Berlin offers mythic nightlife and trend-setting culture, but travelers are usually first captivated by its history, which involves some of the most dramatic moments of the 20th century. Historical landmarks—the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, and Berlin Wall Memorial—are big draws and rarely left off of sightseeing trips. Travelers who are interested in seeing the eastern, formerly Soviet-ruled part of the city often start at Museum Island on the River Spree, and move toward the TV Tower, the tallest structure in Germany, or the East Side Gallery, a former blockade covered with street art. From there, the alternative neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain are nearby. Guided tours also specialize in off-the-beaten-path visits to Potsdam, East Berlin food tastings, Jewish heritage tours, and more.

Brandenburg Gate

Functioning as the gateway to Tiergarten, Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most recognizable landmarks, and a symbol of Germany’s post-Cold War reunification. Nearly all sightseeing tours stop at the gate, but private or small-group walking tours provide more context. For clients who want a deeper look into Berlin’s history, consider tours that also stop at the Reichstag and Holocaust Memorial, both nearby. Bicycle tours are a convenient way to get to the gate, and tend to continue west through Tiergarten Park from there.

Berlin Small-Group Historical Half-Day Tour of East Berlin

Clients interested in Berlin’s historical significance should book this small-group tour that starts at the Brandenburg Gate and heads east to visit the city’s key Soviet-era sites.

Private Half-Day Tour of Berlin: Capital of Culture, Tyranny, and Tolerance

Led by a scholar who covers the last 300 years of the city’s history, clients who want a deep-dive personalized look into Berlin’s history should take this tour.

Berlin Bike Tour

Visitors looking for a more active experience may want to take this bike tour that visits Brandenburg Gate and other historical Berlin highlights before riding through Tiergarten Park.  

The City Sightseeing Berlin Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

This hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour is ideal for clients who want to explore Berlin at their own pace, jumping off to visit highlights like the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Read more about Brandenburg Gate tour options here.

Berlin Wall

Small portions of the Berlin Wall still stand, and can be seen at the Berlin Wall Memorial or East Side Gallery, a preserved stretch that has become an open-air mural gallery. Much of the rest of the wall’s path has been built over, but clients looking to follow the route should consider walking, biking, or Segway tours. Nearly any historical Cold War tour visits the wall along with Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate.

Cold War History Walking Tour

On this affordable, popular walking tour, clients retrace the path of the wall with stops at the Berlin Wall Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, and Brandenburg Gate.

Modern Berlin Walking Tour

Ideal for clients interested in Berlin’s modern, “alternative” neighborhoods, this walking tour covers the lively sights of Mitte, Friedrichshain, and Kreuzberg, and also stops at the East Side Gallery and the city’s “culture brewery”,Kulturbrauerei.

Private Half-Day Walking Tour: Berlin Wall, Cold War, and Checkpoint Charlie

Clients can avoid large groups and get personalized attention on this private tour of the Berlin Wall. Bonus: They’ll also enjoy a ‘ghost train’ subway ride.

Private Guided Van Tour: Berlin Wall With Living Witness Commentary

For a look at how real people’s lives were affected by the wall, this van tour with a private guide offers the opportunity to listen to personal stories from refugees displaced by the wall.

Read more about Berlin Wall tour options here.

Museum Island

Museum Island is a UNESCO-listed ensemble of five museums clustered at the northern end of Spree Island. If clients can only visit one museum, The Pergamon, which houses classical antiquities and Islamic art, is their best bet. It’s also Berlin’s most-visited museum, meaning that lines are inevitable without skip-the-line admission. Clients can also take walking or boat tours that pass by the island to orient themselves and return later.

Read more about Museum Island tour options here.

TV Tower

The TV Tower is Germany’s tallest structure and one of the capital’s most visited landmarks, drawing more than 1 million annual visitors. Visitors can take in the views from the observation deck, grab a drink at Berlin’s highest bar, or book a table at the revolving Sphere restaurant. Walking, biking, and Segway tours usually stop long enough to take a photo, while sightseeing and hop-on hop-off bus tours afford longer visits. Skip-the-line tickets are often paired with dinner and other perks.

Skip the Line: Dinner at the Berlin TV Tower and Hop-on Hop-off City Tour

With this tour, clients will skip the line for the tower, then enjoy a window seat dinner atop the spire. It also includes a 1- or 2-day hop-on hop-off city tour pass.

Private Tour: Berlin by Trabant Stretch-Limousine

Clients looking for a unique experience might be interested in this tour, which explores Berlin from inside an East-German ‘Trabant’ limousine, making a stop at the TV Tower.

Berlin Highlights Segway Tour

Clients less interested in walking or biking might be interested in this Segway tour, which takes them to nearly all Berlin’s main historical attractions, including the TV Tower, without breaking a sweat.

Read more about TV Tower tour options here.

Food and Drink

This vibrant city has quite the culinary scene. Roaming through the streets by bike or on foot you can encounter great eats, from classic German favorites to Turkish, Arabic, Vietnamese and Italian food. Berlin also boasts a myriad of vegan-friendly restaurants and the most Michelin starred restaurants in Germany. Don’t forget to take advantage of the great beer the city has to offer with new and fun micro-breweries opening regularly.

Read more about Food and Drink tour options here.

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Things to Know

Local Customs

Tips should be handed directly to servers rather than left on the table.

What the Locals Know

The rooftop terrace of the Park Inn Hotel, located next to the TV Tower in Alexanderplatz, offers views that are comparable to the tower’s, but it costs less and has shorter lines.

When to Visit

Summers are warm but sometimes rainy. The best times to go are late spring and early autumn, when festivals abound and the weather is cool and mild.

Getting Around

Bike-sharing is the most efficient mode of public transportation in the city center, but the U-Bahn subway and S-Bahn light rail are great for getting everywhere else.

What to Bring

In Berlin, it can rain at any time of the year, so be sure to pack rain gear and umbrellas.

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