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All You Need to Know about Visiting Berlin’s Reichstag

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Last updated Aug 24, 2018 @ 2:34 pm [clear h=10]

Back when I used to live in Berlin, you could come to the Parliament anytime and the only challenge would be the long lines. I was lucky and visited it a couple of times, especially when friends would come over.

But times have changed and it’s not so easy today to get into the building. You can’t just walk up to it and expect to be let in. Nowadays’ practice is very similar to e.g. the Statue of Liberty in New York.

A bit about the Reichstag

The building itself was built for the purpose of housing the Parliament (called the Imperial Diet in the old times) in 1894. It was badly damaged during the World War II and fell into disuse for several decades. But the German reunification gave a reason to fully restore the building, to become the seat of the new German Parliament.

Norman Foster, a famous British architect, was invited to design the top adjacent part of it, the Dome. He managed to beautifully conjoin the rather outdated appearance of the stone structure with the modern look of glass. You need to see it for yourself!

Reichstag Berlin
The view out of the Dome.. You can just walk around and glance at the city
Reichstag Berlin
It’s beautiful inside the Dome..! All the glass and mirrors make for an exceptional design

Parliament, Reichstag, Bundestag.. Are you puzzled from all the names this building has? No need to be confused, let me explain:

Bundestag basically means parliament. Reichstag is an older term referring to the Diet, but the overall meaning is the same. As Bundes means Federal, today you can differentiate the terms by calling the building Reichstag and the institution in it, Bundestag. And Parliament in English, surprise surprise! :)

The good news is that the entrance is free! You just have to register. The further in advance, the better. So when you have the dates for your Berlin trip set, reserve an admission into the Reichstag. The whole process is fairly easy.

How to make the reservation at Reichstag

Visiting with a guide

You can have it all arranged for you. It’s not even expensive. You can get an experienced guide for as little as $29. I took a tour like this before and loved it. You might even be lucky enough and see Angela Merkel in the plenary! [clear h=5]

Click here to see the details of visiting Reichstag with a guide

Why do I recommend this guided tour?

First of all, even if you’re booking just a day in advance, you can still get into the Reichstag. And second, GetYourGuide offers lowest price guarantee.

Direct reservation

The reservation can be made online here.

Just select the type of visit you want, and follow the instructions. You can even see the plenary and also have a guided tour of the Dome. During the registration process, you’ll be asked about the names of all the people in your group, so make sure not to leave anyone out.

In case you find yourself in Berlin without much advance planning, you might still get lucky and secure a spot by visiting the service centre, which is located next to the Berlin Pavilion on the south side of Scheidemannstrasse. If there are still free spots, they’ll get you on the list. But be aware that you can only do this min. 2 hours and max. 2 days in advance.

plenary reichstag berlin
That’s how the plenary looks like! This photo was taken in the evening, no members of Parliament in there at that hour :)
Dome Reichstag Berlin
It’s still nice even if you go in the evening, just the photos from inside of the Dome won’t look as good

Best time of day for visiting the Reichstag

People often have a dilemma deciding whether to come during the day or evening, considering there might be a beautiful view with the city lights and all that. From my experience, the day visit is much better. The reflection of the glass is not good when it’s dark, you don’t see as much and the photos come out rather bad.

I definitely recommend visiting Reichstag on a sunny day. You can spend hours in the neighborhood before and/or after your experience. Green areas are plentiful and you can even take a boat ride on the Spree River.[clear h=10]

The Reichstag is located just a short walk from the Brandenburg Gate and within reach from all possible government buildings. I especially enjoyed relaxing by the river with a book. Many Berliners do too ;)

green
Greenery by the river.. just in the vicinity of the Reichstag. What more can one wish for!

Of course, it’s not enough to check out just the Reichstag Building when in Berlin. There’s a lot more to explore. Check out this full guide on all the things to do/see/eat in Berlin. To explore more of Germany (well recommended!), use this comprehensive guide.

Have you ever been to Berlin and the Reichstag? If not, is it high on your list? 

I love Pinterest too! :) [clear h=10]

Practicalities of visiting the Reichstag in Berlin - the building of German Parliament with a beautiful dome designed by Norman Foster   Inside the Reichstag's Dome in Berlin - impressive design by Norman Foster

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15 thoughts on “All You Need to Know about Visiting Berlin’s Reichstag”

  1. Awesome post! I’m going to Berlin this friday and didn’t know it was that complicated to get in. Doing my registration now.. thanks!

  2. I didn’t know that they changed the rules. I used to live in Berlin too, but then I just waited in line until it was my turn to be let in. Still, getting a reservation in advance seems to make sense. Was there still a place to get coffee at the top when you went? I really enjoyed the history lesson about the building. They explained how the Nazis used parliamentary trickery to steal elections and manipulate the situation so they had a majority.

    • Yea I was once caught by surprise when they changed the rules. Brought some friends there and we couldn’t get in.
      Yes the whole history facts are fascinating! I don’t remember the cafe, though :( But that might be my weak memory.

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