Berlin is one of the most photographed cities in the world. But the city has many great spots and angles to shoot from other than the Brandenburg Gate and the TV Tower. Here are some of the best.
Above and on Berlin's waterways
There are some 2,100 bridges in Berlin that cross over other roads and the city's extensive waterways. Many are popular spots for taking photographs. One of the most famous is the Oberbaumbrücke. Another is the Elsenbrücke, offering breath-taking panoramic views with the Molecule Men in front and the TV Tower in the background that are particularly impressive at sunset. The sun setting over the city is a popular motif, especially from the Modersohnbrücke. The Ebertbrücke in Berlin's Mitte district is another great spot to shoot the curves of the round Bode Museum at the northern tip of the Museum Island. A steamboat cruise is another great opportunity for plenty of photos, especially for water lovers. You'll get an entirely different perspective on the city on deck and might capture shots that can't be seen from the shore.
Berlin from above
Covering 892 square kilometres, Berlin is Germany's largest city. As you might imagine it's quite a challenge to capture such a massive area on camera, but if you're willing to climb up into the clouds, you'll be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind panorama. Sports enthusiasts might want to climb the bell tower in Berlin's Olympic park and enjoy the special views down on the Olympic Stadium. But Berlin has a few options available for those who go about their photography in a more leisurely way. For example, you can head up to a bar like the Klunkerkranich in trendy Neukölln and enjoy a cold drink as you watch the sun set over the city. Other roof terraces around the city offer even more opportunities for stunning shots from high up.
Classic spots for Berlin pictures from above include:
One of the most famous examples of contemporary architecture in Berlin is the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz. Its nightly illumination and extraordinary roof design encourages amateur and professional photographers to experiment with different settings and perspectives. There are a number of interesting buildings near the Brandenburg Gate. Central Station, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the chancellor's office, and the Reichstag are all within walking distance of each other. Take a tripod along to take photos of the so-called Band des Bundes, the assembly of key government buildings extending over the Spree to the north of the Reichstag. The German capital's also a fine spot for photographs focusing on historic architecture. The Berlin Cathedral, the ensemble of buildings on Gendarmenmarkt, and the numerous palaces in and around Berlin invite photographers to become creative in their photos. To get an overview, click on Architecture.
Nature in Berlin
Berlin's great for more than shots of life in the big city. Besides being Germany's largest city, it is also the country's greenest. Nearly 32 per cent of the city's total area consists of green space, waterways, and forest. Great mood shots of nature reclaiming a former rail yard are on offer at the Schöneberger Südgelände nature park. Other sombre shots of time passing can be taken at the Weißensee Jewish Cemetery, where the gravestones covered with lichens and moss lie hidden away in a dimly lit, ivy-covered scrub and stand as a reminder of a world now lost. Places like the Marienfeld nature park or the Grunewald forest make it easy to forget that you are within the confines of a major world metropolis. With a bit of luck and patience, you might just catch a few shots of the city's fauna in their natural habitat. Another exciting place for photos is the Leise-Park that has been opened on the site of the former cemetery St. Marien-St. Nicolai cemetery. Life has returned among these old gravestones and tombs with the addition of modern and natural play elements for children.
Particularly photogenic spots to catch shots of the city's famous yellow include the bridge at the Eberswalde station and as they pass over the Oberbaumbrücke, the same bridge that Lola ran over in "Run Lola Run". The S-Bahn overpasses and the city's S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations often offer an ambience worth capturing on camera. Some of the most beautiful stations in the city include Heidelberger Platz (U2, U3), Hackescher Markt (S5, S7, S75) and Dahlem-Dorf (U3). A visit to the subway (underpass) under the S-Bahn to the Messe/ICC Berlin with its orange columns is also worthwhile. It's been featured in several music videos, commercials and feature films.
Other special things in Berlin
Guided photography tours If you don't feel 100% confident in your photography skills, then there are individually run photography courses across the city. Professional trainers give participants an introduction to the world of photography and take them through Berlin, training to keep an eye out for special motifs. Providers include go4foto, Fototouren Berlin and go2know. Urban art If you take a closer look, you'll see that Berlin's streets are full of artwork and paintings, from street lamps to building walls. One of the most famous photo opportunities is the East Side Gallery, the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing and now the world's longest open-air gallery, with works by artists from 20 countries. The art changes every day with new graffiti painted on the Wall at Prenzlauer Berg's Mauerpark. And even if you just want to stroll about the city with camera in tow, you're sure to find unusual and creative works of art everywhere you look.
1,500 events every day in Berlin There's always something going in Berlin, but when one of the city's special events is on, there's a truly special atmosphere in the city. Capturing this atmosphere can be a challenge, but a fun one, nonetheless. Some of the most colourful and delightful photos can result from watching people from different nations dancing in the streets during the Carnival of Cultures or Fête de la Musique. A special highlight for photographers is the Festival of Lights that takes place each October. There are light installations against façades all over the city that will unleash days of experimenting with the camera. An overview of all the events taking place in Berlin this year can be found in our Event Calendar.
- We've put together a list of the Top 11 best photo spots in Berlin on our blog.
- If you'd like to receive a daily feed of Berlin shots by different photographers, sign up for the visit_Berlin Instagram feed.
- And if you'd like to discover new corners of Berlin, the Going Local Berlin app, which you can download for free, will help.
Have fun on your photo trip through Berlin!