Which towering landmark offers the best Berlin viewpoint 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 View” competition, but which one did I rate best?
Which Berlin view gives you the best gym workout?
The iconic 1960s Berlin TV Tower stands at a massive 368 metres, with the indoor observation deck 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.
Which Berlin viewpoint is 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 – of the two – your best Berlin viewpoint for a budget.
Which Berlin view will give you the best photos?
The TV Tower gives full 360-degree urban views of Berlin 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 inside observation deck.
The Victory Tower also offers 360-degree views of Berlin, 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 lookout point to get it! The lower tier viewing platform is a better bet.
Verdict: The views of Berlin from the Victory Tower were 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!
[box type=”info”]I stayed in an Airbnb apartment in Berlin (££ discount off your first Airbnb stay with this link) and used the Lonely Planet Pocket Guide to Berlin for my trip. Help the site by using these links, at no extra cost to you.[/box]
A summary: TV Tower or Victory Tower for the best overall Berlin viewpoint experience?
If you’re after a quintessential Berlin 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 was tricky to beat!