posted on: 7 July, 2021
Find out all about spies, escapes, daring encounters and incredible stories of the Cold War era.
Berlin the world’s most vibrant cultural metropolis attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. Like London or Paris, many head for the honey spots and iconic attractions. But we find Berlin’s more recent Cold War history fascinating and have put together this tailor-made Cold War Berlin weekend break for you.
There’s no city in the world where the history of the Cold War is more visible than in Berlin. The former divided city is where East met West face to face. Find your bearings after arrival which isn’t too hard as Berlin is easy to move around.
We recommend staying at the iconic Hotels in Alexanderplatz, Berlin | Park Inn Berlin Alexanderplatz (radissonhotels.com), the former showcase hotel of the Eastern German administration. This huge tower oversees the soviet style Karl Marx Allee, the pomp boulevard built to house top government officials. In here Western guests were regularly spied on in bugged rooms with hidden cameras.
One of the most daring escapes also took place here when a hotel receptionist spotted his similarity to a Danish tourist visiting Berlin. He then took on his identity trying to cross the border to the West with shaking knees. If captured, he would face life in prison or even the death penalty. But he did it and made his escape to the West!
Book your stay with us from £49 per person.
Head out East to one of the most sombre sites of the Cold War and visit the former headquarters of the Ministry for State Security, Stasimuseum Berlin in der Zentrale des MfS, called the Stasi. It nowadays serves as a memorial and documentation centre of the infamous state police. You get a chilling insight into their total surveillance approach. Memorabilia highlights include former interrogation rooms, prisoner’s cells, hidden infra-red cameras and containers to disguise weapons transport.
Ever since the Eastern Government built the Berlin Wall in 1961 people tried to dig their way out. More than 70 tunnels were found, but only 19 attempts succeeded. For those who failed imprisonment and often death was the penalty. Visit one those escapes tunnels on this fascinating tunnel tour Under the Berlin Wall (berliner-unterwelten.de). Feel the despair and commitment of the tunnel diggers trying to escape from East Berlin. Afterwards we recommend visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial (berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de).
East Side Gallery
See the remains of the Berlin Wall at the famous East Side Gallery. It’s longest still in place stretch of the Wall. Located near Berlin Ost Bahnhof it’s a great to stroll along and admire the famous pieces of street art covering the concrete blocks. Here you also get a real feel of the brute structure the Berlin Wall posed to those who tried climbing over it. Many failed and it is estimated that more than 150 people were killed by the border police during their escape attempts. Take a moment on your Cold War Berlin Weekend Break and remember those who lost their lives.
Palace of Tears
The so-called Palace of Tears en (hdg.de) used to be border crossing between East and West where West Berliners (amongst them many spies) could travel to visit their partners, relatives, and friends in the East. Not the other way around though. Heart-breaking scenarios of farewells were a constant and so this is how this border crossing got its name Palace of Tears. A heart-breaking site which sends a tear to each visitor’s eyes.
The iconic checkpoint between the US to the Soviet controlled sector can’t be amiss on your Cold War Berlin Sightseeing Tour. Nowhere else in the world were the two arch enemies closer to each other. To be honest the site hasn’t been restored well and doesn’t get the attention it should, but it’s still a must see!
The Bridge of Spies
A little further out is the Glienicke Bridge. Brought to the public fame by Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster “The Bridge of Spies” featuring Tom Hanks. During the Cold War, the legendary bridge was used to exchange political prisoners and spies throughout the Cold War. Make the most of your trip and visit the nearby Wannsee, Berlin’s natural beauty spot, full of waterways, islands, and swimming spots.
This tour gives you a good insight about the major spots where you can still feel what Cold War Berlin was like. It’s easily done self-guided. If you want to dig deeper to find out more what life especially in the East, behind the wall was like, we recommend booking a special walking tour.
Talk to us for bookings or if you would like to have your Cold War Berlin sightseeing tailored for you.
For the first-time visitor we however recommend this tour: Tailor Made City Tour of Berlin | ATO Tours (ato-tours.com)
See you in Berlin!
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