The landmarks in Germany, especially in Berlin, reflect the country’s rich history with each other and how they’ve interacted with one another over time. This German capital is one of the most historic cities in the world, with a rich written past that dates back hundreds of years. The city has seen its share of dramatic events and has been at the center of some of history’s most iconic moments.
Many beautiful places in both East and West Berlin have been preserved over time to remind visitors of the city’s past. Its famous landmarks include museums with items from World War II, the Berlin Cathedral, the Berlin Wall memorial, Berlin monuments, and more.
These Berlin landmarks are often associated with famous people throughout the German history, like Frederick the Great and Otto von Bismarck.
People come from all over the world to see these tourist attractions, which have helped shape our modern-day society as we know it today.
Below are 17 famous historical landmarks in Berlin, Germany:
Table of Contents
- Historical Landmarks in Berlin, Germany
- 1. Brandenburg Gate
- 2. Checkpoint Charlie
- 3. French Cathedral
- 4. Museum Island
- 5. Pergamon Museum
- 6. Altes Museum
- 7. Neues Museum
- 8. Charlottenburg Palace and Gardens
- 9. Berlin Zoo
- 10. Treptower Park
- 11. Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
- 12. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
- 13. Reichstag Building
- 14. Memorial to the Murdered Members of the Reichstag
- 15. Wasserturm Prenzlauer Berg
- 16. Holocaust Memorial (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe)
- 17. Berlin Victory Column
- What are some WWII landmarks in Berlin, Germany?
- Which is the most famous Berlin landmark?
- What are the must-visit places in East Berlin?
- What are the must-visit places in Western Berlin?
- What is the best thing to do at the Berlin Wall?
Historical Landmarks in Berlin, Germany
1. Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate was built in 1791 as a symbol of peace and freedom by King Frederick William II of Prussia. The gate was named after Brandenburg, the name of Prussia’s former province.
The Brandenburg Gate is a big, old gate that was a part of the Berlin Wall. As the Berlin Wall was built, the Brandenburg Gate served as the country’s separation, as it was inaccessible to people attempting to cross from both East and West Berlin. Once the wall came down, the gate represented reunification in Germany.
The gate leads to Unter den Linden which then leads to the Prussian monarchs’ City Palace. Check out the Hotel Albrechtshof as it features lovely rooms and is centrally located to many of the best things to do and places to visit in Berlin, including Brandenburg Gate.
This is an excellent jumping-off place for exploring the area around this famous landmark, which includes the Reichstag (the German Parliament), the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Siegessäule (the Siege Column), and the Tiergarten Park.
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2. Checkpoint Charlie
Address: Friedrichstrasse 43-45, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Berlin is an amazing city of history and culture, but it’s also a city that has been torn apart by war and division. Now, a memorial at Checkpoint Charlie commemorates this tumultuous period in German history.
Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous border crossing between East Germany and West Germany.
Located near the intersection of Friedrichstrasse and Zimmerstrasse, Checkpoint Charlie is a memorial to Berlin’s previous border crossing, the Cold War, and the division of the city. The crossing point was closed in 1990 during the period of transition when East Germany was reunified with West Germany. It has since been reopened and is now among the most notable places around the area.
A historical record of the Berlin Wall is on display at the Wall Museum, located in the Museum Haus near this landmark. The history of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic is covered, beginning with the construction of the Berlin Wall and ending with German reunification.
Multiple spy novels and thrillers have used this most famous landmark as a backdrop, including James Bond’s.
Like many other historic sites, Checkpoint Charlie has heavy foot traffic at peak times, especially due to its proximity to the Berlin Wall. The landmark itself does not have set visiting hours, so you can view it at anytime.
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3. French Cathedral
Address: Gendarmenmarkt 7, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The word “dom” means “cathedral” in German, but despite its name, the Französischer Dom (French Cathedral) is not a cathedral. Instead, the famous Berlin landmark is actually a tower. It is one of the main attractions of Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin’s most picturesque public squares, along with the Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral).
Besides the German Cathedral, it is also in close proximity to the Konzerthaus. By ascending 254 stairs, you may reach directly beneath the baroque-style dome, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of all of Berlin’s most famous landmarks.
Although it was expanded after its initial construction in 1701, the structure still retains some of its original architecture. The interior maintains a minimalistic style in accordance with the norms of the Reformed Church.
Neither an altar nor any photographs are present in this attraction. However, the ceiling’s arched contours lend it a modest elegance. The magnificent organ has a single extravagant touch—a golden crown with spikes.
Französischer Dom houses an observation deck, the Huguenot Museum, and the Hugo & Notte restaurant.
4. Museum Island
Address: Bodestrasse 1-3, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Museum Island is a magnificent piece of architecture in Berlin, combining the modern James Simon Gallery with five historic museum structures from the Prussian era.
Some of the city’s oldest and most renowned museums, such as the Pergamon, Bode Museum, New Museum, Old National Gallery, and Old Nationalgalerie, are located here.
After a day of museum-going, you can rest your feet in the Old Museum’s quaint cafeteria and then get a bite at the Bode-café Museum. On the other hand, the foyer of the James-Simon-Galerie is home to a variety of restaurants that are sure to satisfy any craving.
You can take the subterranean line 5 (U-Bahn) to the U Museumsinsel station to get to Museum Island.
To help you plan your trip, Viator provides a selection of tours that include a stop at Museum Island. Otherwise, all the museums on Museum Island’s permanent displays are included in the purchase of a single admission ticket, but special exhibitions may be an additional cost.
If you don’t have much time, you can always decide which ones to visit first.
5. Pergamon Museum
Address: Bodestrasse 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
On the magnificent Museum Island in Berlin is where you’ll find the Pergamon Museum. The name of the museum comes from the Pergamon Altar, which is considered to be one of the most important artifacts in the collection.
This museum also houses several ancient architectural masterpieces, including the Ishtar Gate from Babylon, the Mshatta Façade from a castle in the Jordanian desert, and the Roman Market Gate from Miletus, built in the second century.
Marble statues, friezes, and other large works of art originally displayed in other museums and galleries can now also be seen here.
Among the world’s oldest, it features priceless artifacts from ancient civilizations like Greece, Rome, and Babylon. To explore the museum, book a skip-the-line museum tour in advance.
6. Altes Museum
Address: Bodestrasse 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
This is another one of the Berlin State Museums on Museum Island that you must not miss. If you don’t have plenty of time to go to all of the museums on this island, you should choose Altes Museum as a top priority.
It has a neoclassical exterior, and the interior is decorated with antiques.
There are antiquities from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria on display at this Berlin museum. Because it houses the world’s most extensive collection of Etruscan art outside of Italy, this building is rightfully proud of its collection.
You might want to note that the Altes Museum is closed to the public on Mondays. If you want to be able to move about the museum freely, you should get there right when it opens. Get your admission ticket here.
7. Neues Museum
Address: Bodestrasse 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Air strikes extensively damaged this museum in 1943 and 1945. In 1985, emergency securing and foundation rehabilitation began on the war-ravaged building.
The museum is home to a wide variety of artifacts, including a limestone bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti covered in stucco, a golden hat from the Bronze Age known as the “Berlin Gold Hat,” and an axe head dating back 700,000 years, making it the oldest item in the museum.
Taking the S-Bahn to Hackescher Markt station and then walking from there is the easiest way to get to Neues Museum. It is best to visit this museum early in the morning or late in the afternoon when fewer people are around. You can also book a museum tour.
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8. Charlottenburg Palace and Gardens
Address: Spandauer Damm 10-22, 14059 Berlin, Germany
The architecture at Charlottenburg Palace is primarily styled Baroque and Rococo makes it one of the most famous landmarks in Berlin. The palace’s ornate ballroom, commonly known as the Goldene Galerie, and its bedrooms are located in the New Wing.
Walking through its vintage elegance, you may still find stunning silver, glass, gold, and porcelain tableware in the palace’s dining room. The old palace’s china cabinet houses a dazzling array of blue and white porcelain and ancient Prussian crown jewels.
Also, Berlin is home to some of the world’s most stunning parks, in addition to the city’s well-kept historical place in Berlin. The Gardens at Charlottenburg Palace are among them; they were Germany’s first baroque gardens.
This garden, which dates back to 1695, is notable for its koi pond, expansive lawn with shaped plant and tree trimmings, and colored gravel. Tourists are drawn to the garden because it is a pleasant place to spend time with loved ones, but the palace is also a sight to behold.
You can find many people here because it is one of Berlin’s most famous tourist attractions.
9. Berlin Zoo
Address: Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin, Germany
The Berlin Zoo is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some fun and exciting day trips from Berlin. Whether you’re traveling with kids or just want to get out of the city for a day, this zoo has something for everyone.
It has been around since 1844 and has grown into one of the largest zoos in all of Europe. The place boasts over 20,000 animals from 1,380 different species. It is a sight to see on a Berlin tour.
There are many different exhibits at this Berlin landmark, including an aquarium, seal show, dolphin show, sea lion show, flamingo pond, and children’s zoo. There are also several areas where you can see popular animals like lions and tigers up close.
If you’re looking for something a little different than just seeing animals at the zoo, then check out their butterfly house, which features thousands of butterflies from around the world.
It would sure be an enjoyable day, but it can also be tiring. So, make sure to book the nearest possible hotels, such as the Hotel Zoo Berlin.
If you’re traveling with kids, they will love visiting all of the different areas at this zoo but don’t forget about yourself either because it’s guaranteed that this will be one experience any one of you will ever forget!
10. Treptower Park
Address: Alt-Treptow, 12435 Berlin, Germany
Treptower Park is one of the city’s lesser-known but equally fascinating destinations. Due to the fact that it is not among Berlin’s most popular tourist spots, it rarely sees a large influx of visitors all at once.
The Treptower Park can be found to the south of Berlin’s central district, along the banks of the Spree. Its location, right on the edge of the Spree River, makes it a fantastic area to go boating, jogging, strolling, or just hanging out.
This park is also a must-see for anyone visiting Berlin who has an interest in the history of the second world war. The park has a vast military cemetery and the monumental Soviet War Memorial, both constructed in 1949 to honor the Soviet soldiers who died in the Battle of Berlin.
To reach Treptower Park via public transportation, you can take the S-bahn or buses 165, 166, 265 or N65 to either Rethelstrasse, Herkomerstrasse or Sowjetisches Ehrenmal.
11. Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
Address: Bernauer Strasse 111, 13355 Berlin, Germany
A trip to Berlin affords numerous opportunities to view the most famous Berlin landmark, the Berlin Wall. Suppose you want to avoid the crowds at popular tourist spots like Checkpoint Charlie but still want to see a piece of Berlin’s history. In that case, the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) is a great option.
This memorial honors the numerous people—adults and children alike—who perished trying to breach the Berlin Wall. The parts of the Wall and the tower that have survived allow tourists to experience the border facilities as they were in their heyday.
The memorial was built under the supervision of architects Kohlhoff & Kohlhoff. Theirs was one of 259 submissions submitted to a German government contest that year. The national monument is a prominent feature of Bernauer Strasse.
From April to September, visitors can take part in guided bike excursions along the former border strip or attend one of the memorial’s educational presentations for school groups. You can also visit the memorial on a guided walking tour.
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12. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Address: Breitscheidplatz, 10789 Berlin, Germany
You may find the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz in the heart of Berlin.
The church, which Kaiser Wilhelm II had built between 1891 and 1895, burned to the ground after being hit by a bomb during World War II, leaving only the west tower standing.
The church’s interior is also quite impressive, with many architectural elements that have been preserved since its construction.
You’ll find stained glass windows, ornate woodwork, and an elaborate organ that was installed at the time of its construction.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and how it became an important part of Berlin’s landscape today, consider taking one of these guided tours or attending one of their services!
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13. Reichstag Building
Address: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag building is the seat of the German Parliament (the Bundestag). The original Reichstag was built in 1894 and housed a public museum.
The historical significance of this old building is the reason it is considered to be a landmark in Berlin, Germany. It is the home of the Bundestag or German Parliament. Construction on the building began in 1884 but stopped in 1894 due to a lack of funding because of the war.
After being used as a symbol of Nazi power, it was demolished in 1933 and rebuilt in 1999.
The transformation of the Reichstag into a green building has become a symbol of Germany’s commitment to sustainable energy in the modern era. As well as a sizable solar array on its roof, the Reichstag’s recognizable glass dome was designed to bring in enough natural light for the Bundestag chamber.
The Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin or the Apartments am Brandenburger Tor are two lovely examples of places to stay near the Reichstag Building. Staying near top attractions in Berlin and public transport will allow you to maximize your time in this historic city.
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14. Memorial to the Murdered Members of the Reichstag
Address: Scheidemannstrasse 5, 10557 Berlin, Germany
The Memorial to the Murdered Members of the Reichstag is another memorial in Berlin, Germany. It was erected by Dieter Appelt, Klaus W. Eisenlohr, Justus Müller, and Christian Zwirner. To visit this memorial is among the best things to do in Berlin to learn about the city’s somber past.
The memorial honors the 96 members of parliament who died unnatural deaths between 1933 and 1945 at the hands of the Nazi regime. In the 1980s, plans for constructing a monument began, and it was dedicated in September 1992.
The names, birthdates and death dates, and burial sites are etched on the edges of the 96 cast iron plates that make up the monument. The design is unique and gives visitors a somber experience. Make it a point to visit if you are wanting to learn more about those who sacrificed their lives during Germany’s dark past.
15. Wasserturm Prenzlauer Berg
Address: Knaackstrasse 23, 10405 Berlin, Germany
The Wasserturm Prenzlauer Berg is Berlin’s oldest water tower, having been built in 1877 and used until 1952. Henry Gill designed the building, and the English Waterworks Company erected it. It is located between Knaackstrasse and Belforter Strasse in Kollwitzkiez, Berlin, which is within the Prenzlauer Berg locality.
The tower has turned into one of Berlin’s most notable attractions. Even now, the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood revolves around the Water Tower.
The space atop the building provides a breathtaking panorama of the city and is a popular gathering place during the warmer months. It is highly recommended that anyone who has the chance to visit the cisterns below the city take advantage of it.
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16. Holocaust Memorial (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe)
Address: Cora-Berliner-Strasse 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The Holocaust Memorial is a must-see when you’re in Berlin to truly take in the magnitude of the horrendous events that happened during the Holocaust.
Here, you’ll be able to learn about the atrocities that happened during World War II and how they impacted the city—and then you’ll be able to see how that history is reflected in its buildings and monuments today.
The memorial consists of 2,711 concrete blocks arranged in an asymmetrical grid pattern. It’s meant to represent the loss of identity and “sameness” that the Nazi regime represented, which led to the segregation and confinement of Jews and other minority groups.
In addition to being educational and meaningful, this Holocaust Memorial is also quite somber and saddening.
The design was created by architect Peter Eisenman, who also designed other famous memorials like Ground Zero in New York City. It won him an international competition for the best memorial design ever held by UNESCO. You can visit the memorial on a Berlin walking or biking tour.
17. Berlin Victory Column
Address: Grosser Stern, 10557 Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s Victory Column, located in the middle of Tiergarten park, was designed by German architect Heinrich Strack and constructed between 1864 and 1873.
The 8.3-meter, 35-ton golden statue of Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, was added to the complex to honor the successful war battles of the German empire. Several tunnels lead to the column below ground.
The 285 steps up to the viewing platform are worth it for the breathtaking panorama of the Tiergarten, which makes this landmark a popular tourist destination.
You can walk around the Tiergarten from that vantage point or take a segway tour. A short walk will take you from the Tiergarten, a vast park in the heart of Berlin, to more Berlin landmarks, such as the Reichstag. Nearby, you’ll also find Bellevue Castle and the Brandenburg Gate.
What are some WWII landmarks in Berlin, Germany?
Berlin is Germany’s capital city that’s rich in history and culture. You can find famous landmarks like the Berlin Wall Memorial, the wall itself, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust Memorial.
You can also see many historic buildings from the past, such as Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The city is also known for its contemporary art scene and nightlife, which makes it a great place to have fun, even if you’re not a history buff!
Which is the most famous Berlin landmark?
The Berlin Wall is a major tourist attraction in Berlin. It was built during the Cold War to divide East and West Berlin. Today it has been restored as a memorial and a reminder of all the lives lost during the second world war.
What are the must-visit places in East Berlin?
As part of the Berlin Wall, another major attraction is the Brandenburg Gate. It is the surviving city gate built in 1791 by King Frederick William II of Prussia. It is located at one end of Unter den Linden street and can be seen from many parts of the city.
What are the must-visit places in Western Berlin?
West Berlin has so much to offer too! You can always start with Museum Island—home to five museums, including the Pergamon Museum, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of ancient art outside of Greece.
What is the best thing to do at the Berlin Wall?
One of the best ways to experience this historic site is to take a tour! You can hire a guide or go alone, but either way you’ll learn more about what it was like living in East Germany and how people tried to escape.
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