Sightseeing Tours/ City walks/ Boat trips, Berlin
Favorite thing: Absolutely take a walking tour around Mitte, the historic centre of Berlin which was under East German dominion during the Cold War. I recommend Terry's Top Hat Tours, which stops by the Circus Hostel. Terry was a former attache to the British Embassy in East Berlin, so he knows the town. His tour was incredibly detailed, enjoyable, informative and enlightening. And I don't generally like tours. I liked it so much that I did it again when Alejandro and I returned to Berlin in July 2000.
This is especially good for the English speaking crowds. Much walking and much history goes on...
Fondest memory: You can walk from 4 to nine hours depending on when you start.n This is on every day.
They also do Potsdam tours every other day.
They have leaftlets in the tourist info office or you can go for 9 am Circus (opposite a hotel I forget) or 9.30 at the New Synagogue.
Otherwise the times are 12 and 12.30 at the same places.
There are many tour companies which offer tours around Berlin and places outside that are near. Check around to make sure you get the best price. One tour I thought was a good price at 15 Euros for 4 hours around the city, then someone tells me its one for only 7.50 Euros to see the same places if you have a welcome card, plus its a very nice group that runs it. I took this one. Its called "Berlin Walks" and was rated by TIME magazine the best sightseeing tour in 2002.
By foot, by car or bus they can arrange for individual or a group. They have five tours, 1. "Discover Berlin", all in one main sights tour of Berlin. 2 Infamous Third Reich Sites, of course this shows the dark parts of Berlin history, maybe you like to see this sort of thing. 3. Jewish Life in Berlin, takes you through the old Jewish quarters of the city. 4. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial Tour-VERY GOOD, go if you can!. 5. Discover Potsdam, which takes you to Potsdam to see the smaller town and architecture.
Tour 1 is everyday, and meets at 10am or 2.30pm at the Zoogarten Station out in front. April through October, but in Nov. through March only at 0am every day.
Tour 2 is mostly Saturdays and Sundays meeting at 10am April through October. May-Sept it meets on Wed. Fri. Sat. and Sun.
Tour 3 is only on Mondays meeting at 10am, May-Sept.
Tour 4 April through Oct. Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10.15am. May-Sept. Tues. Thurs. and Sat and Sun at 10.15am
Tour 5 is only on Saturdays meeting at 9.40 May through Sept.
Rates are: Tour 1: 12 Euros for adults, 9 for those under 26 or welcome card holders.
Tour 2 or 3: is 10Euros, 7.5 for 26 and under, and welcome carders
Tour 4 and 5: is 15 Euros, or 11.20 for 26 and under, or welcome carders.
Fondest memory: I liked to take these tours with a group and having a guide who knows so much about the city to explain things even history to you.
If you need to buy tickets for the transport, you can do so from the tour guide. To take these tours all you do is have to stand out in front of Zoogarten Station at the times, where you see the sign "Berlin Walks Tours"! The guide will very friendly gather you up!
Take a walking tour!! For only 10DM we took a mammoth 8 hr walking tour and saw so many things you would never make it to on your own. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and I learnt a textbook full of history in one day. The city is so large and spred out that without a good guide you may not be able to find everything you want to see. The tour we took was with 'Brewer's Berlin'. If they are still operating I highly recomend their tour.
Fondest memory: Our tour-guide Terry (see picture). He was a crazy old englishman who used to work as a diplomat in the former east Berlin. Between shaking his umbrella at the noisy traffic and shouting about a 'german conspiracy' to make it impossible for us to hear him he was a fountain of knowledge. He's a slave driver, and won't let you 'dawdle' but if you can keep up with him he'll show you in a day what it would take you a week to find on your own.
Favorite thing: As far as sights to see, I guess I would suggest the tourist places because they are so full of history and well worth seeing... I saw two different sights of the Berlin Wall, but that was definitely amazing... I can't remember the names of all of the sights, but if you do the walking tour I suggested, you get a chance to stop by all of the places and go back to the places you're really interested in...
Favorite thing: We did a 10 hour walking tour of Berlin which was fantastic, although I must say we were quite tired by the end... The leader's name is Terry Brewer and you should see flyers around for the tour... It is the most comprehensive way to see Berlin, both East and West Berlin, although mostly East Berlin... but best of all the leader Terry is full of information and really enthusiastic about telling stories...
The best advice I can give about when in Berlin is take Brewer's Best of Berlin Day Tour - See Web Site - http://www.brewersberlin.com/.
This is really amazing. The person who gives the tour is an Englishman has lived in Berlin for over 30 years plus. He really knows his stuff and makes the tour an enjoyable experience. The tour starts each day at 10.00 am and goes on for over 9 hours (YES 9 HOURS). The cost is 15 DM which is very cheap.
Places visited on Tour:
The New Synagogue,
The Victory Column,
The Reichstag building,
The Brandenburg Gate,
Hermann Göring's Air Ministry,
St. Hedwig's R.C. Cathedral,
The old National Library,
The Humboldt University,
The State Opera House,
Berliner Dom, the Lutheran Cathedral,
The Spree and Museum Island,
The Red Town Hall,
Alexander Platz + TV Tower and much more....
take a walk when the sun sets. Start at the Ernst Reuter square and walk across the 17. Juni street, eastwards, towards the Victory Column (Siegesäule). The zoo garden park is around you. See the column and continue towards the Brandenburger gate but before it, do not miss (well, actually you cannot miss it, it jumps to eye) a russian army monument on the left.
Imagine being German and having to see this monument your whole life ...
At the Br. gate turn to the left to see the Reichstag. Does the Reichstag fire mean anything to you?
Continue, beyond the gate, across the Unter den Linden street. You are entering the Eastern sector, did you notice sth. on the buildings? Oh, yes, they are 'different', aren't they?
Keep going, keep going across the Karl Liebnecht street until the Alexanderplatz. Take a good look of the hotel on the square (sorry, I do not remember the name). Is this what you would call 'socialistic' architecture.
Visit the television tower and go up. The cafeteria on the top rotates slowly giving a wonderful view of the city. Isn't it magnificent?
Don't go yet. Have a short walk around Alexanderplatz. You are deep into the eastern sector now, check out the streets, the houses, there is a theater somewhere too. Find a small restaurant to eat sth typically german, not in the tourist way but just like the Germans, there are no tourists there.
You are free now. Can you go to bed?
Fondest memory: Alexanderplatz.
The TV Tower is a short walk from the bus stop or S-Bahn station. Again the queue to get up there was too slow-moving. So.. Moving on along Karl-Liebknecht Strasse, I was halted by Rotes Rathaus, the Red City Hall, and the beautiful Neptune Fountain in front. But not for long, just to allow my Canon to have a quick 'talk' to them. Crossing the Spree the immediate right stands the spectacular Berliner Dom, which has more or less healed of its war wounds. On Museumsinsel where it is, further up north is a cluster of five museums. Many are still undergoing face-lift.
Straight ahead the road takes the name Unter den Linden, to the right is the German Historical Museum. It's currently closed for refurbishment but temporary exhibitions focusing on GDR-related themes, Third Reich and Auschwitz concept are on display in the Kronprinzen Palace opposite. All museums are closed on Monday, if not a public holiday, and entry on the first Sunday of each month is free. So I got the chance to cover some on 3 (first Sun) and 4 June (public holiday).
Brandenburger Tor is just some miles down the road...
Terry's Top Hat Tours
They leave from the Circus and Alexandraplatz everyday at 10am and 3pm - not sure if both all year round....
Fondest memory: Doner kebabs.
No seriously. I had the Terry as a tour guide and he was amazing. He lived here during the thick of alot of Berlins history and his stories are all real and true and most bring a tear to his eyes (and mine too - hey I'm a girl what do you expect?)