Berlin Wall
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Berlin Wall: Tours & Tickets

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5 historical facts about the Berlin Wall

For 28 years the Berlin Wall symbolized an ideological stalemate and its fall was swiftly followed by that of the Soviet Union. It's shaped the contemporary life of a city and the attitudes of its residents, so here are some things to know before your trip.

It was built in 1961 to cut off access to West Berlin

It was built in 1961 to cut off access to West Berlin

Berlin was the main route for the 3.5 million East Germans emigrating to the West prior to 1961. The 155km wall was intended to stifle a hemorrhaging workforce!

The wall couldn't stop emigration...

The wall couldn't stop emigration...

An estimated 100,000 still escaped East Germany after the wall went up. In the first two years, 1,300 of them were border guards!

...But it could slow it down!

...But it could slow it down!

Crossing wasn't easy, of course. At least 98 people were killed as a result of trying to sneak through, although some counts put the death toll well above 200!

There were plenty of imaginative escapes

There were plenty of imaginative escapes

East Berliners devised many daring ways of entering the West, from tightropes, zip-lines, and hot air balloons to crashing through in a speeding train!

It was torn down in 1989

It was torn down in 1989

Misinformation about relaxed regulations spread across East German news, driving citizens to gather at the wall hoping to cross. Outnumbered, the border guards eventually gave way!

Our insider tips

Where is it now?

Most of the wall has been demolished, but tourists can still visit preserved segments, such as the Eastside Gallery (so-called for its large graffiti murals running along the Spree River's east bank between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain). A notable section is also visible at the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse. City tours should cover most of the sites, including Checkpoint Charlie – the famous American checkpoint on Friedrichstrasse.

When to visit?

Berlin is a true summer city and there are few better ways to spend a sun-soaked visit than to tour its sights by foot or by bike! If your visit has been cursed by cold or rainy weather, however, visit the segment at the Berlin Wall Memorial. It can be viewed from the top floor of its Visitors' Center, which also provides fascinating insights into life behind the wall.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Outdoor areas are always open, but the Visitors' Center is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM.
  • Is it expensive?
    The open areas and Visitors' Center are free to visit, but the Center does accept donations.
  • Will I need a guide?
    A tour is definitely worth it! Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    Depending on the exhibit you wish to see, directions will vary, but the wall is easily reachable!
  • Additional information
    ** Remember to remain respectful during your visit. | Check the weather! Berlin can get windy quickly so plan ahead.*

What people are saying about Berlin Wall

Another great tour with Free Berlin... My second one in my short stay

Another great tour with Free Berlin... My second consecutive one in my short stay in Berlin. Dominic was lovely and very informative. Even about sites i had been to before i learned something new. Highly recommended

Berlin: Guided Bike Tour of "Berlin's Best" Reviewed by Anonymous, 06/25/2019

Faima was an excellent guide. Loved the tour

Faima was an excellent guide. Loved the tour. Very informative educational and fun. Could happily do it again!

Berlin: "Vibes of Berlin" Bike Tour Reviewed by Anonymous, 06/16/2019

We spent two weeks in Europe & this was everyone's favorite activity!

Amazing tour! Jonathon was an utterly incredible tour guide! Incredible detail for the history- and politics-interested folks, and amazing context and general color for those less interested in history. Jonathon was super engaging and knowledgeable. We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed this tour!

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Anonymous, 06/14/2019

Great travel card which makes transport easy

We used this card on U Bahn, bus and tram and service was excellent. The card saved having to buy tickets for individual trips

Great tour to see ALOT in a short period of time!

Wonderful tour! Sarah did a great job showing us around and explaining the history of our sites! Her excitement and love for Berlin was evident. I highly recommend!

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Diana, 06/09/2019

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