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 He managed to beautifully conjoin the rather outdated appearance of the stone structure with the modern look of glass.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!
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
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.
Another option is to have it all arranged for you. It’s not even expensive. You can get an experienced guide for as little as €15. I took a tour like this before and loved it. You might even be lucky enough and see Angela Merkel in the plenary!
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.
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 😉
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! 🙂