In pictures

Berlin’s Reichstag dome by night // In pictures

Reichstag dome

Seat of the German Parliament, the Reichstag is one of the most famous and imposing buildings in Berlin. The original version, built in the 1880s, was topped with a stone dome. But that, along with the rest of the building, was damaged by fire and war. When it was restored in the 1960s they left out the dome, but 30 years later architect Sir Norman Foster designed a space-age glass version to top the building. Made of glass and mirrors, it looks like a location from a sci-fi film. Walkways spiral around the edge of the dome and in the centre is an upside-down pyramid which points down into the parliament hall below. It’s all very eco-friendly – the mirrors light up the rooms below and rainwater gets collected at the top. There’s a great view of the city whenever you visit, but at night it looks even more futuristic as it glows in the light.

Views across Berlin from the Reichstag dome
Inside the Reichstag dome
Looking down at the Reichstag
Reichstag dome
Top of the dome
Dome walkways

The details

It’s free to visit the Reichstag dome, but you need you book in advance. You can register at the Bundestag website, where you can choose a date and time. You need to give the full name and date of birth of everyone in your group and take your passports with you. If you don’t want to book online there’s an office on Scheidemannstraße near the Reichstag where you can register in person, but only for slots at least two hours ahead and not more than two days ahead. The dome is normally open daily from 8am to midnight (last admission at 10pm) but is sometimes closed in bad weather or when parliament is sitting.

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  A futuristic construction of glass and mirrors that's straight out of a sci-fi film, the Reichstag dome in Berlin is one of the city's best viewpoints.

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Vlad
    February 26, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    It looks so awesome, I’ll make sure I visit it once I get to Berlin. You’re right, it seems more special at night, as if it’s from a SF movie. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 27, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      It was extra strange at night I think, all the lights and mirrors made it very space age and such a contrast from the traditional building below.

  • Reply
    Francesca (@WorkMomTravels)
    February 26, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Fantastic photos, Lucy! I was captivated by the Reichstag when we visited and I didn’t even think about visiting at night. It looks even more incredible!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks Francesca, I’d like to try it out by day too, I bet the views are great on a sunny day!

  • Reply
    Denise Rawling
    February 26, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    We totally indulged with a brunch at the restaurant at the top. No queues and straight up to the restaurant with visiting the dome after an amazing spread. Don’t eat for a week beforehand. It is not cheap but unlike many monopolies like this, it delivers fully. The dome is a marvel itself, great views and a difficult and painful story well told in the displays.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 27, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      The restaurant looks great so that’s a really good option. We’d left it a bit late to book but it’s one I’ll definitely remember for next time.

  • Reply
    Sam
    February 27, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I’ve been living in Berlin for six months now, and have been visiting frequently for much longer, but I still haven’t visited the Reichstag! Since it’s free, I really have no excuse.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 27, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      You don’t! I always find I am the worst at sightseeing when it’s places near to me though, I still have a big list of things I want to do in London though I lived there for 10 years!

  • Reply
    bevchen
    February 27, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Ooh, this is fabulous! We were only there during the day – and a horrid, cloudy fday at that!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 27, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      We only booked the day before and the weather forecast looked dull too so I thought nighttime would be better as it doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy in the dark!

  • Reply
    Emily Ray
    February 27, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    This was one of my favourite places on my Berlin trip. My photos are nowhere near as beautiful as yours though!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 27, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Emily, I do love some moody night shots, and the whole futuristic design made it really interesting!

  • Reply
    Where's Zoe Now?
    February 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Aaah this is not helping my current “I really want to visit Berlin” obsession! πŸ˜€

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      Haha, sorry about that (though you should definitely go!!).

  • Reply
    Maddie
    February 28, 2015 at 10:16 am

    You’re making me rally want to visit Berlin!! I love architecture where people have the talent to blend old and cutting edge so it looks beautiful, this looks like my sort of building.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Me too, it actually fit together really well too, despite being such a contrast between the old and new sections. I think it was a bit controversial to start with but people have grown to love it!

  • Reply
    msanthea2
    February 28, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Lovely photos…! The significance of the glass dome and mirrors was once explained to me as being symbolic: the government and lawmaking should be transparent to the people, keeping government open. Germany is a very interesting place, and Berlin in particular a great place to visit and you’ve captured the Reichstag interior quite nicely…

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      Thanks, and how interesting to find out about the symbolism behind it. With the glass roof down into the chamber it was a lot more open than any other parliament I’ve seen.

  • Reply
    Uptourist
    March 24, 2015 at 12:58 am

    So beautiful. Who would have thought that it would transform like that at night. I am sure most of us have seen it by day. But the view at night is beautiful.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 26, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      I loved the way it was all lit up – very cleverly done and it did make it look like a totally different place!

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