With an abundance of monuments, museums, and murals, Berlin is a haven for photographers with an urban aesthetic. If this sounds like you, then you might want to add Germany’s capital to your bucket list and start planning a photo itinerary for the books. Read on to discover our top seven most Instagrammable places in Berlin.
Begin your photography tour of the city at Brandenburg Gate, one of the best-known landmarks in the city. With its neoclassical design and central location, the monument looks good from nearly every angle, so don’t be afraid to get creative and snap plenty of photos. Since it is one of the most famous landmarks in Berlin, however, Brandenburg Gate and the square in front tend to be very crowded. Think about arriving early in the morning before the other visitors in order to capture that dreamy morning light.
Now home to the German Parliament, the Reichstag Building had once fallen into disuse in the years between World War II and Germany’s reunification in 1990. Luckily, the building and its famous dome have been beautifully renovated, and is free and open to the public. If you’re a photographer with an eye for clean lines and architecture, you’ll be inspired by the dome’s angular glass sloping walkways. Likewise, you can turn your lens away from the architecture itself and you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the cityscape below!
East Side Gallery
Both beautiful and profound, the East Side Gallery is a collection of murals painted on the remnants of the Berlin Wall. This open-air gallery not only showcases some brilliant art by local German and global artists, but also highlights the continued importance of Berlin’s complicated history. While the most iconic image on the wall is probably Dmitri Vrubel’s My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love, getting a photo in front of it can be tricky because it is so well known. Rather than brave the crowds, you might want to opt for a lesser-known mural or try to capture more than one piece. No matter what you choose to photograph, the East Side Gallery is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Berlin.
Perhaps just as recognizable as the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s cathedral is an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of pre-war Berlin. Located on Museum Island in the heart of the city, the cathedral’s faded green domes are an iconic feature of the skyline and a magnet for photographers. As with other famous landmarks in the city, it’s best to visit at a less-crowded time of day. Come at dawn for a serene image of Berlin just waking up, or stop by at night to capture the ornate facade lit up from below. If you’re still having trouble beating the crowds (or want to visit at a more reasonable hour), try looking for different angles. Once you abandon the straight-on shot, you may be pleasantly surprised by the images you can get of this stunning building (hint: shoot from the bridges!). No bad angles here.
Tiergarten and Victory Column
Situated in the center of the city and within walking distance to landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz, Tiergarten is Berlin’s version of New York’s Central Park. Lush and forested, the park is an ideal break from the city’s bustle, and offers an opportunity to capture the greener side of the capital. Take a stroll through the many available paths, and make your way to Victory Column. Adorned with a golden statue of the goddess of victory, the monument is a photogenic masterpiece in the center of the park. The column itself is architecturally stunning boasts an observation deck offering panoramic views of the surrounding park and the city beyond (if you’re willing to brave the 285 steps to the top!).
One of Berlin’s quirks is its collection of film photobooths, or photoautomats, that are sprinkled throughout the city. You can find them tucked away on street corners and between buildings. With no computer or digital copies, these machines take a timeless black and white photostrip that comes out wet with developing chemicals (for only €2 or $1.12 USD). So grab a friend and plan a day’s itinerary around finding these hidden cameras around the city! If the photostrips aren’t enough of a souvenir, you might want to photograph the actual booths and their retro designs.
House of Small Wonder
It’s no secret that Instagrammers love the whimsical aesthetic inside House of Small Wonder. Hidden near Museum Island in the city center, this cafe features a stunning Instagram-worthy spiral staircase surrounded by hanging plants and reclaimed wood. Snap a photo of the magical scene, then make your way up to the actual cafe where you can get an excellent cup of coffee or a bite to eat (vegan-friendly, too!).
Planning a trip to Berlin? Read about everything you should know about visiting the city.
Header image by Zach Houghton.