How to visit the Reichstag for free

reichstag

For a lot of tourists in Berlin their trip to the city is defined by the historical landmarks they visited. You can’t miss out on Brandenburger Tor, the Topography of Terror (despite its kitschy name NOT an escape room), and the East Side Gallery. For advanced tourists a trip to the Reichstag (or Bundestag) is a necessity as well.

The first thing you have to do if you plan on visiting the Bundestag is to make a reservation online. You can line up outside otherwise, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get in. Make sure you reserve a few weeks in advance, and use your passports to fill in everything correctly. There’s a reason a lot of Berlin expats haven’t visited this place: they’re used to casually wandering into places, and this one doesn’t allow it. You can choose to attend a plenary session, do a guided tour, or simply visit the dome.

Regardless of which option you choose, you won’t have to pay anything. That’s right, we’re talking free stuff here.

If you choose the English tour, keep in mind you will get to experience the following live:

  • A security check that can only be described as a truncated version of an airport check.
  • A tour that delays the mention of Hitler until minute 25. (Unless someone in your group drops the H-bomb sooner).
  • A “comedian” tourist using the Q&A to get some cheap laughs. These types of tourists tend to be in their 50s and English.
  • An up close encounter with a very thorough German group. Even if you speak the language, you’ll be happy you skipped this snooze fest to stick with the more dynamic English variant.
  • An ATM in case you’re in dire need of cash
  • Kids being forced to visit the dome, stopping at random spots to take selfies

I was pleasantly surprised by this tour, finding it to be a perfect mix of information and exploration. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Berlin.

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