Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Should you visit the Fernsehturm?

As former Seattlites obsessed with our needle, it's a bit funny that we ended up in another city with a fondness for a futuristic tower.

The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) hardly towers at a mere 368 meters (1,207 feet), but in a city this flat you can see it from most points in Berlin. It is actually the highest point in Germany and much taller than our beloved Space Needle. Its like welcoming an old friend when you look up from a place you've never been and - there she is! - you see the tower. One of the major selling points of our apartment is that you can see the Fernsehturm from our loft bed, living room and front balcony. There are few things I like seeing more in the morning. 

So when our wedding anniversary rolled around a few years ago, we thought it was the perfect moment to get toursity and head up to the top.

It happened to be at the same time of year as the Festival of Lights and while we worried about the lines, we thought the additional lighting would make for a spectacular view. This is what we got:

Hmmm. Far from ideal. I am no expert photographer, but I saw other people struggling with the glass and nighttime reflections. Unlike Seattle's Space Needle, both platforms place you behind the "thermo-insulated glass" and make for difficult conditions for great photography. I've seen other bloggers pics and been impressed so I think nighttime was the primary enemy here.

Exasperated, I put down the camera and we tried to just enjoy the atmosphere. Designed in the 1960s by a forward-thinking GDR government eager to prove their progressive ideas, it is a delightful time warp of nostalgia inside. However, the crowds of modern visitors lack the elegance I think officials were imagining crowding within these disco ball-shaped walls. Loud, drunken conversations in English echo off the tight space from the open bar and there is a lot of the typical pushing found at any popular tourist site.

The primary negative of the whole she-bang has got to be the price. A basic ticket costs €13 and unlike the Space Needle, isn't waived when dining at the restaurant. While not out-and-out ridiculous, we were only able to dawdle around for about a half hour before heading back down, slightly disappointed.

So was it worth it? NO. At least not for us. Touristy in the most unflattering way, I much prefer looking up at the tower than down from it. But perhaps if we'd went during daylight, or had a nicer crowd, or...

Full information on the Tower's times, ticket prices and quirky history on:

Visiting Berlin's TV Tower

What is your opinion? Have you been up? What touristy sight do you find most rewarding?


~ cheryl said...

Remember when we were all going to go up several years ago - now I can cross it off my list! Glad you went - now you can continue to enjoy it from your window every chance you get!!

Tina Bellmanns said...

yes, i think you should visit the fernsehturm and take a glimpse of alexanderplatz, which is an extremely ugly court but full of interesting people, artists and musicians, such as this one, who got discovered there:
and also it is still a very symbolic place to catch some real East-Berlin-nostalgy.... have fun !

K. Ralf said...

You know that the Space Needle has a German connection right? The design of the needle is based off of the design of the Stuttgart Fernsehturm. When it needed pressure washing, it was done my Kärcher. And the architect for the Stuttgart tower also designed the cable bridge in Kennewick!

ebe porter said...

I had no idea about the German connection with Seattle K. Ralf! That is awesome. We always joke that there is no escaping the Germans.

Ava @ My Meena Life said...

We'll be visiting Berlin next month and are trying to figure out what to prioritize... so thanks for sharing your experience!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008