Best view in Berlin
Two historic icons vie for the “best view in Berlin”, however access issues will determine which is the best for you. The final climb to the top of the Berliner Dom is via a narrow spiral staircase, not great if you have a problem with heights.
The Reichstag Building takes you to the roof via elevator and you can walk to the top of the roof dome via a gently sloping ramp.
The Berliner Dom, Berlin’s largest cathedral was originally built in 1465 as a parish church on the Spree River. It underwent ongoing extension and improvement until it was finally completed in 1905 under the rule of the last German Kaiser, Wilhelm II.
Located on Museum Island, Mitte in what was the GDR, the Berliner Dom suffered significant damage during World War II and was closed until post-reunification restoration works in 1993.
For a small entry fee you can enjoy a self guided tour, or take advantage of scheduled guided tours. Inside you will be amazed by the awe inspiring architecture, from the magnificent Christian Dauel baptismal font, the Petrus mosaic by Guido Reni and the 7000 pipe organ, the largest in Berlin.
The viewing gallery provides a panoramic view from around the dome, a mere 270 stairs away. Undaunted, I started the climb with my husband and family. The initial wide staircases provided no problem.
Until we reached the final, spiral staircase to the top of the dome. I do not do heights. Urged on by my family, I embarked up the final spiral staircase to infinity. I completed around 20 stairs, until the sheer fear of heights kicked in.
Throwing my Iphone to Ian to take photos from the top, I pushed my way back down the one way staircase to the safety of solid ground.
Relaxing for a few moments in a window seat back on solid ground, with my limited German I managed to decipher a sign that informed I was, in fact, “beyond the place of no return”. The rest of my family would not return this way.
So I continued my way “out” through the “ins” towards the exit.
Having thrown my phone to Ian, there was now no means of contacting the rest of the family via our Facebook “chat group” to let them know where I was, but my husband knew me too well.
Having enjoyed the views over Mitte from the outdoor viewing platform around the top of the “Dom” attention then turned to “where is Mother”? Is she in the main church? Is she outside? Is she still waiting at the bottom of the stairs where we left her ?
Ian assured them that if there was a crypt, that is where they would find me and so they did.
Relatively untouched by WWII bombing, the Hohenzolloerm family tomb houses over 90 sarcophogi and tombs, including the gilt encrusted tombs of Prussian kings. It was soaking up this history where my family found me, later enjoying their view from the top of Berlin via the photos taken from my Iphone.
Fortunately the Reichstag building provides a more accessible panorama for those unable to deal with the heights of the Berliner Dom.
The seat of German Parliament, the foundation stone was laid by Kaiser Whilhelm I in 1884, despite concerns that the dome of the building may be higher than the city castle.
Opened in 1894, the building was home to the Imperial Diet until destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1933.
Post-reunification, the building once again became the seat of German Parliament, with redesign undertaken from 1994-99 under British Architect Norman Foster, to provide a modern parliament building, whilst retaining the integrity of the original historic building.
Within walking distance of the iconic Brandenburg Gate, the building provides an accessible glass dome, replicating the original dome, which has become a major Berlin landmark.
Entry is free to the Reichstag Building, however visitors must register up to 2 days in advance to book access. You will need your passport for identification at the security check.
You will be taken by lift to the top of the Reichstag building, where a gentle spiral ramp will enable you to meander to the top of the glass dome, enjoying the panoramic views over Berlin – a much more suitable option for those like myself unable to meet the challenges of the climb to the top of the “Dom”