Berlin Wall Walk

A section of the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall
A section of the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall

By Vicky · Published Feb. 1st, 2024 · Updated Feb. 2nd, 2024

Follow this free self-guided Berlin Wall Walk between Mauerpark and the East Side Gallery, along the most interesting section of the wall.

Location

This walk starts from the Mauerpark on the north side of central Berlin. There are several options to reach this park on public transport, including the metro to Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn or the bus/tram to Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark.

Berlin Wall Self-Guided Walking Tour Map

Tips for Walking along the Berlin Wall

  • At every junction there is a signpost – look out for these as they can be easy to miss! A double row of little cobbles also marks the path that the wall follows and can be another marker when you’re trying to stay on the route.
  • If you want to shorten the walk, the least interesting section is between Checkpoint Charlie and the East Side Gallery – take public transport instead.
  • Check out other walks and city guides on our Germany Hiking Page.

Top Sights along the Berlin Wall Walk

On this free, self-guided walking tour along the central section of the Berlin Wall, you’ll see several interesting sights, detailed below. If you prefer a guided walk, this tour* takes in several of the main sights along the central section of the wall.

  1. Mauerpark
  2. Berlin Wall Memorial
  3. Memorial Günter Litfin
  4. Invalids’ Cemetery
  5. Parliament of the Trees
  6. Reichstag
  1. Brandenburg Gate
  2. Memorial to the Fallen Jews
  3. Potsdamer Platz
  4. Topography of Terror
  5. Checkpoint Charlie
  6. East Side Gallery

Berlin Wall Walk Route

This walk along the central section of the Berlin Wall starts from the Mauerpark.

Directions: Walk northward into the Mauerpark.

1. Mauerpark

Mauerpark archeological remains

The Mauerpark (Wall Park) follows a former straight section of the Berlin Wall. You can’t see much of the actual wall today, but there are some information signs about the history of it. Just next to the road at the beginning of the park is an information panel (in German and English) about this section of the wall together with a few archaeological remains. On Sunday afternoons there’s a great flea market in the park, with loads of stalls, music, food trucks and a fun atmosphere.

Directions: Walk as far into the Mauerpark as you want before returning to the road and crossing to the other side. Take a right behind the buildings on a small walkway parallel to the main road. There are several signs along the path documenting the history of the wall. Soon you’ll enter an open space and the next stop.

2. Berlin Wall Memorial

Walking through the Berlin Wall Memorial
Berlin Wall Memorial

Key Information: Mainly outside with free entry and unlimited opening hours. Documentation Centre and visitor’s centre open Tue-Sun,10am-6pm. To read and see everything, you could spend a couple of hours here.

The Berlin Wall Memorial covers a section of the former wall along Bernauer Street. In several places, iron poles have been put up to represent where the walls stood, and you walk along the ‘Death Strip’ in the middle. There are some small outdoor exhibits here, along with a Chapel of Reconciliation and several large murals and photos on the buildings showing how the area changed over time.

Inside the Documentation Centre is an overview of the history of the Berlin Wall, the division of Berlin and the consequences of the Cold Wall. There are multimedia exhibits, including a film about the wall’s history.

Directions: At the Documentation Centre, head up some steps into the narrow park on the opposite side of the road and turn right. There used to be a train station here, but it was closed when the wall was built right through it. At the end of the park, leave down the steep steps to your right and turn left to the roundabout. Take the first left, past two cemeteries, and cut across the park just before the next road junction. Take the first left down Boyenstrasse. At the end, turn right and then left to reach the canal and then left along the canal banks.

3. Memorial Günter Litfin

Memorial Günter Litfin
An old Watchtower, now Memorial Günter Litfin

In front of the first buildings you reach, you’ll see a former watchtower on the Berlin Wall. It’s now a memorial to all those killed by the East German border troops as they tried to cross over the wall. Specifically, it’s named after Günter Litfin, the first person to be shot and killed when attempting to cross the wall, in the summer of 1961.

Directions: Continue following the canal and into the park.

4. Invalids’ Cemetery

Invalids' Cemetery
The Invalids’ Cemetery
Walking through the Invalids' Cemetery and a section of the Berlin Wall
Sections of the Berlin Wall in the Invalids’ Cemetery

The Invaliden Cemetery is a historic cemetery and final resting place for various notable figures as well as for many soldiers killed in battle. The Berlin Wall was built through the cemetery in the 1960s, and many graves were destroyed. Today you can still see many graves, memorials, and a section of the Berlin Wall running through the middle.

Directions: Walk further along the canal, across the road, and back to the canal bank. Head along the road beneath the train tracks and you’ll reach the banks of the River Spree on the other side. Turn left past the Futurium (a fun free museum about technology and the future) and keep walking past the first bridge. Soon you’ll see a small park on the left side of the road.

5. Parliament of the Trees

Walking through the Parliament of the Trees on a tour near the Reichstag building in Berlin

In this small park there are 16 trees representing the 16 federal states of Germany, all planted in 1990 to celebrate the reunification of Germany. There’s also an original stretch of the Berlin Wall at the back, covered in paintings and quotations. Today it’s a monument against war and violence, but also a reminder that we have to take care of nature to take care of ourselves.

Directions: Continue walking along the river and head over the next bridge before heading right and to the front of the large Reichstag building.

6. Reichstag

A walking tour near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with a stop at the Reichstag
Early morning at the Reichstag Parliament Building
Views from the roof dome of the Reichstag building
View from the Reichstag Dome

Key Information: Free entry, but you have to book timeslots in advance from the official website. Book at least one day before your visit as it takes some time to get the confirmation. Bring your official ID with you. It’s open daily from 8am to 9:45pm. There’s also a free audioguide.

The Reichstag is the seat of the German parliament. The main attraction is the Reichstag Dome, a large glass dome at the top with panoramic views over Berlin. It’s free to enter (but book in advance), and you can walk up the spiral ramp to the top while enjoying views of the city and the parliamentary chamber below. The audioguide will guide you around, and there’s also a small exhibit about the history of the building and the German government.

Have lunch at the Reichstag rooftop restaurant*

Directions: From the Reichstag follow the road to the famous Gate.

7. Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate, the start of the Brandenburg Gate & Reichstag Walking Tour Route

The Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks and a symbol of both the city and German history. It was built in the late 18th century by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a neoclassical triumphal arch. During the Cold War, the Brandenburg Gate became a powerful symbol of the division between East and West Berlin. The gate was located in the no man’s land of the Berlin Wall, and its image was often associated with the separation of the city and the ideological conflict between the communist and capitalist blocs.

Directions: Continue down the main road between the gate and the Tiergarten.

8. Memorial to the Fallen Jews

Memorial to the Fallen Jews, a stop on a walking tour of Brandenburg Gate & Reichstag

The Memorial to the Fallen Jews, commonly known as the Holocaust Memorial is a somber memorial in the centre of Berlin. It was built in 2005, and consists of 2,711 concrete slabs or stelae of varying heights arranged in a grid pattern over a sloping field. You can walk through the maze-like arrangement of slabs, and the idea is to feel a sense of unease and disorientation while at the same time allowing for solitude and quiet reflection. On the far side is an underground information centre that provides more information about the memorial.

Directions: Continue walking down the main street to Potsdamer Platz.

9. Potsdamer Platz

The Berlin Wall running through Potsdamer Platz
Sections of the Berlin Wall on Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz is a bustling square known for its modern architecture, entertainment options, and historical significance. During the division of Berlin, Potsdamer Platz became a “no man’s land” and a desolate area due to its location at the border between East and West Berlin. Today there’s a short section of the Berlin Wall here and several information panels explaining the wall’s history.

Directions: Head along the main street, which bends slightly left. Turn left on the first main street, called Niederkirchner Strasse. You’ll see a large, fancy building on the right, the Martin-Gropius-Bau Art Museum, and the next stop on the Berlin Wall Walk is just past this.

10. Topography of Terror

Topography of Terror
Inside the Topography of Terror Museum
The Berlin wall running through the Topography of Terror Museum
The Berlin Wall running through the Topography of Terror

Key Information: Free entry. Indoor exhibits are open daily 10am to 8pm, the outdoor area closes when it’s dark (or 8pm at the latest). Audioguides are available.

The Topography of Terror Museum is a free, popular museum. It’s located both next to the Berlin Wall and at the former headquarters of the Nazi Gestapo and SS. There are three main parts to this site: 1) the indoor museum, 2) the outdoor exhibition trench, and 3) a walk around the grounds with information panels.

The indoor museum consists of informative panels, photographs, documents, and artifacts that chronicle the history of the Nazi security apparatus and its victims. The outdoor exhibition trench runs along the remains of the Berlin Wall. It’s not actually about the Wall or the Cold War, but about life in Berlin from 1933 until the end of the Second World War, and how the Nazis came to power.

Directions: Walk along the main road for another block, past the touristy big air balloon, and to the next road junction.

11. Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie, a stop on the walking tour through Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie was the renowned border crossing linking East and West Berlin within the Soviet and American sectors. It held significant political symbolism throughout the Cold War era, reflecting the heightened tensions between the opposing sides. Presently, a reconstructed checkpoint booth stands along with the iconic sign declaring “You are leaving the American Sector” in English, Russian, French, and German.

Apart from the checkpoint itself, there are several museums surrounding the old checkpoint:

Wall Museum – Checkpoint Charlie

Key Information: Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets cost €17.50/9.50 per adult/child.

The Wall Museum – Checkpoint Charlie (or Mauermuseum – Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie) showcases the history of the Berlin Wall, escape attempts, and the broader context of the Cold War.

Get tickets to the Wall Museum*

THE WALL – asisi Panorama

THE WALL - asisi Panorama on a walking tour, near Checkpoint Charlie
THE WALL – asisi Panorama
Cold War Black Box Checkpoint Charlie, a stop on the walking tour from Potsdamer Platz
Cold War Black Box Checkpoint Charlie

Key Information: Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets cost €11/5 per adult/child.

THE WALL – asisi Panorama is an immersive museum revolving around a 360-degree panorama displaying a normal day in the life of Berlin citizens living near the Wall. There are also a couple of photo exhibits and films about the wall and daily life.

Get tickets to THE WALL – asisi Panorama*

Cold War Black Box Checkpoint Charlie

Key Information: Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets cost €5/3.50/free per adult/teenager/child.

Cold War Black Box is a fun and interactive little museum that covers the history of the wall chronologically. You’ll learn about its construction, Checkpoint Charlie and events that happened there, the Cold Wall, and the eventual fall of the wall in 1989. There are films to watch and accounts to listen to, artefacts, a section of the wall and much more.

Detour: Jewish Museum

Key Information: Open daily 10am-7pm. Free admission.

The Jewish Museum is a really interesting museum about 10 minutes walk south of Checkpoint Charlie. It has a small section on the Holocaust but most of it is about the history of Jewish people and their beliefs and customs. The museum is well laid out and well-explained, with interactive exhibits and lots of things to keep you engaged. The building itself is unusual and fun, with hardly any right angles. On the lowest floor, the corridors are inclined and you can easily get a bit confused and disoriented, which is the idea of the design.

Directions: From Checkpoint Charlie to the East Side Gallery it’s about 4 km walk with not that many features. The first 2 km is through a residential area of Berlin with both older and newer apartments, while the second 2 km is through a park area passing two large churches and a poorer neighbourhood of Berlin.

A church in Berlin
Walking towards St. Thomas Church
Crossing the Spree River
View from the bridge across the River Spree

Directions: Keep your eyes peeled for the Berlin Wall Walk signs and the double row of cobbles on the floor that will lead you along the correct route.
There are good views as you cross the bridge over the River Spree. From here, the East Side Gallery is not far along the road to your right.

12. East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery on a walk along the Belrin Wall
The East Side Gallery
East Side Gallery on a walk along the Belrin Wall
The famous kiss on the East Side Gallery Berlin Wall

Key Information: The wall is in a public area so free to access anytime. The eastern side of the wall (away from the river) is fully covered in graffiti, while the western side is only covered in places.

The East Side Gallery is an open-air gallery of the longest section of the Berlin Wall (about 1 km). It’s covered in interesting graffiti by over 100 artists from around the world. They were invited to paint murals on the east side of the Wall shortly after it fell.

The most famous artwork is of two old men kissing – these are the General Secretaries of the Soviet Union and the Socialist Unity Party of East Germany (Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker). This mural can be found on the east (road) side of the wall near the Oberbaum Bridge (the fancy bridge).

Directions: The East Side Gallery is the end of this Berlin Wall Walk. From here you can take the bus, metro or tram back, or head on to a couple of museums about the Stasi. Alternatively, you can continue walking along the wall 1 km further to see an old DDR watchtower. Treptower Park (not on the wall) is another interesting place nearby, with some former Soviet monumental architecture and statues.

A former DDR Watchtower seen when walking along the Berlin Wall
A former DDR Watchtower
Continuing the walk along the Berlin Wall
Continuing the walk along the Berlin Wall

Exploring Further

Stasi Museum

Key Information: Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, weekends 11am-6pm. Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat guided tour in English at 3pm (extra €5 per person). Tickets cost €10/7.50. Audioguides are €2 per person.

The Stasi Museum is located in the former headquarters of the Ministry for State Security. This was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) during the Cold War. In the museum, you can gain insights into the extensive network of surveillance and control maintained by the Stasi, as well as the methods employed to monitor and suppress dissent.

Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial

Key Information: The permanent exhibition is open every day 9am-6pm and is free. Guided tours in English are every day at 10:40, 12:40 and 14:40 and cost €8/4. These tours are highly recommended, and it’s best to book in advance during busy periods.

The Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial is a former secret Stasi prison, now a museum and memorial. It used to be a central institution for political persecution in East Germany. Many individuals arrested for political reasons were interrogated and detained here. Today the museum and tours (by former inmates) provide insight into the methods used by the Stasi for surveillance, interrogation, and psychological pressure.

Treptower Park

Monumental Soviet Architecture in Treptower Park
Monumental Soviet Architecture in Treptower Park

Treptower Park is almost 2 kms walk from the East Side Gallery. Head across the bridge, along the wall to the former watchtower, and further along the road. There are several interesting features within the park including a monumental Soviet War Memorial, an old Soviet observatory, a riverside beer garden on a little island, a nice riverside walk and boat rentals.


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For more walking tours and hikes in Germany, see our Germany hiking page.

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