Take a walk back in time as you explore the many layers of history found in Berlin, covering everything from its Prussian period, to its violent 20th century and the present period of rebirth. History fans and those interested in the remarkable renaissance of Berlin’s urban center will enjoy this insightful, 4-hour trip past the city’s key monuments.
Start your day at the Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station where you'll meet your guide. Listen to an introductory overview of the strange, winding history of Berlin, covering the city’s founding and continuing with stories about the turbulent years of war and modern era as the tour moves forward. Walk down Berlin’s Unter den Linden boulevard, a thoroughfare that links Stadtschloss royal palace with Pariser Platz and Brandenburg Gate. By the 19th century, this elegant street was among the most famous in the city, growing even more grand as Berlin’s boundaries pushed further west.
Head next to Museum Island, pausing at the Berlin State Library (once the workplace of Albert Einstein) and the Neue Wache memorial as you continue. Travel beneath the monumental Brandenburg Gate, which forms the beginning of Unter den Linden, and check out the Reichstag, home of Germany’s parliament, just nearby. Then explore Pariser Platz, the location of Hitler’s bunker and the Holocaust Memorial, commemorating the many Jews that lost their lives during the Nazi regime.
Trace the path of the “death strip” to Checkpoint Charlie, the infamous crossing point for those traveling between East and West Berlin, and visit Bebelplatz, the location of an infamous 1933 book burning by the Nazis. You’ll then have time the stroll along the Berlin Wall, demarcating the boundary between East and West during the Cold War, and hear details about its triumphant downfall in 1989.
Take a moment to stop at the Topography of Terror Museum, situated at the former Gestapo and SS Headquarters. Hear from your guide about the significance of the museum’s location, which the city’s leaders consciously chose to help confront and reconcile the awful moments of Berlin’s past. Look down into the building’s excavated cellars, a haunting spot where political prisoners were once tortured and killed.
Wrap up your Berlin walk on a lighter note with a stop at the modern area of Potsdamer Platz, a one-time “dead zone” between East and West that has since been rebuilt. Then take a walk along Friedrichstrasse, a high-end retail district. You’ll end your tour at Gendarmenmarkt, where you’ll receive a city map detailing useful info on Berlin’s public transport, nightlife and museums.