The TV Tower at Alexanderplatz is one Berlin landmark that you can see from pretty much anywhere in the center of town. Perhaps only the famous green crossing men are more ubiquitous. The tower’s distinctive ball on a stick shape is a symbol for the city as much as the Brandenburger gate is. The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) is at Alexanderplatz, one of the hubs of activity, commerce and touristy goodness in the former East. The tower is also the home of a tourist info point and gift shop selling all manner of things in the shape of the tower.
We headed up the tower to get a view of the city from above through sunset. So here is Berlin from above.
So the protocol up here is pretty much like every other tall spot you stand on as a tourist. You try to get the best spot while maneuvering through all of the other gawping people looking for the best spot.
To the West
To the west (into the setting sun, making it not the greatest of pictures) is Brandenburg Gate, the Tiergarten Park and the Victory tower. The Reichstag is out that way as well. In the foreground is the Berliner Dom on Museum Island.
To the north of the tower in the neighborhood around the base are the Hackeschen Höfe. These are little courtyards filled with gentrified cafes and boutiques. The main east-west S-Bahn in Berlin runs through Alexanderplatz to the Hofe and on toward the Hauptbahnhof.
To the East
I honestly don’t know what is on that side. Out beyond Alexanderplatz itself, the buildings all seemed to become uniform height in visible blocks from the wide avenues.
Out south of the tower is a wide green smudge. This is the old airport of Tempelhof, the focus of the air-bridge which supplied Berlin in the 50s, which has been turned into a massive park. They are apparently looking to build on it now to the unhappiness of many residents of the city. We lived not far from the part, but due to it being winter only walked over there once.
So small from up here
I like playing with the Diorama setting on my camera. This is the Spree heading eastward. The spired bridge is Oberbaumbrucke near the East Side Gallery. The shot in general is an interesting look at how industry is mixed in with the city and I really like the light.
It gets dark early in Germany in the winter. We planned it to be up on the tower as the sun set and night fell. This is the best night shot I could get. The reflection of the lights in the tower don’t really help. The shot is toward the west (Berliner Dom and Brandenburger Gate)
The tower has a lift. At the top is apparently a rotating restaurant (we didn’t see it, just the sign) and a small bar. There is one observation area in the “ball” part of the tower with windows. Thanks to its central location, you really can see all of Berlin from up there.
Tickets are either come-and-buy and then wait for your turn to go up. The day we were there the wait was an hour and a half. If you buy online (http://tv-turm.de/) there is a Fast View ticket for more money(17Euros at time of writing) that allows you to pick a time and just “walk right in”. You still need to wait for the lift, but means you can plan your visit. This is the option we took. Be aware that the online system opens tickets in several hour chunks and they can fill up or be closed. I would recommend buying tickets in the morning for an afternoon viewing or for a later day. Planning is the center of German society and it shows here.
Was it Worth it?
Yup, totally. I am glad we spent the extra few Euros to get a specific time. It was nice to not have to waste time waiting. I am also really glad we went up for sundown. Berlin is a really interesting city, both historically and currently. Looking down on it from above shows that side of it as well.