The German capital is known for its rich history and thoughtful monuments and memorials. If you are visiting the city, there are several Berlin monuments that you simply cannot miss. From contemplative memorials to captivating monuments, there are sites to see around every corner.
Alongside some of these iconic attractions and memorials in Berlin, you are sure to learn some interesting facts about Germany. We find that they are great markers to immerse ourselves in the city in a way that will truly enrich the trip.
Visiting Berlin – Useful City Passes
When navigating Berlin, you may encounter extra costs whether it be inter-city transportation and admission fees. It can be a good idea to get a pass to cut down your costs and save time. Here are several different options to choose from:
Berlin Welcome Card: Discounts & Transport Berlin Zones (ABC): Access the fare zones Berlin ABC and discounted prices on select activities including museums, tours, and tourist destinations. We used this pass on our last trip and it was super convenient.
Berlin Welcome Card: Museum Island & Public Transport: Enjoy free entry to all museums on Berlin’s Museum Island as well as free public transportation for 72 hours. This is great for people who want unlimited access to some of the core museums.
EasyCityPass Berlin: Get free public transportation and discounts to select attractions, and choose between 48 hours and six days of access.
Most Famous Monuments In Berlin
The Victory Column is easily one of the most well-known monuments in Berlin. The column is 67 meters high, and it was originally built to commemorate the country’s win in the Second Schleswig War.
It is also used to celebrate wins in later unification wars. As such, the prominent Berlin statue of the Roman goddess of victory, Victoria, was added atop the column.
The column is located in the center of a key German landmark – the Tiergarten. It enjoys a central location in The Great Star, the central square in the famous city park.
The Victory Column is used to celebrate national pride and recognize various successes over the years. You can access the Victory Column through four different pedestrian tunnels.
In addition, if you are up for some scenic views, take a staircase to a platform underneath the Winged Victory statue that sits atop the column. From there, you can get an incredible perspective of the city from over 200 feet high. The view from the top was unbelievable!
Along with the Victory Column, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the most famous Berlin monuments. The gate was originally built in the 18th century, and it is one of the few structures to survive World War II.
In addition to its striking appearance, it is located in central Berlin near other iconic landmarks, making it a great stop for visitors. Seeing it in person, we were blown away by the size and intricate details.
The Brandenburg Gate also played an important role during the time of division in Berlin following WWII. During that period, it was in an exclusionary zone and inaccessible to visit.
When the Berlin Wall fell, thousands of people gathered at the Brandenburg Gate to celebrate and ring in the New Year as a reunited nation. Today, it continues to be a popular gathering point for tours and meetings.
Statues And Sculptures In Berlin
The Holocaust Memorial – Memorial To The Murdered Jews Of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe is a vital stop to learn more about Berlin’s history. You can visit the memorial by yourself or on a small group tour. The whole installation is made up of a massive 2711 concrete pillars.
This memorial in Berlin is intended to be a place of remembrance and contemplation, so it is important to be respectful and quiet while visiting. It is an open-air art piece, intended to inspire contemplation and productive discussion.
Even though it is like in the middle of a rather open and busy street, this is one of the most somber and reflective places to visit in Berlin. Everyone just instantly understood the heaviness and symbolism of this meaningful piece, except maybe the young kids.
All the war history walking tours will likely cover this Berlin monument, along with stories from the past. We highly recommend taking one as it’s such a big part of the city and country’s history.
Otherwise, there is also an information center right below the memorial. It features different rooms detailing the crimes and atrocities committed against Jewish people during the Holocaust.
Found in Tiergarten is the Beethoven-Haydn-Mozart Memorial, three Berlin statues dedicated to the three musicians Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Each musician is carved into the same marble monument. It is a beautiful Berlin monument commemorating some of the minds that shaped music as we know it! We really like the different facets showcasing each of these famous composers.
Go for a picnic in the scenic Tiergarten park, and enjoy some popular German food with your favorite classical composers. While you’re in the area, you can visit some of the other various informational and historic monuments in the park.
The Victory Column is also right around the corner! So you can easily kill two birds with one stone.
The Airlift Memorial is one of three monuments across Germany that commemorate the food and supplies brought to West Berlin by airlift during the 322 days of the Berlin Blockade in the late 1940s.
This famous Berlin sculpture has three curved concrete pillars to represent the three air corridors and the three Allied occupying forces. The memorial can be found at Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport.
Memoria Urbana Berlin
In the Mitte district, you can find the Memoria Urbana Berlin – an illuminated sculpture that was designed to commemorate the destroyed Bohemian Bethlehem Church.
This iconic Berlin statue was created by Spanish artist Juan Garaizabal in 2012, and it is part of a bigger project to remember important buildings that have been lost. The memorial is an excellent stop as it is not only publicly accessible but also close to other tourist destinations in the city.
The glowing lights were simply beautiful at night; so be sure to check it out after the sun goes down.
If you’re in central Berlin, you must stop by the Schiller Monument at the iconic Berlin square of Gendarmenmarkt. It is one of many famous statues in Berlin that is well worth a visit considering its excellent location and beautiful craftsmanship. It is dedicated to Friedrich Schiller, a German poet, philosopher, playwright, and historian.
While studying the statue and nearby monuments, you will certainly learn some fun facts about Berlin. For example, the statue has been removed, remade, and replaced several times throughout its history.
It was unveiled in the 1870s, put into storage in the 1930s, melted in the 1940s, and was finally restored in the 1980s. We were amazed at some of the monument’s complex history.
War Memorials In Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten
The Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten is located in central Berlin, just between two other landmarks that Berlin is famous for – the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag. It commemorates Soviet lives that were lost in Berlin during World War II.
An estimated 80,000 Soviet troops died during an attempt to capture Berlin in 1945, and this memorial in Tiergarten is just one of three that honors their lives.
Seeing the towering monument really put the massive loss of life into perspective for us. It’s one of the really meaningful attractions in Berlin.
Memorial Of The Berlin Wall
The Memorial of the Berlin Wall transformed a piece of the former border strip into a place of remembrance and documentation.
This Berlin monument, located in the Mitte borough, has an open-air exhibition, a documentation center, and a Chapel of Reconciliation. It aims to educate visitors, remember those who were affected, and preserve the history of the division of Berlin.
The memorial presents the history of the Berlin Wall on the remains of the border strip. It features monuments, artifacts, and stories to commemorate victims of the division of Berlin.
Inside the Visitor Center and the Documentation Center, you can learn about the history behind the wall and the events that followed its construction. We spent over an hour going through some of the exhibits and it’s quite a bit of information overload.
Trains To Life – Trains To Death
The Trains to Life – Trains to Death statue is a memorial to the Kindertransport, a rescue effort that transported children from Germany to England during the lead-up to World War II.
The statues in Berlin depict seven children, five looking to one side and two looking to the other. This is to represent the different fates that children met during the war – some met an early demise while some were spared. Got to admit the symbolism of the statue design really resonated with us.
This memorial in Berlin is good to visit to reflect on and respect the tragic history of Jewish children and families during World War II. The statues were sculpted by artist Frank Meisler, who traveled with a Kindertransport service himself!
If you are in the Friedrichstraße, make sure not to miss the Trains to Life – Trains to Death memorial.
Historic Landmarks In Berlin
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church serves as both a functioning church and a memorial. It consists of the remains of the original church that was dedicated to Kaiser Wilhelm as well as a modern reconstruction. The original church was severely damaged during World War II, and it sat in ruins until 1961.
Today, the church is a staple of the bustling city center. It also hosts many community events including a Christmas market during the winter and jazz nights during the summer. We’ve heard good things about that Christmas fair oozing with festive spirit.
If you’re in Berlin, visiting the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a must.
Checkpoint Charlie is one of the most well-known monuments in Berlin due to its prevalence in pop culture as well as its rich history. It is situated on the site of a famous border crossing checkpoint that was used during the Cold War and the division of Berlin.
The checkpoint is famous because it was the location of several notable events including stand-offs, escape attempts, and even alleged espionage activities. However, if you hear from a local guide, you will know the current “setup” is not actually the actual location of the original checkpoint Charlie.
Nevertheless, you can visit the Checkpoint Charlie Museum to learn more about the history of the site.
The Berlin monument has also made several appearances in movies and television. It is featured in the 1983 spy movie Octopussy as well as the 1965 thriller The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
Exhibitions And Museums In Berlin
Memorial And Museum Sachsenhausen
The Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen serves as a place of respect and remembrance on the site of the biggest concentration camp on German territory during World War II. There are preserved parts of the original structure as well as thirteen permanent exhibitions.
To pay your respects, you can visit the memorial and museum to learn about the experiences of the prisoners and the history of the site. Seeing the actual site of the former camp was a rather somber and emotional experience.
The memorial and museum are located near the town of Oranienburg which is just 20-30 minutes outside of Berlin by train. While visiting the Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen, it is important to remain respectful and contemplative as over 200,000 inmates were exploited at the camp and thousands of them would die there.
The Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial is at a former prison of the Stasi, a term for Germany’s Ministry of State Security from 1950-1990. There is a permanent installation, Incarcerated in Hohenschönhausen – Witnesses of Political Persecution, that exhibits artifacts, photos, and stories from former inmates.
While visiting the memorial, you can take a 90-minute tour of the site which is usually led by former inmates themselves. We found this to be one of the more impactful learning experiences as the whole atmosphere just fits into the context well.
Palace Of Tears
The Palace of Tears, in the Friedrichstraße railway station, memorializes a former crossing point between East and West Berlin. It got its name as it was the site of many tearful partings and saying goodbye to friends and family.
There is a permanent exhibition called Site of German Division featuring artifacts and memorabilia from when the crossing point was in operation. Early caution here, some of the personal items and stories were very moving to see.
Topography Of Terror
Servicing over two million guests each year, the Topography of Terror is one of the most famous memorials in Berlin. It serves as a place of remembrance and a reminder of the history of Germany’s role in World War II.
The museum has several permanent exhibitions and information stations to guide your visit. It features both indoor and outdoor exhibits, documenting the persecution of the Jews and other atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War II.
We spent about two hours at the museum and really only scratched the surface. If you want to dive deeper into each exhibit, this can definitely take up more time.
Topography of Terror is located on the historic site in Berlin where Nazi headquarters and establishments used to be. You can visit the museum on guided tours or individually.
Discovering Famous Monuments and Memorials In Berlin
Berlin has no shortage of interesting, inspiring monuments and memorials. The city is dotted with commemorative statues, memorializing sculptures, and honorary shrines. If you are in the city, definitely try to visit some of these interesting Berlin monuments as they will give you some insights into the city’s dramatic past.
Each one offers a unique experience, and you are sure to learn a lot about the history and culture. The monuments and memorials will help you gain new perspectives on the historical events that have occurred.