There are certain must-see sights in every major European city. The Reichstag building may not be as easy to identify as the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben, but this government building is actually one of the most popular attractions in all of Germany, not just the capital of Berlin. The Reichstag building serves an important role in German history as well as contemporary politics. After its construction in the late 1800’s, it housed the German Empire’s parliament until 1933. Following World War II, the building was largely unused until after German reunification and it was refurbished and reopened in 1999. Today, the building is home to the Bundestag, or German federal Parliament. In addition to learning about German government, a visit to Reichstag will reward you with the chance to see a stunning historic building and a rooftop that overlooks Berlin. Read on for a complete guide to Reichstag.
The Reichstag is much more than just a government building. It will also appeal to history lovers, architecture buffs, and even children! There are plenty of activities to do which will give you a greater appreciation of the Reichstag and its importance in Berlin.
Take a guided tour
The most comprehensive way to experience the Reichstag is on a guided tour. This most extensive offering is a 90-minute tour, which covers all aspects of the parliament building, from the functions and workings of the government to the history and architecture of the building. They also offer a family-friendly version of this tour for folks traveling with children aged 6 to 14. For those more interested in the building than the government operations, there is also a tour option that focuses on the art and architecture of the Reichstag. All tours offer an opportunity to visit the building’s crowning glory–its dome.
Visit the dome and roof terrace
Atop the historic facade of the Reichstag sits a modern-looking dome. Construction on the dome was completed in 1999, over a hundred years after the main building was built. The dome is surrounded by a rooftop terrace, which has one of the best views of Berlin. It is open from early morning all the way to midnight so you can take in the city’s splendor under the sun or the stars. You can also pick up an audio guide which will explain the Reichstag, the surrounding buildings, and the government work that happens inside.
Listen to a plenary session
Political and government buffs will love the opportunity to sit in on a live plenary session of the German Bundestag! For about an hour you can watch as government members debate and discuss issues. Be aware that the sessions only take place in German and there are no translators.
What to eat
Make a day of your visit to the Reichstag by dining at the rooftop restaurant, Käfer. This unique eatery sits in the shadow of the dome and offers stunning views of surrounding Berlin. It is also the only restaurant located in a parliament building in the world! Käfer honors this distinction by serving contemporary German dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, tea and cake, and dinner so you can visit whenever you happen to be up on the roof terrace.
Visiting the dome
It is highly recommended that you book visits to the dome and roof terrace ahead of time, though admission is free. If you have not booked ahead of time, you can go to Visitor Services and if there are any spots left that day, they will book your visit at least two hours later.
Booking a guided tour
Guided tours must be booked ahead of your visit and are limited to 25 participants. Note that tours are only held when Parliament is not sitting.
Booking a plenary visit
Plenary session visits must be booked well in advance and space is limited. These visits are only available when Parliament is in session.
Almost all of the Reichstag is wheelchair accessible. There are entrance ramps at the building’s exterior and elevators inside, including one up to the rooftop. Loaner wheelchairs are available upon arrival.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to the Reichstag is using public transit. There is a bus stop right outside the building where the 100 bus route stops. Within walking distance are also two U-Bahn stations: Bundestag and Brandenburger Tor.
There are several public parking lots near the Reichstag. One is located in the Großer Tiergarten park, the other is located off of Behrenstraße street. Both are within walking distance.
Taxi or rideshare
Public transportation in Berlin is excellent, but if you are running late to your visit to the Reichstag you might want to use a rideshare service. Uber, MyTaxi, BlaBlaCar, and WunderCar are all popular apps for hailing a ride.
Address: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, Germany
Official website: Reichstag
Tourism board: Berlin tourism board
Opening hours: 8am - 12am (daily)
Berlin Reichstag and Glass Dome Private Tour
Duration: 1.5 hour
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