You’ve seen Mauerpark, Berghain and Brandenburger Tor, and now you’re wondering what else is there to do in the exciting, vibrant city of Berlin. How about a guided tour? The German capital has a lot more to offer than the standard hop-on-and-off tours you were forced to do with your parents or on school trips.
Here are some of my favorite Berlin city tours that let you experience the city in an unusual way. Dive in, there’s so much to discover!
1) My culinary Berlin – street food, trends and local producers
Love food? Then let a prolific and knowledgeable local foodie give you a taste of Berlin. Vegan chef, cookbook author and food blogger Sophia Hoffmann takes you behind the scenes of Berlin’s local, sustainable and innovative gourmet hot spots. Meet the owners, chefs and baristas whose passion for food and compassion for animals is expressed in yummy plant-based products.
Sophia will take you on an action-packed journey to her favorite producers, hand-picked suppliers and introduce you to her local heroes and most delicious haunts. From foodie-heaven Markthalle 9, to the best donut shop in town; from oven-fresh Kurdish flatbread to an anti-food waste restaurant – you will get to see the hidden secrets of the Kreuzberg and Neukölln food scene with a real expert. Come hungry! Food and drinks are included. The tour is also suitable for non-veggies.
2) Off the beaten path tour
Leave the tourist track and join this walking tour to learn more about Berlin’s subcultures, which shape the face of the city to this day. From the diverse Turkish and Arabic neighborhoods of Kreuzberg to Yaam Beach, the centre of the German hip-hop and reggae scene. Learn about a variety of countercultural movements, guerilla gardens and street art, as well as about historical sites and traditions. From Currywurst to punk rock, from beer gardens to techno culture, this tour gives you an understanding of how Berlin has become the city it is today.
Photo: Kathi Kamleitner
3) Berlin Street Art Tour and Graffiti Workshop
Isn’t that illegal? Not if you take part in this extraordinary tour!
Discover Berlin’s rich tradition of street art, graffiti and mural art on this walking tour. Also learn about the history of Berlin’s street art and its cultural and political significance. Street artists are your tour guides and will reveal the motivation behind their work.
After they teach you their specific techniques, you will use your new skills to paint the walls of an abandoned factory and design a canvas piece as a take-home souvenir that you can brag about at home…
Photos: Berlin Music Tours
4) Bowie Berlin Walk
He is one of the biggest legend of rock’n’roll music and for many people, he is the main thing that attracted them to Berlin in the first place. Of course, the city has changed a lot since David Bowie loved, lived and recorded in the then-divided city, so it takes an expert eye to uncover the hidden traces of the Thin White Duke’s Berlin days.
Discover the places that inspired Bowie and find out where he loved to hang out between 1976 and 1978. From the house where he shared a flat with Iggy Pop, Hansa Studios where he recorded hits like “Heroes,” to his favorite gay café. Walk in Bowie’s footsteps and feel the spirit of Cold War Berlin and the rough charms that enchanted one of the greatest musicians of all time.
Photo: Fat Tire Tours
5) Berlin Wall & Cold War Bike Tour
Meet in the Mitte district near the pedestrian Cold War sights to take in more of the former East and more of what makes Berlin the unique city it is today. Cross the monumental Karl-Marx-Allee to see the longest still-existing part of the wall at the colorful East Side Gallery and further to the powerful Russian War Memorial at Treptower Park.
The perfect tour for history geeks and spy movie lovers.
Photo: Love Shop
6) Fair Fashion Shopping Tour
A perfect city trip is not complete without a bit of shopping, so why not try something new this time? Leave the high streets and clothes shops you can find all over the world and educate yourself in a good way; for example, did you know that Berlin is the capital of sustainable fashion design and retail? This tour offers unique guided urban excursions, exploring the most interesting sustainable fashion and upcycling spots in town. Let yourself be inspired by the innovative visions of designers and store managers!
Photo: Stadtboote Berlin
7) Bridges of Berlin – Moonlight Boat Tour
Did you know Berlin has more bridges that Venice? There’s no better way to explore the architecture and the townscape of the historic centre than on a boat. Well, there is one thing that’s even better – and that is doing it in the moonlight!
Photo: Mike’s Sightrunning
8) Sightrunning Berlin
Are you the sporty type? The type that cannot go without a daily run? You need speed and can’t sit still? We have something special for you: Sightrunning combines a sporty approach to seeing the city on foot in the quickest way possible. Work out, sweat and explore. Who can say “I ran all the way from Brandenburger Tor to Checkpoint Charlie in under 10 minutes!”.
Sounds good? Then this is the tour for you!
9) Alternative Pub Crawl
Okay, Pub Crawl. Sounds a bit odd. Squeezing your sweaty bodies through overcrowded tourist rip-offs and getting drunk on cheap beers? No thanks…. But this one is a bit different.
The Alternative Berlin pub crawl is a much cooler, low key, calmer affair taking you to local nightlife spots and bars and clubs hidden away from the typical tourist groups. Drink, chill and flirt like a local. The locations change daily but there will be included at least 4 bars and 1 club. Entrance costs and 6 shots are included. So either way – you will NOT stay completely sober.
Dive into the REAL Berlin nightlife that you’ve heard so much about…
Photo: My Guide Berlin
10) Abandoned Amusement Park Tour
There are a lot of abandoned places and buildings all around the city that ooze history, look romantic and are morbid to the core. But nothing quite matches the decaying charm of the former GDR amusement park in Treptower Park, which has been closed to the public since 2002. The story of the last owner is as exciting and tragic as a Hollywood movie and over the years, a lot of myths have grown – at about the same speed as the weeds that now envelop the derelict structures. Pack your camera and enjoy the ride. An unforgettable experience.
Which one would you try?
This is a guest post by Anna Degenhardt.
Anna Degenhardt is a Berlin-based freelance writer. She enjoys exploring cities worldwide and finding food, culture and local life off the beaten path. Anna also likes 60s rock music, long bike trips and the perfect cheese sandwich.