Which towering landmark offers the best Berlin panorama experience? I road-tested the Berlin TV Tower (Fernsehturm) and the Victory Tower (Siegessäule) and rated them on: best workout, best bar, best for being on a budget and best photo opportunities. Here’s what I found out …
I love climbing towers. The bring out the big kid in me – those feelings of exhilaration and of not being quite sure what you’ll find when you reach the top.
Fortunately, there are Berlin landmarks that allowed me to fulfil my urge to ascend. Both the Berlin TV Tower and the Victory Tower could be winners in a “Best Berlin Panorama” competition, but which one did I rate best?
Which Berlin panorama gives you the best gym workout?
The iconic 1960s Berlin TV Tower stands at a massive 368 metres, with the viewing platform at 207 metres. Even though I love a challenge of Julie vs Stairs – I was glad there was a lift.
There’s a fair number of spiral stairs to ascend in the 67-metre high Victory Tower; and they’ll certainly give your legs a good workout. Luckily there’s a viewing platform part-way up for a breather.
Verdict: If stairs are your thing, the Victory Tower is a winner for a workout.
The TV Tower has a rather fine bar, serving some wonderful cocktails. Try the Berlini – refreshing! The downside: it’s busy. Put on / adopt a British queuing approach and you’ll get yourself a place at the bar – eventually!
The Victory Tower’s top viewing platform is tiny, but “having a bar” wasn’t an architectural priority for a monument built in the 1870s to commemorate victory in the Danish-Prussian war. Head instead to one of the nearby Tiergarten beer gardens.
Verdict: The Berlin TV tower’s bar wins hand down.
Best for being on a budget?
The TV Tower isn’t cheap, with tickets starting at €13 for adults (about £11/$15). They’re best bought in advance online to skip the queues.
If you want to eat at the TV Tower restaurant – which is a floor above the general viewing platform – book waaaaaaaay ahead.
The Victory Tower is a rather more budget-friendly €3. Though getting to the top means going under your own steam.
Verdict: If cost is your only factor, The Victory Tower is your best for a budget.
Which Berlin panorama is best for photos?
The TV Tower gives a full 360-degree urban Berlin panorama, and you can amble around its circumference to your hearts’ content, snapping away. The only downside is that you may have some glare on your photos, as you’ll be taking pics through the glass of the viewing area.
The Victory Tower also offers a 360-degree Berlin panorama, but this time with the lush greens (season-depending!) of the Tiergarten in the foreground. It’s easier to get a good holiday snap from here, though you may have to elbow someone out of the way on the top viewing platform to get it! The lower tier is a better bet.
Verdict: The panorama from the Berlin Victory Tower was better for me. My photo skills weren’t enough to overcome the glare from the glass in the TV Tower. Pro photographers may do better!
A summary: TV Tower or Victory Tower for the best overall Berlin panorama experience?
If you’re after a quintessential Berlin panorama experience, then the TV Tower is a good option. The fact that cocktails are on hand is just another bonus.
If I returned, though, I’d go back to the Victory Tower. The satisfaction from all that stair-climbing is tricky to beat!