Berlin might just be Europe’s most exciting city right now. It’s filled with creative people pushing the envelope with all sorts of mediums. It’s filled with poignant history, and memories of a past that some of Berlin’s citizens can still remember. That past seems to exist in stark contrast with a modern Berlin that is open-minded, forward thinking, stylish and optimistic. It is also a city that is still changing and seeing that for yourself is a must.
The best way to experience Berlin and its many sides is to get down into the streets with a knowledgeable tour guide. Walking tours are ubiquitous in Berlin and cover many of the most obvious bases, like the Berlin Wall and the Third Reich. Here are some of the best that encounter Berlin’s main sights, as well as exploring the lesser known sides of the city that only a local is likely to know. Here are five of the best tours.
From €14/ per person
For a first-timer to Berlin, one of the best ways to get to grips with the city’s past is on this excellent walking tour. Taking in the major sights like Brandenburg Gate, the Third Reich building and a stretch of the Berlin Wall, your guide will provide context to the landmarks, such as stories from the fall of the wall in 1989, what life was like on either side, and the American vs Soviet standoff around Checkpoint Charlie. Soviet history merges with that of East Berlin, and you’ll get to see the Soviet War Memorial.
From €37/ per person
For anybody who prefers to take a tour in a smaller group, this three-hour walking trip of Berlin will involve a maximum of ten people. The itinerary is liable to change to match the weather and still see the key sights like the incredibly moving Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Checkpoint Charlie and the lively Gendarmenmarkt Square. Pleasant Museum Island, surrounded by the River Spree, is also included in the walk, although the museums themselves are not.
FROM: €12/per person
Many people come to Berlin for the nightlife, with its infamous clubbing scene and numerous bars. This two hour, thirty minute-tour aims to take in the best of night time Berlin and as a result makes it to many places that are often missed out by conventional tours. Starting out at Berliner Dom, the tour the heads to places that come alive at night like Alexanderplatz, Nikolai Square, Karl Marz Allee and Friedrichshain district. This walking tour ends up at the R.A.W. cultural complex, which, with its bars and clubs, is a great spot to segue from the tour to a night out.
From €35/ per person
If there are one or two things you’d really like to see, or you have been to Berlin before and would like the insight of a local guide, this private walking tour of Berlin is a great option. Lasting anywhere between two and six hours, depending on what you wish to see, this tour is about living Berlin the way that locals do, as much as it is about sightseeing. That involves learning about how to navigate the public transport system, knowing where to find the best food, and anything you can think to request of your local guide.
From €15/ per person
One of the biggest sites of interest in Berlin for many visitors remains the Berlin Wall, which became an iconic symbol in its destruction, in the live pictures seen around the world. Some sections of the wall still remain; a terse reminder of what happens when we allow the rhetoric of demagogic rulers guide us. This small-group tour focusses in on the wall, following the remnants and illuminating the real stories of families who were divided by it.