The Berlin Photography Guide: The top Photo Spots and Walks


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What are the best locations for street photography in Berlin? The amazing Berlin photo spots? The cool Instagram places in Berlin?

I get these questions quite often, so I decided to write the Berlin photography guide, that I would want to read.

Do you want to do a street photography tour in Berlin or do you need to find the top Berlin photo spots to fill your Instagram? This Berlin photography guide will work for you either way. Here is a list of my favorite photo spots in Berlin arranged in 8 walks.

Do you wish for a guided Berlin photo tour in Berlin? Look no further, book me for a  personal street photography workshop and let me show you the Berlin I love.

After the the street photography walk section, you’ll find further recommendations for top Berlin photo spots like markets, subway stations, museums, parks and more.

Finally I have added some service information for the photography minded reader:

  • Where to buy film in Berlin?
  • How to find photo exhibitions in Berlin?
  • The best photo galleries in Berlin
  • Where can you have photo prints made in Berlin?

Safety: Berlin is a fairly safe city. Contrary to some media reports, there are no “no-go-areas”. Yet as in all big cities there is a certain amount of crime and violence. Much will depend on your street smartness but there are – rarely- acts of random violence. Trust your gut feeling, if it feels unsafe, it probably is. The easiest way to increase your safety, team up, don’t go alone. Safety comes in numbers.

All places are color coded

  • green or no color code: generally safe area – still keep your stuff tight, pickpockets are ubiquitous.
  • orange: still safe but keep you eyes open
  • red: watch your back, be vigilant, particularly at night. teaming up is a good idea.

Before we hit the streets of Berlin, let’s discuss briefly a question get I get asked a lot by visitors from abroad.

Is street photography allowed in Germany?

Is street photography legal in Germany? The short answer is “YES”. Street photography is allowed in Germany. In a recent ruling German supreme court recognized  street photography as an art form. Creating art is a constitutional right. So you are well with your rights to shoot street photography in Germany. There are some caveats which should not be problem:

  • invasion of privacy
  • invasion of intimacy
  • showing people in an undignified or helpless manner

should be avoided.

Yes, street photography is legal in Germany”

When publishing a street photograph things get a bit tricky. People have a right to their own image and may object to the publication. In the end as with all questions of conflicting rights it is for the court to decide. There is your right to express yourself artistically and there is their right to their own image. There reality  is far less dramatic. I do not have a lawyer on a retainer, I have never been sued, actually I never received written complaint.  And I know only one case where this has happened. As a matter of fact I never had any notable problems shooting in the streets of Berlin.

I never had serious problems doing street photography in Berlin.

In my experience respect and friendliness go a long way.

The essential Berlin photography tour: Berlin in one day

This is for you, if you have little time or simply need the Berlin photography basics covered.

Do the Berlin Mitte Walks. The Walks 1, 2 and 6 cover all the standard attraction in Mitte you might want to share with your Instagram followers. Add to this Walk 5 covering the Eastside gallery and the iconic Oberbaumbrücke and you are basically done with Berlin on an Instagram level.

This is also perfect Berlin in one  day photo tour.

Berlin photography Eastside gallery Martin U Waltz
Yep, this is Berlin – Eastside Gallery

The Berlin photography walks

These photo walks show the classical Berlin, a mix of everything. I have added a few off the beaten path tips at the end of the section.

Government District, Mitte

photowalk brandenburg gate Berlin Martin U Waltz Street Photography
The Brandenburg Gate – Beautiful Light at Dawn and Sunset

Walk: Central Station – Washington Platz – along the river Spree direction east – Chancellery – Paul Löbe Haus – Reichstag – Brandenburg Gate 
What to expect: Modern architecture, tourists, travellers and Angela Merkel
Best time: During day time, Brandenburg gate has excellent light at dawn and sunset
Getting there: S-Bahn station “Brandenburger Tor” or S-Bahn station “Hauptbahnhof”

Mitte-Mix

best photo spot berlin tv tower Martin U Waltz
THe TV Tower at Alexanderplatz #thattoweragain on Instagram

Walk: S-Bahn or U-Bahn station Friedrichstrasse – Georgenstrasse – Museum’s island – Hackescher Markt – visit Hackesche Höfe and Haus Schwarzenberg – Neue Schönhauser Strasse – Münzstrasse – Alexanderplatz 
What to expect: A crazy mix, the grungy but busy Friedrichstrasse station and ugly but lively Alexanderplatz, the poetic museum’s island, outdoor Tango dancers, 3rd wave coffee-shops, hipster shopping and anything in between. Outstandingly beautiful walk on summer evenings.
Best time: day time and summer evenings
Getting there: 
S-Bahn / U-Bahn station “Friedrichstrasse” or  “Alexanderplatz”

Prenzlauer Berg

Berlin Photography Prenzlauer Berg Martin U Waltz
Berlin Eberswalder Strasse

Walk: U-Bahn station “Eberswalder Strasse” – Kastanienallee – Oderberger Strasse – Rykestrasse – visit Kulturbrauerei 
What to expect: heavily gentrified neighbourhood, 3rd wave coffee shops, nice bars, clubs restaurants, very busy at night, excellent for night  street photography.
Best time: afternoon, evening and at night
Getting there: U Bahn station “Eberswalder Strasse”

Along the Landwehr Canal, Kreuzberg and Neukölln

street  Photography kottbusser tor berlin Martin U Waltz
Berlin Kottbusser Tor

Walk: Kottbusser Tor – Reichenberger Strasse – Mariannenstrasse– Paul-Lincke Ufer – Maybachufer – Planufer – Admiralsbrücke 
What to expect: Kottbusser Tor is easily the most notorious neighbourhood of Berlin, you will find anything here, drug dealers and drug addicts, Turkish immigrants, party people, artists, alternative lifestylers, tourists etc. Kottbusser Tor is quite active at night with a lot of bars and restaurants being open. As for the walk within some hundred meters the neighborhood changes into nice and gentrified. A lot of well known streetart between Kottbusser Tor and Schlesisches Strasse along Skalitzer Strasse. Summer evenings people hang out at Admiralsbrücke. Great atmosphere. Oranienstrasse (close to Kottbusser Tor) is well worth a visit at night (bars, clubs, restaurants).
Best time: day time and summer evenings
Getting there: U-Bahn station “Kottbusser Tor”

Across the Spree, Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain

Berlin Photography warschauer strasse Martin U Waltz
Below Warschauer Strasse

Walk: U-Bahn station Schlesisches Tor – Oberbaumbrücke – Warschauer Straße– visit Eastside  Gallery– visit Raw area (Warschauer /corner Revaler Strasse) 
What to expect: Easily my favorite walk. Magnificent vistas from Oberbaumbrücke, breath-taking urban ugliness, terrific light at dawn and sunset, busy day and night, the RAW area can be a bit rough, don’t go alone at night.
Best time: Afternoon till night
Getting there: U-Bahn station “Schlesisches Tor” or “Warschauer Strasse”

The new Mitte

Holocaust memorial street photography Berlin Martin U Waltz
Berlin Holocaust Memorial

This walk is meant for those who in Berlin at the central station, if you don’t simply extend walk 6 towards the government district.

Walk: Potsdamer Platz – Leipziger platz – visit Mall of Berlin– Holocaust Memorial 
What to expect: Basically everything you’ll see is built after the unification of Berlin. Modern architecture, offices, shops, shopping centers, restaurants, bars cinemas. completely artificial yet buzzing with people. The Mall of Berlin offers an open gangway on the second floor, which allows for some interesting views. Potsdamer Platz has a huge underground area including an U-Bahn, train and S-Bahn station. The holocaust memorial is well worth a visit for many reasons. Street photography wise it is a challenging but rewarding terrain. Best bring some time and be patient.
Best time: day time and early evenings.
Getting there: U-Bahn / S-Bahn station  “Potsdamer Platz”

West Berlin, Schöneberg – Charlottenburg

Berlin Photography Holocaust Memorial Martin U Waltz
Westberlin – Prosperous but the party is elsewhere

Walk: Wittenbergplatz – Tauentzienstraße – Breitscheidplatz –  Zoo – Kurfürstendamm – Uhlandstraße – Savignyplatz – Knesebeckstraße – Ernst-Reuter-Platz 
What to expect: Modern and not so modern architecture, offices, shopping areas, bars, coffee-shops, restaurants, galleries. Relaxed and laid back. This was the former center of West-Berlin, today it is still going strong but the party is elsewhere.
Best time: Daytime, wonderful light in the evening
Getting there: U-Bahn station ”Wittenbergplatz”, “Zoologischer Garten” or “Ernst-Reuter Platz”

The bad weather tour

Berlin photography and bad weather – what a great combo

Of course, bad weather provides the opportunity for great Berlin photography. Yet, let’s face it: There are deeply unpleasant combinations of “wet, cold, windy and dark” – also known as the Berlin winter. Here are my tips for nasty weather:

Start at  central station. The central station of Berlin is a huge, very modern and open building with lots of glass and steel, always busy always safe. You can literally spend hours here.

Head over to Hamburger Bahnhof former train station turned into a museum of modern art with a great coffee shop inside.

Next stop is Hackescher Markt, walk over to museum’s island and explore Alte Nationalgalerie and Neues Museum, two old school museums that provide great photography opportunities.

If you are still up more, head over to Alexanderplatz and explore the 3 subway stations (U2, U5 and U8) or check out the underground S-Bahn station at Friedrichstrasse.

Berlin photography tips – off the trodden path

Here are some recommendations, if you feel the need to see something a bit of the conventional paths.

  • Neukölln starting with Hermannplatz and follow Sonnenallee. This area is a complete mix, many inhabitants are of Turkish or Arabic origin and the street feeling is overwhelmingly oriental. At the same time this area has become a bit of a Hipster playground with newly opened coffee-shops, bars and restaurants. So beyond Turkish and Arabic, you’ll hear a lot of Spanish, Italian and English…and even the occasional German.
  • Steglitz starting at Rathaus Steglitz and follow Schlossstrasse up north. A traditional middle class West Berlin neighbourhood. No expat hipsters, no craft beer, very few tourists. This area hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years.
  • Brutalist architecture:  Go for Hallesches Tor, Kreuzberg and explore the northern and eastern part.  Kottbusser Tor is close by and has also its fair share of brutalist architecture.
  • Gropiusstadt and Marzahn: Both quarters were built from scratch in the 60ies and 70ies, Gropiusstadt in Westberlin and Marzahn in Eastberlin. Worth a visit, if you are interested in architecture and urban landscape photography.
Berlin Photography Gropiusstadt Martin U Waltz
Berlin Gropiusstadt

More top photo spots in Berlin

Best Markets for street photography in Berlin

  1.  Turkish market 
    When: Tuesday and Friday
    Best time: Early afternoon
    Getting there: U-Bahn Station Schoenleinstrasse
  2. Market at Boxhagener Platz 
    When: Saturday and Sunday
    Best time: late morning
    Getting there: U-Bahn Station Samariterstraße
  3. Winterfeld Market
    When: Saturday
    Best time: late morning
    Getting there: U-Bahn station Nollendorfplatz
  4. Mauerpark
    When: Sunday
    Best time: Early afternoon till sunset
    Getting there: U-Bahn Station Eberswalder Straße
Photography Berlin Mauerpark swing Martin U Waltz
The Swing at Mauerpark

Recommended parks

Berlin Photography Tiergarten Park Martin U Waltz
Berlin Tiergarten
  1. Tiergarten
  2. Volkspark am Friedrichshain
  3. Park am Gleisdreieck
  4. Tempelhof Airfield (former airport)
  5. Volkspark Humboldthain (amazing view over the city on top of former WWII bunker)
  6. Weinbergspark
Berlin Photography Tempelhof Airfield Martin U Waltz
Tempelhof Airfield

Great S-Bahn / U-Bahn stations for street photography

  1. Ostkreuz
  2. Südkreuz
  3. Märkisches Museum
  4. Fehrbelliner Platz
  5. Alexanderplatz
  6. Potsdamer Platz
  7. Central Station
Berlin Photography Ostkreuz Station Martin U Waltz
S-Bahn Station Ostkreuz

Best museums for street photography

Museums are a great place for street photography and a great choice if the weather is ghastly outside. Not all museums in Berlin allow photography. The ones on the list do.

street photography  new Museum berlin Martin U Waltz
Berlin Neues Museum
  1. Neues Museum
  2. Alte Nationalgalerie
  3. Gemäldegalerie
  4. Hamburger Bahnhof

Berlin for photography enthusiasts

Some service information for the photography enthusiast visiting Berlin.

Photography exhibitions in Berlin

There are at any time many photography exhibitions in Berlin. These websites will keep you informed about photo exhibitions in Berlin:

PIB has the best information on all photography related events in Berlin.

photography gallery berlin robert morat Martin U Waltz
At Robert Morat Gallery in Berlin

Best galleries for photography in Berlin

There many places and locations that host photography exhibitions in Berlin.  There is a museum for photography, many commercial photo galleries and quite a few non-profit photo galleries and other spaces for  photography in Berlin. And the best photo galleries is of course a matter of personal choice. Two locations are really outstanding: CO Berlin and the Willy Brandt Haus. Both places combine great architecture with top level photography exhibitions.

Within walking distance to  U / S-Bahn station “Zoologischer Garten” you will find:

There are many more galleries for photography in Berlin and other photography exhibitions locations. These are my favorite places to see photography in Berlin – in in no particular order:

Buying Photobooks in Berlin

There is a nearly endless number of book shops in Berlin. So you will find photo books in many places in Berlin. Yet I feel two places are standing out:

Buchhandlung Walther König, Burgstraße 27, 10178 Berlin, Mitte.
An old school bookshop near museum’s island with a large photobook department.

Bildband Berlin, Immanuelkirchstraße 33, 10405 Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg.
A place purely dedicated to photo books. A photo gallery and a photobook shop. Driven by passion. Excellent selection of books. If you are into photobooks, this is the place to go.

Recommended camera and film shops in Berlin

Photography prints in Berlin

Any drugstore (DM or Rossmann) will do prints in a decent quality. Foto Meyer  offers a one hour service. If you need a high quality print on fine art paper, here are some choices. I had work done at “44 inch printwork”, they did an amazing job: fast, great quality and awesome customer service.

Street Photography Berlin Government District Martin U Waltz
Berlin: Street Photographers are everywhere

Street Photographers in Berlin: Meet the scene

Berlin has a pretty active street photography scene. There are the members Berlin1020 Street Photography Collective. Berlin1020 is the oldest German Street Photography collective and I’m proud to be founding member. There are many more street photographers . Here is a list of my favorite street photographers in Berlin – in no particular order:

  • Giulia Thinnes
  • Christian Reister
  • Paulus Ponizak
  • Guido Steenkamp
  • Efi Logginou
  • Torsten Schumann

You can find more information about these and many more Berlin street photographers in my article on Street Photography in Germany.

I hope you enjoyed this Berlin photography  guide. I would be delighted to hear your feedback. If there is something you would like me to add or if you have comment, please contact me.

Photographer Berlin Martin U Waltz

Martin U Waltz is a photographer, educator and writer in Berlin. His passion is street photography. The streets of Berlin are his preferred hunting ground.

Martin has written and co-authored several books on street photography. He is a passionate photography teacher and offers photography coaching and photography workshops in Berlin.

Martin has won numerous photography awards. His work has been shown in exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Budapest, Bucharest, Dublin and Berlin. 

 

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