Experience a birds-eye view of the German Parliament
Inside the Reichstag dome
I don’t often say that you must visit somewhere, as everyone has different interests and opinions. However, during our trip to Berlin, we headed to the Reichstag Building (Parliament), and it was a fascinating experience. And definitely one of the highlights of our visit.
The incredible glass dome that balloons into the Berlin skyline is stunning. Although it’s not until you amble your way up and around the spiral incline that you truly appreciate its magnificence.
Free to visit
We arrived for our pre-booked slot 15 minutes early as requested (more on the arrival process below). Once through the airport-style checks and scanners, you’re then guided into the Reichstag Building.
Outside the Reichstag
It’s so easy, once in the entrance you hop into the lift and voila, you’re at the top of the Parliament building by the glass dome. Just grab your free audio guide and a historical tour awaits.
A helpful guide
If you've yet to discover Berlin's incredible history, then let’s start planning. I find these DK Travel Guides invaluable, they're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of those fascinating sites.
You can now grab a recently revised copy of this guidebook, so you won't miss a thing.
How to obtain your free tickets
You must register to visit in advance, although this can be done on the day in quieter periods.
We used the official Deutscher Bundestag, website, and it is straightforward.
To book your allocated time slot complete the online registration.
You must state how many people are in your party.
An email will be sent to you, you then need to complete the following information for each member of your group.
Date of Birth
You will then receive another email confirming your personal details and allocated time slot.
Arrive no later than 15 mins before your allotted time.
Most importantly, you must also show your official photo identification (e.g. passport, national ID card, driver’s licence, student or school pupil ID). Ensure you bring the original, as copies of identification documents are not accepted.
You can visit from 8am until midnight
Your entrance also includes a free audio guide.
A bit of history
The original Parliament building was completed in 1894 after 10 years of construction. The Reichstag was then severely damaged in 1933 due to a fire, and then with the subsequent second World War, the Reichstag fell into disuse.
Entrance to the Reichstag
Partial renovations were carried out during the early 1960s. Although it wasn’t until after the German reunification on the 3rd October 1990, that the Reichstag was fully restored. It was reconstructed in the 1990s led by the British architect Norman Foster.
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Like a magnet
You are automatically drawn to the huge glass dome, which is incredible. It was created as a nod to the original glass and steel cupola which was built in 1894.
Outside the glass dome
In the central base of the dome is a circular storyboard. It’s full of historical pictures of the Reichstag and Berlin through tumultuous times. It depicts the transformation of the parliament building and how the city moved forward after the German reunification. Gary and I spent such a long time around here, as it was so interesting.
Short on time?
Head to the sky
With our audio guide at the ready, we stroll to the bottom of the ramp. As you effortlessly wander around in circles, winding your way up to the top of the glass roof, all the significant landmarks are highlighted to you along the way.
Brandenburg Gate from the Reichstag rooftop
As you ascend higher and higher more of Berlin’s skyline emerges into your 360-degree view. You just can’t help but stop to admire the urban horizon across Berlin’s rooftops. All the while, you are listening to snippets of history and important information fed to you through the audio tour.
The mirrored centre of the Reichstag dome
Spiraling around the Reichstag dome
Start creating your own German adventure from its capital city and fly directly into Berlin with easyJet & British Airways.
Or alternatively, like us discover more of Germany on a road trip. If your venturing from the UK, jump on Le Shuttle and head east. Although, if you’re unable to bring your own car or you are flying into this lovely country give SIXT car hire a go. They cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.
You must look down
What is also beautiful about the glass dome is the tower of mirrors that you encircle. All the way up and around as you spiral to the top.
Peering over the edge, following the mirrors to the ground below and you can see through the glass ceiling of where the German parliament regularly convenes.
As the natural light beams through the dome, a large sunshade like a ship’s sail follows the day around and cuts out the glare below.
Sunshade moving around the Reichstag dome
However, it is not until you reach the highest point of the dome that you realise you are open to the elements. If it were snowing or raining you would undoubtedly know about it.
Looking through the hole in the roof
To the roof terrace
When then stroll back down around the inside of the dome and head outside to the Reichstag rooftops. This is a reasonably large area to wander around, and you get amazing views across Berlin’s skyline, including the nearby is the Brandenburg Gate.
Berlin evening skyline
If you’re not quite ready to head off for the day, you can pop into the rooftop terrace restaurant.
Roof terrace and the Reichstag glass dome
I thought our visit to the Reichstag Building was going to a fleeting tour, we ended up strolling around for nearly 2 hours.
Did you know?
Just a short hop from Parliament building is the 18th-century Brandenburg Gate. It’s a lovely monument to see any time of day; however, I loved seeing it of an evening.
The Brandenburg Gate
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