Don’t Miss the Berlin Wall Trail!

248
0
SHARE

The Berlin Wall divided the city for 28 years. With nearly as much time passed since the reunification in 1990, the Berlin Wall Trail is one journey you don’t want to miss.

The East Side Gallery: one stop on the Berlin Trail.
The East Side Gallery: one stop on the Berlin Trail.

Founding the Berlin Wall Trail

The barrier consisted mostly of two concrete walls. The are between was known as the “death strip”. This was full of tools to stop those looking to cross—guard dogs, watchtowers, anti-vehicles trenches, floodlights and trip-wire machine guns.

During this period, more than 100 people died trying to cross. Now, the remnants of the wall provide a guide to explore the city and surrounding area.

Opening in 2004, the Trail is built along the former patrol roads used by the East German border guards. In total, the trail measures 160 kilometers—indicated by the sign “Berliner Mauerweg”.

18 of those kilometers are directly through the city, along the former line that divided the urban area in the post-war years. The rest of the trail guides visitors into Berlin’s vibrant natural environment.

The trail can be explored on foot. To allow for shorter day trips, the route has been divided into 14 individual sections, easily reachable by public transport. To see a bit more, visitors can also travel the trail on a bicycle path.

Where to start the tour? 

You can easily start the tour wherever you want. Bikes can be taken on the city’s public transport network, which means you can start all the way in the trees of the sprawling Spandau forest if that’s what your interested in.

Highlights of the Berlin Wall Tour

The Berlin Wall Memorial

Part of the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse.
Part of the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse.

This 1.4 km strip follows the Wall’s former location along Bernauer Strasse. It illustrates how the border fortifications were constructed and pays homage to the people who fled East Berlin and victims of the death strip.

Cobblestone Markings

One of the many spots to check out the former wall location.
One of the many spots to check out the former wall location.

The lines of cobblestones help to identify the location of the Wall in the city center. After reunification, both the West and East Germans were quick to remove all traces of the Wall, so it is not continuously documented.

The Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate, an icon in Berlin and a must see stop on the Berlin Wall Trail.
Brandenburg Gate, an icon in Berlin and a must see stop on the Berlin Wall Trail.

An icon of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate is located in the government district by the Spree River. During separation, it was in “no-mans land”. The Wall officially blocked it from West Berlin and a smaller wall also restricted access for the East Germans, too.

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie, one of the most visited spots in Berlin. Source.
Checkpoint Charlie, one of the most visited spots in Berlin. Source.

The most famous former crossing point between east and west is known as Checkpoint Charlie. Now, it’s a spot where tourists flock. Actors dressed as military policemen pose for photos and there is even a replica of the famous sign “You are leaving the American sector”.

Watchtower near Potsdamer Platz

One of the few remaining watchtowers located near Potzdamer Platz. Source.
One of the few remaining watchtowers located near Potsdamer Platz. Source.

Of the more than 300 watchtowers used by guards to try to catch people leaving East Berlin, only a few remain. One is the platform near Potsdamer Platz, now a historical monument.

East Side Gallery

Depiction of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing is one of the most iconic in the East Side Gallery.
Depiction of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing is one of the most iconic in the East Side Gallery.

As one of the largest open-air galleries in the world, the East Side Gallery is a true highlight along the Berlin Wall Trail. International artists painted this 1.3-kilometer stretch of wall that remained in 1990.

SHARE