More than two decades after the wall that divided East from West Berlin suddenly fell in 1989, walking the Berlin Wall and its remains are a haunting reminder of an era that is as frightening as it is unbelievable. There are museums and memorials everywhere you turn in a now vibrant yet still rebuilding city. And, being a major tourist draw to Berlin, they are also relatively thronged with sightseers. But you have to put all that aside (especially those who are adverse to crowds or alleged tourist sights) and you have to go see it. All of it. And more. Then go back. Again. You literally can’t soak it all in at once or on one day.

The Gedenkstaette Mauer on Bernauerstrasse (U-Bahn train to Bernauerstrasse Station or the S-Bahn to Nordbahnhof Station) shows the development of a section of wall that literally sliced a neighborhood savagely in two, separating families, lovers and church parishes. You can walk a superbly done memorial to the wall that extends for blocks, reading about the history, gaping in awe at the remaining watchtower and sections of the wall, the cemetery that was dug up, the church that was torn down, the path of underground escape tunnels … all in an attempt to keep the then-East Berliners from trying to flee or even thinking about what was on the other side of the wall.

HITT Tip: When walking the Berlin Wall, go past renowned Checkpoint Charlie, but realize it has become a bit of a tourist circus. The once private, personal and quite insightful museum (it had been a private collection in a home in its early days) is now a gargantuan, over-priced tourist attraction called the Mauer Museum (www.mauermuseum.de).
HITT Product Picks: You have to first get to Berlin, be it via train, plane or automobile, so you need luggage. Go no further than the Eagle Creek Load Warrior, a wheeled duffel that is rugged, yet sleek.

Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary -- walking the Berlin wall along a line of bricks on Berlin city streets.

A line of bricks along Berlin city streets mark where the Berlin Wall once stood and help guide you when walking the Berlin Wall.

Gedenkstaette Mauer Berlin Wall memorial

Looking down on a section of the Gedenkstaette Mauer and a moving memorial to all the horror and fear that was the Berlin Wall.

Heads up! This information on walking the Berlin Wall was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.