Berlin Television Tower
Berlin Television Tower, called Fernsehturm locally, is an instantly recognisable modern icon of the city and can be seen for miles given that it is an enormous 368m tall!
What you need to know about the Berlin Television Tower
City: Berlin, Germany.
Transport links: Alexanderplatz station (U-Bahn & S-Bahn)
Nearby attractions: Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)
Access: Adult tickets cost €16.50, whereas a child ticket will set you back less at €9.50. There are also discounts available for students who can produce a valid student ID card.
Tickets are available from the ticket desk and ticket machines at the Berlin Television Tower at Alexanderplatz and are valid for a visit to the observation deck, 203m above Berlin, and the Bar 203 located on the deck.
To avoid queues - it is a popular tourist attraction - then the Globedge recommendation is to buy your ticket online in advance so that you get in quicker than people who arrive on the day without tickets.
Fact: The tower was not even supposed to be built where it now stands. Originally the construction had begun elsewhere at Müggelberge and it was designed to be a lot smaller at 'only' 130 metres in height. It was realised that when finished this was going to cause issues with aeroplane flight paths (erm.... oops!) so a new plan was devised to move the tower to Alexanderplatz. With freedom to build bigger and higher in the new location it ended up being a mammoth 368 metres tall which made it the world's second tallest building at the time.
Inspired by Soviet Russia
As the tower stands in what was once East Germany, the then leader of the partitioned nation - a delightful chap called Walter Ulbricht - asked for designs for the tower to evoke Sputnik and have a soviet feel to them.
The tower, in his view, was ideal to be a symbol of the technological advancement and might of East Berlin and a serious nod to the Russian influence over that side of the city.
The East Berliners who were proud to be identified as such saw the finished building as a shining example of their society. You can see the influence when looking at Berlin Television Tower today when you have that context in mind.
Visit it and look up from the outside and it for sure has a feel of Cold War era soviet architecture - it's fascinating to consider the nexus of its build when you know the background.
Berlin Television Tower has lots of steps (but you can't use them)
There are a whopping 986 steps to climb to reach the top of the tower. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) they are not accessible to the public.
Fear not though! The alternative is a super high speed elevator that will whizz you up to the top and the observation deck in just 38 seconds.
It is probably for the best. No sense in getting to the top to enjoy the views and ending up having a heart attack from climbing hundreds of vertical metres now is there.
Only 400 visitors are allowed in the tower at any one time - regimenting this is another reason not to allow them to take the stairs - but despite this limit of people inside at any one time, there are over a million visitors to the attraction every year. Definitely something to add to your travel itinerary when you're in Berlin.
Dine in style with a view to die for
Stop for a meal and you will not only sample good food. You'll also get a 360 degree panoramic view while you sit in the revolving restaurant. A full rotation takes 30 minutes so there is no chance of missing any of the views of the surrounding attractions.
Random innovation is that for safety reasons there is no food cooked up in the restaurant. It is instead cooked at ground floor and whooshed up to be served via a super fast food elevator. This means you can enjoy your trip there and your meal without worrying about any fire or safety issues. Just sit back, tuck into the food and enjoy the view.
Seats at the windows in the restaurant come at a premium cost as an FYI but it's probably fair to say that if you travel to Berlin and want to sample a bite to eat with the best view in town then the cost (albeit it a little irritating) is worth it to get the best seat in the house.
The other seats are also totally fine and you will be able to see things - you can also check out the view from the observation deck separately from your dining experience.
Still in full operation today
The tower is actually still in operation today so is more than just a symbol of Berlin or a relic from its Cold War past. The German contemporary company Deutsche Telekom owns the TV Tower and broadcasts over 60 television and radio programs, all pumped out over the airwaves from the tower's enormous antenna.