This post is an overview of the various introduction to Berlin tours available to you.
With so many different options, it can be difficult to choose just one tour.
With that in mind, we've decided to offer you a comparison of each major Berlin Overview Tour available.
Each of these trips is a wonderful way to discover the city, but some of them can be more physically demanding than others.
We highly recommend choosing the tour you will find the most comfortable.
Prices typically range from €10-€30 per ticket, but you will also find a few pay-what-you-wish opportunities as well. (en español)
Berlin is a city rich with history, and it can be difficult to experience everything in just one day.
Thankfully, there are quite a few tours that seek to give you an overview of several historic sites in the area. Some trips will last only a few hours, but others can take up to half a day.
Most of these excursions will focus at least some attention on locations tied to WW2 and the Cold War, but others will reveal some of the more modern neighborhoods in the area.
AB Zone tickets may be required for certain services. Most tour companies on this list offer either audio commentary or live guides who speak English.
BERLIN INTRO WALKING TOURS
Most of the significant landmarks in Berlin are easier to access on foot.
If you want a closer look at sites such as the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, The Holocaust Memorial and more, a walking tour may be your best option.
Some of these services are as cheap as you want them to be (pay-what-you-wish), while others will typically cost between €10-€15.
A majority of these trips will only take you an hour or two, but some excursions will last up to 6 hours. You will need an AB zone public transport ticket for some of the following outings.
This company provides a lot of specialized walking tours in Berlin.
One of their outings focuses on both the main sites and a few historic locations that are off the beaten path. Over the course of 4 hours, you'll make stops at landmarks such as Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall, and the Gestapo HQ.
Considering the length of this Berlin tour, ticket prices are more than reasonable. Likewise, the paid tours tend to be smaller groups with a wide range of ages for participants.
This trip is available in both English and Spanish, making it easily accessible for many travelers. Insider Tours offers a wide range of Berlin tours, including Third Reich, Cold War and Royal Potsdam Tours.
Insider Tours has an impressive 5 out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (read some of the reviews).
Although they have received one or two negative comments, reviews for this particular walking tour are almost all excellent.
Most guests agree that this trip is both fun and interesting, providing a fantastic overview of Berlin's history. Several customers noted that their tour guides were friendly and informative.
This trek was especially popular among couples, but families and friends have also been quite pleased with their experience.
- Ticket Prices: €19 for Adults | €16 for Seniors/Youth
- Duration: 3 hours
- Availability: Daily
- Free with the Berlin Pass or save 28% off these prices with the Berlin Welcome Card.
Original Berlin Walks
If you're looking for a pure Berlin overview tour, this company has got you covered. Over the course of 3 ½ - 4 hours, this outing will make stops at most of the popular sites in Berlin.
While you're visiting a variety of important locations, your tour guide will explain their historical significance. See landmarks such as the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag and Museum Island.
Ticket prices are very affordable, falling in line with similar services in the area. Likewise, the paid tours tend to be smaller groups with a wide range of ages for participants.
This walking tour is available in both English and German. Berlin Walks offers a wide range of Berlin tours, including Third Reich, Cold War and Royal Potsdam Tours.
Original Berlin Walks also enjoys a full 5 out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (read some of the reviews).
Despite a few negative comments, an overwhelming majority of reviews for this excursion are quite good. Most guests took the time to thank their tour guides for being courteous and professional throughout the trip.
Some customers even described the content of this tour as "ambitious," indicating that they learned quite a lot about this city's history.
Couples were the most likely group to leave a positive review, but visitors who brought a friend were also very impressed.
- Ticket Prices: €20 for Adults | €18 for Seniors/Youth
- Save 25% off these prices with the Berlin Welcome Card
- Duration: 3 ½ - 4 hours
- Availability: Daily
Brewer's Berlin Tours
This company provides a pay-what-you-wish tour of Berlin.
This trip runs for about 3 ½ hours in total, covering a variety of subjects such as WWII, The Cold War, and the Imperial Era. If you're looking for a deeper experience, they also offer an extended 6-hour overview of the city.
This much longer trek covers additional topics like Jewish history and the sinful 1920's.
Ticket prices are incredibly reasonable and reservations are not required.
Reviews for Brewer's Berlin Tours are quite excellent, and customers have seen fit to give them an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor.
Several guests were very impressed with their tour guides, indicating that they were both helpful and informative.
Comments about their full day tour are especially positive, with some guests going so far as to describe their trip as a rewarding experience.
Both tours were quite popular among visitors who joined either a friend or their significant other for the journey.
- Duration: 3 ½ hours
- Availability: Daily
- Tips are welcomed
- Ticket Prices: €20 for Adults | €18 for Youth/Senior | Kids up to 12 are free to join.
- Duration: 3.5 - 4 hours
- Availability: Daily
New Berlin Tours
If you can't manage to take one of our pay-what-you-wish Berlin tours, New Berlin offers a similar option.
Although their trip around the city won't last as long, it is one of the most affordable options on our list.
Clocking in at 2 ½ hours, this excursion will take you past locations such as TV Tower, Luftwaffe HQ, and Brandenburg Gate. If you're simply trying to find your way around Berlin, this could be an excellent option.
This walking tour is offered in English, German and Spanish. New Berlin offers a wide range of Berlin tours, including Third Reich, Cold War, and Royal Potsdam Tours.
With a 5 out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor, New Berlin Tours is quite popular among most visitors.
There are a handful of negative comments, but most guests are more than pleased with their trip around Berlin.
Several customers mentioned their tour guide by name, indicating that they did an excellent job of bringing history to life. Some reviewers even went so far as to state that this was the best tour they had ever taken.
This expedition was especially popular among couples and those who went with a friend.
As with pay-what-you-like tours in general, this tour tends to attract a younger crowd, as you will often be offered discounts on their pub crawl.
- Duration: 2 ½ hours
- Availability: Daily
- Book ahead of time to avoid the lines
BERLIN OVERVIEW BY BIKE TOUR
Believe it or not, a lot of people use bicycles to get around this city.
Riding a bike also makes it easier to see the sites up close without having to walk everywhere. A majority of bike tours in Berlin run between 3-5 hours in length, covering roughly 7-15 km of distance.
Some of these services offer discounts to visitors who bring their own bikes. Although one of the following options is technically free, you should expect ticket prices to range from €20-€30 on average.
Check out our overview of Berlin bike tours for more information.
Over the course of upto 6 hours, you'll ride around Berlin and see all of the most popular sites.
A professional tour guide will reveal the history behind each of the locations you visit. This service is offered at least once a day pretty much all year round.
Reviews are extremely positive (read some of them here), indicating that this might be one of the best ways to see the city.
- Ticket Prices: €119 for Adults/Students/Seniors/Children | Infants ride for FREE
- Free with the Berlin Pass or get 25% with the Berlin Welcome Card.
- Availability: Daily
- Cost of lunch not included
Discover significant landmarks such as Berlin Central Station, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Berlin Wall while on this 3 ½ hour bike tour.
The availability of this trek depends on which language you would like to hear from your tour guide. English, German, Dutch and French tours are all offered at least once a week.
Reviews for this service are also excellent (read some of the reviews).
- English, German and Dutch Tour Prices: €29/Participant
- Get 25% off these prices with the Berlin City Tour Card.
- Availability: Tour not offered daily in all languages
- Bottle of water, rain poncho and sunscreen provided to guests
Although this trip isn't actually free, it is very well received by most guests.
At only 3 hours in length, this bike tour is slightly shorter than the services offered by their competitors. Cover 15 km of important locations in Berlin over the course of your journey.
Tour groups are kept to a minimum of 15 guests in order to ensure a better experience for all customers.
- Ticket Prices: €28 for Adults | €24 for Students/Youth | Kids pay only €14 for the bike rental
- Availability: Daily
- Save €5 when you bring your own bike
- Poncho and map provided to guests
This guided tour is offered in English, German, Italian, Spanish and French.
Clocking in at 3.50 hours in length, you'll visit significant locations such as the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Brandenburg Gate.
Reviews for this company are pretty darn good, with most visitors agreeing that their tour guides are absolutely wonderful. This is an excellent and easily accessible alternative to similar services.
- Ticket Prices: €28/Youth | €25/Seniors & Students | €20/Children
- Availability: Daily
- Food and drink not included
- Save money with the Berlin Welcome Card
Despite their very German name, you can rest assured that this company also provides tours in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.
Over the course of 3 hours, you'll visit a variety of locations such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and Alexanderplatz.
Unfortunately, this trip is only offered April–October and has received slightly less impressive reviews from their customers.
That being said, they are still a trustworthy service in Berlin!
- Ticket Prices: €29 per person
- Availability: Daily, April–October
- Save money with the Berlin Welcome Card
If you're looking for a cheaper and shorter tour, this is going to be your best bet.
If you bring your own bike, you can even take the guided journey for free!
This trip is about 2 ½ hours in length and it focuses on the most significant historic sites in Berlin.
This opportunity is fairly new, but so far it has received pretty good reviews from guests.
- Ticket Prices: €10 for bike rental | FREE if you bring your own bicycle
- Availability: Thursday, Friday & Saturday
Things to see in Berlin Mitte (West)
If you can't join us for one of our guided Classic Berlin Tours, then please consider our self-guided version, or you could use this as a way to better understand what we will see and explore on the tour.
This tour will take you about 90 minutes to 3 hours to complete, depending on how long you spend at each stop. Be sure to check out this tour's companion, Berlin Mitte (East).
WARNING: This tour differs slightly from the route and content of the guided tour. You can also download this as a PDF to your smartphone.
A - Berlin Central Station
The huge glass building from 2006 is Europe’s biggest railroad junction – the elevated rails are for the East-West-connection and underground is North-South.
Inside it looks more like a shopping mall with food court and this comes in handy, as Germany’s rather strict rules about Sunday business hours do not apply to shops at railroad stations.
B - River Spree
Cross Washington Platz outside the station and Rahel-Hirsch-Straße, turn right and use the red bridge with the many sculptures, to cross the River Spree.
Berlin has five rivers and several canals. In the city center of Berlin, the Spree is 44 km (27 ml) and its banks are very popular for recreation.
Look at the beer garden “Capital Beach” on your left!
C - German Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt)
Crossing the bridge, you already see the German Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) from 2001, where the German chancellor works.
The building also has an official residence, but Angela Merkel doesn’t use it. She pays the rent though. In the chancellery, there are more than 300 offices, 13 winter gardens for the indoor climate and a combined heat and power plant in the basement.
It’s a green building. On the rooftop is a heliport. Turn right to the main entrance.
The highest window on the left is the chancellor’s office.
You just passed by the Swiss Embassy on your left, the only original pre-war building in the neighborhood. And the only one that is inhabited – by the Swiss ambassador and his or her family.
D - Reichstag Building + Platz der Republik
As you continue, you arrive at the large lawn in front of the Reichstag Building. This is the “Platz der Republik”, which is open to the public.
The Reichstag is from 1894 and was damaged by a mysterious fire in February 1933, shortly after Hitler came to power. In the last days of the Second World War, the Soviet Army destroyed the building; the Swiss embassy was used as a command post.
Situated in the West, the Reichstag was reconstructed by the West German Parliament.
As the allies did not allow the parliament to sit in Berlin, it was used as an information center, namely for school groups from West Germany.
In 1995, the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude had the Reichstag wrapped in white fabric for two weeks, a lot of fun for the people of Berlin and their guests.
After a renovation by the British architect Lord Norman Foster the Reichstag now has the iconic glass dome above the plenary session hall.
The dome can be visited; 3 million visitors a year make the Reichstag the most visited parliament building in the world. Read our full post on the Reichstag.
E - Tiergarten
Ahead is a park, the Tiergarten. It’s Berlin’s most central park and is about 2 sq. km or 500 acres.
For centuries, it was the exclusive hunting ground for the court and opened to the general public only in 1742 by the young king Frederic II, who would later become Frederic the Great.
It’s a great place for recreation with water features, statues, and flower beds and it’s right next to Germany’s oldest zoo, the Berlin Zoologischer Garten.
In the center of a traffic circle you find the “Siegessäule”, the victory column, commemorating three wars that led to the union of Germany in the German Empire in 1871.
Right under the golden statue of Victoria, goddess of victory, there is an observation deck.
F - Brandenburg Gate
But now turn left along the lawn and the Reichstag and follow Scheidemannstraße, then turn right on Ebertstraße until you reach the Brandenburg Gate.
It’s from 1791 and was one of 18 gates of Berlin’s 18th century city wall. During the wars against the French Emperor Napoleon I in the beginning of the 19th century, when many Germans fought not only the French invader, but also the fact that Germany was divided in many small fiefdoms, the Brandenburg Gate, “dishonored” by Napoleon who had stolen the statue on top, the Quadriga, became a German national symbol.
The biggest party after the wall fell was here and still a lot of major events in the German capital are at the Brandenburg Gate.
Read our full post on the Brandenburg Gate.
G - Pariser Platz
Go through the gate and you are on Pariser Platz, named for the French capital after Napoleon was defeated for good.
All the buildings you find here were built in the 1990s or the 2000s, as the East German government had demolished what was left from the War.
This was the forbidden zone close to the Berlin Wall. Here, the Wall separated the Brandenburg Gate (East) from the Reichstag (West).
Most of the new buildings represent what had been there before: the American and French embassies, the Academy of the Arts and the Hotel Adlon Kempinski.
H - Hotel Adlon Kempinski
The Hotel from the mid-1990s is a luxury hotel with many celebrities guests like Pierce Brosnan, Renée Zellweger or Michael Jackson who wanted to please his fans by showing them his baby boy but made them gasp as he bent out of the window of his suite.
The original Adlon from 1907 was a place William II, the last German Emperor, preferred to his palace and where in the 1920s guests like Marlene Dietrich and Charlie Chaplin enjoyed what Berlin had to offer.
I - Holocaust Memorial
Take a right, pass by the British Embassy, and turn right again and across Behrensstraße you already see the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Holocaust Memorial.
Opened in 2005, it consists of 2,711 steles or concrete blocks where people can walk in between, the ground is uneven. According to the architect Peter Eisenmann, this number has no specific significance.
Underground is an information center, a free-of-charge museum with information about other memorials and the holocaust.
In one room, several European Jewish families are presented with their lives and photos and the date of their deportation. Thus, some of the often anonymous victims are presented as individuals.
Read our full post on the Holocaust Memorial.
J - Hitler's Bunker
Cross the memorial (or pass by on Cora-Berliner-Straße), cross Hannah-Ahrendt-Straße and follow Gertrud-Kolmar-Straße.
Soon you’ll see a parking lot on the left, with an information board. And usually, you see tourist groups as this is the site of Hitler’s bunker (J). In January 1945, Hitler moved in and spent most of his time during the weeks until his suicide April 30 in his private rooms here.
The two-storied bunker was extremely high-tech and comfortable compared to what ordinary people had as air raid shelters (if they had any).
The movie “The Downfall” from 2004, based on historical research and the memories of one of Hitler’s secretaries gives a pretty good idea of what was going on there.
K - Old Reich Chancellery
Take a left “An der Kolonnade”, then right on Wilhelmstraße, turn left again and then you are on Voßstraße and you’ll find another information board.
The whole block was part of Hitler’s official government building “The New Reich Chancellery” (the old Reich Chancellery, right next door felt too small and ordinary for Hitler).
The building was made to impress, not to make sense. It was 421 m (1,263 ft.) long.
Visitors had to walk 300 m (900 ft.) through galleries, passing huge mirrors and statues in almost empty rooms with high ceilings until they reached Hitler’s office, with an enormous desk, a ceiling of 10 m (30 ft.) and a total of 400 sq. (4,300 sq. ft.) – Hitler’s two story-bunker had only 250 sq. m (2,700 sq. ft.).
Both, the bunker and the Reich Chancellery where demolished after the war in order not to become sites of pilgrimage.
L - Potsdamer Platz
Continue on Voßstraße until you reach Ebertstraße, then turn left and you are on Potsdamer Platz.
Europe’s busiest square before the war with one of the first stop lights from 1923 (there is a copy, looking like a green clock tower) was destroyed in the war and reconstructed only in the 1990s after the reunification of Germany.
You’ll be standing in the former death strip, the space between the two walls that formed the Berlin Wall.
On your left is Leipziger Platz with a huge shopping mall on the site of a pre-war department store; the whole square was empty and part of the death strip.
On your right you see the three parts of Potsdamer Platz: The white office towers and hotels of the so-called Beisheim Center (named after the investor) on the right, the glass building of Sony Center and the yellow, orange and red buildings of the “Daimler Benz Quarter”, now belonging to a real estate company.
In the Sony Center are museums (namely the Filmhaus for German cinematic history), cinemas, restaurants and the “Kaisersaal” a dining hall of an old hotel on the site, open only for private events.
Since the year 2000, Potsdamer Platz is also the main venue for the Berlin International Film Festival. Read our full post on Potsdamer Platz.
M - Topography of Terror
As Ebertstraße becomes Stresemannstraße, follow until you reach Niederkirchner Straße and turn left. Behind some trees you’ll see a red building, that’s Martin-Gropius-Bau, an exhibit space in former West Berlin and across the street a building with columns, the Berlin Parliament (Berlin is one of 16 German federal states) in former East Berlin.
And straight, you see 200 m (600ft.) of Berlin Wall. Behind on the right is a gray building with a lot of open space, the Topography of Terror.
It’s a documentation center on the site of the former SS, Gestapo and SD headquarters in a former hotel and school of arts and crafts.
In the Third Reich, the SS, Hitler’s most fanatic paramilitary group penetrated the regular police force and intelligence service inherited from the democratic Weimar Republic.
The HQ had its own jail and underground interrogation cells. Today, there are a permanent exhibit, special exhibits and special tours for school groups.
Across the street is a huge building, the German department of finance, built in 1936 as Ministry on Aviation and in 1949 the site where the East German state was founded.
N - Checkpoint Charlie
Proceed, cross Wilhelmstraße, pass by the captive balloon (the Berlin Hi-Flyer, an observation deck) and the GDR vintage cars, the “Trabis” and arrive at Checkpoint Charlie (N).
The third American checkpoint is named after the third letter of the International Alphabet, Charlie for C.
You’ll see the copy of a 1960s guard house, actors posing as soldiers, souvenir stands and a lot of information about the checkpoint, the Wall and the Cold War in Berlin.
A couple of deliberate provocations by the East Germans led to the famous tank confrontation in October 1961, when American and Soviet tanks faced each other for 16 hours, then, after diplomatic negotiations, the tanks reclined.
Checkpoint Charlie became the site where the Cold War actually happened.
If you want more information, visit the “Haus am Checkpoint Charlie” a private museum on the site. Read our full post on visiting Checkpoint Charlie.
This is the end of our self-guided tour. At Checkpoint Charlie, you find the U-Bahn (Kochstraße) and a bus.