The Berlin Wall shaped the city, Germany, and even the world, for more than 28 years during the Cold War, and there are still lots of places to see the Berlin Wall in Berlin. Though the Wall came down more than 30 years ago, there are still some remnants of the Wall scattered around Berlin.
The Berlin Wall was a physical barrier and a symbolic boundary separating East Berlin from West Berlin, East Germany from West Germany, communism from democracy. It kept friends and family apart for many years, and people died trying to escape and cross from East to West.
This Wall tells sad and tragic stories, and what remains of it is there to honor its victims and to remind us of Berlin’s recent history.
Tours about the Cold War in Berlin
Taking a tour can be a great way to see several Cold War sights, including some places to see the Berlin Wall, while also learning the history from an expert guide. Here are a few we recommend.
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.
A brief history of the Berlin Wall
In case you don’t know much about the Berlin Wall, it separated East and West Berlin for more than 28 years. In the aftermath of World War II, East and West Germany became two different countries, with the East being backed by the Soviets.
Berlin was also divided into East and West, and after more than a decade of East German residents migrating to the West, the East German leadership began putting up physical barriers in the city. On August 13, 1961, fences and barbed wire went up along the border dividing East and West Berlin.
These fences were quickly replaced by a concrete wall, and the border area became more and more fortified. That single Wall became multilayered and included a no man’s land, dubbed the death strip.
Watch towers, guard dogs, and bright lights were used to catch people who were trying to escape across the border. In the late 1970s, the Berlin Wall was actually rebuilt for improved prevention and surveillance, which allowed leadership to remove a lot of the other barricades that were seen as bad for its international image.
At various points along the border between East Berlin and West Berlin, many people tried to flee. Some were successful while others were caught and died.
On November 9, 1989, a new law regarding travel between East and West was accidentally announced. This led to people rushing to the borders and guards opening the borders to those who wanted to cross.
This was essentially the beginning of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the East German dictatorship. And although most of the Wall has been torn down, there are still quite a few places in Berlin to see remnants of the Berlin Wall.
Where to see the Berlin Wall in Berlin
Even if you don’t know much about Berlin, the one thing you probably do know is that the city was divided by the Berlin Wall for decades. It’s probably one of the things you’re most interested to learn about while you’re here.
Luckily you can still see pieces of the Berlin Wall with your own eyes.
Also, check out our list of the best World War II and Cold War sites in Berlin.
Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse
The Berlin Wall is one of the biggest reminders of the Cold War. And the Bernauer Strasse Wall Memorial is one of the best places in Berlin to see the Berlin Wall and learn about its history.
This 1.4km (0.87 mile) section of road is where you’ll find some of the last remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall. When the Wall went up, neighbors living on opposite sides of the street were suddenly torn apart as the Wall separated buildings on the East side of the street from those on the West.
This open air memorial shows where the Berlin Wall stood with markers, metal poles, and even pieces of the Wall itself. There are also markers on the ground to show where apartment buildings were on the East, where escape tunnels were dug, and more.
Placards describe what life was like on the eastern side of Bernauer Strasse before and after the Wall went up and at different stages, since the Wall wasn’t actually a Wall at the beginning. They describe how the Wall affected the neighborhood, how people tried to escape, and many other details.
About midway down the street, there’s a building with a tower that allows you to see over a section of the Berlin Wall and into the death strip. One of the last remaining watch towers is here as well.
At the visitors center, don’t miss the two short films (alternating time slots for German and English) depicting the Wall in the city as well as what it was like out in the countryside. They’re excellent, and I get choked up every time I watch them.
The East Side Gallery is more famous, but the Bernauer Strasse Wall Memorial is a better place to learn about the Berlin Wall and its effects on the people of Berlin.
Read our detailed guide to visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse.
Location: Bernauer Str. 119, 13355 Berlin
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is the most well known place to see the Berlin Wall, and it runs along the Spree River on the edge of the Friedrichshain district. At 1.3km (0.8 mile) this is considered the longest open air gallery in the world, and you should check it out even if you only have one day in Berlin.
Shortly after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, artists from 21 countries came here to paint murals to celebrate Germany being reunited and to remind the world of terrible things that occurred here. Over the years, some of the art has changed several times, and you can now see original pieces next to art that covers current issues the world faces.
There are several sections you’ve undoubtedly seen pictures of, but it’s worth taking your time to admire as much of this remnant of the Berlin Wall as you have time for. You’ll find lots of other artwork that moves you, even if they’re not the famous pieces.
This popular place to see the Berlin Wall is open 24/7 but is best enjoyed during daylight hours. Get there early in the day to avoid the crowds.
Check out our full guide to visiting the East Side Gallery for tips, directions, things to do nearby, places to eat nearby, and more.
Location: Mühlenstraße 3-100, 10243 Berlin
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Westin Grand Hotel: Get your own piece of the Wall
The Westin Grand Hotel opened in 1987 under the name The Grand Hotel, and it was only open to foreign visitors to East Berlin. In 1989, only a little more than two years after its opening, the Berlin Wall fell.
After reunification, the Stasi spy equipment was removed, and the hotel was refurbished and upgraded. Eventually it came under the ownership of the Westin group of hotels.
Not only is this a nice hotel, but they have a piece of the Berlin Wall. If you stay there, you can actually chip away a piece of the Wall to bring home with you. How cool is that?
Book a room at the Westin Grand Hotel Berlin here, and be sure to contact the hotel ahead of your stay to book your Berlin Wall chipping experience.
Location: Friedrichstraße 158-164, 10117 Berlin
Remains of the Berlin Wall at Niederkirchnerstr
Pieces of the Berlin Wall are scattered around the city, and one of the longest sections is on Niederkirchnerstraße. It’s not far from Checkpoint Charlie, and it’s just on the edge of the Topography of Terror, an excellent World War II site in Berlin.
Location: Niederkirchnerstraße 1, 10117 Berlin
Berlin Wall remnants on Zimmerstr
Not far from Checkpoint Charlie, several pieces of the Berlin Wall sit on the corner of Zimmerstr and Axel Springer Strasse. You’ll also see a tall statue of a man on a wall here.
I liked that this one has some pieces that are standing while others appear to have fallen. This one is a little more of an art installation than simply a stretch of Wall.
This area is along the Berliner Mauerweg, but it’s not an especially touristy area since most of the nearby buildings are offices. If you’re already in the area, it’s only five minutes or so walking from Checkpoint Charlie.
Location: Zimmerstraße 54, 10117 Berlin
Pieces of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz
Another place to see the Berlin Wall is at Potsdamer Platz. Here you’ll find a few slabs of Wall and info panels in between them.
And for some reason lots of gum has been stuck onto the Wall pieces. It’s easy to combine with a visit to several Berlin bucket list sights, such as Tiergarten, the Holocaust Memorial, and Brandenburg Gate.
Location: Potsdamer Platz, Leipziger Pl., 10785 Berlin
When the Berlin Wall stood, the area that is now Mauerpark was part of the death zone, which was the area between the Wall and the East/West border. Guards patrolling the border would shoot at people trying to escape, often killing them, hence the name.
Today it’s one of Berlin’s favorite parks. On Sundays, the most well known flea market is held here along with karaoke a little outside the flea market area.
In one area of the park, there’s a section of the Berlin Wall still standing, known as the graffiti Wall. Even though it’s considered a monument, the graffiti has been deemed to fit with the spirit of the park, so it is allowed.
Location: Gleimstraße 55, 10437 Berlin
9th of November Platz
One of the lesser known Cold War sights in Berlin, 9th of November Platz is located at a former border crossing in the northern section of the city. There you can find photos and info placards with history about the Wall and the day it came down, the 9th of November 1989.
Even though this sight isn’t visited nearly as much as some of the others, like Bernauer Strasse or the East Side Gallery, it’s quite a significant location. This border crossing at Bösebrücke was the first one that opened on November 9, 1989, allowing residents to leave for the first time in decades.
If you’re visiting Berlin in spring, this is also a great place to see cherry blossoms in Berlin. A handful are along the road at 9th of November Platz, and a bunch more are down the stairway in the park that runs parallel to the train tracks.
Location: Bornholmer Str. 61, 10439 Berlin
Section of Berlin Wall on Norwegerstr
While you’re checking out 9th of November Platz, you can easily see another section located just a couple minutes away. Go down the stairs near the bridge and walk south, as if you’re going towards the center of the city.
Norwegerstr is the street that parallels the train tracks, and on the train track side of the street is a section of the Berlin Wall that’s still standing. When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, there are a handful of trees here as well.
Location: Norwegerstr from Finnländische Straße to Behmstraße, 10439 Berlin
St Hedwig Cemetery
Along the northern edge of the St Hedwig Cemetery there’s a 15 meter (about 49 feet) section of the Berlin Wall that still stands. It runs along the Liesen Bridge that once crossed the border between West and East Berlin.
It’s easy to miss because there’s a brick wall in front of it, and there’s lots of plant life growing on it. But you can still see the Berlin Wall remnants here.
Location: Liesenstraße 8, 10115 Berlin (cemetery address)
Gutspark Groß Glienicke
In the southwest corner of Berlin along the border with Brandenburg is a lake called Groß-Glienicker See. The border runs through the middle, and it was the border between West Berlin and East Germany during the Cold War.
Buoys marked the border in the water, and only West Berlin residents had access to go swimming here. Though it’s one of the more remote places to see the Berlin Wall, a section still stands on the northern tip of the lake.
Location: Am Park 14B, 14476 Potsdam
As the Wall was built, a lot of buildings and other places were displaced to make room for sections of the Wall, watch towers, and more. This cemetery, the Invalidenfriedhof, was an unfortunate victim.
More than 90% of the graves were moved to make room for watch towers, the death strip, and other things deemed necessary for patrolling the border. Today you can see a section of the Berlin Wall and a section of the patrol road that remain as a reminder of its past.
There are some signs in German and a few in both German and English, but it’s a pleasant place to visit even without being able to understand all the signs. It’s right near one of the canals, and overall it feels very peaceful.
Location: Scharnhorststraße 31, 10115 Berlin
The border between East and West Berlin separated the districts of Kreuzberg and Treptow along the Flutgraben channel. This is another place where you can see a few meters of the Wall still standing.
Visit Berlin lists an address that doesn’t really correspond with the right location, but you’ll find this section of the Berlin Wall on the north side of Puschkinallee, right around here.
There’s also a smaller piece of the Wall nearby that seems to be advertising the exhibition in the Schlesischer Busch watch tower, which is on the south side of the street. More info about the watch tower below.
Location: Puschkinallee 55, 12435 Berlin is the address of the watch tower, look across the street for the Wall section
Parliament of Trees
This monument is one of the lesser known places to see the Berlin Wall, and it honors 258 people who were victims of the Wall. It’s a creative memorial that includes 16 trees, one planted by the state president from each of the 16 German federal states in 1990.
The Parliament of Trees uses 58 authentic parts of the Berlin Wall, and for each year the Wall stood, there is a number indicating how many people died. Photos, flowers, memorial stones, and more round out this interesting Cold War site in Berlin.
Opening hours are limited, but you can still see a good bit of it without being able to get inside the fenced in memorial.
Location: East bank of the Spree River, opposite the Reichstag Building, Schiffbauerdamm, 10117 Berlin
364 meter section of Berlin Wall at Rudower Str
Visiting this one takes some commitment, but you’ll be rewarded with quite a long chunk of still-standing Berlin Wall. This is a section of the inner Wall, which means it was the one closest to the East.
From Rudower Str, you can see one section close to the road, and when you get closer, you’ll see it goes on for quite awhile. Nearby is the official Berliner Mauerweg cycling/hiking trail, so if you follow that for a minute or two, you’ll see more of the Wall where the field meets with a tree area.
The Rudower Str section of the Berlin Wall is protected by a fence – I had to stick my phone through the fence for close-up pictures. According to a nearby sign, the graffiti is from the time shortly after the Wall fell.
This section is not well known or visited much because it’s so far from the center of the city. But I was quite impressed with how much was standing there.
It’s located here, and the closest transport is the Werderlake bus stop. Take the 162 bus from U Rudow (end of the U7 Ubahn line) and it’s a short walk from the bus stop.
Location: Rudower Str. 7, 12524 Berlin
Wilhelmstr. near the Holocaust Memorial
Not far from Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial is a lone slab of the Berlin Wall. It’s not the most impressive remains of the Wall, but it’s also not one that gets a lot of visitors.
This section is located here near some restaurants and shops, and it’s a short walk if you’re already visiting some other tourist attractions in the area.
Location: Wilhelmstr. 91, 10117 Berlin
Berlin Wall markers
This isn’t exactly one of the places to see the Berlin Wall, but you can still see where the Berlin Wall once stood while walking around the city. On the ground, you’ll see small plaques indicating where the Wall divided West Berlin from East Berlin and the rest of East Germany.
They’re all along the former border, but a few notable places near popular attractions include near Brandenburg Gate, near Mauerpark and the Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse, and near Topography of Terror.
There’s also a trail called Mauerweg for hikers and cyclists all along the former border. You can follow the markers through the center of the city, but the trail continues out in the countryside.
Location: All along the former border
Other Berlin Wall attractions in Berlin
Aside from actual pieces of the Berlin Wall, there are lots of other sights that have to do with the Wall, such as border crossings, watch towers that still stand, museums about the Berlin Wall, and more.
And be sure to read our post about interesting places to see Cold War Sites in Berlin.
Checkpoint Charlie was once an important border crossing point between East and West Berlin. Though there were several crossings, this one is the most well known.
Today it’s kind of a cheesy tourist attraction, a small hut in the middle of the road. Until recently, you could see fake guards standing here for photo ops, but they aren’t allowed to be there anymore.
The history of this location is interesting, but honestly, the site itself is kind of overrated. If you’re taking the time to see it, at least make sure you visit the Checkpoint Charlie Wall Museum (next on our list) to learn more about the history.
Location: Friedrichstraße 43-45, 10117 Berlin
Checkpoint Charlie Wall Museum
The Checkpoint Charlie Museum documents the tragedies of the Berlin Wall, including the escape of East Germans, by using chaotically displayed photographs. The collection of images, videos, and miniatures all tell stories of East Germany residents who struggled to cross the border during the Cold War.
Although many of the stories told here are sad, this historical museum honors the bravery of these escapees. It also honors the kindness of the Checkpoint Charlie guards who refused to comply with the orders to shoot those trying to escape.
Location: Friedrichstraße 43-45, 10969 Berlin
Die Mauer – The Wall Panorama Museum
A fascinating experience, this museum focuses on the Berlin Wall and what it was like . It’s an immersive experience that shows you what it was like to live in Berlin near the death strip during the Cold War in the 1980s.
Location: Friedrichstraße 205, 10117 Berlin
Former Soviet watchtower near Potsdamer Platz
All along the Berlin Wall, the Soviets set up watchtowers in order to monitor the border zone. Most are now gone, but one of the few still standing, and the only one of its kind that hasn’t been torn down, is only one block away from Potsdamer Platz.
It’s currently owned by Die Mauer Wall Museum, who once ran tours that included going into the tower. But the German government wants to demolish it and put a bureaucratic building in its place.
The museum is fighting to protect it, but its fate remain uncertain. It is currently in a construction zone, and you can’t get too close to it, though you can still see it.
Location: Erna-Berger-Straße, 10117 Berlin
Die Mauer – The Wall Museum at Leipziger Platz
This excellent museum has Berlin Wall exhibits including photos and information you never knew about. Come here to learn all about Cold War history and the Berlin Wall.
Location: Leipziger Pl. 11, 10117 Berlin
The Wall Museum by the East Side Gallery
Near the southern end of the East Side Gallery is a museum dedicated to the history of the Berlin Wall. Here you can see exhibits about the beginning phases of the Wall, the death zone, how the Wall effected people’s lives and more.
The museum also honors those who died at the Wall between August 13, 1961 and November 9, 1989.
Location: Mühlenstraße 78-80, 10243 Berlin
One of the Berlin landmarks you should see is Oberbaumbrücke, or Oberbaum Bridge, which was built as a simple wooden bridge in the early 1700s. The fancier version you’ll see today was built in the late 1800s.
The bridge crosses the Spree River connecting the Berlin districts of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, giving it an important position during the Cold War. Though it was damaged during World War II, the bridge was repaired enough to be used as a pedestrian crossing between East and West Berlin.
A few years after the Wall fell, the bridge was fully repaired and is used by cars, pedestrians, and the U1 and U3 Ubahn lines.
Location: Oberbaumbrücke, 10243 Berlin
This bridge, also known as the Bridge of Spies, is located in the southwest corner of Berlin at the border between Berlin and Brandenburg. The middle of the bridge was the line between East Germany and West Berlin during the Cold War.
This isn’t just any bridge though. During the Cold War, since this bridge was in an isolated location, it was used for exchanging high profile spies. The 2015 film Bridge of Spies was based on this time in the bridge’s history.
Location: Königstraße, 14109 Berlin
Former DDR watch tower at Schlesischer Busch
The Schlesischer Busch watch tower sits in a park along the former border between East and West Berlin, on the edge of the Kreuzberg and Treptow districts. Though it doesn’t look like much besides a tower, today it holds an exhibition on the history of the site, plus some temporary art exhibits that occasionally change.
Location: Puschkinallee 55, 12435 Berlin
Palace of Tears
The Palace of Tears, or Tränenpalast in German, is another Berlin Wall site that was a border crossing. This border crossing was used by the DDR dictatorship as a departure point for those leaving the DDR for West Berlin.
It was constructed in 1962 and is located at the Friedrichstraße train station.
Here many people were forced by border guards to leave their families and friends as they were denied any access to the border. Today, the exhibits serve as a reminder of the separation of Germany and all the tears that were shed in connection with it.
Location: Reichstagufer 17, 10117 Berlin
Günter Litfin Memorial
When the Berlin Wall went up, a man named Günter Litfin was the first person to die trying to escape over the border. It was on August 24, 1961 when he tried to swim through the Humboldthafen harbor in Mitte in an attempt to reach West Berlin.
Unfortunately the East Berlin police who were patrolling the border saw him and shot him. He died, leaving behind a brother in East Berlin who later got the watch tower turned into a memorial after the Wall came down.
The memorial stands almost hidden in front of some apartment buildings, just steps from the canal. You can easily see this memorial and then follow the Mauerweg along the water for a few minutes until you reach the sections of Berlin Wall remnants in Invaliedenfriedhof.
Location: Kieler Straße 2, 10155 Berlin
Berlin Cold War Tours
Taking a tour can be a great way to see several Cold War sights in Berlin while also learning the history from an expert guide. Here are a few we recommend.
Berlin Travel Resources
I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this list places to see the Berlin Wall in Berlin is helpful. 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