Every day, people line up on the steps of the Reichstag, the German parliament building, in order to visit the famous glass dome on top of the building. From the dome, you get a breathtaking 360-degree view of Berlin: over the tree covered Tiergarten and towards the famous Victory Column. But, especially during peak tourist season, the wait to access the dome can be lengthy. There are countless photos of the line spilling down the Reichstag steps and onto the sidewalks surrounding the building. What if you could skip the line? Well you can. Sort of.
It seems that few people know that if you arrange a free tour of the Bundestag, the German parliament, ahead of time, at the conclusion of your tour you will be given access to the dome and, effectively, cut the line. For some this additional tour might not be of interest.
But with all of the history of the building, the importance and the artwork it houses, it was definitely a must-see and a high point of my trip when I visited.
The Bundestag are very accommodating for the tours and offer a variety of different tours focused, for example, for families, on the art, and on the political history. Plus the tours are given in a variety of foreign (not German) languages.
Because the dome itself isn’t too large, the number of people who have access to it is limited. Until people viewing the dome leave, they don’t allow in any additional visitors. Regardless of whether you access the dome directly or via the tour of the Bundestag, you’ll be given a free audio guide of the dome that lasts twenty minutes.
Who knows, maybe you’ll walk by Chancellor Merkel in the hallways or see Minister Westerwelle or Minister Rösler.
Photo credit: Reichstag © visitBerlin/Scholvien