The German capital Berlin is always worth a visit. I’m in Berlin several times a year and haven’t been a tourist for a long time. I only do tours sporadically.
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But since I am asked again and again, I have summarized my favorite tours and tips for a trip to Berlin for you here. By bike, by ship, and underground in Berlin’s underworld. Berlin from another side? Here are my tips:
Explore street art in Berlin
You can find them everywhere in Berlin: graffiti, murals, sculptures, or stickers. You can also get the most information as part of a street art tour in Berlin.
There are many well-known and lesser-known backyards where artists have left their wall art. Learn the stories and techniques of these works. You will also learn more about the history of graffiti on the Berlin Wall, which artists are known in Berlin, and much more. I love street art.
→ I have already done several tours and tested different providers. In addition, you can find my detailed report on the Street Art Tour in Berlin with The Hidden Path here.
Sightseeing by bike
I really like discovering cities by bike to get an initial overview. In Berlin, I have already done two tours with Berlin on Bike. Once a nearly 3-hour bike tour along the former wall and once an individual with other bloggers. It went across town.
Berlin on Bike offers various themed bike tours through Berlin. It is also a great way to get to know a city. Furthermore, after much deliberation (Kreuzberg & Spreeufer or Berlin Wall) we decide on the bike tour “Berlin Wall” (link to the tour).
More than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, you have to search for clues to discover the remains of the old border fortifications. This is exactly what we want to discover on the bike.
The tour is approx. 15 km long and leads from the Kulturbrauerei via the place where the wall fell, Bornholmer Straße, to the government district. Some traces of the “anti-fascist protective wall” are visible, while others are not. As our guide stop often, then tells us many stories, including personal ones. Sometimes it’s funny, others all the sadder and also unbelievable. We pass former border crossings, drive through the Mauerpark and make a longer stop at the Bernauer Straße memorial, the only intact section of the Wall with a watchtower and documentation center.
Through the tour on the Wall Cycle Path, not only tourists get to know Berlin from a different side.
We also experienced a special highlight on the Spandau shipping canal: the watchtower of the former Kieler Eck command post and the Günter Litfin memorial. He died on August 24th as the first GDR citizen trying to escape to West Berlin. Litfin was shot in the head while swimming through Humboldt Harbour. In the watchtower itself, there is a permanent exhibition on the situation at the border between 1961 and 1989. With newspaper articles and many private photos. Jürgen Litfin, brother of the deceased, is in charge of the memorial today.
We are lucky: Jürgen Litfin is there and emotionally tells about the events at that time. How he found out that his brother had been shot while trying to escape, that he himself had been arrested, and that he had opened his brother’s coffin by force.
You can tell how much the events of that time still stir him emotionally today. We too are speechless. Litfin willingly answers questions from our fellow cyclists until he politely asks us to leave.
This bike tour on the path steeped in history is an experience that we will also remember for a long time.
Information about the bike tours through Berlin:
- The tours all last around 3.5 – 4 hours and cost between 19 – 22 euros.
- Berlin is relatively flat and accordingly, the tours are not very demanding.
Other bike tours in Berlin that I recommend:
- Street art bike tour through Berlin
- Little time? Discover the highlights in Berlin by bike
- Bike tour through Kreuzberg & Spreeufer
Berlin underworlds – Insights into the underground of Berlin
True and living history is best experienced underground. Furthermore, through the Berlin Underworlds Tour we experienced a fascinating and insightful tour of the world that exists beneath the streets of Berlin:
The 90-minute tour begins at a small, inconspicuous door on Brunnenstrasse. We have to go down a lot of stairs, go through several steel doors and get into a large room – the shelter. This was renovated in the 1980s in case of nuclear war. What shocked us: The system was far too weak and also never safe. In the event of a detonation, the bunker would not have withstood a rocket. If they did, the poor ventilation system would have ensured certain death.
Fortunately, these bunkers were never used
We go through another inconspicuous door directly into the Gesundbrunnen underground station. Hundreds of people walk past the green door every day, unaware that behind it is another 4-storey WWII bunker. Berlin’s underground is full of holes like Swiss cheese!
The atmosphere is futuristic, sterile, and at the same time cramped: thick white walls and equally thick reinforced concrete gates as well as the cold steel fittings cause a queasy feeling. Also, jamming barriers, and large dormitories filled with four-story beds. The fate of the survivors of a nuclear war is brought before your eyes.
All you can hear is the whirring of the ventilation systems – at that time probably still the roar of the bombers in the sky and the dull bangs of the detonations.
The tour shows hospital beds, sanitary facilities, sewage and filter systems, dormitories with bunk beds close together, the fully equipped kitchen and tin cans, bunker uniforms, and remnants from the war (helmets, buttons…).
The other shocking news: This second bunker would have automatically evicted those seeking protection after 14 days. After a nuclear attack, the bunker would only have extended the life of its occupants by 2 weeks and then delivered them to certain death. frightening.
The tour we attended was Tour 1 because Tour M – Wall Breakthroughs was already fully booked that day. Because: There is no presale here, first come, first served. In addition, no card payment – only cash payment is possible!
Information on the Berlin Underworld Tour:
Tickets are sold on the day of the tour at the pavilion next to the entrance to Gesundbrunnen underground station (in front of “Kaufland”, exit → Humboldthain, Brunnenstraße).
Contact: Brunnenstrasse 105; 13355 Berlin-Wedding; Phone: 030 – 49910518; Email: email@example.com
Former listening station on Teufelsberg
If you don’t want to drive alone to Teufelsberg outside of the center, you should visit the former US Army listening station from the Cold War era with this tour. Also, learn all about the exciting history of this building and discover the largest street art gallery in Europe. Every corner is full of graffiti here.
The Teufelsberg is Berlin’s second highest elevation at 120 meters and for me a large area with some ruins and buildings that are just about to decay.
Note: You can no longer explore the former listening station on your own! You must book a tour to access the site. It is guarded and you don’t want to have to move with the guard dog.
Information about the tour
- Duration: About 2 hours
- Book at Get your Guide
- Minivan transfer included
Spree trip by boat
Exploring Berlin from the water isn’t just a “thing” for tourists. When the weather is nice, Berliners also like to go on a boat to take a trip on the Spree.
I can recommend the bridge trip (book here). 23 km on the Spree and the Landwehr Canal. The tour lasts approximately 3.5 hours. In addition, You drive in a large circle through the districts of Charlottenburg, Moabit, Mitte, Friedrichshain, and Kreuzberg. Numerous sights pass you by the government district, chancellery, central station, Reichstag, Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral, and the Nikolaiviertel.
In Kreuzberg, the boats go under the well-known Oberbaum Bridge. You can also see the East Side Gallery and the new creative centers on the opposite bank. In the Landwehr Canal, you walk along magnificent old buildings and many cafés on the shore. The tour is accompanied by a Berlin captain with the typical Berlin snout. It doesn’t get boring.
By the way, I found out that there should be more bridges in Berlin than in Venice! You will cross 63 bridges alone on this tour.
Information about the Spree trip:
- The tour is a “star tour” which means that you can board and – if it takes too long for you – get off at different ship landing stages (like with hop-on hop-off buses).
- Duration: approx. 3-3.5 hours
- Sights you will see on the tour: Moabit, Hansa Bridge, Ministry of the Interior, Bellevue Palace, Victory Column, House of World Cultures, Federal Chancellery, Moltke Bridge, Reichstag Building, Friedrichstrasse Station, Museum Island, Old National Gallery, Berlin Cathedral, TV Tower, Nikolaiviertel, Mühlendammschleuse, Märkisches Museum, East Side Gallery, Oberbaum Bridge, Treptowers, Oberschleuse, Urbanhafen, German Museum of Technology, Potsdamer Platz, State Library, Philharmonie, New National Gallery, Picture Gallery, Shell House, Villa van der Heydt, Bauhaus Archive, Zoo, Unterschleuse, Charlottenburger Tor.
- Entry Fee: Adults: 21 euros, children: 10.50 euros
- Detailed information: Reederei Riedel
View other popular Spree cruises here:
With the Trabi through Berlin
wheel of your own Trabi to explore the German capital in a unique way.
You will pass sights such as Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate. At the end of the tour, you will receive a Trabant driver’s license.
- Tour costs around 49 euros
- Book here at Get your Guide
- Alternative: a cult tour with an old VW Bulli
Jewish Museum Berlin
The museum itself is an architectural masterpiece by Daniel Libeskind. The building has long since become a landmark of Berlin. I wanted to visit the museum for a long time and friends kept telling me that I absolutely had to visit the exhibition.
15 years after opening I’ve finally made it. As a permanent exhibition, the museum itself shows German-Jewish history spanning two millennia. Moreover, from handwritten letters to everyday objects, photos, and furnishings. The museum is lively and not boring at all. Time flies and the stories get under your skin.
Information on the Jewish Museum Berlin:
- Tickets: adults 8 euros, concessions 3 euros.
- Audio guide: I recommend using the audio guide. Very informative so you don’t have to read everything yourself.
- Guided tours: Guided tours take place every Saturday (3 p.m.) and also on Sunday (11 a.m.).
- Opening hours: daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Mondays until 10 p.m.
- Public transport: U1, U6 Hallesches Tor or U6 Kochstraße.
View tips for the best museums in Berlin here
Free sights and tours in Berlin
Border experiences – the everyday life of the German border division in the palace of tears
The free permanent exhibition in the former clearance hall of the border control now serves as an exhibition space. The “Border Experiences” exhibition in the Palace of Tears shows how people used to be checked before they left the country.
Older Berliners tell how they entered East Berlin at Friedrichstrasse station or left from the West. So you can see the control booths, stamps, and removed signs here. Furthermore, As a westerner from the deep south, I really enjoyed the visit.
Festival of Lights
Once a year, Berlin becomes the largest open-air gallery in the world! Then you will understand the most important landmarks, structures, and squares with colorful projections, magical 3D video shows, and impressive light installations.
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