The Berlin Cathedral, or in German, Berliner Dom (pronounced like ‘dome’), is a beautiful place to visit and is full of history. Located right downtown on the Spree river, this cathedral is a must see for anyone, regardless of religious affiliation. The cathedral was destroyed in 1940 in an air raid and has since been rebuilt. It is filled with beautiful mosaics, statues, and an impressive organ.
When I visit the Berlin Cathedral, I like to start on the ground floor and walk around at my own pace to see all the mosaics and statues. I have never done a guided tour, but you can reserve those on their website. They also have audio recordings in English and several other languages that you can listen to ask you walk through.
I highly recommend climbing the 270 steps (yes, you read that right!) to the top of the dome. Other than the TV Tower, this is probably one of the best views of Berlin. It takes some time to make the ascent, and it’s not easy. My brother visited us right after he graduated from basic training in the Marines, and even he was out of breath after we climbed all the way to the top! That made me not feel as bad for being so out of breath! Needless to say, you’ll get your exercise for the day.
After you’ve walked through the cathedral, you can visit the Hohenzollern Crypt and see the tombs of old royalty. There’s also a gift shop and a cafe at the end of the walk through the crypt.
When to go: The Berlin Cathedral is open Monday through Saturday from 9am-8pm and Sundays from 12pm-8pm from April-September, and Monday through Saturday from 9am-7pm and Sundays from 12pm-7pm from October through March. The cathedral is closed for touring during church services and other special events.
Admission prices: €7 for entry, €5 for student and other discounted tickets (see their website for discount eligibility); audio guides can be purchased for an additional €3
If you want to get in for free, you can attend a service either on Sunday mornings or a short one during the day (they last about 15 minutes). However, you won’t be able to walk around too much, and I think they usually expect you to leave right after the service. So, if you just want to see the inside of the church and don’t want to go to the top of the dome or down to the crypt, this might be a good option to get you in free.
Music: The Berlin Cathedral hosts some of the most prestigious music ensembles in the world. The cathedral is home to an incredible organ, and it’s not uncommon to stumble upon an organ concert on a Saturday or Sunday evening. My husband and I heard the Brahms Requiem at the cathedral, and it was just phenomenal. The 230-foot dome makes for some excellent acoustics! Check out their calendar to see if there are any concerts during your visit.
How to get there: The Berlin Cathedral is located in downtown Berlin near both Alexanderplatz and Friedrichstraße. The closest S-Bahn station is Hackescher Markt which is a stop on the main east-west lines (S5, S7, S75). From there, it’s only about a 5-minute walk. The buses 100 and 200 stop right outside the cathedral at the Lustgarten stop. If you’re coming from the U-Bahn (subway) lines U2, U5, or U8, you can get off at Alexanderplatz and either walk, take the S-Bahn to Hackescher Markt, or take the bus lines 100 or 200 to Lustgarten and get off there.
In short, with a visit to the Berlin Cathedral, you’ll get some exercise, see some beautiful art and architecture, possibly hear some world-class music, learn a bit about Berlin history, and see the tombs of old royalty. It’s definitely worth a visit!