Your safety and well-being remains our top priority.View our Safe Travels commitmentX
|||

Checkpoint Charlie

The most famous East and West Berlin crossing point, Checkpoint Charlie unravels years of Cold War tensions.

TravelCurious Tip

Be prepared that a lot of the original structures have been moved or destroyed since 1989; most of the original artefacts from Checkpoint Charlie are actually in the open-air ‘Allied Museum’ in Berlin-Zehlendorf.

Brain drain

Between 1949 and 1961, over 3½ million East Germans, many of them young and well-educated, fled to the West. So ferocious was this brain drain that that Walter Ulbricht, the East German leader, coerced the Soviet union into building a wall between the two powers of East and West. The most popular border crossing between the two became known as Checkpoint Charlie, which separated American and Soviet zones.

Today, on a stroll down Friedrichstraße Checkpoint Charlie comes as a sudden, surprising reminder of the turbulent times the city has faced. Halfway down the popular street in Mitte, the former border crossing is commemorated by a open museum.


Clash of ideals

The name Charlie came from the letter C in the NATO phonetic alphabet, and as the most visible Berlin Wall checkpoint, Checkpoint Charlie has crept into popular culture through its frequent features in spy movies and books.

A famous rendezvous and viewing place for Allied officials, armed forces and visitors alike, the Café Adler is situated right on the checkpoint. It was, and still is, an excellent vantage point from which to look into East Berlin without raising suspicion while having something to eat or drink.

Since communist times, Checkpoint Charlie has become a major tourist attraction. An open-air exhibit was opened during the summer of 2006. Information on the walls of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße inform on escape attempts, its significance during the Cold War, and in particular the confrontation of Soviet and American tanks in 1961 known as the Berlin Wall Crisis.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker is where Hitler spent his last days, cowering with his highest commanders whilst the Soviet army slowly approached Berlin.
Topography of Terror
With a plethora of exhibitions, this museum underscores the darker elements of the story of Germany.
St Hedwig's Cathedral
The seat of the archbishop of Berlin, this cathedral beautifully models the Pantheon in Rome.
Gendarmenmarkt
An aesthetically remarkable square, host to the statue of Germany's famous poet Friedrich Schiller.
Friedrichstraße
A major cultural hub, Friedrichstraße is the perfect street for a leisurely day's shopping.
Jewish Museum Berlin
The Jewish Museum Berlin is one of the largest Jewish Museums in Europe.

Related Tours

Full Day Highlights Tour of Berlin: Old & New Berlin
On this comprehensive full-day highlights tour in Berlin, you will endeavor to uncover the history of this remarkable city, and become better acquainted with its tumultuous past and driving forces that have created the metropolis that you see today. 

  • See the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate and learn about their historical and political significance over the past one hundred years. 
  • Stroll through 17th Street where you will come across the Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s Bunker, Berlin Wall and Topography of Terror Museum
  • Enjoy a long lunch at a local spot recommended by your private guide (price not included).
  • Visit Museum Island where you’ll see some of Germany’s best museums, featuring amazing art and cultural artifacts. 
  • See the old and the new – take a walk through the Jewish Quarter with over 800 years of history and end up at the Fernsehturm, Berlin’s futuristic TV tower.  
Through this tour, you will embark on a journey through time, visiting sites that played a role as Berlin evolved from Royal city through to Imperial capital, cosmopolitan hub to Nazi bastion, and from Cold War division to its contemporary renewal and prosperity. A century of geopolitical struggle, hubris, nemesis and rebirth have marked this fascinating city from the ambitions of the Kaiser to defeats in two World Wars.  You will visit the landmarks that played a role in shaping Berlin's history.
Half Day Highlights Tour of Berlin: World Wars and Modern Culture
Full of historic gems, Berlin is a must visit for anyone wanting to become better acquainted with one of the most vibrant cities in Europe. On this half-day highlights tour, you will have the pleasure of learning about Berlin – from the beginning of the 20th century to modern times. 

  • See one of Berlin’s most iconic buildings – the Reichstag and learn about its historical and political significance over the past one hundred years. 
  • Explore 17th Street where you will come across the Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s Bunker and Berlin Wall
  • Stroll past Potsdamer Platz – Berlin’s most important public square that houses World War II exhibitions and the Topography of Terror Museum. 
  • Visit Checkpoint Charlie – an open-air exhibit illustrating milestones in Cold War history.
Since the late 1800s, Berlin has seen triumphs and defeats. From being a formidable empire to be reckon with in the late 1800s to early 1900s, to being fully decimated after World War I, to the rise of Hitler in the 1930-1940s, to again being virtually destroyed after World War II, to being a city divided during the Cold War and finally with the Berlin Wall coming down in 1989 – it’s suffice to say the past 150 years in Berlin have been dramatic and turbulent. Through this tour, you will experience first hand, the fascinating political history of the German capital.  
Berlin's History for Kids: Learn About The World Wars
On this half-day tour, you and your family are invited to discover Berlin's imperative history in a vivid and engaging way- from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day.

  • Vetted, expert, child-friendly guide tailored to you and your family. 
  • See Berlin's historical sights –  interesting for adults and kids alike. 
  • Visit the iconic  Reichstag and learn about its historical and political significance over the past  hundred years. 
  • Explore 17th Street where you will come across the Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s Bunker and Berlin Wall
  • Stroll past Potsdamer Platz – Berlin’s most important public square that houses World War II exhibitions and the Topography of Terror Museum. 
  • Visit Checkpoint Charlie – an open-air exhibit illustrating milestones in Cold War history.
  • History brought to life with many interesting facts and engaging stories to interest the kids.

Your guide will adapt to what interests you: from specific facts in history, to types of weaponry and the most riveting of war stories to discussions about modern day Berlin. On this private tour, you and your family take centre stage - no large groups. Because of this your tour will much more intimate and rewarding – ask as many or as little questions as you wish and experience history in a way that is completely different to the classroom. After this tour, you and your family will have a good background into the fascinating political history of the German capital.  Not to be missed!

We built this tour because 
it invites the next generation to be well-informed of tragic events across the 20th century.
x

Guides

Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.

Partners

Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.