The Reichstag Building, originally opened in 1984 after Germany's first unification, houses the German Bundestag, the federal parliament of the German Republic.
It housed the German Parliament until 1933 when a fire gutted most of the building. In a terrifying move, parliament was then dissolved by Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party.
The building was also severely damaged in the Second World War. Following the reunification of Germany in the 1990s, it was renovated under the leadership of British architect Sir Norman Foster.
I and many of my fellow Germans find the Reichstag a symbol of German Unity.
In fact, one of my greatest memories of the building comes from 1995 when the artist Christo, who had defected from communist Bulgaria in 1957, and his wife and fellow artist Jeanne-Claude, wrapped the building in aluminum fabric.
It was for Christo an illustration of the end of one era and the beginning of another, a powerful message to Germans and the rest of the world that a united Germany had arisen anew.
This post is a guide to visiting this monumental building, the Reichstag, including how to get there, how to get tickets, information on tours, and much more.
- Plan Your Visit
- How to get Dome Tickets
- Guided Tours + Lectures
- Skip the Line Tours
- Nearby Attractions
- Tips From Locals and Travelers
In this section, we provide directions to the Reichstag and tell you about the dome and terrace.
We also list the hours for 2024, give you the best time to visit, and review audio guides.
The Reichstag Building is located on the western end of Berlin's city center, just south of Hauptbahnhof and just north of Tiergarten and the Brandenburg Gate.
Use this Google map to get exact directions from your departure point.
The closest public transportation hubs are U5-station Bundestag, the S-Bahn station Brandenburger Tor, or the 100 bus to the Reichstag/Bundestag stop.
Tip: If you are new to Berlin transportation see our post tips on public transportation in Berlin.
Also, if you are considering a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket, then know that all companies have a stop right at the entrance to the Reichstag.
The Dome and Terrace
The dome and rooftop terrace of the Reichstag building are designed to offer a spectacular 360-degree view of the city as well as a unique bird’s eye view of the plenary chamber down below.
Its energy-efficient structure also funnels natural light via numerous mirrors as well as fresh air into the parliamentary chamber.
The Dome is open from 8 a.m. to midnight. The last admission to the Dome is at 20:00 (10 pm).
Note: Admission slots are every quarter of the hour, ex: 8:00, 8:15, 8:30, 8:45, etc.).
The Dome is open most days of the year aside from the following dates in 2024:
- 15 - 19 April
- 8 - 19 July
- 22 - 26 July
- 21 - 25 October
- 28 October - 1 November
- 24 - 31 December
On the dates when the dome is closed, you can still enjoy views from the roof terrace.
Dates of closure change every year, so be sure to check their website to know about closed dates.
Best Days to Visit
The best days to visit are when the weather is good. You'll want the best view you can get!
Also, try to go on weekdays. Weekends and holidays are peak times and it can get quite crowded and you will have to plan in some extra waiting time.
Nighttime is also relatively uncrowded. In fact, visiting the Reichstag is one of the top 10 things to do at night in Berlin.
Not only will you be able to get a nice view of Berlin and its surroundings, but the 20-minute GPS-enabled audio guide will tell you what you are looking at while you circle the 230 meters up and down the dome.
You can pick up the free audio guides on the roof terrace.
It comes in 11 languages: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Dutch, and Chinese.
HOW TO GET TICKETS TO THE REICHSTAG DOME
First, the good news: It is free to go up and inside the dome of the Reichstag Building!
BUT - you will need to pre-register before you visit.
You can try one of these five ways to register/get tickets:
- advanced online registration on the Budestag website
- same-day tickets through the Visitor Service Center
- reservation of a table at the restaurant on the terrace
- through a tourist attraction pass*
- as part of a guided tour (this last one isn't always free)
We include more detail about them below.
*Regarding the tourist attraction pass, there are a few and we compare them in our detailed post, Berlin Pass vs Welcome Card vs City Tour Card?
Tip: To save more money during your time in Berlin, you might consider a tourist discount pass.
The fastest and easiest way to register is online with the visitors' service on the Bundestag website.
You will need the first names, last names, and birthdays of everybody who joins you, as well as your email address.
Reservations time slots for the terrace and dome are every 15 minutes from 08:00 to 21:30 (9:30 pm).
You can request up to 3 dates and times. Priority will be given to your first choice. If that time is not available, your 2nd and 3rd-time choices will be considered.
Bring your booking confirmation and your government-issued ID and be prepared to go through a security check.
Note: Requests to visit the glass dome can only be submitted for the current month and the following month.
You can register in person at the Service Center near the Reichstag building on the south side of Scheidemannstraße.
Note that the "danger" of the same-day option is that it doesn't guarantee that there will be any free places available when you want to visit.
Service Center Hours | Monday-Friday
- Winter | 1 November - 31 March | 8.00 am - 18.00 (6 pm)
- Summer | 1 April - 31 October | 8.00 am - 20.00 (8 pm)
Note that the Service Center closes at 14.00 (2 pm) on Tuesdays when Parliament is in session. You can check those dates here.
Service Center Hours | Saturday-Sunday
- All Year | 10.00 am - 19.00 (7 pm)
If there are, tickets have to be issued a minimum of 2 hours ahead and only a maximum of 2 days before your visit.
For that reason, we highly recommend you reserve in advance.
Make a Reservation at Käfer, the Rooftop Restaurant
Another alternative is to make a reservation at Käfer, the restaurant located on the terrace at the top of the Reichstag Building.
All reservations include access to the dome and terrace, and you can make reservations for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- 9.00 - 17.00 (5 pm)
- 19.00 (7 pm) to midnight
This is by no means a budget option as the restaurant is quite expensive, but the food is delicious and it’s hard to beat the views.
The same rules apply here as with a reservation for the dome only. The full name and dates of birth of all guests must be given, and must reservations be made at least 48 hours before your desired date.
You will also need a government-issued photo ID to enter. Book directly through the restaurant.
There are also guided tours and lectures that you could join that include tickets to the dome and terrace following the conclusion of the tour.
Various free 90-minute tours are available when the German Parliament is not in session. You can book them directly from the Bundestag website.
They are offered in a number of European languages, with each language offered on certain days and times.
Most guided tours take you on a walk through the more official sections of the building, including several staterooms, and a memorial to members of the Reichstag incarcerated and murdered by the Nazi party.
Most tours even include a stop at a section of the building with graffiti from Soviet Soldiers after its capture, which has been preserved for posterity.
The tour also briefly visits the plenary chamber, where the public debates of the parliament take place.
When you book your tickets you will have the option to book a tour along with a visit to the Dome afterward.
The Following Guided Tour can be had in Danish, English, French, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish
These tours can be held for groups with a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 25 participants.
- Tour of Reichstag Building
- Daily at 9.00 hrs, 10.30 hrs, 12.00 hrs, 13.30 hrs, 17.00 hrs, 18.30 hrs an 20.00 hrs (deviations possible on weekends).
- No tours are held on the following public holidays:
- 7 April (Good Friday),
- 9 April (Easter Sunday),
- 19 November (Day of National Mourning),
- 23 to 26 December (Christmas) and
- 31 December (New Year’s Eve).
The Following Guided Tours are in German and Include a Visit to the Dome
- Tour of Reichstag Building
- Daily at 9.00 hrs, 10.30 hrs, 12.00 hrs, 13.30 hrs, 15.30 hrs, 17.00 hrs, 18.30 hrs, 20.00 hrs
- Deviations are possible on weekends
- Tour of the Reichstag Building for families (tailored for children aged six to 14)
- Saturdays at 10.00 hrs, 12.30 hrs, and 14.30
- Sundays and certain public holidays at 10.00 hrs and 12.30 hrs
- Art and Architecture Tours of the Reichstag Building
- Saturdays, Sundays, and certain public holidays at 11.30 hrs
- Art and Architecture Tours of the Paul Löbe Building or the Jakob Kaiser Building
- Saturdays, Sundays, and on certain public holidays at 14.00 hrs and 16.00 hrs
This is also the option to attend a lecture held in the visitors’ gallery overlooking the plenary chamber
followed by a visit to the dome.
The lectures are 45-minute talks from the visitor’s gallery in the plenary chamber.
Note that lectures in English only take place on Tuesdays at 11:00 am and only when the parliament is not in session.
During the lectures, you will learn about how the German parliament is made up, how it operates, as well as other interesting facts about the legislative body.
For all of the options run by the Bundestag, then visit the Bundestag's website.
SKIP THE LINE TOURS | NO RESERVATIONS
If you want the ability to skip the line, you can opt to take a tour with a private company.
Some also include tours inside the Reichstag building while others include tours of the government quarter and then drop you off at the security entrance for your self-guided tour inside the dome.
Tickets for some of these tours are as low as €14 per person, so it’s much cheaper than booking a table at the rooftop restaurant.
Do note that most of these tours are in German. Some offer English days or you may find that they offer English as an audio option.
There are too many guided tours to list. You can see the full list here.
Here are some of the tours (or tickets) that will save you time when visiting the Dome.
- Berlin: Rooftop Breakfast at Käfer Restaurant (Affiliate Disclosure)
- Berlin: Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag Dome Tour (Affiliate Disclosure)
- Berlin WelcomeCard all-inclusive Skip the Line Dome
To find out about Berlin tourist passes such as the Berlin City Pass, the Berlin Welcome Card, and several others, be sure to check out our post, Berlin Pass vs Welcome Card vs City Tour Card.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS AND LANDMARKS
Spree River cruise departures are just 10-minute walk from the Reichstag.
Walk northwestwards from the Reichstag towards the main train station (do you see the red DB sign?) to the River Spree.
The boat cruises depart near the Moltkebrücke, the reddish bridge.
Click here for more information on these boat tours.
The Reichstag's central location means that there are numerous hotels in the area that would give you easy access to other popular Berlin sites.
You can view the top-rated hotels according to TripAdvisor to see if any suit your needs or budget.
TIPS FROM LOCALS AND TRAVELERS
While we've done our best to provide all the information you'll need to understand tipping in the UK, you might have specific questions of your own you need help with.
Thankfully, our Berlin Travel Tips group on Facebook is the perfect place to look for those answers. With close to 40,000 members, there's always someone willing to provide help.
Here are a few examples of interesting and helpful tips provided by members of our group:
- This reader was asking whether it's necessary to reserve Reichstag tickets ahead of time. As mentioned above, the answer is yes! (Note that the Pergamon is closed for renovation, but there is a temporary site nearby called Panorama that is sure to be fascinating as well).
2. Note regarding Reichstag confirmation emails for those who order on the website: check your spam filter if you don't see one. Once you move it into your inbox you can translate it through a link.
3. Another reader was wondering when the best time to visit the Reichstag is. Members give her their suggestions below.
4. This first-time visitor to Berlin posted some of the things that worked well and didn't on his trip. He mentioned the trouble booking tickets ahead of time but being able to use the Service Center to get in later.
5. The post mentions the trip from the airport. You might find out post Berlin Bradenberg Airport to Berlin Centre helpful.
For even more information about the Reichstag, or about anything at all in the Berlin area, please feel free to ask for advice on the Free Tours By Foot Berlin Travel Tips Facebook page.