The city’s westernmost sight shines colorful through the night like a bright beacon: the Berlin Radio Tower. Here is why the steel construction with superb view is worth a visit.
First we need to clear up a few common misunderstandings: No, the Radio Tower is not the same as the TV Tower, yes, they both exist, and no, it is no miniature copy of the Paris Eiffel Tower. Nevertheless, or precisely because of its uniqueness the Radio Tower is a very attractive destination: When taking the 30 second elevator ride to the 126-meter high observation platform you’ll experience one of the capital’s most impressive views. Across Charlottenburg and the Tiergarten to the Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate, and Reichstag, and further to Alexanderplatz, the breathtaking view outreaches the whole of Berlin. Since the Radio Tower is located a little outside of the city core, it is off the beaten tourist track – instead of long queues you’ll find locals sharing the sundown here with you.
The steel construction of 400 tons was built from 1924 on, following the design of architect Heinrich Straumer and it opened in 1926 on the occasion of the 3rd Berlin Radio Show. Bottom to top it measures 147 meters and halfway up there is a fancy restaurant. The tower wrote a chapter in the history of technology when in 1935 the world’s first regular TV program was broadcasted here. After the tower had suffered severe damage during World War II and had been standing on three feet only it was repaired in the fifties and got its restaurant with the Art Nouveau interior and the flair of the roaring twenties back.
When all routes to West Berlin were blockaded by the soviet powers shortly after the end of war, the Radio Tower gained unexpected importance: almost like a lighthouse it showed the “Raisin Bombers” – the planes that ensured the supply via airlift – the way to Tempelhof Airport. Reflecting this, a huge LED light installation covers the steel construction nowadays and the tower shines bright and colorful on the occasion of fairs and events in the neighboring conference center ICC. And even today the Radio Tower still guides the way for travelers: at its feet you find the central bus station, in short: ZOB, from where intercity busses take you to all larger cities in Germany and its neighboring countries for a cheap price. And before your bus leaves you sure have enough time for a quick side-trip to the observation platform and a snack in the restaurant.
You can visit the Radio Tower every day between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. (on Mondays only from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.), a ticket is only 5 € (reduced 2.80€). From Industriepalast Hostel it’s only a 30 minute ride: Simply take the S-Bahn from Warschauer Straße to Westkreuz, and you’re about to enjoy a superb view across the rooftops of Berlin.
Heaps of fun on the Radio Tower,
Blogger at Industriepalast Hostel
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.