Where is the Berlin Wall? Yes I know its in Berlin. And yes, I also know the wall fell in 1989 and most of it has been torn down. But where to visit the Berlin Wall?
For most Americans the wall is what the German capital city is most known for. And yet, this icon can be surprisingly difficult to locate.
“Where is the Berlin Wall?” I asked the concierge at a hotel only to be greeted with a blank stare.
“What do you mean, ‘where is the Berlin Wall,’” he responded after several seconds of awkward silence. “There are many places to see the wall.”
Indeed, there are several places to see the Berlin Wall. Built in 1961 to separate East and West Germany, the wall ran 167.8 kilometers long. After the wall fell on November 9, 1989, much of it was quickly demolished. Today only 1.5 kilometers of the wall remain standing, and these fragments are spread out, each offering visitors a unique experience.
To avoid wandering the streets of Berlin with the singular thought “where the hell is the Berlin Wall” running through your mind, here’s the top five places to come face to face with this important piece of history.
Where to Visit the Berlin Wall
Nearest Metro: Potsdamer Platz
When to go: Anytime, day or night.
What you’ll see: Potsdamer Platz is one of the most important and famous public squares in Berlin. Chances are you will pass through it during your visit. Pieces of the wall are on display here. It’s not the most interesting or informative display, but it is a central location and easy to find.
Nearest Metro: Eberswalder Strasse
When to go: Sundays, during the flea market
What you’ll see: Mauer is German for wall, and, in the shadow of the wall’s infamous death strip, a park has been born. On Sundays there is a great flea market with hipster goods. The nearby section of the wall here is quite long and colorful, but there’s no signage telling you what you’re seeing.
East Side Gallery
Nearest Metro: Ostbahnhof
When to go: During daylight hours only – this section of town can be rough
What you’ll see: The longest section of the wall, the East Side Gallery features a 1.3 kilometer strip of the original wall decorated with murals. With 105 paintings, this is the longest open-air art gallery in the world. Unfortunately, many paintings have been covered in graffiti.
Topography of Terror
Nearest Metro: Potsdamer Platz
When to go: During daylight hours – the wall section of the museum closes at sunset.
What you’ll see: Located on the site of the Gestapo and the SS headquarters during the Nazi regime, Topography of Terror is an indoor and outdoor museum documenting the terror of the Nazi era. Remnants of the outer wall run through the outdoor portion of the museum, and there is a wealth of pertinent information about the wall on display.
Berlin Wall Memorial
Nearest Metro: Nordbahnhof
When to go: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What you’ll see: Far and away the most interesting wall to experience the wall, the Berlin Wall Memorial is a collection of open-air exhibits and a visitors center with a film. The memorial humanizes the many victims of this dark period in history and is an intriguing place to spend a few hours. You will leave a visit here knowing much more about life in Germany during the Cold War.
And there you have it — five great spots to see the Berlin Wall. Now hopefully you won’t end up like me on your visit to Berlin, wandering around aimlessly and wondering where to visit the Berlin Wall!