Berlin, Germany’s capital, dates to the 13th century. Reminders of the city’s turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall’s graffitied remains. Divided during the Cold War, its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of reunification.
The city’s also known for its art scene and modern landmarks like the gold-colored, swoop-roofed Berliner Philharmonie, built in 1963.
The Tiergarten district, near the Brandenburg Gate, houses a massive park and the 19th-century Reichstag, Germany’s parliament. Museum Island, in the Spree River, features the Neues Museum, with its comprehensive Egyptian collection.
Its Pergamon Museum’s archaeological masterpieces include Greek, Roman and Islamic works. Nightlife ranges from Mitte quarter’s hip restaurants and bars to the cavernous techno clubs in the city’s industrial neighborhoods. Shopping includes high-end boutiques along Kurfürstendamm, department stores on bustling Friedrichstraße and vintage shops in bohemian Kreuzberg.
As the capital of Germany, Berlin has survived through the Second World War and Cold War to become one of the most international and tolerant cities in the world. The city is known as a hub for alternative culture, with graffiti adorned streets around every corner and world-class techno clubs.
A great way to navigate this vibrant and multicultural metropolis is by taking a guided tour. Whether your interests lie in history, culture, or nightlife, there is a great variety of options available across Berlin.
These are the best tours you can take in Berlin.
1. Berlin Red Metropolis Walking Tour
This is a great tour for those interested in the history of Berlin during the Cold War. You will be taken to important monuments and sights in the area of former East Berlin.
The knowledgeable tour guide will take you through the history of the area from the final battle of the Second World War right through to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
You will be able to see the communist style architecture that remains in the city and learns about the lasting impact the divide has had on life in Berlin. The tour finishes at the largest anti-fascist monument in the world.
2. Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag Dome Foreign Language Tour
This is a short tour that takes you to two of the most enduring symbols of Berlin – the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag.
You will get the chance to head straight to the Reichstag Dome where you can enjoy sweeping views over the city of Berlin. A licensed tour guide is provided for you to learn about the history of the Reichstag and get to the heart of German politics.
This tour is provided in a variety of languages, however, will only run if at least six people attend the tour. If you are visiting as a smaller group, your best chances are English, French, or Spanish tours.
3. Sachsenhausen Memorial Walking Tour
As the site of one of the worst atrocities in human history, the Sachsenhausen Memorial is a humbling experience located in a former concentration camp.
This tour gives you the chance to learn about the Holocaust and gain an insight into the daily lives of the people who suffered most under the Nazi regime.
At six-hours long, you will be given plenty of information and opportunities to understand the events that led up to the Holocaust and how it ended.
This tour is fully guided and includes a short train ride through the forests of Northern Berlin.
4. Berlin Free Walking Tour with Booking Fee
Free walking tours are a great way to get your bearings in a new city. This 2.5-hour tour will take you to all of the most popular sights in the city including the Brandenburg Gate, TV Tower, and River Spree.
Despite being quite a short tour, your knowledgeable guide will give you plenty of information about the basics of German history and the vast culture of Berlin.
Though this is a free walking tour, guests are encouraged to tip their guide at the end of the tour based on what price they think is suitable.
A small booking fee is required to book online, however, this does guarantee you a place on the tour which has limited guest numbers.
5. 1-Hour City Tour by Boat with Guaranteed Seating
For a more relaxed tour, you can opt to take a boat down the River Spree from Friedrichstraße to Nikolaiviertel.
You will get to see some of Berlin’s most famous attractions, including the Reichstag and Berlin Cathedral. At only an hour long, this is a great option to learn more about the city whilst also taking a short break from the city’s hustle and bustle.
A live guide is provided in German, and speakers of other languages (including English) will be provided with an audio guide.
6. Berlin Tempelhof Airport: The Legend of Templehof
Tempelhof is an abandoned airport located in Central Berlin with important historical significance. Built during the Nazi era, the outside of the building is an interesting example of WWII architecture.
It was also an important airport during the Berlin Airlifts and throughout the Cold War. This tour will take you inside the airport where you can view the abandoned passenger areas, as well as the former quarters of the American military.
After your tour you are free to enjoy the large public park which has been designed around the former runway.
7. 2-Hour Sightseeing Tour in Classic VW Bus
See Berlin in style with this tour in a classic bus designed by legendary German motor company, Volkswagen.
In two hours, your chauffeur will guide you around over 40 of Berlin’s landmarks and attractions, with an accompanying photo book providing you with further information. Due to the size of the bus, tour groups are limited to seven, allowing for a more intimate and personal experience.
The bus will also take you to some of the lesser-known sights across the city, giving you a wide variety of spots to add to your itinerary in the city.
8. Anti-Pub Crawl: Alternative Berlin Tour
Berlin is world renowned for its alternative nightlife scene, and this tour is a great opportunity to experience some of the lesser known spots.
You will be taken to underground bars and clubs across the city, and group sizes are limited for a more personal experience. Free entry is provided into all of the bars and clubs visited on the tour, as well as at least one free shot at each location.
The local tour guide will also talk to you about the many subcultures that call Berlin home, and ensure you get between each location safely.
9. Hop-on and Hop-off Bus Ticket with Boat Option
If you are only in Berlin for a short time, hop-on and hop-off buses are a great way to get between all of the major attractions in a short period.
This ticket also includes the option for a boat cruise down the River Spree. Audio guides are provided on both the bus and the boat, providing important historical and cultural information in a variety of major languages.
There are two ticket options, allowing you to use the service as many times as you like in either a 24 or 48-hour period. Your time begins with your first hop-on. There are 18 stops along the route.
10. Hitler Documentation in the Story Bunker
The story bunker is a unique and comprehensive museum to the Second World War that focuses on the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler.
This museum gives you a somber look into the causes and impact of Nazism in Germany and allows you to learn more about the fascist regime.
A scale replica of the Führerbunker – where Hitler hid and ultimately killed himself during the end of the war – is also available to visit whilst on site. An audio guide is available in both German and English.
11. Third Reich Half-Day Walking Tour
This is another great tour for learning about Berlin’s dark past as the capital of the Third Reich. You will be taken to the few remaining examples of the Nazi era – from architectural sights to former government headquarters.
The local guide is very knowledgeable about German wartime history, and you will get to learn about the authoritarian government agencies and how fascism came to be the dominant force in German politics during the 1930s.
The tour finishes above the bunker where Hitler hid and committed suicide during the final days of the war.
12. Berlin Olympic Stadium Self-Guided Tour with Free Audio Guide
The Berlin Olympic Stadium is an important historical landmark in Berlin as the center of one of the most controversial Olympic Games in history.
Since its construction for the 1936 Olympics, the stadium has hosted the World Cup, UEFA Championship Final, and Women’s World Cup, marking its lasting importance to German sports.
A multilingual audio guide is provided, helping you better understand the history and modern significance of the stadium. There is also a short documentary film at the beginning of the tour.
13. Berlin Street Art and Graffiti Tour and Workshop
As a hub for alternative culture, Berlin is home to some of the world’s most famous street artists.
This tour takes you through some of the most well-known examples of graffiti in the city and gives you the opportunity to try it out for yourself.
Your insider guide will tell you about the unwritten code of ethics that all Berlin street artists follow and explain how the city became such a popular destination for graffitists.
You will also be able to take your own piece of art home with you from the workshop.
14. Alternative Berlin Experience
This tour not only includes the chance to see graffiti, but also talks about other aspects of alternative culture across Berlin.
It focuses on the areas of Neukölln, Kreuzberg, and Friedrichshain, where you can experience the multicultural atmosphere of the city. There are plenty of excellent photo opportunities, and the expert guide will talk you through the alternative history of Berlin.
The tour finishes at a Jamaican community area close to the East Side Gallery. You will need to purchase a public transport ticket before participating in the tour, however, your guide can help you with this.
15. 3-Hour Beer Tasting Tour
Germany is well-known for high-quality beer, and there’s nowhere better to experience it than the capital.
This three-hour tour allows you to sample four different beers from across the city. You will be taken to some of the best breweries and beer houses that are off the main tourist routes.
Your local guide will talk to you about the history of brewing in Germany, and the tour finishes with a visit to a typical Biergarten. A traditional snack is also included.