At 368m, Berlin’s TV Tower is the tallest structure in Germany, so there’s no excuse for not seeing it.
There’s an enclosed viewing platform at 203 m, and fortunately you don’t have to climb the 986 steps because one of the two lifts will whisk you up there in just 40 seconds.
Almost 1.2 m visitors a year use these lifts, and as they don’t hold too many people, it’s no wonder waiting times can be long. If you don’t fancy queuing it’s possible to buy tickets for an extra premium. My advice would be to get there for the 09.00 opening if you can and buy a standard ticket.
On the viewing platform level is a bar, and above it is another level with a revolving restaurant which I have to admit I’ve never used.
The prime reason for building the TV Tower wasn’t to give tourists a grandstand view of Berlin of course, but to provide radio and television transmissions, and also no doubt, to make a political statement from the GDR authorities to West Berlin.
Construction on the tower started in 1965 and took four years to build with the first broadcasts beginning on 3rd October 1969. There are some interesting film clips of its construction dotted around the tower which are well worth looking at if you have an interest in these things.
Most people come up here purely for the views though, and although I’ve been up here twice I’ve never been lucky enough to get the views I was hoping for - and it’s also worth bearing in mind that the glass sphere makes the view less exciting than being on an outdoor platform.
The standard admission price is €13 which isn’t cheap, but with the Berlin Welcome Card it knocks it down to €10.
The tower is open from 09.00 (10.00 in winter) to midnight, but please check the website for all the latest info.
This is one of Berlin’s major attractions, and as such can get very busy. To ensure that the occasion isn’t unduly spoilt by too many people I would urge you to try and come at a time when it seems to make most sense.
Probably the best view of Berlin that you can possibly get. I was there on a very busy saturday and purchased my tickets around 1pm, but then needed to wait for around 4 hours before i was able to go up in the lift to see the view. By then it was already dark but being school holidays it was natural to be busy so i occupied myself visiting other places while waiting for the timed slot to go up.
Tickets are a bit expensive at 13 euros to just go up in the lift but i still wanted to go up. Once in the lift, there is a glass panel on the top of the lift where you can see how fast the lift goes up and down. Up is fine but i felt dizzy when looking us going down. The lift operator will explain a little about the tower on the way up.
I have allways been scared of hight places, but in past few years I have been getting over it. But still i have said, I wont ever go to any tower. Only to real buildings, witch are as width from ground to top.
My husband wanted to go, and spoke to me before the trip and whole first week about going. And he said I could do it! Someone said to me that 10th floor feels bad, but soon after that it doesn´t feel like that, it just feels "unreal".
So one day after one week stay we went there. But when we got in, we saw info: We will wait in line to get tickets for about 45min, and after that we will need to wait 2 hours to get up! There was sms-service to mbile phone to let you knw when you time will come, but it only works with German phone numbers.
We asked the staff if we could book online without having a printer. They said it is o.k., and we just need to show the ticket from smartphone. So we went back to apartment and bought the tickets online. We actually this time needed to pay 6e extra for bookin online (usually it is other way around), but I think it was worth it. We could spend our 3 hours some other way and choose the time we want to get in from internet. When on holliday, I prefer not to use time on waiting.
It was most expensive ticket for whole our trip, but luckily many places were free.
We did get in at time we had choosed and got up by very fast lift. First floor was a bar, and next one an a´la carte restaurant. We went to bar, had some Berliner weisse and it didn´t feel scary at all. I was glad I did that. It was just before sunset. Maybe we could have gone little bit later to see the sunset, but it was nice anyway,
You get a really good view from up there. Go there when they open then there´s no line. If you are travelling in a group and somebody dosen´t want to go up, there´s a Starbuck on ground floor where they can have a coffee while waiting.
As Germany spread away and two different countries appeared (and also two parts of Berlin) Soviet influenced German Demokratische Republic decided to build a new TV tower. In 1950 it was a plan to do it a bit outside of city, but in 1969 it started to work just in very center of Berlin, in Alexanderplatz. The place before was to construct it even instead of old Berlin palace.
Nowadays it is a symbol of Berlin reunification. It was a joke about TV tower, that it was still not so Soviet ideological, as the sunshine makes a reflection on TV tower observation part and reflection looks just like a cross - Christian symbol :)
It is possible to go up for a fee, but I haven't visited it.
Fernseturm (Tv Tower) at Alexanderplatz, with its height of 368 metres is among the tallest structures in Europe. It is part of WFGT, World Federation of Great Towers. The tower was constructed between 1965 to 1969, by the former GDR administration who intended it a asymbol of Berlin. Inside the shaft are two lifts that shuttle visitor up to the sphere within 40 seconds. The observation floor is at 204 height with the platform turning once per hour.
If you in Berlin. At first I recommend to visit a TVtower and to see the city from height. YOU will find that all sights are very closely to each other and then it is possible to plan already how and when to go sightseeing in Berlin.
The TV Tower is a spectacular construction, and with a height of 368 metres Germany’s tallest structure. However, although it is Berlin’s most visible landmark, it is surely not the most beautiful one. To me it is important as a symbol of the reunification, having been the most striking feature of East Berlin’s cityscape. And it is a great place for looking over Berlin, and/or have a drink or dinner in the silver ball which sits at an altitude of 203 metres above Alexanderplatz.
The fact that is was built at all was simply the GDR regime needing a transmitter with enough potential to reach the remotest regions of the East. Construction time was from 1964 to 1968, and in 1969 it went into service.
When the weather is fine you can see as far as 40 kilometres and more from the observation deck at 203 metres. One storey above this is the Telecafé which makes a 360 degree turn within 30 minutes. If you want to experience that, come and check the queues. One million visitors head up to the tower every year.
A little amusing story: The SED party wanted the East Berliners to call the TV Tower “Tele-Spargel” (Tele-Asparagus) but they ignored the wish. Instead they called it “St. Walter” (after the party leader Walter Ulbricht, you know, the one who kissed Breshnev on the mouth…) – but most commonly I heard “Imponierkeule” and “Protzstengel” which means show-off club or swank stem. I think “show-off club” describes the shape of the tower very well ;-)
Similar was the nickname of the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic): “Palazzo Protzi” (show-off palace). But those were names I heard in the past. Today the TV Tower is just called Fernsehturm. After the reunification the people seem to be a lot more relaxed.
And another amusing story about the TV Tower: As you know the GDR regime was totally anti-religion and anti-church. But when the sun shines on the silver ball at the top, it is always reflected as a cross. The joke goes that this was "the Pope's final revenge".
Open Mar – Oct: 9am – midnight; Nov – Feb: 10am – midnight
Admission 12 Euro (as Oct. 2012), children under 16 years 7.50 Euro
Regarding the waiting times, you do not have to queue for 3 hours at peak times. Having bought your ticket, you can choose an SMS alert system which notifies you about 30 minutes before you can access the tower that your turn is coming soon. Inside the tower a digital display shows the ticket numbers of the people who are allowed up the stairs to the elevator (and some more queueing...)
Update October 2012: The fastest way up
On my recent Berlin visit I found out by coincidence how to get to the viewing platform of the TV Tower rather fast - well noted, on a day when the waiting time was 2.5 to 3 hours. Obviously we arrived at exactly the right time when the "Spreekaiser" (Emperor of the river Spree...) stood in front of the entrance and offered his tour. You pay 19 Euro (normal ticket price 12 Euro), jump the queues in the VIP lane, and are on top of Berlin in no time. On top of this you get to hear incredibly informative comments on anything you see and the history of the city. It really was fantastic.
The tour times were still patchy but we were told they are going to offer daily tours and are also planning to offer English language tours. So keep an eye on their website and inquire. At the moment they have daily tours during holiday periods and during the rest of the year only on Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 12noon and 3pm.
"Der Spreekaiser" also offers Reichstag and Berlin Wall tours.
When we visited Alexanderplatz we obtained a good view of the TV Tower located nearby. At that time (2010) it was the highest structure in Berlin at 368 metres. Built in 1969 by the German Democratic Republic
Visitors can gain admission to the viewing platform (200 metres) for the best view in Berlin.
We did not visit the viewing platform.
The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) is located near Alexanderplatz and when someone tells you that "you can't miss it", they speak the truth. This is the tallest structure in Germany and stands 368 meters in height, so naturally it can be seen for miles around.
The tower was built in the years of the German Democratic Republic and is sometimes referred to as "The Pope's Revenge" because when the sun shines on the sphere, the reflection is that of a crucifix and try as they might to correct this phenomenon, nothing has ever worked and so it is still the same today.
This from Wiklipedia, refers to the "Tear down the wall" speech made by US President Ronald Reagan in 1987:
"Years ago, before the East Germans began rebuilding their churches, they erected a secular structure: the television tower at Alexanderplatz. Virtually ever since, the authorities have been working to correct what they view as the tower's one major flaw: treating the glass sphere at the top with paints and chemicals of every kind. Yet even today when the sun strikes that sphere, that sphere that towers over all Berlin, the light makes the sign of the cross. There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed."
There is a viewing platform about half way up, which is open to the public and attracts many hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Above the viewing platform is a revolving restaurant which fully rotates every thirty minutes.
The TV Tower offers a great view of Berlin but be aware that it gets extremely busy and is best to go early morning or late evening. We got there for around 10am and it took us about an hour to actually go into the elevator to the top of the tower.
I would recommend that if you want to go to the top of the tower you either go very early in the morning or late in the evening because it gets very busy. While you are waiting there are some pictures of all the different TV towers across the world and some interesting information that you can read while you are waiting for your turn in the elevator.
"The Fernsehturm is an impressive and iconic sight, soaring above the skyline of Berlin like a giant glistening golf ball skewered on a concrete spike, topped with a red and white flash. This product of the old DDR towered over their western counterparts, with the only blemish on its prideful socialist status being the golden cross it cast over the city when the sun reflected on it, a slightly embarrassing marker for an officially atheist state. It also offered sensational vistas from its viewing platform, 200 meters up the 365 meter structure." - from my travelogue
In German the words "fern" and "seh" literally mean far and see, but joined together they become "fernsehen", or television. This rather literal naming of the technology, gives Berlin's iconic TV Tower a doubly accurate meaning. It is both a television tower, and a far seeing tower. It is possible to see as far as 40 km on a clear day. It costs a slightly expensive 7 euros to be rocketed up to these dizzying heights, squeezed into lifts that travel at 6 meters per second. Depending on the day, you might have a long wait, though, as the queues can get very long. Nearly as bad as the Eiffel Tower.
From the top the views were excellent, and made all the better by the huge clear windows, which angled down onto the city to give the greatest field of view possible. The top of the tower also includes an extortionately expensive cafe bar, and above the observation deck there is a rotating restaurant, with similarly sky high prices.
The tower is open 9.00 am - 1.00 am, from March until October, and then 10.00 am - midnight the rest of the year. Tickets are half-price for those under 16.