Berlin has tons of amazing tourist attractions and landmarks. These landmarks help shape the landscape of Germany’s capital and add to its personality, and each one has a story behind it.
If you want to see Berlin’s most recognizable and famous landmarks, we’ve got you covered. Some of the Berlin landmarks on this list are more well known than others, but they’re all interesting and worthwhile to see on your trip.
Where to stay in Berlin
Berlin has lots of great neighborhoods for you to stay in and explore. If you’re visiting Berlin for the first time, it might be best for you stay somewhere central.
Many of the attractions are in Mitte or easily connected to Mitte by Berlin’s public transport, so you should stay somewhere in that region. Here are a few hotels we recommend.
For a more detailed look at the different neighborhoods and our hotel recommendations, check out our guide to where to stay in Berlin.
Must See Landmarks in Berlin
Check out these Berlin landmarks that should definitely be included in your itinerary and your Berlin bucket list. You can learn a lot about the city’s history and culture at these monuments, statues, buildings, and museums.
Let’s dig in and explore!
This is probably the most recognizable landmark in Berlin and the whole of Germany. It’s the last remaining city gate in Berlin and was built between 1788 and 1791.
During the Cold War, the gate sat on the line between East and West Berlin and was inaccessible. Once the Wall came down, Brandenburg Gate came to symbolize the reunification of Germany.
No matter how touristy it is, I still think it’s worth seeing, and I always make sure to take visiting friends here for a few photos.
>>Check out this post about how many days you need to see Berlin.
The TV Tower, or Fernsehturm, could easily challenge Brandenburg Gate for the award of most famous landmark in Berlin. The tower was built during the Cold War by the Soviets and was purposely constructed to be high enough to see from almost everywhere in the city.
Today there aren’t a lot of really tall buildings in Berlin, so you can still see the TV Tower from all over. I love turning a corner and there it is. Don’t miss this one on your trip to Berlin.
The TV Tower is also one of the most popular places for views of Berlin from above. But the lines can be long, so it’s best to book tickets ahead of time.
I’ve taken many friends to the viewing platform of the TV Tower, and they’re always impressed with the views.
Here are our recommendations for TV Tower tickets:
The seat of the German government is here in the impressive Reichstag Building, located just a few steps away from Brandenburg Gate. It’s topped by a unique glass dome, which is accessible to the public.
You can actually take a free tour with audio guide, and you’ll learn about Germany’s government, the building, the surrounding areas, and more interesting facts. The views from here are really nice, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to see the Parliament below. You must book your tour in advance.
>>Check out our list of the best World War II and Cold War attractions in Berlin.
Sitting in a roundabout in the middle of Tiergarten, the Victory Column is another monument you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Berlin. If you look through the columns of Brandenburg Gate towards the west, you’ll see the golden tower down the street.
It was originally built to honor Prussia’s victory in the Franco-German war, and today it’s a popular tourist attraction in Berlin. Climb the stairs for great views of the city – it’s one of my favorites.
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The Holocaust Memorial, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, is a somber place that honors the Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. It’s also a place to remember Germany’s dark past so those mistakes don’t get repeated.
This is one of the most important World War II sites in Berlin. It’s located across the street from Tiergarten and not far from Brandenburger Tor.
Pay your respects, don’t sit on the blocks, and please don’t take selfies here.
>>Check out our list of famous landmarks in Germany.
Hackescher Höfe is a series of pretty courtyards (Höfe in German) in Mitte, and I love coming here for a little wander.
Go a little north of the Hackescher Markt Sbahn station and check out these restored courtyards where you can shop or stop for a coffee, or simply enjoy the area.
Completed in 1699, this was the summer palace for Sophie Charlotte as it was still outside the Berlin city limits at that time. When she died at the young age of 36, the palace was renamed to honor her. Today this popular attraction is well worth a visit.
Inside is a museum where you can see tableware, porcelain, Prussian crown jewels, and more as well as learn more about the history of Charlottenburg Palace. Even if you don’t go inside, the gardens of the palace are quite impressive, and free of charge.
During the Cold War, access to West Berlin was limited because it was surrounded by East Germany. At one point, the Soviets blocked land, rail, and waterway access to West Berlin, which meant people living there couldn’t get supplies.
This resulted in the Berlin Airlift, which started in June 1948. Allied partners supplied West Berlin residents from cargo planes, and one plane took off or landed every 30 seconds for over a year. The Airlift Memorial honors this effort.
This is just one of many Cold War sites you can see in Berlin.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
This church was built in the 1890s but was heavily damaged from air raids in 1943 during World War II. Rather than rebuild the church when the war was over, Berlin decided to leave it how it was.
It’s located not far from the Zoo and now stands as a reminder of how horrible and destructive war is. I recommend adding this landmark to your Berlin itinerary.
The remains of the Anhalter Bahnhof train station sit a little south of Potsdamer Platz. This Berlin landmark was once one of the most important train stations in the city.
Unfortunately this was one of three stations in Berlin the Nazis used to deport Jews to concentration camps. The station also suffered damage during WWII, though it was still operational for several more years.
Anhalter Bahnhof is in the former East, but the Soviets started using Ostbahnhof as the main train station in the East. Anhalter Bahnhof was no longer needed, and operations ceased in 1952.
The Oberbaumbrücke spans the Spree River connecting Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg.
Since the river formed part of the border between East and West Berlin, this bridge served as one of the pedestrian crossings between the two sides. After the Wall came down, the bridge was fully repaired, allowing cars to cross as well.
The Ubahn line that once crossed here was once again connected to the Warschauer station on the east side of the river. The bridge’s old appearance coupled with modern vehicles makes it an interesting landmark to see.
>>Still planning your trip? Read here: When is the Best Time to Visit Berlin?
This is one of the more quirky landmarks in Berlin. Standing 30 meters (about 98 feet) tall in the middle of the Spree River, the Molecule Men statue is quite a sight to see. The holes in the men are supposed to represent molecules.
The statue was created in the 1990s and can be seen from the shores of the river in parts of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, from the Sbahn while traveling between Ostkreuz and Treptower Park, or from certain boat sightseeing tours.
This Berlin landmark is a contemporary art museum set inside the former terminus of the Berlin-Hamburg railway. The bold, striking art here sits very well inside the wide, open spaces of this former train station.
Even without the art, however, this late Neoclassical building is impressive, and it inspired many civic buildings across Germany. It was actually the first station of its kind built in Germany.
East Side Gallery
I think we can all agree that the East Side Gallery is one of the most popular attractions in Berlin. It’s very photogenic, and it represents a lot of history.
This is one of the longest remaining sections of the Berlin Wall, and it’s covered in art. Some sections have been there for decades while others change from time to time, so there’s a wide spread of messages from each work of art.
Check out our full guide to visiting the East Side Gallery for tips, directions, things to do nearby, places to eat nearby, and more.
Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse
Another section of the Berlin Wall that you should definitely check out is the Bernauer Strasse Wall Memorial. This memorial describes the history of a street divided down the middle by the Wall and how it affected those who lived there.
The visitor center shows two excellent short films (English available) about the Wall, and the memorial itself stretches for nearly a mile. I highly recommend watching these videos as they are very moving and insightful, and they make me all teary-eyed every time I watch them.
Check out this detailed guide to visiting the Bernauer Strasse Berlin Wall Memorial.
The Berlin Cathedral, or Berliner Dom in German, sits alongside the impressive museums on Museum Island and is a Protestant cathedral, not a Catholic one. It has a long history and has been repaired and rebuilt over the years.
Church services still take place here, but you can tour the building when services are not going on. You can even climb to the top for views.
Berlin doesn’t have a main square like many European cities, but instead it has ended up with several squares in Mitte (which means middle or center) that could be considered central city squares. Gendarmenmarkt is undoubtedly the most beautiful of them.
In the square you’ll see three gorgeous buildings: German and French cathedrals (Deutscher und Französischer Dom) and Schinkel’s Konzerthaus (concert hall). The cathedrals are now museums.
It’s worth visiting this Berlin landmark any time of the year, but if you’re visiting in December, Gendarmenmarkt hosts one of the prettiest Christmas markets in Berlin.
Literally meaning “Culture Brewery”, this 25,000 square meter building was once a brewery, and is a great example of the late 19th-century industrial architecture in Berlin.
A brewery no longer, it’s been repurposed to hold regular events, festivals, and concerts. A variety of different organizations have set up shop inside the former brewery, including a cinema, dance club, publishing houses, restaurants, and even a free museum where you can learn about life in East Germany.
I enjoy coming here on Sundays when you’ll find loads of food trucks for Street Food Sunday. And in the winter, this is home to a cozy, not-so-touristy Christmas market, which happens to be one of my favorites.
Located in Alexanderplatz, the Weltzeituhr is another quirky attraction in Berlin. Weltzeituhr means world time clock, and it shows what time it is currently in Berlin but also in dozens of cities around the world.
The cities are placed around the globe so you can see where they are in relation to the rest, plus they’re placed in the proper hemisphere. It’s an easy meeting spot in a busy square and a fun way to see what time it is in another part of the world.
Checkpoint Charlie is the most famous border crossing between East and West Berlin. Once the Wall fell and Berlin became a popular city for tourism, Checkpoint Charlie became a must see attraction in Berlin. Men dressed as American soldiers used to be there for photo ops, but they have been banned.
If you happen to be nearby for something else, go take a look. But I promise you, it’s the most overrated sight in the city, and it’s totally fine to skip it.
The nearby Checkpoint Charlie Museum is much more informative and definitely recommended.
Palace of Tears
The Palace of Tears, or Tränenpalast in German, was constructed in 1962 at the Friedrichstraße train station. Located on the border between East and West Berlin, it was used by the GDR (DDR in German) dictatorship as a departure terminal for those leaving the GDR for West Berlin.
At this location, many were forced by border guards to leave their families and friends in tears as they were denied any access to the border. Today, this free museum is used as a reminder of the great partition of Germany and all the tears that were shed in connection with it.
Topography of Terror
The Topography of Terror Museum sits on the location that was the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS between 1933 and 1945. At this location, they organized the persecution and killings of Nazi opponents and coordinated the genocide of Jews, Roma, and Sinti.
It now serves as a place to remember history and warn us from repeating the terrors of the past. The exhibits here use photographs and documentation to tell visitors about the crimes that occurred here.
There are also excavation sites you can view through glass windows. You can also see a long section of the Berlin Wall that stands here as well.
The Olympic Stadium located in western Berlin is an impressive place to see. It was used for many Nazi propaganda events but today holds concerts and other less controversial events.
You can take a tour of the building on non-event days, and the bell tower is great to climb for impressive views of the city. If you have time for this Berlin landmark, it’s worth the effort.
Read about more places to see World War II sites in Berlin.
During the Cold War, this wide boulevard was called Stalin Allee. Today the impressive ornate Soviet buildings are a protected monument in Berlin.
You’ll see them starting near Strausberger Platz and ending on Frankfurter Allee a little past Frankfurter Tor. The upper levels are mostly apartments, and the ground levels are businesses.
Berlin doesn’t have a lot of truly old buildings left. But there is an almost hidden Berlin landmark located not far from Alexanderplatz – a Franciscan Monastery.
The monastery is in ruins, making it an even more interesting place to see in Berlin. The original building dates back to the late 1200s, though it went through several changes over the centuries.
Bombings towards the end of WWII resulted in heavy damage to the building, but eventually it was fixed up and made safe. Today the monastery ruins is host to cultural events.
For museum lovers, visiting Museum Island is a must. This group of five museums sits on an island in the Spree River in the Mitte district in the middle of so many tourist attractions.
Museum Island is also a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s one of three Berlin UNESCO sites you should see.
The museums here are the Pergamon Museum, the Bode Museum, the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum (New Museum), and the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery). Their striking appearance matches the wealth of exhibits found inside these Berlin museums.
If you plan on visiting a lot of museums in Berlin, it’s worth looking into a Welcome Card to save you some money.
The Museum Island Welcome Card gives you a 72 hour transport pass, free entry to all museums and collections on Berlin’s Museum Island (Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum, Altes Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, and Neues Museum), and discounts at many other museums and attractions.
Another option is the normal Welcome Card which gives you discounted entrance to the museums on Museum Island plus discounts at many other museums and attractions. It also includes a transport pass with an option for either 48 hours, 72 hours, 4 day, 5 day, or 6 day.
Opened in 1894, and this large urban park was dedicated to the English wife of the Kaiser Friedrich III. It’s also home to the highest natural point in the city center.
You can also see Berlin’s only waterfall here. Although it’s an artificial one, it’s still quite pretty.
The attractive park and gardens has long been popular with Berliners, who come to kick back on a warm day. Most attractive of all, however, is the beer garden. This large space dedicated to beer-drinking and snack-eating is a fun and lively place to be.
Berlin Travel Resources
I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this list of Berlin landmarks helps. But there are lots more tips on the site!
- 101 Best Things to do in Berlin
- 23 Impressive Castles in Berlin (And Nearby)
- 27 Best World War II & Cold War Sights in Berlin
- 29 Fun Day Trips From Berlin
- 75 Things to Know Before Visiting Berlin: Essential Berlin Travel Tips
- What to Wear & What to Pack for Berlin, Germany: Your Ultimate Berlin Packing List
- How to Get Around in Berlin: An Easy Guide to Berlin Public Transportation