Top 12 Locations to Photograph in Berlin
If you’re planning a trip to Europe, Berlin is likely towards the top of your destination list. As Germany has a rich history, distinct culture, and beautiful architecture, it’s only natural to assume that Berlin is a photographer’s playground. After spending 5 days in Berlin I have mapped out 12 of the best photo and instagram spots for photography across the city. I’ve also included a few tips, the gear I used, and each location on Google Maps.
1. Victory Column
Designed by Heinrich Strack and inaugurated on 1873, this tower commemorates the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War (1864), the Austro-Prussian War (1866), and the Franco-Prussian War (1871). It also gives tourists and locals access to one of the best views in Berlin. Be prepared to climb the 270 stairs to the observation platform at the top! Pictured you can see the Reichstag, TV Tower, and the Berlin Dom.
2. Top of Fernsehturm / TV Tower
The tower was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the German Democratic Republic. Towering at 368 meters (1207.35 feet) it easily has the most accessible and astonishing view above Berlin. Once on top you can stay for as long as you need, and there's a bar serving libations and snacks. They do not allow tripods, but they offer a free service to check them in with security so you can retrieve it on your way out.
3. Hotel Radisson Blu Indoor Aquarium
If you love urban architecture then this location is a must. One of Berlin's hidden gems sits inside an unassuming hotel across the street from the Berlin Cathedral. Hotel staff are not sensitive to traveling tourists who are not hotel guests, so you need to be strategic if you want to photograph this epic location.
4. Outside Berlin Cathedral / Berlin Dom
With a history dating back to 1451, the Berlin Cathedral has gone through numerous iterations of existence. Additions, demolitions, and refurbishments finally led to the completion in 1905 which is for the most part as it stands today. Explore the perimeter and marvel at the architecture!
5. Inside / On Top of Berlin Cathedral
No trip to the Berlin Dom is complete without marveling at the inner Dome or climbing the 270 steps to the top. Few views in Berlin compete with those found in the Berlin Dom.
6. Brandenberg Gate
An 18th-century neoclassical monument to the successful restoration of order during the early Batavian Revolution. One of Berlin's most iconic landmarks sits in the middle of the Mitte neighborhood. A lively destination during the day and at night, there are a few things you can do to beat the crowd. Usually arriving for sunrise or 3am on weekdays are your best strategies for finding this site empty.
7. Reichstag Dome
The Historic Reichstag opened in 1894 to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire, it was soon severely damaged after being set on fire in 1933. After WW2, the building fell into disuse and though there was an attempt to partially refurbish it in 1960, it wasn't until after German reunification in 1990 that it was fully renovated and reopened on 1999 to house the German Parliament.
8. Weberwiese U-Bahn Station
Berlin has many funky and unique U-Bahn stations. You'll likely find many of them just by traveling around and stumbling upon these colorful locations. One in particular that stuck out to me was the Weberwiese U-Bahn Station, as the entire scene is bright yellow, including the iconic trains that travel through Berlin. If you're traveling to East Berlin (especially if you plan to travel to Ostkreuz neighborhood for lunch), add this station as a stop.
9. East Side Gallery - The Socialist Fraternal Kiss
The East Side Gallery is an open-air gallery in Berlin that runs 1316 meters along what is left of the Berlin Wall. It consists of numerous murals painted directly on the Wall, located near the center of Berlin. This specific mural, The Bruderkuß, or The Socialist Fraternal Kiss, is historically known as the most iconic mural of the Cold War. Painted in 1990 by muralist Dmitri Vrubel, The Bruderkuß, displays communist leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in an impassioned embrace.
Pro Tip - Beat the crowds and show up before sunrise.
Cost - Free
Camera - Nikon D750
Lens - Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art
10. Palazzo Ottagonale
The Palazzo Ottagonale, or Octagonal Plaza, is a classic destination among local photographers. Walking distance from Berlin's CheckPoint Charlie, this courtyard offers a unique lookup with beautiful contrasting colors.
11. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a Holocaust memorial which opened to the public on May 10, 2005. This monument houses 2,711 concrete slabs of varying heights arranged in a grid. The "Place of Information" underneath the site contains the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims. According to designer Peter Eisenman, the "whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason." Many observers also note it's resemblance to a graveyard for the unburied and murdered Jews of the Holocaust.
12. HTW Behrensbau - Peter Behrens Building
What was once a television electronics manufacturers' industrial complex has been renovated and absorbed partly by the HTW university campus and partly by local businesses that spun-off from the former factory. There isn't much in the neighborhood and it's a trek from central Berlin but this destination is a must for urban architecture and urbex lovers.
I hope you found this guide to the 12 Top Locations to Photograph in Berlin useful. If I had more time, I would have also explored these locations! Unfortunately, it was extremely difficult to fit everything into the schedule.
Author Mike Lindle (@MikeLindle) is a founder of Focal Collective. His goal is to offer advice and tips to those who crave adventure. He lives in Denver, CO but spends most of his working hours exploring California and beyond.