A bus tour in Berlin is an affordable and easy way to see the sights of the city. There are many operators that offer this service in Berlin. I chose the ´Berlin City Tour´ as it has a good reputation and came well recommended.
After checking the times and pick up places on their website www.berlin-city-tour.de. I opted for the Rotes Rathaus / Neptun Fountain and at a time when I would be able to have the benefits of a live commentary. (If you book online you can save €1.) The live commentary is given in both German and English. Multilingual headphones are also available. The Berlin City Tour buses are easy to find opposite the Rotes Rathaus / Neptun Fountain which is near the TV Tower Alexanderplatz.
Three tours to choose from
Berlin City Tour offers three tours, the Traditional, Lifestyle and Blue/Boat Tour (check seasonal dates). I decided to take the Traditional and so right on the agreed scheduled time we were off.
The Classic route drove us by the new Parliament buildings, the Reichstag, the Federal Chancellery and Bellevue Palace, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and Alexanderplatz with its gigantic television tower, and Potsdamer Platz .
Hop on Hop off and live commentary
The tour itself takes around two hours. There are numerous stops where you can get off take pictures, stretch your legs or even explore the area or sights more fully. The hop on/hop off nature means you can catch another scheduled City Tour bus (they run approx. every 30 mins) and continue your tour.
The live commentary was great as the tour guide pointed out all about the major buildings and sights on the way and gave a lot of interesting information about them. Our tour guide was also very funny and made many amusing comments along the way so you felt you were really getting an insight into German thinking and culture and lots of insider information you probably would not get from a guidebook.
The tour takes you on a trip from East to West Berlin and so gives you a lot of contrast. The array of historical, reconstructed and modern buildings is evident and is what makes Berlin such as fascinating city to admire visually.
The freedom to explore your favourite sights
Everyone will have their personal favourites on the tour as there is a lot to take in. It was hard not to be impressed by the Siegessäule victory column designed by Hitler´s architect Albert Speer. The many sleek and state-of-the-art modern government buildings are very impressive and our live commentary guide gave us lots of information about the background of their construction, who works there plus some comments on what typical German people think and also quite a few good jokes again.
I hopped off at the Checkpoint Charlie stop as I wanted to spend more time there. It was really fascinating learning about the significance of the area and its rich history from the information freely available on large section of display boards. That this place would play such an important part in the hearts and lives of Berliners, east and west, and in confrontations between the allied countries and Russia makes it a must pilgrimage for visitors to the city.
Overall, I would thoroughly recommend the Berlin City Tour. It really showed you lots of Berlin and is a great starting point to get to know the city or if you are only in the Berlin for a short time. The tour guide who gave the live commentary was very amusing. The frequent stops are good as they break up the tour nicely and the option to hop on and off is great too.
BCT Berlin City Tour GmbH
Tel +49 (30) 68 30 26 41
Fax +49 (30) 68 30 26 42
Price per adult 15.00€, Price per child 5.00€
Duration 105 minutes
Frequency 30 minutes
Commentary English & German Live Guide
Note Children below 6 years old are free of charge.
Schedules are subject to change.