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Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Walking Tour of Historic Mitte

A grand tour of Berlin, Germany! See the highlights of Berlin with this wonderful walking tour

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    This guide contains photos
 (6 votes, 2 reviews)
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.2 miles / 6.8 km
Duration: Half day
 
Overview: This grand tour of the center of Berlin shows off all of the famous and important sights. You will see all of the highlights between the Tiergarten and Alexanderplatz including the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Unter den Linden, Museum Island with its famous museums, the red town hall, the TV tower, Alexanderplatz and much more.

There is no better way to see Mitte than on foot and this guide will explain everything along the way with some history of the buildings and the city.


Tips: Wear comfortable shoes, as this tour can take a while, especially if you go inside buildings and museums.

Points of Interest

Junction
map

Brandenburger Tor Station

Take either the S-bahn or the U-bahn to the Brandenburger Tor station and exit on Unter den Linden. Walk west toward the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate).
Landmark
map

Pariser Platz

The Paris square was once home to many important government buildings that were destroyed by bombs during World War II. Today many of the buildings have been restored and the U.S. Embassy is nearby.

The square is home to many rallies and important events because of the famous Brandenburg Gate in the background.
Landmark
map

Brandenburger Tor

The Brangenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) is the only remaining gate leading into Berlin and is one of the most famous symbols in Europe. It was built between 1788 and 1791 and originally marked the entrance to Unter den Linden, the large street lined with linden trees leading to the Prussian Palace.

The gate was closed on Aug. 14, 1961, when the Berlin Wall was built just west of the gate. The Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, but it was not until Dec. 22 that the gate was reopened, signifying the reunification of West and East Berlin.

On top you will see four horses pulling a chariot with the goddess of peace. Napoleon took this statue and placed it in the Louvre in Paris. When the Prussians finally got it back they renamed her the goddess of victory and it has remained since.

Walk through the gate and continue across the street toward the right through the Tiergarten and toward the Reichstag.
Building
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Reichstag

The Reichstag building was home to the German Reichstag, or parliament. The building was constructed in 1894 but was destroyed by a fire in 1933, supposedly caused by the Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe.

From 1990-1999 it underwent a massive renovation before looking as it does today.

On top you will notice a massive glass dome, which serves multiple purposes. You can take an elevator for free to the top, which offers 360-degree views of the city and a look into the inside of the building. The "sunroof" also lets light into the parliament chambers below, but there is an electronic device that tracks the sun and blocks direct sunlight from the chamber to avoid spotlights.

A more symbolic interpretation of the dome is that the glass dome allows the German people to see the workings of the government and to keep a watchful eye on the leaders to ensure that they do not abuse their power. Whatever interpretation you prefer, the building is a pleasure to look at and the views from the dome are spectacular.

Continue around the side of the Reichstag to the right.
Building
map

Bundestag

The Bundestag is the parliament of Germany, which was established by the German constitution in 1949. While the parliament meets and votes at the Reichstag, you can see the main offices across the river on the north side of the Reichstag.
Landmark
map

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

This memorial, also known more simply as the Holocaust Memorial, is a symbol to remember all those who died during the Holoacaust. It was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and consists of 2,711 pillars of different height, one for each page of the Talmud.

It was completed on Dec. 15, 2004, and inaugurated on May 10, 2006, exactly 60 years after the end of World War II.

Visitors are free to walk through the memorial, which provides an uneasy and confusing sense of order--highly appropriate.

Loop back to the Brandenburger Tor station where you started the tour and continue down along Unter den Linden.
map

Unter den Linden

Under den Linden is one of the more famous boulevards in Europe. It is lined with linden trees on either side of the large pedestrian walkway in the middle.

When Adolph Hitler was in power he removed the trees and replaced them with Nazi flags, which were later replaced with trees once enough people objected.

The road leads from the Brandenburg Gate past many important buildings such as the Opera House, the History Museum and through Museum Island toward Alexanderplatz.
Landmark
map

Statue of Frederick the Great

The Statue of Frederick the Great on his horse is a symbol of the once-dominant Prussian military power. Frederick III ruled the kingdom from 1740 to 1786 as a strong military leader, trying to turn Berlin into "a new Rome."
map

Bebelplatz

In the middle of Bebelplatz there is a small square of glass on the ground, providing a window into the library stacks below. It is intentional that you cannot see anything below as the window is symbolic of the book burnings that took place in Nazi Germany in 1933.

This window shows (or doesn't show) all of the Jewish and other non-approved books and authors that were lost in the massive book burnings.
Building
map

Altes Museum

The Altes Museum (or Old Museum) is one of the many museums on Museum Island. It was built between 1823 and 1830 and originally held the Prussian royal family's art collection.

Today it houses a Greek collection on the main floor, with special collections on the second floor. On the lawn in front of the museum you will see many large statues and people lounging on the grass during warm days.

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Address: Am Lustgarten,10178 Berlin
Phone: 030 - 266 42 42 42
Hours: Thursday 10am - 10pm, Monday - Sunday (except Thurs) 10am - 6pm
Admission: 8 EUR, Under 18 free
Other Resources
Altes Musem
Building
map

Berliner Dom

The Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) is an evangelical church on Museum Island. This cathedral was built between 1745 and 1747 (remodeled 50 years later) and is the largest church in Berlin. It is used for church services, concerts and other events as well (if you are here around Christmas, be sure to check out the Christmas choirs here).

The cathedral was damaged by a bomb during World War II and was reconstructed in 1975, however, the interior reconstruction was not complete until 1993 when it reopened.

One of the highlights of the cathedral is the pipe organ, consisting of more than 7,000 pipes. Friedrich I and his wife are buried in the church along with many other members of the royal family.
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Address: Am Lustgarten,10178 Berlin
Phone: 49(0)30- 20269-136
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Hours:
Monday-Saturday 9am-8pm
Sunday, holidays Noon-8pm
October-March Closing is 7pm
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Admission:
Adults 5 Euros
Kids 3
Audio Guide 3 Euros

Other Resources
Berliner Dom
Landmark
map

Statue of Marx and Engels

After leaving Museum Island and crossing the river you will find yourself in what used to be East Germany, so some of the changes in architecture are quite striking. One of the reasons Berlin has so many cultural institutions today is because of its former separation. When East and West Berlin were separate each side had its own churches, opera houses, museums, etc. When Berlin was reunited, most buildings remained, which is why there are several "duplicate" museums today.

This statue is located just east of Museum Island and is one of the most famous statues in Berlin; it represents the failures of communism.
Building
map

Rotes Rathaus

The Rotes Rathaus (or Red Town Hall) is the town hall of Berlin near Alexanderplatz and home to the mayor and government of Berlin. The building was built between 1861 and 1869 and modeled after a town hall in Poland.

This building was greatly damaged during World War II like many other buildings in East Berlin and was rebuilt between 1951 and 1956.
Landmark
map

Fernsehturm (TV Tower)

The TV tower is very close to Alexanderplatz and was built between 1965 and 1969 by the German Democratic Republic (GDR); it is the tallest structure in all of Germany so it is easy to find.

It is 1,207 feet tall (including the antenna) and you can take an elevator to the top to eat in the rotating restaurant or just to see 360-degree views all the way to the outskirts of Berlin and beyond.
Landmark
map

Alexanderplatz

Alexanderplatz (locals just call it Alex) is a large transportation hub, square and shopping center in Mitte (central Berlin).

Most of the buildings surrounding the square were destroyed by bombs during World War II. Be sure to check out the World Time Clock (Weltzeituhr) that was added in 1969.
Building
map

St. Marien Kirche

St. Marien Church is the second-oldest church in Berlin and the only medieval church that still holds regular services. Construction began in 1270 and after a fire in 1380 it was restored almost entirely back to its original design.
Landmark
map

First Synagogue

This is the foundation of the first synagogue in Berlin, which has since been almost entirely destroyed.

Continue farther along the street toward Hackescher Markt.
Food/Dining
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Hackescher Markt

Hackescher Markt is a fun, exciting area to take a break for some lunch or just a drink. While there are several restaurants inside, it is much more enjoyable to sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere (or perhaps dine in one of the swinging chairs).

If you don't know what to get, try some waffles or perhaps a radler (beer and lemonade).

When you are ready for the last few stops on the tour, head back toward Museum Island.
map

Museuminsel

Museum Island is home to a number of world-renowned museums, but don't plan to see all of them in just one day (although you can buy a three-day pass that will let you into all of them as well as several other museums throughout the city).
Building
map

Pergamonmuseum

The Pergamon Museum was built from 1910 to 1930 and is home to the full-size reconstructed Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate of Miletus; it is worth a visit if only to see these two massive buildings.

If you have more time, there are many other superb collections as well, including Middle East and the Museum of Islamic Art. It is visited by almost 1 million people every year, making it the most visited museum in Germany.

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Address: Am Kupfergraben 5, 10178 Berlin
Phone: 030 20 90 55 77
Hours: Thursday 10am - 10pm, Monday - Sunday (except Thurs) 10am - 6pm
Admission: 8 EUR, Under 18 free
Other Resources
Pergamon Museum
Building
map

Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery)

The Alte Nationalgalerie (or Old National Gallery) is home to 19th century sculptures and paintings. It was damaged during World War II and was reopened in 1955 and restored once again in 2001.

The Old National Gallery is one of five national galleries; the others are the New National Gallery, the Berggruen Museum, the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Gegenwart and the Friedrichswerder Church.

This museum's collections covers the French Revolution to World War I.

Walk toward Friedrichstrasse to finish the tour and catch the S-bahn or the U-bahn back to your hotel where you will likely want to rest for a while before checking out the famous Berlin nightlife.

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Address: Bodestr. 1-3, 10178 Berlin
Phone: 030 20 90 58 01
Hours: closed Mondays, Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 6pm (except Thurs), Thursday 10am - 10pm
Admission: 10 EUR, Under 18 free
Landmark
map

Friedrichstrasse

Friedrichstrasse is one of the larger streets in Mitte and also a large S-bahn and U-bahn station. Inside the station you will find stores, restaurants and large crowds as it is a major transportation hub connecting the S-bahn ring with several U-bahn lines throughout the city.

On the street corners outside the station you may see grill walkers, who stand with a grill strapped on their back and serve bratwurst for around 1-1.50 Euro. They are delicious and you get more than you pay for.
Pictures in this guide taken by: chris, pmisak, ketsugi, kreon, Phonsali
Reviews
grahamhewitt
As I was going to Berlin I wanted to find a walking tour guide and discovered Everytrail. The Walking Tour of Historic Mitte looked good so I downloaded it to my iphone. In Berlin, I found the guide invaluable. Having it pre downloaded to my phone meant that whilst on the walk I didn't need an internet connection, thereby saving the data costs. The tour was great and provided useful information about each point of interest. Also, with having each point of interest plotted on a map with my current location also shown, it was easy to find the various places. The distance to each of the POI's from current location is also shown. Chris obviously researched the places of interest before compiling the tour. The detail and the photos provided were very good. Thanks Chris. We had a great time in Berlin.
Visited on May 11, 2013

by grahamhewitt on May 14, 2013
chris
I lived in Berlin for 3 months at the end of 2007 while studying abroad and I loved every second of it. Berlin is such an amazing city and I plan to go back some day to spend even more time there.

The differences between the East and West are so apparent as you walk around downtown and as you move from the Reichstag towards Alexanderplatz. This tour takes you to all of the major highlights, but there are definitely lots of hidden secrets as well.

Here are some of my favorites, if you don't have much time:
- Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)
- Reichstag
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews
- Unter den Linden
- Hackescher Markt
- Berliner Dom
- Alexanderplatz

It will take you a lot of time to truly see all that Berlin has to offer, but this will get you off to a good start.

Visited on Sep 22, 2007

by chris on Mar 21, 2011

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About the Author

chris
chris
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When I'm not spending all of my work time and free time working on cool new products for EveryTrail,...

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