Best Tours of Berlin

There's so much to see and do in Berlin; sometimes it makes sense to take a tour and leave the itinerary to someone else. Boat tours of central Berlin's Spree and the canals are especially popular and give up-close views of sights such as Museum Island, Charlottenburg Palace, the Reichstag, and the Berliner Dom.

Biking Tours

Fat Tire Bike Tours. The Fat Tire company runs bike tours in many major European cities. Their Berlin Wall bike tour is especially popular. There is also a general city tour. Bikes are included in the cost of the tour. Berlin, Berlin. 030/2404–7991; berlin.fattirebiketours.com. From €26.

Boat Tours

Reederei Riedel. This family-run boat tour operator runs excursions of various durations on the Spree and on the Landwehr Canal. Their calendar is continually being updated with timely tours linked to the seasons and special events in the city. Berlin, Berlin. 030/6796--1470; www.reederei-riedel.de. From €12.

Stern und Kreisschiffahrt. A variety of tours are offered by Stern und Kreisschiffahrt, in and around Berlin. Evening "Moonlight" cruises, with music, are especially popular. Some of their boat tours are run in conjunction with bus tours for excursions farther afield. Berlin, Berlin. 030/536–3600; www.sternundkreis.de. From €15.

Bus Tours

Four companies–-Berliner Bären Stadtrundfahrten, Berolina Berlin-Service, Bus Verkehr Berlin, and BEX Sightseeing–-offer city tours on yellow, double-decker hop-on-hop-off buses, which run every 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the season. The full circuit takes two hours, with a recorded narration on headphones. Depending on the company, there are between 13 and 20 stops along the routes. The price is the same for all four: €20. The bus driver sells tickets. During the warmer months, the last circuit leaves at 6 pm from the corner of Fasanenstrasse and Kurfürstendamm. Most companies have tours to Potsdam.

Berliner Bären Stadtrundfahrten. Berlin, Berlin. 030/3519–5270; www.bbsberlin.de. From: €20.

Berolina Berlin-Service. Berlin, Berlin. 030/8856–8030; www.berolina-berlin.com. From: €20.

Bus Verkehr Berlin. Berlin, Berlin. 030/683–8910; www.bvb.net. From: €20.

BEX Sightseeing. Berlin, Berlin. 030/880–4190; www.bex.de. From: €20.

Stadtrundfahrtbüro Berlin. This bus-tour company offers several Berlin city tours, including a popular "Berlin Quicky" that navigates the city and makes 18 photo-op stops. A guide narrates in both German and English. The bus departs from Tauentzienstrasse 16, at the corner of Marbuger Strasse, several times a day in high season. Berlin, Berlin. 030/261--2001; www.stadtrundfahrtbuero-berlin.de. From €15.

Specialized Tours

Alternative Berlin. In addition to a free, tip-based walking tour that's given twice a day, Alternative Berlin has an excellent street art tour and a "Green Tour," which shows visitors how Berlin got its reputation as one of the most eco-friendly cities in Europe. In summer months, there is a "twilight" tour, which takes you through the Berlin underworld after hours. They also have a "Taste Berlin" tour. Berlin, Berlin. 0162/819--8264; www.alternativeberlin.com. From €15.

Berliner Unterwelten. For a truly memorable experience, check out the "Berlin Underworlds" tour. The company offers access to several of Berlin’s best-preserved underground WWII bunkers that are normally closed to the public. Berlin, Berlin. 030/499--1517; www.berliner-unterwelten.de. From €11.

Context Travel. Guides with expert credentials are the specialty of Context Travel, so expect an in-depth and intellectual look at Berlin history, art, and architecture. The best guides offer insight into niche aspects of Berlin, like Mitte's medieval roots, or the Tiergarten neighborhood known as the Hansaviertel, where top international architects competed to design housing in the 1957 International Building Exhibition. Berlin, Berlin. 800/691--6036; www.contexttravel.com. From €80.

Gastro Rallye. Appetizers at one restaurant, main courses at another, and dessert at another–-Gastro Rallye leads guests on restaurant crawls where you also get to see the neighborhood as you walk from spot to spot. Different neighborhoods offer different types of foodie experiences. The "Snacky" tour focuses on Berlin's international food scene. Berlin, Berlin. 030/9168--5590; www.gastro-rallye.com. From €120.

Walking Tours

Berlin Walks. The walking tours offered by this reputable company include a Sunday "Jewish Life" tour, a Potsdam tour on Thursday and Sunday, and visits to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Berlin, Berlin. 030/301–9194; www.berlinwalks.com. From €12.

Brewer's Berlin Tours. Brit Terry Brewer's firsthand accounts of the divided and reunified Berlin are a highlight of the all-day "Brewer's Best of Berlin" tour. Berlin, Berlin. 0177/388–1537. From €15.

Insider Tours. Themed tours offered by Insider Tours include a "Cold War" Berlin tour about the Soviet era and a day trip to Dresden. Berlin, Berlin. 030/692–3149; www.insidertour.com. From €12.

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