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
Friedrichstraße
A major cultural hub, Friedrichstraße is the perfect street for a leisurely day's shopping.
Topography of Terror
With a plethora of exhibitions, this museum underscores the darker elements of the story of Germany.
Gendarmenmarkt
An aesthetically remarkable square, host to the statue of Germany's famous poet Friedrich Schiller.
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker is where Hitler spent his last days, cowering with his highest commanders whilst the Soviet army slowly approached Berlin.
Jewish Museum Berlin
The Jewish Museum Berlin is one of the largest Jewish Museums in Europe. It opened its doors in 2001 and it showcases the life of the Jewish community from Medieval times to the present.
Deutsches Spionage Museum
The Museum combines an exhibition of espionage artefacts with innovative high-tech multimedia installations.

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On your private tour, you will:

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Explore the very best of Berlin on this full-day private tour of the German Capital including the majestic buildings on Museum Island, the moving memorials to the Holocaust, many haunting reminders of World War 2, as well as the bustling food market near the iconic East Side Gallery commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

On your private tour you will: 

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On your private tour, you will: 

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Explore the beautiful city of Berlin with an expert private guide on this immersive half-day highlights tour of the major sites and a few hidden gems of Germany’s capital. Berlin has a long history dating back to the medieval period; it is a city that has weathered many storms, been humbled, and overcome much tragedy and adversity - especially during the tumultuous 20th century. 

The city commemorates the dark days of the Holocaust and the division between East and West with moving monuments and memorials throughout the city - and your guide will show you the extraordinarily emotional Holocaust Memorial as well as what remains of the infamous Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie.  

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You’ll learn all about Berlin’s incredible journey from medieval times, to becoming the centre of the formidable Prussian empire, its decimation after the First World War, the rise of Hitler, the uncertain years of the Cold War, and the triumphant falling of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

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Your tour ends with a spectacular view from atop the TV Tower Observation deck from where you can admire the city's stunning architecture and skyline.

Berlin for Families with Spy Museum tickets: Private Tour
Explore the highlights of Berlin on this half day family friendly walking tour, learning about the 20th century history of Berlin in a vivid and engaging way. 

On your private, family-friendly tour, you will:

  • Meet your expert local private guide who will introduce the tour to you and your family, outlining all the major places, monuments and stories that you'll discover in Berlin; 
  • Begin at Checkpoint Charlie, the strict Russian checkpoint that separated East and West Berlin that has since become the infamous symbol of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain; 
  • Walk to Gendarmenmarkt, the most beautiful square in Berlin where you'll see the French and German cathedrals, the Berlin Concert Hall and in the centre, a statue of the poet Friedrich Schiller;
  • Head to Bebelplatz, a magnificent square flanked by the Humboldt University, the State Opera and Saint Hedwig's Cathedral, where you will see the plaque commemorating the terrible Nazi book burnings that happened here in 1933; 
  • Visit the Guardhouse where you will enter the Neue Wache Memorial dedicated to all Victims of War & Dictatorship;
  • Stoll up the Unter den Linden Boulevard towards the iconic Brandenburg Gate, symbol of the mighty Prussian Empire, and Pariser Platz;
  • Learn about the history and political significance of the Reichstag Building - part of the German parliament; 
  • Visit the moving memorials to the horrors of World War II including Hitler's last bunker, the remains of the New Reich Chancellery (Hitler's Office) which was destroyed by the Red Army, and the impressive Bundesrat
  • Pay your respects at the sombre and sobering Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • See the memorial to Georg Elser (the man who planted a bomb in Munich to assassinate Hitler but unfortunately failed because Hitler left the room a couple of minutes before the bomb exploded);
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Explore the beautiful German capital city of Berlin with an expert private guide on this immersive family friendly half day tour. You'll learn about Berlin's turbulent century from the humiliation of the Prussian Empire after the First World War, to Hitler's Rise to power, the Holocaust and horrors of World War II, the Iron Curtain dividing East from West during the Cold War years, the toppling of the Berlin Wall, and finally Berlin's emergence as a successful, leading capital city known for its architecture, food, culture, music, art and so much more! 

Berlin confronts its difficult past - with many moving and sombre memorials to the Holocaust and those who perished during the Nazi regime. You and your family will see many of these important memorials on your fascinating tour, from Checkpoint Charlie to the Holocaust Memorial, from the plaque commemorating the book burnings to the remains of Hitler's last bunker, as you also discover modern Berlin. 

Your tour finishes with tickets to the amazing German Spy Museum, in the very heart of Berlin - which was famously known as the city of spies during the Cold War! The museum has amazing interactive displays, a tricky lazer maze, ciphers and passwords to decode, and engaging exhibits that tell the story of espionage dating as far back as the ancient Romans! You will learn the cipher technique invented by Julius Caesar - that is still used by spies today! You'll learn about the secret service methods used by Oliver Cromwell, by Napoleon Bonaparte and by both the English and the Germans during World War I and II - as well as during the Cold War. A wonderful way to bring the past to life for your family! 


  • Please note: while the guide will tailor the stories to be appropriate for age groups, we do note that much of what is covered in this tour may be sensitive for younger children. On the day of the tour, your guide can also reduce the number of stops related to World War 2 and the Cold War, based on your comfort as a parent or guardian. 
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