Berlin, Germany’s capital city, is a mix of contemporary and historical, a fusion of green spaces and sharp modern architecture. With dozens of world-class museums, a vibrant art scene, and a huge collection of historic sites, Berlin has a ton to offer visitors. There is simply so much to see and do in this buzzing city!
If you are planning a trip to Berlin, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed deciding where to start exploring the city. There is much more to see than just the Berlin Wall. And even though we love exploring new destinations on our own, sometimes a guided tour is the best way to get the lay of the land or to experience something truly unique.
In Berlin, there is a tour for every taste. From relaxing cruises on the Spree River to driving your own vintage Trabant through the city, the options are as diverse as the city itself! History buffs can tour the iconic glass dome of the Reichstag, see the storied Tempelhof Airport, and experience the Sachsenhausen Memorial. Or for something totally different, try a street art tour where you’ll get to tag an abandoned factory building’s walls with your own graffiti.
If you’re ready to you immerse yourself in this eclectic capital city, then check out our list of the 7 best tours in Berlin.
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How to Book Tours in Berlin
While you will still find travel agents in Berlin, you’ll find that booking for most tours has moved online. GetYourGuide is our go-to for booking tours in Berlin (and all over the world) because you can compare all the tour options in one place and choose the excursion that is just right for you. Plus, GetYourGuide has an excellent cancellation policy in case your holiday plans change.
The 7 Best Tours in Berlin
1. Explore the History of Berlin
Planning a day out in Berlin can be overwhelming – the city is so rich in history with so many impressive sites to explore. On this two-hour Berlin walking tour, you’ll see many of the city’s major highlights and learn about Berlin’s tumultuous history. You will hear tales of what life was like when the Third Reich was in power and during the Cold War that followed.
Your tour starts at the Brandenburg Gate, one of Berlin’s most recognized landmarks. You’ll learn about its 200-year-old history, including how it turned into a symbol of unity. And you’ll learn about key events in Berlin’s history such as the Reichstag Fire of 1933.
Tour highlights also include a visit to the site of Hitler’s former bunker, the huge Ministry of Aviation building, as well as stops where the SS and the Gestapo institutions were located. And you’ll visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a somber place of remembrance for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Your walking tour ends at Checkpoint Charlie, the most famous crossing point between East and West Berlin where a harrowing standoff occurred between US and Soviet tanks in October of 1961. Here, your guide will explain the significance of crossing the Berlin Wall during the Cold War.
This fascinating Berlin walking tour will give you a great introduction to Germany’s capital city. Your well-informed tour guide will point out many of Berlin’s hidden spots you’d be sure to bypass on your own.
2. Zip Around Berlin in a Vintage Trabi
One of the most unique ways to see Berlin is to zip around town in a Trabant. Affectionately known as “Trabi”, these classic cars are one of the most iconic relics from East Germany during the Cold War era. Driving one of these little vintage cars has to be one of the most fun ways to see the top sights in Berlin, and to top it off, you get your very own souvenir Trabant driver’s license at the end!
Your Vintage Trabi tour starts with a short, simple introduction to how to drive the car. Each Trabi is decorated and painted differently and you’ll get the chance to pick a car that speaks to you. You’ll set off around Berlin in a Trabi convoy, which means you don’t have to worry about directions or getting lost. As a bonus, each car will have live commentary from the tour guide – connected via the car radio – so you’ll learn all about the interesting sites as you’re passing by!
The Trabi Safari lasts one hour and fifteen minutes and you’ll love every minute of it. You’ll see Berlin highlights like the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Cathedral, and the Berlin Wall while learning about the history of the capital city via your tour guide’s colorful commentary. If you have time for only one tour in Berlin, do it in a Trabi!
Your Trabi Safari will include the following:
- Rental of a Trabi for 1.5 hours (passengers on the tour must also have a ticket)
- Technical instruction
- Live radio commentary in each car and free gas
- Souvenir Trabi driver’s license for every new driver
- Third-party and vehicle damage insurance in excess of 500 EUR
3. Tag an Abandoned Building with your own Graffiti
One of the coolest tours in Berlin allows you to become a part of the city’s thriving street art scene by creating your own artwork firsthand with the help of local artists. This Berlin street art and graffiti tour is a combination walking tour and hands-on workshop.
During your walking tour, you’ll learn the origins of graffiti in Berlin and the unwritten codes of conduct that apply to street art. You’ll meet local artists in their studios or on the street and see many of the best examples of Berlin’s famous street art.
But the coolest part of your tour comes at the end – a street art workshop in a colorful abandoned factory building. You will receive instructions on various graffiti techniques and add your own bit of urban artwork to the factory walls. You’ll even get to make your street art stencil and create a piece of artwork that you can take home with you as a reminder of this unique Berlin experience.
4. Cruise Along the River Spree
If you’re tired of walking then how about seeing Berlin’s attractions from another perspective – on a relaxing boat ride! During this 2.5-hour cruise down the Spree River, you’ll be treated to views of the city’s major monuments of Berlin’s government district and Museum Island including Bellevue Palace and the Berlin Cathedral.
Your cruise starts from the pier on Friedrichstrasse, the central Berlin street known for its museums, historical landmarks, and shopping centers. Once onboard, you’ll pass the Federal Chancellery, which serves as the office of the German Chancellor as well as the formal Bellevue Palace, the Berliner Dom, and the Victory Column.
This informative cruise is a great way to learn about the German capital and see many of its sights without all of the walking required on other Berlin tours. By the end of your river cruise, you will have a better understanding of the layout of the city and what attractions you’ll want to visit during the rest of your trip to Berlin.
Select an English audio guide when booking and make sure you arrive at the pier early to get a good spot on the top deck!
5. Visit the Reichstag: Berlin’s Architectural Wonder
The Reichstag is one of Berlin’s most recognizable landmarks due to its iconic glass dome. Located at the center of Berlin’s government district, the Reichstag is an impressive, historical building that is home to Germany’s parliament. To visit on your own you’ll need to register online well in advance.
You’ll find it much easier and more enlightening to visit the Reichstag on an informative Reichstag tour. The tour company will arrange permission for you to visit the Reichstag’s beautiful glass dome – you’ll just need to sign up for the tour at least 24 hours in advance.
Your tour will start at the renowned Pariser Platz square for a short walk to the grand Brandenburg Gate. You’ll learn about the functions of all the magnificent buildings that make up the Government Quarter, a mix of modern buildings and others with a long storied history in this once-divided city.
The tour highlight is, of course, a visit to the Reichstag’s glass dome which provides a 360-degree view of the Berlin cityscape. Once inside the futuristic dome, you’ll learn more about the workings of the German Parliament while looking down on the debating chamber of the parliament from above.
This Berlin tour is such a unique experience – nowhere else in the world can you see such stunning city views while history is being made in the chambers below your feet!
6. Take a Bike Tour of all Things Hidden in Berlin
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the present differences between East and West Berlin and get ready to discover how the Neukölln and Kreuzberg boroughs were developed since the fall of the Berlin wall. You’ll learn some amazing stories and see the hidden gems during your bike tour.
On this bike tour, your guide will greet you 30-minutes before the tour starts to outfit you with a bike and helmet for the 3.5-hour-long biking adventure.
The tour will take you to see some of Hitler’s megalomaniac plans and the Tempelhof Airport. Built in 1927, this airport was the oldest operating airport in the world before its closure in 2008. In the 1930s, Templehof was one of the busiest airports in the world and its main building was also at one point one of the largest buildings on earth!
7. Pay your Respects at the Sachsenhausen Memorial
Pay your respects to the fallen and celebrate the survivors on this eye-opening tour of the Sachsenhausen Memorial. Located about an hour away from the capital, this former concentration camp turned memorial is a somber but crucial part of any trip to Berlin.
In the morning, you’ll meet your tour group and take a train ride through the lovely forests of north Berlin before arriving at the former site of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. As you walk through the camp, including the gas chambers and gallows, your tour guide will share both stories of tragedy and victory.
You’ll learn about the brutal history of the grounds and the buildings that were used for prisoners as well as a training center for guards from other concentration camps. Through the guide’s descriptions of the personal accounts, it’s easy to imagine the daily lives of the prisoners. See the cramped quarters where the prisoners slept and hear about the excruciating and cruel work they were forced to carry out.
A visit to the Sachsenhausen Memorial is a solemn day out, but an important part of history and a memorable part of any Berlin itinerary.
We hope you have a wonderful time exploring the beautiful city of Berlin!
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