Dark Tourism In Berlin: 12 Macabre, Strange & Interesting Destinations

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Last updated on July 26, 2023 by Wandering our World

Berlin is the bustling capital of Germany, steeped in a rich cultural heritage that spans hundreds of years! As a result, it’s developed a vibrant culture and is home to some of Germany’s most captivating attractions.

However, beneath its surface lies a captivating and unusual world of dark tourism, beckoning those curious about the macabre, the strange, and the intriguing.

With its profound role in World War II and its aftermath, Berlin is an ideal place to immerse oneself in the dark tourism experience and learn from the horrors of the past.

The scars of the war are still visible in the remnants of bunkers, memorials, and historical sites that witness the city’s haunting past. These sites provide a somber reflection on the horrors of war, the resilience of humanity, and the enduring lessons of the past.

Embarking on a dark tourism journey in Berlin unravels a tapestry of stories, inviting contemplation and reflection on the complexities of our shared human experience.

Whether you seek to pay homage to the victims of history or simply yearn for a thought-provoking adventure, Berlin’s dark tourism destinations are sure to captivate and leave an impression.

Aerial view of Berlin skyline with famous TV tower at Alexanderplatz and dramatic cloudscape in twilight during blue hour at dusk, Germany.
iStock.com/bluejayphoto

Dark Tourism: The Macabre, Strange & Interesting Dark Tourism Destinations of Berlin

1. The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a definitive symbol of division and conflict that held a significant place in Berlin’s history.

Born out of the atrocities of World War II and the tension of the Cold War, the concrete wall spanned a whopping 155 kilometers. It was built in 1961 and eventually dismantled in 1989. this imposing barrier both physically and metaphorically separated Berlin and became a world-known representation of the philosophical conflicts of the Cold War

At the time, each side of Berlin saw tales of tragedy and triumph. All immigration had been ground to a halt, and families, friends and partners found themselves separated by a seemingly impenetrable wall. During this time, tens of thousands of people bravely attempted to escape to freedom, many losing their lives.

Nowadays you wouldn’t think that Berlin was once a segregated city. But that’s what makes the Berlin Wall such an important monument today. Berlin, as we know it today, rose from the ashes of a tragic past, and it’s important to remind ourselves of its significance and history.

Besides, who doesn’t like to cringe at the old eccentric political ideologies that shaped our world? We think our governments are bad now! But maybe it’s nothing compared to the 20th century…..

Location: Various Locations.

Tags: Dark History, War Tourism

2. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Germany’s history is brutal, and infamous on a global scale, especially the heinous war crimes perpetrated by the German Nazi party in the early 20th century. Millions lost their lives during the Holocaust, and it’s a story that still shakes the world to its core today.

Of course, Berlin had a significant role to play in one of the darkest chapters of mankind, and remnants of it’s turbulent history can still be found today. The city witnessed the implementation of the Final Solution, the systematic genocide of millions of innocent lives. Berlin became a center for the administration, planning, and implementation of the Holocaust, leaving an indelible mark on its historical landscape.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe stands as a tribute not only to the lives carelessly lost in war and senselessly taken by genocide, but to the heroes that helped put an end to the atrocities of World War II as well.

Admission is free of charge, and you’ll walk amongst giant stone slabs engraved with the names of those who lost their lives during the Holocaust. It’s an experience you’ll never be able to put into words, but one thing is for certain, you don’t understand the sheer capacity at which World War II destroyed humanity, until you see this monument.

Location: Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Tags: Dark History; War Tourism

3. Topography of Terror Museum

The Topography of Terror Museum is a profound journey through the depths of humanity’s darkest chapters.

The museum is situated on the very site that once housed the feared institutions of the Nazi regime—the Gestapo and the SS. Its exhibits, photographs, and historical documents chronicle the horrors and depict the stories of the victims and survivors.

Be warned, we’d highly recommend keeping tissues on hand! The Topography of Terror Museum leaves nothing to the imagination, it’ll surprise but also drag you through depths of emotion as you get a glimpse into the experiences of World War II. Hollywood might portray war as guts and glory, but these exhibits show the dark truth and it’s enough to make your stomach twist.

It sheds light on the depth of human suffering, the magnitude of evil, and the resilience of those affected.

The museum serves as a vital platform for remembrance and education, ensuring that the lessons of the past are never forgotten. You’ll get a deeper understanding of Berlin’s history, and experience the sobering atmosphere of Berlin’s most haunting dark tourism attraction.

Location: Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin, Germany

Tags: Dark History; Disaster Tourism; War Tourism

4. Spreepark

Taking a moment away from Berlin’s tragic history, Spreepark is an adventure for those who enjoy haunting landscapes that are perfectly built for Stephen King novels!

Once a lively and colorful amusement park, Spreepark was abandoned in 2002 thanks to the shady behaviors of its owner.

Surprisingly visitor numbers have peaked since its closure, but not for thrill-seekers itching to climb to monstrous heights on a rollercoaster.

It’s become a hub for urban explorers who don’t shy away from the dark and mysterious depths of mirror houses and gaping clown mouths. In fact, the derelict state of the park is more of an attraction than its hey days! Of course, we don’t blame them, everyone’s got a fascination for the creepy and mysterious, otherwise we wouldn’t subject ourselves to the umpteenth rendition of Halloween!

And while there may not be ghosts or ghouls hanging around this abandoned amusement park, and we don’t recommend pushing you way through the gates, we can’t help but let our imagination run wild!

Location: Kiehnwerderallee 1-3, 12437 Berlin, Germany

Tags: Paranormal; Supernatural; Dark History; Urban Exploration

5. Berlin Underworlds

And speaking of Berlin’s dark sides, let’s not forget the fact that the Berlin Underworlds exist and it’s just as terrifying as they sound!

Like all cities, there’s an intricate underground network of service tunnels and secrets, but thanks to Berlin’s rather intricate role in wars, theirs is slightly more elaborate.

Berlin’s role as one of the key Nazi strongholds during World War II painted a nice red target on the city for the Allied Forces, and as a result, the Third Reich funneled a good chunk of energy into creating bomb shelters throughout the city. A good handful of these shelters still exist to this day, and their years of disuse have given them quite the haunting reputation.

Of course, we don’t blame urban explorers for hyping up these dark, damp and dreary rooms whenever they get the chance to explore them. They’re eerie and creepy, and can make anyone’s imagination run wild! What’s that? A ghost? A Shadow? A giant rat!

The only way to find out is to find a brave enough tour guide to lead you through the remnants of a time where the crash of bombs was as common as your morning alarm.

Location: Various Locations

Tags: Paranormal; Dark History; War Tourism

6. “Story of Berlin” Experience

As you step into the interactive exhibits of the “Story of Berlin” experience, a world of stories unfolds. From the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall to the scars of Germany’s past, the experience paints a vivid picture of the city’s harrowing journey through history.

With its captivating narratives, artefacts, and multimedia displays, the layers of Berlin’s dark history are peeled back, revealing both the shadows and the resilience of its people.

The “Story of Berlin” experience sets the scene for some alternative tourism by inviting visitors to confront the complex emotional turmoil of the city’s past. It will certainly help ignite a feeling of admiration for the city as it stands today. Through the woes and troubles its people faced, Berlin has grown into a pillar of vibrance and culture, in a transformation that’s worth some praise.

It’s a profound and thought-provoking encounter with dark tourism in Berlin, the “Story of Berlin ” experience offers tourists the opportunity to live and breathe the soul-stirring story of Berlin. Oh! And did we forget to mention, this experience takes place in a World War II Nuclear Bunker!

Location: Kurfürstendamm 207-208, 10719 Berlin, Germany

Tags: Dark History; Disaster Tourism; War Tourism

7. Sachsenhausen

The Final Solution was a major point of discussion in the beginning of World War II. It was in 1941 however that the start of the most horrific genocide in human history began.

Concentration camps were created, and people seen as “impure” in the eyes of the evil Nazi Party were transported there in their thousands.

Auschwitz is perhaps the most infamous of these Nazi Concentration camps. But it is one out of a list of many that were scattered across Germany at the time. Sachsenhausen was a concentration camp located in the depths of Berlin at the time, and was no stranger to the inhumane acts of the Nazi Party.

Once the war was ended, and the prisoners freed, the camp became a reminder to the people. You’ll be able to experience, first hand, the abysmal conditions Jewish prisoners faced during World War Il.

Take a tour of the preserved barracks, memorials, and engaging exhibits, and remind yourself how far the world has come.

Location: Tucholskystraße 12, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Tags: Dark History; Disaster Tourism; War Tourism

8. The Museum of Unheard of Things

As modern day adventurers, we love ourselves a good story. It’s not very often we look at ordinary things and let our imagination go wild with the possibilities. However, a visit to the Museum of Unheard of Things does just that.

Each object is displayed artfully by weight, and is associated with a caption that spins an almost unbelievable tale.

Something as simple as a garden fork takes on a whole new meaning in this odd museum of curiosities. It’s a good place to exercise some creativity if you’re that way inclined, and picture the wild and fantastical fables that get assigned to each seemingly boring object. Even research and a letter from Sigmund Freud take on a whole new meaning here.

The concept behind the museum is not to just slap a bunch of arbitrary things on display, but instead hopes to invoke an audience that enjoys taking a break from everyday thought patterns. As their website puts it; “enjoy the possibility that everything could be a little different after all.”. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Location: Crellestraße 5, 10827 Berlin

Tags: Alternative Tourism

9. Cafe Strauss

Berlin, among its many other hidden treasures, is quite well known for its incredible food scene. We happily blame the versatile culture for that. But what about those with a taste for something entirely unusual?

Well, friend, for you, we’d recommend Cafe Strauss. With food so good it’s to die for, so it’s super convenient that this cafe is located inside a cemetery….

That’s right.

You’ll  be dining with a rather lifeless bunch, enjoying the views of sunlight hitting tombstones as you sip your fresh ground coffee.

It was a concept brought about in 2013 by architect Martin Strauss, who thought the setting beneath the arches of the Friedrichswerderscher Friedhof Chapel was a more than fitting place for coffee and cake.

Unsurprisingly, this unusual location is extremely peaceful. After all, we wouldn’t want to wake the dead! But to the locals in the area, a visit to Cafe Strauss is almost like second nature, and by all accounts it’s certainly a hidden treasure worth visiting.

Location: Bergmannstrasse 42, Berlin, Germany

Tags: Macabre, Dark Tourism

10. David Hasselhoff Museum

We hope you’re a fan of Baywatch, because someone in Berlin truly was! What started out as a personal shrine to America’s hunk, the Hoff, has turned into a full blown museum.

Yes, you read that right! Someone decided to take their groupie status to a whole new level and built a public shrine to David Hasselhoff that celebrates everything about the sumptuously tanned Hollywood heartthrob.

It’s the only museum of its kind, other than the one in your aunt’s closet, found in the Circus Hostel and pays homage to one of Berlin’s favorite celebrities.

We can’t blame Berliners for being such devout fans though. After all, David Hasslehoff’s 1989 New Years Eve performance of “Looking for Freedom” at the Berlin Wall has quickly been associated with Germany’s reunification. And that’s more than enough reason to dedicate a museum to the man, hairy-chested wall mural included!

Location: 1A Weinbergsweg, Berlin, Germany

Tags: Alternative Tourism

11. The Samurai Museum

The last thing we’d expect to be writing about when speaking of Berlin is a museum entirely dedicated to Japanese heritage. Namely, we’re speaking of the Samurai Museum. This modern interactive museum explores some of Japan’s most famed warriors in a way you can’t help but love.

Their integrative experience has done away with the traditional tour guide, instead offering you a helping paw in the form of a virtual Kitsune. This shapeshifting fox will lead you through the exhibits, and educate you on the myths, legends and truths surrounding Samurai culture in the past.

From virtual maps, to a grueling demonstration on ancient swordsmithing, you’ll be able to eat your little weeb heart out! This museum is even home to an authentic Japanese theater, and plenty of shows to keep you and your friends occupied, each telling tales from Japanese history and folklore.

In the very least, it’s a two for one special! You came to Berlin hoping to grab a taste of German culture, but found yourself learning all about Japan in the process. That, my friends, is how you seriously budget travel.

Location: Auguststr. 68, 10117 Berlin

Tags: Alternative History

12. Wunderkammer Olbricht

Located at the me Collectors room, this wunderkammer is an obscure collection that certainly helps one remember their mortality.

With a special affiliation for pieces from between the 14th and 18th centuries, we can truly understand why the past generations called it the Dark Ages. The artworks are morbid to say the least!

Of course, this is a joke, and the only reason the walls and exhibits are plastered with skulls and tales of human suffering is because the collector is quite fond of “Memento Mori” paraphernalia.

But that’s not all this collection entails, in fact, its items are split into five categories! From rare natural phenomena to items that defy logic, this small and hidden curiosity is definitely not one to be missed.

We guarantee it will keep you enthralled for hours, and will take you through a more versatile spectrum of emotions than your family gathering on Thanksgiving.

Location: 68 Auguststraße Berlin, 10117 Germany

Tags: Paranormal; Supernatural; Dark History; Disaster Tourism; War Tourism

The Best Dark Tourism Destinations In Berlin: Our Final Thoughts

As you can see, Berlin is an exciting city filled with tragedies and triumphs that have ultimately built a vibrant tourism hub. Whether you prefer the usual sightseeing route, or going off the beaten path, Berlin certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Its turbulent history has made it a site of wonder for history buffs and dark tourism enthusiasts looking to dive into the woes of World War II and the Cold War. And its versatile culture has opened up the door for a whole host of hidden alternative tourism spots.

By embracing dark tourism in Berlin, you can rest assured you’ll leave the city mesmerized and humbled. So what are you waiting for? Berlin’s dark tourism scene awaits! Embrace it, and let this city captivate you beyond the normal means!

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  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.