Berlin is always worth a visit. This city has everything you could possibly wish for. A stirring history, world-class museums, ample inner-city green spaces, high-class restaurants and a nightlife that’s nothing short to legendary. But atop all of that, Berlin also boasts an endless list of photo spots worth a visit or two.
Berlin – Top 10 Photo Spots
10 ideas on where to take great photographs of Germany’s capital Berlin
Photo Spot 1
The Brandenburg Gate / Brandenburger Tor
Ok I know, the first photo spot couldn’t be further away from being an insiders’ tip. Still, no list of photography spots in Berlin would be complete without the Brandenburg Gate. It just is the symbol of Berlin and its history.
Getting a good shot of the Brandenburg Gate is far from easy though. The Pariser Platz right in front is overcrowded day and night. The only way to get a shot without a selfie-stick-swinging crowd of tourists, is taking multiple shots (I’d suggest at least 10 – 15) and then stacking them in photoshop.
Like a lot of other landmarks, the Brandenburg Gate is most photogenic during blue hour. The residual light of the day meshes perfectly with the yellowish light of the artificial illumination. The lights stay on from dusk until the break of dawn.
Photo Spot 2
Since back in the days, when Berlin was still a divided city, Kreuzberg has been Berlin’s most notorious district. Although the omnipresent threat of gentrification had its undeniable influence, Kreuzberg still is the essence of everything Berlin represents. It is rough, it is dirty, it’s loud and unadjusted, restless and creative. Dozens of layers of graffiti and tags still cover facades and doors. Bums and thugs are sharing the sidewalks with hipster and students. In other words, Kreuzberg is every street photographers dream. Just make sure to keep a low profile and a watchful eye on your stuff and don’t flash your expensive camera gear too careless.
Photo Spot 3
Oberbaum Bridge / Oberbaumbrücke
Berlin’s most famous bridge crosses the river Spree and links the districts of Kreuzberg (former West Berlin) and Friedrichshain (former East Berlin). The lower deck of the bridge a roadway, the upper deck carries Berlins subway line 1 (U1).
The best spot to photograph the bridge and a bit of its surroundings, is from the Friedrichshain site. Hit this location is in the late afternoon / early evening during golden hour, when the warm evening light amplifies the red color of the bricks. Stopping down your lens or using a nd-filter enables you to capture the motion of the bright yellow subway, crossing the bridge.
Bring a wide-angle lens if you plan on capturing the bridge from up close like I did. If you prefer a frontal shot, but you don’t have your 600mm lens ready to give it a try from Schillingbrücke (the next bridge up the river Spree) your best bet is going on a boat cruise. Here you can capture the bridge in all its glory from the middle of the river.
Photo Spot 4
Charlottenburg Palace / Schloss Charlottenburg
Berlin largest palace was built at the end of the 17th century and features a multitude of great photo opportunities outside as well as inside. Take a leisurely stroll through the vast baroque style garden before checking out the exotic baroque and rococo decoration of the interior.
Unfortunately this photo spot isn’t free.The entrance fee to Charlottenburg Palace is 10€ + 3€ for a permission to take photos inside. In spite of everything, the use of flash and tripod is not allowed. Unfortunately those rules are pretty strict and I didn’t see any chance to circumvent them since there are guards in every single room. If you’re sneaky, it might be possible to take some quick snapshots with your phone though, but as soon as you wanna take out your dslr, a photo permit is inevitable.
Photo Spot 5
Once a symbol and embodiment of a divided country, then Europe’s largest building site, Potsdamer Platz in the centre of Berlin is nowadays a major tourist draw and one of the cities not-to-miss photo spots. It features some of Berlin’s tallest buildings and is a great place if you wanna immerse yourself in architecture photography.
Check out the observation deck on top of Kollhoff-Tower for some nice sunset shots or set up your tripod underneath the impressive steel roof of the Sony-Centre (designed by star-architect Helmut Jahn).
Photo Spot 6
Just a short walk from Potsdamer Platz, this is one of Berlin’s most beautiful squares. Gendarmenmarkt is always worth a visit, no matter what time of the year. During winter, a lovely Christmas market adds an especially festive atmosphere to the square while in summer free concerts are held in front of the Konzerthaus.
The symmetry of the ensemble, with the Konzerthaus in the centre, and the French and German Cathedral flanking it, makes it a perfect photo spot for shooting a panorama. An exposure time of 13 sec for each of the 15 shots, helped to get rid of the handful of people who passed by.
Photo Spot 7
If you happen to be in Berlin during the month of September, then don’t miss out on the Pyronale. This annual fireworks festival takes place in Berlin’s Olympic stadium. The worlds best pyrotechnicians try to outdo each other with spectacularly choreographed fireworks. And the best thing is, there’s no need to splurge your money on a ticket. Far more popular with spectators and photographers is an awesome observation point close by. Consider joining an ever-growing crowd on the top of Teufelsberg. The hill is not far from the stadium and it offers a superb view of the spectacle. You should try to be there at least two hours early to safe a good spot to set up your tripod. Bring a blanket, some snacks and drinks and enjoy the show.
Photo Spot 8
Parliament and Government District
The area around the Reichstag (German Parliament) features an interesting variety of modern architecture. From the new main train station to the chancellorship and other governmental buildings to the Reichstag with its famous glass dome designed by Norman Foster. Visiting the parliament is free (you just have to register online a few days in advance to book a ticket, valid for a certain time).
Photo Spot 9
Alexanderplatz Observation Deck
The observation deck on the 40th floor (150m above ground) of the Park Inn by Radison Blue Alexanderplatz is certainly the best inner city viewpoint. For a nominal fee of 4€ you can spend as much time at this photo spot as you desire. Tripods are allowed as well. The only downside is, that the current situation has little to do with what is shown on the photos you can find on their homepage. The nice unobstructed view is not exactly close to reality. Now a mesh kind of fence makes it difficult to set up your tripod. You have to fiddle your lens through one of the loops in order to get a clear shot.
However, besides all of that, this photo spot still offers some great views of the capital as well as the best vantage point to photograph Berlin’s tallest landmark, the TV Tower.
Photo Spot 10
Festival of Lights
Rather multiple photo spots scattered all over the inner city than just one. The annual Berlin Festival Of Lights takes place in October, lasts nine days and is a photographer’s playground. Every evening, from 9pm till midnight, multiple landmark buildings all over Berlin are illuminated by large video projections, designed by different light-artists.
Unfortunately during October the sun already sets at 6.30pm and the blue hour ends at 7.00pm. Therefore it’s impossible to get some decent shots during twilight. Nevertheless, the festival is definitely worth a visit and it can keep you busy for days. It goes without saying, that using a tripod is absolutely necessary in order to achieve the best results and avoid blurry shots.
Berlin Photo Spots – Locations
Any questions or comments? Where are your favorite photo spots in Berlin? I’d really like to know what you would recommend so feel free to drop a comment in the box below. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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