Discovering the historical city of Berlin is on almost every traveler its bucket list, right? Well, it was definitely on mine. But discovering the accessible side of Berlin is something more difficult. That’s why I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about the accessibility of Berlin, right now!
“Many small people, who in many small places do many small things, can alter the face of the world.” – East Side Gallery, Berlin, 1990
After some research on the internet, we found the B&B Hotel in Charlottenburg. They claimed to be wheelchair accessible and offered a family room for 4, perfect. Many hotels claim to be accessible, but I don’t always agree with their thoughts on accessibility. The accessible rooms are on the 7th(!) floor, the highest floor. Well, the view was beautiful, but it was not convenient for fire safety. Clean, spacious, and comfortable are the best words to describe the room. Some things could’ve been better, but it’s a budget hotel for short stays. Looking for a wheelchair accessible hotel in Central Berlin? Check out this hotel room in Berlin!
We had a hard time finding the accessible hotspots of Berlin, but the hotel staff gave us some useful tips. It was quite a shock to find out how many things are not accessible in such a big city. But we found our way and did amazing things in only 2 full days. We didn’t have specific ideas, only Checkpoint Charlie and the Berliner Mauer were a must.
On the first full day, Sunday, we visited the West side of Berlin. It was a rainy day, so we decided (last minute) to do a boat tour. We found out that the Hopp On, Hopp Off company offers accessible tours. We parked the car across the Hauptbahnhof and got on the boat. Approximately once an hour, you can Hopp on an accessible boat. The boat was equipped with a ramp and one wheelchair accessible toilet, accessibility was good enough to make a comfortable trip along several characteristic historic buildings.
After this tour, we just walked around until we’d find something interesting to do. And so we found the DDR (GDR) museum, one of Berlin’s most popular museums about the living conditions in the time of the DDR. The museum is made up of 27 themes, all of which are about the DDR. They all show a different part of daily life and take you on a journey through work, education, and vacation, but also more serious matters such as party ideology, the army, and the Stasi. You will learn everything in just one visit! Now, let me tell you about the accessibility of the museum and around. The entrance is down at the canals, but don’t be afraid. There is a hidden entrance with an elevator, but you have to call the museum for help. My PCA entered for free because ‘those serving the severely disabled’ enter free of charge. And I could enter for a reduced price. They have an accessible wheelchair toilet, so I can definitely tell you the museum is accessible and worth visiting.
One other interesting place we visited was the Berliner Dom, one of the most important cathedrals in Berlin. The cathedral is accessible. There is an intercom system that allows you to notify the duty porter. He will assist you in exploring Berlin Cathedral. If you are in the area, you should really visit the cathedral. Here are five interesting facts about the Berliner Dome;
The next day, Monday, we went to the East side of Berlin. We started with visiting the famous Checkpoint Charlie, a former border crossing station. Checkpoint Charlie was exactly at the border for crossing between the American and the Russian sector. After the fall of the Wall in 1989, Checkpoint Charlie was abolished. It is one of the largest tourist attractions in Berlin.
And of course, we visited the East Side Gallery, which is known as the Berliner Mauer or Berlin Wall. Everyone knows the Berlin Wall from films, history books, or stories. The DDR built this wall around West Berlin so that the inhabitants could no longer flee from the east to the west or vice versa. At the East Side Gallery, you can walk around both sides of the wall. It was very impressive and I loved the graffiti paintings. Every painting has its own (sad) story behind it.
Here are some facts about the Wall, because I love facts and lists;
Berlin has many viewpoints in and around the city, so of course we had to visit one of them. But finding an accessible viewpoint was not as easy as it should have been. With blood, sweat, and tears (ok, maybe not really) we found out that the Panoramapunkt on the Potsdamer Platz is fully accessible. With the fastest elevator in Europe, you can go to the top floor in only 20 seconds (101 meters). There is a café overlooking the west side of Berlin and outside you can enjoy the view around the south, east, and north of Berlin. Make sure you go to the Potsdamer Platz, and not to the Fernsehturm on the Alexanderplatz.