Make sure to buy your skip-the-line tickets online before your visit!
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We strongly recommend you book your ticket online, this can save you lots of time. With the Fast View Ticket (20 € in high season) in hand, you just arrive at the chosen time slot, skip the queue for the tickets and another queue for the lifts, proceeding directly. For 23,50€ you can get a Premium Ticket Restaurant, that above the wait-free entry includes the next available window table in the restaurant.
To compare, the ticket on site costs 13,00 € (14€ in high season), but you’ll have to queue for it from 20 minutes (average waiting time in low season) up to an hour and more. The problem is that when you finally buy it, it won’t let you enter immediately, since the visitor number is limited, and you’re supposed to spend an hour or two hanging around and waiting for your turn to use the lifts. Even if you’re not obliged to spend that time at the entrance and you are free to go and explore the surroundings (with the TV Tower SMS service informing you 30 minutes before, of your individually calculated time of access to the tower) that could be really disappointing, especially if your plan was to get to the observation desk at some precise time (like sunset).
We advise going to the TV Tower first thing in the morning and booking your ticket online a couple of days before (this early bird online ticket costs 17,50 € in high season and 15,50 € in low season, and lets you skip the queue), just don’t be late as your entry time will be the opening hour. Not only will you be there when it’s the least crowded, but you’ll also skip the usual queue for the lifts to get down. Another option is to go before the closing time by booking the late night ticket (same prices as the Early Bird ticket), with the entrance after 21:30.
One thing you should definitely consider is the weather: when it’s cloudy or rainy - you won’t be able to see far, and there’s not much sense in going, you’ll be fairly disappointed. On the other hand, a sunny day is perfect for pictures. Of course, good weather attracts bigger crowds, same way as the bad weather reduces your waiting time significantly.
Sunset time is the busiest, but with all the waiting issues you’ll need to arrive well in advance to be at the observation desk on time. All tables in the bar and the restaurant can already be taken, think to reserve a table beforehand, if you plan to have lunch or dinner there.
Avoid scheduling the visit on public holidays, weekends (especially Saturday), school holidays (Christmas Eve and New Years eve tickets are booked way in advance). Wednesday and Thursday are usually the calmest days.
If the queue at the TV Tower doesn’t inspire you, and you don’t have the opportunity to visit it during the quiet hours, you can prefer to replace it with the observation deck at the Kollhoff-Hochaus Tower (located at the Potsdamer Platz): the queue is times shorter, and above all you’ll be able to admire the TV Tower as well from the top!
Other advantages include the fastest elevator in Europe: it will only take 20 seconds to arrive at the top of the Tower. Prices are also cheaper and you can book your ticket on Panoramapunkt’s official website.
Tips for a few days in Berlin
This page will give you many tips to avoid crowds in Berlin as well as crowd schedules for top tourist attractions in order to plan your visits.
Photo credits to Berlin TV Tower
By bus: TXL, M48, 100, 200, 248, N5, N8
By suburban railway (S-Bahn): S5, S7, S75, S9
By underground (U-Bahn): U2, U5, U8
By tram: M4, M5, M6
By local railway (Regionalbahn): RE1, RE2, RE7, RB14