Berlin Wall
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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

Ricky made 4hrs around Berlin on a cold day, informative & enjoyable!

Everything went to plan despite a cold wind from the east! Ricky kept us well informed and entertained throughout our 4 hour tour and everyone agreed that he knew everything and more and that it represented more than just great value! Highly recommended

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Graham, 04/16/2019

Essential if interested in Queer Berlin.

Jarred/Gerard? was a wonderful guide. He had a wealth of knowledge much of it from lived experience. Sometimes womens history is inadaquately dealt with or almost absent on such tours but not this one. The politics of inclusion and the history of resistance was front and center. A must do tour if your interested in understanding social history.

Queer Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Marina, 04/13/2019

Superb tour, Kathryn’s knowledge was excellent

A really good introduction to Berlin. Kathryn has an ability to sensitively relate the complex history of the city in a fun and clear way. Can’t recommend highly enough.

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Angela, 04/09/2019

Great way for a first discovery of the city centre.

Our guide, Rob Willis, gave us an introduction to Berlin’s history while taking us on a walk around the city centre of Berlin. We got a lot of info and suggestions to plan the rest of our visit. Great way to start your trip and great guide.

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by Steven, 04/09/2019

Engaging, interesting and really absorbing.

Our guide was Ysanne, and she was brilliant. So knowledgeable but delivered in such an engaging style. The 4 hours flew by and this was definitely the highlight of our visit. Despite being quite a large group (around 30) there was no problem keeping together, or being able to hear our guide.

Discover Berlin Walking Tour Reviewed by a GetYourGuide customer, 04/01/2019

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