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Visiting the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin – 2024 Guide! 

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If there is one attraction you must see in Berlin, it’s the majestic Brandenburg Gate in Pariser Platz. 

It’s an icon of the city that has an incredibly complex history as a Prussian gateway, Napoleon’s prize, a Nazi symbol and a Cold War marker.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Reunification of Germany, it has remained a symbol of peace and unity.

Today, it’s usually filled with tourists snapping selfies or visiting as part of a guided tour. It has a great atmosphere during the day and night. 

There are no excuses not to visit, especially if it’s your first time in the city. This has been on my bucket list for years and I am so happy I finally made it happen. 

So, here is a complete guide to the Brandenburg Tor in Berlin with how to visit, opening hours and things to do nearby!

Brandenburg Gate Berlin

Brandenburg Gate history 

The Brandenburg Gate was ordered to be built by Frederick William II of Prussia between 1788 to 1791.

It was built on the site of a former entry gate to the city that marked the route from Berlin to Brandenburg an der Harvel.

The Neo-classical monument was designed by royal architect Carl Gotthard Langhans and was inspired by the Propylaea in the Athens Acropolis.

Brandenburg Gate Berlin

It was crowned in 1793 by the Quadriga Statue designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow. This features Nike, the goddess of victory, riding a chariot pulled by four horses. 

When Napoleon’s army conquered Berlin in 1806 during the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, the French Emperor ordered the Quadriga to be transported back to Paris as a prize for his victory. 

But, when the Anti-Napoleon alliance defeated the French in the Battle of Paris in 1814, they returned it to its rightful place. 

During WWII, the Brandenburg Gate was used as a Nazi symbol. It was heavily damaged during warfare but the majority of the structure survived.

Quadriga Brandenburg Gate

Why is the Brandenburger Tor so famous?

During the Cold War, Berlin became a city divided by the Berlin Wall which was erected in 1961. This was built to stop people from escaping to the West from East Berlin.

The Brandenburg Gate fell on the Eastern or Soviet side of the wall and blocked access to Westside locals and visitors.

After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, over 100,000 people gathered at the gate for the grand re-opening and to celebrate the reunification of Germany. 

Ever since this wall has grown famous as an important symbol of peace and unity in Germany. 

It’s an iconic landmark in the city and sees countless people visit each year. So, you must pay a visit if you’re visiting Berlin!

Brandenburger Tor Berlin

Can you visit the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin? 

Yes, you can visit the gate and it’s the most popular tourist attraction in all of Berlin. You can even walk under the gate and through the columns which I thought was really cool!

Berlin is a very easy-walking city and you can access Brandenburger Tor easily from Unter den Linden or the Straße des 17. Juni near the Victory Column. 

However, as Berlin is such a large city and attractions are spread out it’s best to use the S-Bahn (overground trains) and U-Bahn (underground trains) to travel around. 

Brandenburger Tor has its very own station named after the gate. You can access it via the U-Bahn U5 line (brown), the S-Bahn S1 line (pink) or the S2, S25 or S26 lines (green). 

If you’re using your phone to navigate, click here for a Google Pin!

Brandenburger Tor Berlin at night

Opening hours and prices 

The amazing thing about the Brandenburg Gate is that it’s open 24 hours a day so you can visit any time you like.

I particularly loved visiting this gate at sunrise before the city woke up as it was so peaceful. There was not a soul around apart from a couple of joggers and drunks who hadn’t made it home from the bars yet.

But, I also found that nighttime was lovely when the gate and Quadriga were lit up against the starry night sky.

Another great thing about visiting this monumental gate is the fact that it’s completely FREE. 

Brandenburg Gate Berlin

Things to do at the Brandenburg Gate

I’m going to be completely honest, there isn’t much to do here when visiting this city gate.

You could probably spend around fifteen minutes here in total and see all it has to offer.

But, there are still quite a few things you can look out for on your visit;

Brandenburg Gate Berlin

Take a picture-perfect photo

Most people visit the Brandenburger Tor to take some beautiful photos and it is the perfect location for a photoshoot. 

The best side of the gate for photos is the one facing the Quadriga statue. If you look through the doric columns you can see the Column of Victory in the distance. 

If you wanted to capture this gate without too many people, I would always recommend visiting early in the morning around sunrise.

Brandenburger Tor Berlin

Quadriga, statues & bas-reliefs 

At the top of the Brandenburg Gate is the famous Quadriga statue.

This depicts Nike, the goddess of victory, in her chariot pulled by four horses. This statue was famously stolen by Napoleon and brought to Paris after he conquered Berlin.

Just below the Quadriga, you can see an expertly carved frieze depicting scenes from Greek Mythology and the Ancient Olympic Games. 

Quadriga Brandenburg Gate

Don’t forget to look in between the columns as you’ll find even more neo-classical bas-relief carvings.

On either end of the main gate, you’ll find smaller ‘temples’. One has a statue of Mars, the God of War and the other is of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. 

Brandenburg Gate carvings
Statue of Mars Brandenburg Gate
Statue of Mars, God of War

Explore Pariser Platz

After you’ve paid a visit to the Brandenburger Tor, it’s worth having a quick wander around the Pariser Platz or Paris Square.

The name was to commemorate a victory of the anti-Napoleon Allies during the War of the Sixth Coalition following the Battle of Paris in 1814.

This monumental win after the Prussian, Austrian and Russian allied forces invaded France meant that Napoleon was forced to abdicate and go into exile ultimately ending the Napoleonic Wars. 

It’s a nice area to explore as you have the American and French embassies (the irony) and the Academy of Arts.

Plus, there are some luxurious hotels, restaurants and cafés around the square if you fancy a break. 

Brandenburg Gate Berlin

See the Brandenburg Gate at night 

Visiting the Brandenburg Gate during the day is nice but visiting the gate in the evening is simply spectacular!

They light up the gate, Quadriga and the buildings next door and it looks so dramatic against the night sky. 

There is always something going on here in the evening like busking and shows. So, the entire area has a lively atmosphere.

Brandenburg Gate at night

When is the best time to visit?

You can visit this city gate at any time of the day or night as it doesn’t close. It’s perfect if you’re on a tight itinerary or you’re fighting some jetlag.

But, I would say the best time to visit would be early in the morning. By midday, Pariser Platz can get extremely crowded and the gate will be swamped with tourists.

I found that any time before 9 am was the best time as there was barely anyone around. So, you can take some nice empty(ish) photos and appreciate this spectacular monument in peace. 

Brandenburg gate at sunrise

Is visiting the Brandenburg Gate worth it? 

As I said before, there are no excuses not to visit if it’s your first time in Berlin. 

It is the landmark of the entire city and something you really can’t miss! She is the main character, she’s an icon, she is the moment. 

There’s not much to do at the gate apart from admire the structure and take some touristy photos but it’s still worth stopping by for a spell. 

There are also some interesting attractions close by like the Reichstag Building and its swirling glass dome. 

The gate is open 24 hours a day and doesn’t cost a single cent to visit either. So, you have nothing to lose!

Brandenburg Gate at night

My top tips for visiting 

Visit early – If you want to take photos of the gate with fewer crowds, I would visit for sunrise as there is no one around aside from a few joggers and the odd partygoer. Saying that there was a walking tour that passed me by at 6 am. Ouch. 

Watch your stuff – This is a popular attraction that draws the crowds but also draws in pickpockets. Keep an eye on your things if it’s a particularly busy day.

Visit the tourist office – there is a visitor information office next to the gate that has lots of information on Berlin. 

Brandenburger Tor Berlin

Looking for more things to do nearby?

If you love history and beautiful buildings, then Berlin has them in abundance! Many are reconstructions due to casualties during WWII. But, they are stunning all the same.

Just near the gate, you can visit the famous Reichstag Building. This is a government building and the seat of the German Bundestag or national parliament.

It’s a classical building but has a modern swirling glass dome on the top. You can book tickets to explore and these are free. Just make sure to book way in advance as tickets sell out weeks ahead of time.

Also, you can stop by the Holocaust Memorial which pays tribute to all the murdered Jews of Europe. 

Reichstag Building Berlin

Take a walk through the Tiergarten to see highlights like the Charlottenburg Tor, Rosengarten, Teehaus im Englischen Garten, Bellevue Palace (home of the German President) and the Victory Column. 

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) is also absolutely stunning on Unter den Linden. It’s surrounded by spectacular buildings on Museumisland and Babelplatz.

You can admire ornate architecture such as the Pergamonmuseum, Berliner Schloss, German Historical Museum, Berlin State Opera and Bode-Museum. 

Berliner Dom Berlin Cathedral
Berliner Dom

If you love feeling like a princess in palaces, you should take a half-day trip to Charlottenburg Palace. 

It’s a Prussian fairytale that was home to Queen Sophie-Charlotte and Frederick the First as well as other Prussian monarchs. 

You can take a stroll around the historic gardens, take a tour of the Old Wing or feel like royalty in the New Wing’s Golden Gallery. 

Berlin Charlottenburg Palace Golden Gallery
Charlottenburg Palace Berlin

Read more of my travel guides about Germany 

How to visit the magical Munich Law Library 

How to visit the hidden gem Justizpalast Munich

The baroque hidden gem of Asamkirche

Discover Nymphenburg Palace in Munich

How to visit Wiblingen Abbey Library 

Is it worth going inside Neuschwanstein Castle

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter

Why you shouldn’t skip Hohenschwangau Castle

Save the Brandenburg Gate Berlin for later! 

How to visit the Brandenburg Gate Berlin