Berlin photography guide
Our contributors have added 31 photo spots to this Berlin photo guide. Have you discovered an amazing new location in Berlin?
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 of legendary. But in addition to all of that, Berlin also boasts an endless list of photo spots well worth a visit or two.
Like anywhere else in the world, be polite and considerate when photographing people. Ask for permission or at least indicate your intention by raising your camera and maybe your eyebrows.
In general Berlin is a very open-minded city and normally people don’t care being photographed. However, asking for permission is simply a matter of respect and eliminates any kind of misunderstanding right from the beginning.
Berlin is pretty liberal when it comes to restrictions for photographers. That means you can set up your tripod almost anywhere and photograph almost everything (stay away from military grounds though) as long as you do not constrain traffic or disturb anybody else passing by. You can even walk right up to the German Chancellery and set up your tripod and it’s unlikely that anybody (police or security) will bother you.
Photographing in most of the museums and churches is also no problem as long as you do it for private purposes and keep your tripod in your backpack. Sometimes you have to buy an extra photo-permit for a small fee to be allowed to snap some pictures.
In terms of weather, Berlin is usually at its most enjoyable from spring to autumn. The months of July and August can be quite hot but there’s lots of green spaces and lakes around the city to cool off. Obviously most of the interesting tourist spots and famous landmarks are more crowded during summer. If your flexible with your schedule, shoulder season (spring and autumn) might be the perfect time to come to Berlin. The weather is usually nice and it’s not as crowded as in the peak of summer.
The majority of the photo locations listed in this guide can be visited and photographed throughout the whole year.
Most popular Berlin photo spots
If you don’t have enough time to hit all of the locations listed in this guide, concentrate on the very heart of the city. A photo walk, starting at Victory Column and ending on the observation deck of the Park Inn Hotel at Alexanderplatz, takes in some of the most important and photogenic sights like: House of the World’s Cultures, Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Government District, Museum Island, Berlin Cathedral and of course the TV Tower.
The annual Berlin Festival Of Lights takes place every year in October. It lasts for nine days and is every photographer’s playground. Every evening, from 9pm till midnight, numerous landmarks all over Berlin are illuminated by large video projections, designed by different light-artists.
The festival is definitely worth a visit and it can keep you busy for days. No ticket is needed. Just pack some snacks and a bottle of wine and immerse yourself in capturing some of Berlin’s most famous sights in a very unique light.
Generally speaking, Berlin is a quite safe city and tourists and photographers normally won’t face any problems, as longs as they practice common sense. That means, maybe it’s not the best idea to flash your 2000 € camera while walking alone through districts like Kreuzberg, Neukölln or Wedding at night. Always keep your wits about you and you’re unlikely to encounter any problems.
Don’t forget to bring some comfortable shoes. Although the public transport system is quite efficient, you are likely to cover a lot of km walking, while exploring the different neighbourhoods.
And don’t despair in case you forgot sth. at home. It’s highly unlikely you won’t find it in Berlin.
Standard voltage in Germany is 22 V, 50Hz AC. Plugs are the continental type with two round pins. Mobile phones work on GSM 900/1800 and coverage is consistent throughout the city. To avoid high roaming costs, consider purchasing a local SIM card (your phone must be unlocked though). The cheapest and least complicated option is to get a SIM card from a discounter supermarket like ALDI or LIDL.
Publicly accessible WIFI spots are more and more common (e.g in BVG train stations) and almost every café, bar and restaurant offers WIFI for paying guests.
Berlin is fairly easy to navigate. The public transport system is run by the BVG and consists of S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, trams and regional trains. The U-Bahn (subway) runs most frequently, normally from 4am till about 12.30am on weekdays and throughout the night on weekends. It is the go-to mode of transportations to reach most of the major tourist spots in the inner city.
The S-Bahn doesn’t run as frequently (around every 10 minutes for most lines) and the circle-line as well as the lines crossing right through the city (S1, S2, S25, S5, S7, S75) are the most useful for visitors.
Another convenient way to get around, especially during the warmer month, is by bicycle. Get one from your hostel, a rental station or just watch out for bike-sharing stations like Call-a-Bike from the DB or LIDL.
If you want to visit some locations outside of the city centre and don’t feel like relying on public transport, then register for one of the car sharing programs like Car2Go or DriveNow.
Berlin boasts events all year round and a lot of them are creating even more opportunities to take home some unique shots. In winter, the world-famous Christmas Markets that can be found all over the city (with the most photogenic being at Charlottenburg Palace and Gendarmenmarkt) are definitely worth a visit.
Don’t miss out on the Carnival of Cultures, a street parade and music festival, held every year in May.
Especially interesting for photographers is the Festival of Lights (in October) when a lot of Berlin’s most famous landmarks are lit up by large video projections, designed by internationally known light-artists.
The Pyronale (in early September), is a fireworks show taking place annually in the Olympic Stadium. It’s best watched and photographed from Drachenberg.
Berlin Photo Tours
Fabian Pfitzinger Curator
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