Reichstag Dome rooftop in Berlin: my guide to how to visit and what to see

Reichstag Dome rooftop

People say that if you haven’t been to the Reichstag, you haven’t been to Berlin. That is why this place is among several top things to do in Berlin. But if you are still wondering whether it’s worth your time or not, let me share with you my experience that might help you decide.

Article contents

  1. Why do you need to visit the Reichstag?
  2. How to get tickets?
  3. Planning your visit and tours offered by the Reichstag
  4. Attractions nearby

What is Reichstag and why do you need to visit it?

Reichstag building

First of all. You’ve probably visited the rooftops of churches and skyscrapers, but have you ever got to the top of the most important government building in the city? That’s what the Reichstag is and that’s what it offers for a tourist.

Originally the Reichstag building in Berlin was a place for gatherings of the German parliament. But throughout the years it became so much more than just a government building:

  • It was used as an anti-semitic center by Nazis,
  • served as a military hospital during the Second World War,
  • and became a symbol of the end of the war when the Red army soldiers put the Soviet flag on its roof. The building was severely damaged during the war and its reconstruction took many years.

Now the Reichstag still serves as a home to the German Parliament, but it also has become one of the most popular historical sights in the world.

Reichstag building 1 Reichstag building 2

There are two things that I think make this place worth visiting.
The first one is a so-called Memory Wall with cyrillic graffiti made by the Soviet army in 1945. There were a lot of discussions regarding the erase of those messages left by soldiers, but in the end the parliament voted in favor of keeping them as an important memory of Nazi crimes against humanity. The second thing is the glass dome that became a part of the building after its reconstruction. You get to enjoy a 360-degree view of the city from the roof, and also (if you’re lucky) you can get a sneak peek of the real parliament debates in the chambers situated right under the dome!

What is also cool about the building is its sustainable approach and the use of renewable energy. The architect Norman Foster constructed the Reichstag dome in such a way that it provides enough light for the parliament hall without any usage of electricity. If you want to see a real eco-friendly architecture, then make sure to add the Reichstag glass dome in Berlin on your list.

Getting to the Reichstag Building

Getting to the Reichstag

The Reichstag is situated in the very heart of the Berlin, which makes it quite easy to reach. You can take these lines of the Berlin U-Bahn:

— U5 to Budenstag station
— U2 to Potsdamer Platz

Berlin’s rail station, the Hauptbahnhof, is also close to the site: the S3, 5, 7, and 9 will get you there. The closest bus station is Reichstag/Bundestag which is on the route of bus 100.

Here’s an important sidenote for you: Make sure you arrive a bit earlier as it might be confusing to find the entrance. If you are looking at the front of the building, it will be on your right.

How to get Reichstag Dome Tickets?

View from Reichstag rooftop

Since the Reichstag Dome in Berlin is a very popular tourist spot and—obviously—a highly secure building, you can’t get in whenever you want.

The great news is that there’s free admission. The less positive news is that you have to book a time slot which is hard to catch in the peak season, register for an entrance and wait for your request approval.

Here are several options of how to get tickets to Reichstag Dome:

Reserved tickets in advance. If seeing the Reichstag is a real dream of yours, then this method will be the safest for you. To make free online reservations, go to their official website and pick a date for your visit. After finishing the registration you’ll receive a booking request, but it is not the proof of a successful booking. The confirmation email you’ll receive later means you’ve got your Reichstag dome tickets.

On the day of your visit, you can just come to the Reichstag 15 minutes before the appointed time. You’ll be asked to show your photo ID at the entrance. Don’t forget to bring it with you. Be ready to go through a security check.

Speaking from experience, there’s no need to rush by 7:45 a.m. if your visit is scheduled for 8 a.m. The security at the Reichstag opens its doors exactly on 8 a.m., and not a minute earlier.

Same-Day Tickets. This option works best for low-season visits. If you haven’t booked your ticket in advance, you can try to get in the same day by registering at the service center. You need to bring an original official photo identification, as copies are not accepted. If there are any available spots, you’ll get one of them. You can find more info on that here.

The terrace restaurant. The Reichstag has a fancy restaurant that is open to the public. Kaefer is a popular spot for celebrating special occasions which is why you need to book a table at the restaurant. You can make a reservation on their website. Just as an example, the breakfast at Kaefer costs €39,5 per person.

Berlin tours. If following the guide to visiting the Reichstag in Berlin on your own is too much for you, consider booking a tour. There are plenty of them: some will help you with skipping the line and having your own private guide, others include a wider range of activities. For example, with this tour, you will not only get into the building, but walk around the government district.

How to plan your visit to the Reichstag?

Reichstag Dome Reichstag Dome 1

I’d recommend planning your visit a month in advance. That way you’ll have several available dates to choose from. It’s also a good idea to check the cleaning and maintenance days of the Dome! They occur once in two months or so, and in those periods, you can only visit the roof, but not the dome. You can find the dates online on the Bundestag website.

The visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., but the last admission is at 9:45 p.m. If you also want to take a bite at the restaurant, beware that it opens at 9 p.m. and there is a 2-hour break from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Tours offered at the Reichstag

The Reichstag offers several ways to get to know the building and its wonders, and all of them are usually available for an online booking.

1) Visit to the dome. This is the simplest option that includes climbing to the cupola of the Reichstag with a free audio guide (offered in many languages). You get to explore the dome and the view from the rooftop terrace on your own.

2) Guided tours + visit to the dome. This is an 1,5-hour excursion around the Reichstag with a guide. You’ll walk around the building and learn about historical facts and fascinating stories. After that you’ll have time to climb up the Reichstag roof as well.

3) Lecture + visit to the dome. The lectures are organized in such a way that the visitors could see the plenary chambers and learn some things about the Reichstag German Parliamentary. It usually takes about 45 minutes and is followed by the opportunity to check out the Reichstag roof. This activity is on our list for the next time in Berlin, as the visit to the Dome was not enough for us.

Reichstag Visitors’ Information

Reichstag sign Reichstag entrance queue

Visiting the Reichstag is an activity that probably should be on your Berlin-to-do-list as it gives you a proper introduction to the past, present and future of Germany.

But it also is a great way to learn about the city on your first days of being there. From the rooftop terrace of the Reichstag building, you can see many touristic and historical sights of the city — for example, the Branderburg Gates.

If you have an audio guide with you, then you’re in for a real treat as the guides tell you about remarkable buildings and districts that can be spotted from the terrace.

Nearby attractions

Bradenburg Gates

In case you want to combine your visit to the Reichstag with some other sightseeing activities, here are a couple of recommendations.

  • There is a Swiss embassy right around the corner. Its building miraculously survived the Second World War and stayed intact.
  • If you walk from the embassy toward the river, you’ll see another war survivor — a 19th-century Moltke Bridge.
  • Famous Bradenburg Gates are situated in the opposite direction of the Reichstag and serve as an entrance to the largest and oldest city park Tiergarten.
Swiss embassy Berlin Moltke Bridge

If you want to check out our full guide of popular sights in Germany, the link will be here soon 🙂

One more view from Berlin Reichstah

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