauer Straße aren’t original, but were rebuilt especially for a memorial. Yet it’s an important place where you can find the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer, an information center and a modest exhibition at the metro station.

Bernauer Straße berlin wall

At the Bernauer Straße you’ll find a big park and lots of information regarding the Berlin wall.

Checkpoint Charlie

The fact that the borders of the Berlin Wall were strictly monitored is not a secret, but how did that work? Checkpoint Charlie was guarded by Americans and is a well-preserved border house with a museum linked to it. Here you’ll find not only general information, but also the means and attempts to escape are described in detail. Because the location still speaks to the imagination, it’s not hard to imagine how it used to be. Checkpoint Charlie is one sight you can’t miss when you’re visiting parts of the Berlin Wall.
Next to Checkpoint Charlie there’s also a huge museum about the Berlin Wall. If you want to know everything about the past, you should definitely visit! Skip-the-line tickets can be bought online for $16,60 per person.

soldiers checkpoint charlie berlin

Luckily the soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie aren’t real anymore! They’re just here to please the tourists.

Niederkirchnerstraße

In the Niederkirchnerstraße you’ll find another one of the original remains of the Berlin Wall. Unique to this sight is the location. The Berlin Parliament Building is only a stone’s throw away.

Niederkirchnerstraße berlin wall remains

Yet another place where you can see the Berlin wall! The Niederkirchnerstraße.

Other remnants

In the rest of the city you’ll find other memories of the Berlin Wall. Think of the plaques that were laid in the streets where the wall was located. These plaques in the street allow you to follow perfectly where the wall once stood.
Some guard towers also remain clearly visible on the streets of Berlin. Some of these towers are found at Potsdamer Platz and Hohen Neuendorf.

remnants berlin wall plaques

Follow the path of the Berlin Wall throughout the whole city by looking for these plaques on the ground.

Points of interest in Berlin and the Wall

By following the Wall’s route, you’ll not only see the Wall itself. Because a lot of the city’s most important buildings and places are also located quite close to the wall. In fact, you’ll see so much that it’s impossible to do and see all of it in just one day.

Guided tours along the Berlin Wall

In my opinion, the best way to see the remains of the Berlin wall is by booking a guided tour. During such a day trip, you get to see all of the different parts (and no, it never gets boring! They all look incredibly different and each part has a very different story!) of the wall. But of course you get to see much more of Berlin along the way. Since distances are often quite big, I recommend that you book a bicycle tour. Check out these options:

 

What are the differences on the streets because of the Berlin Wall today?

A great way to see the differences that arose on the street can best be seen by visiting the Reichstag. From the roof or the dome you can see the gray building style of the DDR section versus the somewhat more modern west part of the city. Since the fall of the Wall, the differences in the street scene have almost disappeared.
The people in the East have changed their lifestyle and the way they look. People who visit the Berlin Wall will undoubtedly notice that in the east different traffic lights are used than in the west. This Ampelmännchen is a famous symbol of Berlin. In the east of the city he’s wearing a hat, and when it’s green the guy walks along with a raised arm.

visit berlin wall

If you look for it, you can see memorials for the Berlin wall almost everywhere!

Famous escape attempts

Although some 5,000 people managed to flee during the existence of the Wall, the escape attempts were less positive for almost 200 people. Guardians of the border houses were instructed to shoot immediately if escape attempts occurred.

A well-known image is Peter Fechter‘s dead body, who took the guess in August 1962 with his friend Helmut Kulbeik. Kulbeik got to the other side, but overcome by shock, Fechter was hit by bullets several times. Even though the West Berliners urged the easterners to help him, the DDR soldiers didn’t do anything and Fechter slowly died…

Ingo Bethke did it quite differently. During his attempt, he chose a place where there were only mines and no soldiers. By hitting on the ground with a branch, he prevented explosions and safely reached the fence. There he cut a hole in it and with an airbed he safely passed the Elbe.
A few years later he became some kind of  Robin Hood when he reached a building on the other side of the wall with arrow and bow. By shooting a steel wire to the other side, he brought his brother and his friends to the free west.

There are many more stories, the one more heroic than the other. Think of escape attempts from the Berlin wall with air balloons, tunnels or just by climbing through windows of houses that stood on the border.

The Wall in Movies

The Berlin Wall was soon picked up by Hollywood as a decor for movies. After Alfred Hitchcock released the Torn Curtain movie, many others followed, like Octopussy with James Bond. Even after the fall of the wall, the subject remains popular. Recommendations where the Wall and the DDR play a major role in are: Das Leben Der Anderen, Goodbye Lenin! and Bridge of Spies.

east side gallery remains berlin wall

The East Side Gallery is full of political messages!

Guided tours and excursions to the Berlin Wall

All remains of the wall are free to visit. However, it is sometimes interesting to take a guide so that you get to know more facts (both funny and sad) about its history.
Take a look at these trips to the Berlin Wall:

 

» More excursions in Berlin

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In this article you'll find a few affiliate links. When you book something with these travel organizations, I get a small commission. You don't pay anything extra for that. You can thus see it as a way to support this blog if you found the information helpful. I use all of these travel organizations myself, and I will only recommend the ones that I really like.
 

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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  1. Holly Fleming says:

    is there a tour you can tape or you can bike part of the Berlin wall and go to checkpoint Charlie only? I don’t care to do a ton of other things with us. Thank you Holly

    • Hey Holly

      I think it’s best to check out the websites that I’ve mentioned in the post. If they don’t have any tours like this, I think it’ll be very hard to find a tour that just goes to these two places… But did you know that Checkpoint Charlie is not at all far from some remains of the wall? So you can actually walk it yourself with minimal planning!

      Good luck 🙂
      Sam

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