As Europe’s 3rd largest city and Germany’s capital, Berlin is a cornucopia of cultural and historical significance. First recognized as a city in 1251, Berlin has seen its share of war, which one is poignantly reminded of when passing through the remnants of the famous Brandenburg Gate that once fortified the city.
November 9, 2014 marked the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is 56 years ago that this 96 mile long grey monstrosity was built to separate the citizens of Berlin, or as the government of Communist controlled East Germany had stated in 1961: “To protect our people against a rising fascist threat from the West”. On November 9, 1989 however, constant social and economic pressure forced the governments of East Germany and the Soviet Union to open the wall and reunite Berlin.
The anniversary of the fall was commemorated with wreath layings at numerous memorial sites in the city to honor the victims who died in their attempt to seek freedom. There are Wall Memorials at the Brandenburg Gate and Bernauer Street. At the Bernauer Street, you will still find long segments of the Wall intact and well-preserved, mounted photos of the victims who were shot while trying to escape, as well as a guard tower standing in the middle of the death zone on the border separating East and West Berlin.
Berlin has changed a lot since the Wall came down and is today considered a melting pot of the best that Central Europe has to offer, with a magical combination of worldwide cultural influences. The city is very creatively cosmopolitan, yet with a small town feel and accessibility. It’s a ‘young’ city and Berliners are wonderful people with a strong sense of hospitality, global cuisine and history.
You can leisurely walk the hotel’s inner-city surroundings or take the tram to The Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, boulevard “Unter den Linden”, the gold-domed “Neue Synagoge”, Gendarmenmarkt, the city’s most attractive square, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church with its damaged spire, the French Cathedral… Go and explore the German capital, find hotspots and hidden gems. Or relax and use any of the hotel’s facilities and amenities, unpack at your leisure and settle yourself in for a week of excitement.
In preparation for your trip you may want to familiarize yourself with the various maps and floorplans of airport, subway and city.
Get your feet wet with an orientation trip; a Berlin City Tour in a Motor Coach, preferably the affordable hop on – hop off service will give you a layout of the land between former East and West Berlin with many landmarks and historic high lights.
During the tour the guide will regale you with stories of the city’s amazing history, from the Hohenzollern dynasty to the forming of the German nation in 1871, through WWI and the abdication of the Kaiser, to the Weimar Republic, the rise of the Nazis, WWII, the divided city during the cold war and now once again the capital of a reunified Germany.There will be plenty of opportunities to get off the bus for photos and to walk around and take in the sights.
For the late afternoon and evening we suggest you enjoy Happy Hour Berlin style.
After breakfast at the hotel, we are going on a private luxury coach tour to the charming city of Potsdam, known for some of the most beautiful palaces in Germany. It was the favorite residence of the Hohenzollern family until 1918 at the end of World War I.
Potsdam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known as the Versailles of Germany. Once you have seen the Sansoucci and over 15 other palaces you will know why.
The city features a series of interconnected lakes and unique cultural landscapes, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci it is the largest World Heritage site in Germany.
In 1744 King Frederick the Great ordered the construction of a residence here, where he could live sans souci (literally “without worries”, in the French spoken at the court). The park hosts many magnificent buildings and parks with lakes.
Sights that you will see include:
Sanssouci Palace – Orangery Palace – New Palace – Charlottenhof Palace – Roman Baths – Chinese Tea House – French Church – Dutch Quarter – Einstein Tower -Belvedere – Babelsberg – Brandenburg Gate – Nikolai Church – Palace Cecilienhof – Glienicke Bridge and more.
Make sure to have your cameras charged and ready!
Day 4: Program a lunch time trip to go up Berlin’s famous TV tower, the tallest structure in Berlin with magnificent 360° panoramic views. Have your camera ready and charged. Close to the Alexanderplatz in Berlin, the tower was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the administration of the German Democratic Republic. It was intended as a symbol of socialist superiority and Berlin. It is easily visible throughout the central and most suburban districts of Berlin. With its height of 368 meters (1,212 ft), it is the tallest structure in Germany and attracts a million visitors a year because of the panoramas offered.
Enjoy the City. Maps of various attractions will be provided. Suggestions are to spend some time at The Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) which was founded in 1989 (the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall) and is today one of the city’s most pioneering multidisciplinary institutions. The HKW, as it is locally known, is an arts center that hosts exhibitions, conferences, film screenings, and workshops on wide range of themes and topics, with a special focus on non-European cultures. In this past year, programs have ranged from a Korean film festival to Wassermusik, an annual outdoor world-music event. Check the website for lineups.
Berlin’s answer to London’s world famous Harrods Department Store is KaDeWe, abbreviated for Kaufhaus des Westens, with almost 700,000 square feet of Shoppers Heaven, the largest department store on the European Continent and definitely worth a visit (or two!)
Another suggestion is to explore Little Istanbul, the largest Turkish settlement outside of Turkey—about 200,000 people—earning the city the nickname Little Istanbul. Almost a quarter of the city’s Turkish population lives in the neighbouring southeast boroughs of Neukölln and Kreuzberg, which together make up the Turkish Quarter. Every Tuesday and Friday throughout the year, the Turkish Market takes place alongside the canal that marks the border between the two districts, in an up-and-coming area dubbed “Kreuzkölln”. Visitors can pick up a huge range of wares, from fabrics, clothes and household supplies to fresh fish, fruit and vegetables. You can also book guided tours of the Turkish-Islamic Şehitlik Mosque, the most visited mosque in Germany, which also hosts an annual Ramadan festival and the city’s Long Night of Religions, when many churches, synagogues and houses of worship open their doors to the public and host special events and ceremonies.
Last but not least you may be interested in shopping at the Dong Xuan Center. Vietnamese residents make up Berlin’s largest East Asian community. As a result of the Communist connection, most live in the former East Berlin, in districts such as Lichtenberg, which is home to the Dong Xuan Center, a sprawling, colorful Vietnamese market housed in a old warehouse complex.
Day 5: Berlin is an amazing city for cycling, with countless miles of bike lanes that crisscross through neighborhoods and lead to lakes and parks far out of town, too. And Berlin is dead serious about getting you on a bike. Long a passionate cycling town, the city recently budgeted some 2.5 million euros for the upkeep and expansion of bike lanes on the major thoroughfares.
City Bicycle Tour 10am-3pm
Berlin is a city with a fascinating history. Luckily since it was originally built on a swamp it is quite flat and with its comprehensive coverage of bike lanes it is an ideal and safe city for bicycle tours.
On stylish city cruiser bikes you will glide through the city in comfort. With Berlin’s overwhelming history, including Prussian, Weimar, WWI and WWII, and cold war we urge you to opt for the five hour tour with a stop for lunch is the way to go.
See Berlin as the locals do and understand why once you’ve seen the city by bike nothing else will do!
Recommended: Landmarks to visit:
Checkpoint Charlie – The famous border crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin for Allied forces and foreigners is now an outdoor exhibit detailing the Cold War.
Berlin Wall – See one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall, now under historical protection, as we discuss why it was built and how it fell.
Hitler’s Bunker – Stand above Hitler’s bunker as we recount the final days of the Third Reich and Hitler’s bizarre demise.
Watchtower – See one of the last remaining watchtowers in the Berlin Wall no-man’s-land isolating West Berlin within East Germany.
Topography of Terror – This former headquarters of the infamous Nazi ‘Gestapo’ and SS is now a free museum detailing interrogations by the Nazis that took place here.
Brandenburg Gate – Arguably Germany’s most famous monument, the Brandenburg Gate served as a backdrop for many of Berlin’s most important events: Napoleon’s march into Berlin, the division of Berlin during the Cold War, famous speeches (Reagan) and concerts (Hasselhof!), and much more.
Luftwaffe Ministry – The massive former headquarters building of the Nazi Luftwaffe Ministry still stands and is now the main building of Germany’s Finance Ministry.
Beer Garden Break – About 2/3 through the tour we stop at a fantastic beer garden in the heart of Berlin’s massive city park. This is a great chance to plug your guide for more inside information.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – This recently-finished memorial is powerful to all who visit. Its 2711 blocks of various heights sit on undulating ground to give those walking through it a sense of solice and solitude.
Bebelplatz – Directly in front of the main building and library of Germany’s most prestigious university, this was the site of the Nazi’s infamous book-burning on May 10, 1933.
Museum Island – This is home to five of Berlin’s most famous museums, notably the Pergamon Museum and the Egyptian Museum (now housed in the Altes Museum).
Reichstag – Germany’s famous parliament building stood just in front of the Wall in West Berlin, a testament that the final chapters of Berlin’s 20th Century had yet to be written. Germany moved it’s federal government from Bonn back to Berlin in 1999.
Potsdamer Platz – The new “downtown” of Berlin with unparalleled modern architecture.
Soviet War Memorial – See the first of more than 500 war memorials the Soviets had built in former East Germany. This is the site of the first Soviet tanks to enter into Berlin in April 1945 as well as where 2500 fallen Soviet troops are buried.
Victory Column – This massive symbol of victory by the Prussian army over the Danes, Austrians, and French was relocated along the massive East-West Axis in accordance to Hitler’s infamous redesign of Berlin.
Explore Berlin on your own during the day. The transition of Berlin in the two-and-a-half decades since the fall of the wall has been monumental, with its culture and arts scene continuing to set standards. The city of 3.5 million is home to 180 museums and collections, 400 art galleries, three opera houses and eight major symphony orchestras. Here is some information that will make it easier for you to select according to your interest and preference.
Markets and Squares: Hackescher Markt is found in a lively area in the heart of Berlin. Full of culture, as well as being near to the Museum Island and the historical buildings of the Scheunenviertel, this place is well and truly a Berlin Hotspot. Around the Hackescher Markt, numerous international brands have opened their head offices and concept-stores.In the side streets, such as the Neuen and Alten Schönhauser Straße or Münzstraße, you can find young labels and cool shops. Away from the tourist trodden streets, such as Oranienburger Straße (Berlin’s equivalent of Amsterdam’s Red Light District), the
night owl can meet friends in small clubs and bars. As he explores, he comes across hip lounges and cocktail bars, and is taken by surprise by the huge culinary variety offered by Berlin restaurants. In this
very area of Berlin, you can literally feel the history on the streets, so don’t miss the opportunity to go behind the scenes and discover the rear courtyards and hidden alleyways!The Hackescher Markt was constructed as a joint endeavour between the Berlin City Commandant Graf von Hacke and Friedrich II. In 1840 it was officially renamed as Hackescher Markt. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the place became increasingly significant for the surrounding area. After the Second World War, in the years of the GDR, the Hackescher Markt lost importance due to the building developments in the Alexanderplatz area, and it was only after reunification and the renovation of the surrounding ‘Altbau’ buildings, that the square regained its attraction.
After reunification, many artists and alternative individuals from all over the world came to settle in the side streets around the Hackescher Markt. Until roughly the mid-90s, ‘Hackesche’ was the centre of the young Berlin subculture, with many clubs and galleries. From the end of the 90s, a change began and international fashion labels and publishers took over the streets around the square.The Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, boulevard “Unter den Linden”, the gold-domed “Neue Synagoge”, Gendarmenmarkt, the city’s most attractive square, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church with its damaged spire, the French Cathedral… Go and explore the German capital, find hotspots and hidden gems.
Museums and Art Galleries: Embrace the past, present and future of Berlin. Discover priceless treasures of art. Go and see paintings of timeless beauty…from Giotto to Caspar David Friedrich, from Joseph Beuys to Keith Haring. Berlin boasts more than 175 museums and some 300 art galleries. Last but not least, there is the Berlin Museumsinsel, a veritable paradise for art lovers.
Theatre, Opera and Music: Three opera houses. Eight large symphony orchestras. Open-air summer concerts from Waldbühne. Different music festivals. Live concerts played by international superstars of rock and pop. A myriad of theater options. Catch the glitz and glamour of an opening night. Enjoy a matinee performance or an evening of Shakespeare.
Shopping and Window Shopping: Numerous small stores on Friedrichstrasse or the Kurfürstendamm. Trendsetting fashion boutiques in the districts Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte. Shop till you drop. Open air markets and flea markets abound throughout Berlin. Enjoy the multicultural flair. Rummage to your heart’s content.
Gourmet Berlin: Berlin is a culinary melting pot where old and new traditions, east and west unite. Treat yourself to the ultimate gourmet experience at the city’s eleven Michelin-starred restaurants. Get a taste of German cooking. Indulge in Thai or Indian cuisine. Or simply savor a Berlin Currywurst. If you’re in Berlin you won’t ever have to eat a bad (or expensive) meal, if you know where to look. These fast but delicious food options will keep you satisfied—without emptying out your wallet.
Recommended: A very special German Dinner at the oldest restaurant in Berlin, Zur Letzten Instanz built in the 13th Century.
Day 7: Be A Spy for the Day
A Cold War relic lies abandoned on top of a mountain made of rubble, built over a Nazi college that couldn’t be destroyed after the end of World War II. The gates of the former US spy station are locked and secure; its perimeter sealed by an uncompromising high fence, an angry crisscross mesh of wires that clearly imply: “Eintritt Verboten!”
Welcome to Teufelsberg, literally “Devil’s Mountain” a hill reaching 114.7 meters above sea-level, made from an estimated 12 million cubic meters of war rubble (apparently about 400,000 bombed houses) pushed together in the north of the Grunewald forest in West Berlin.
Perched atop this man-made mound now sits the old abandoned listening or intelligence-gathering station used during the Cold War by the Americans and British to learn what was going on in Russian-controlled East Germany. It wasn’t very discreet; three huge bulbous globes, two “radomes” perched atop buildings three-stories high and another sitting a further six-stories higher, creating a giant tower.
Recommended: a visit to the Stasi Museum of Berlin.
The headquarters of the State Security
Considering itself the “shield and sword of the party” it was from this compound that the Stasi conducted its nearly 40-year-long fight against the so called enemies of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) – against those who refused to follow the guidelines of the regime, against those who did not conform to its ideas of a human being.
The center piece of the highly secured compound was “house 1”, constructed in 1960. It was built as the seat of the offices of the Minister of State Security. From 1957 to 1989 the head of the Stasi was Erich Mielke.
After citizens occupied the premises in January 1990, the Association for Anti-Stalinist Action (ASTAK e.V.) opened “house 1” on the 7th of November 1990 as research and memorial site. The former headquarters of the secret police were now open to the public. The minister’s offices (“the Mielke suite”), the offices of those of his inner circle as well as the conference room and lounge have been almost completely preserved in their original condition.
Recommended: An Evening at Charlottenburg Palace, for a tour, a dinner and concert.
A classical European Experience not easily forgotten. The Highlights are a Berlin Residence Orchestra concert at Charlottenburg Palace – Listen to renowned Berlin musicians playing Bach, Mozart and more;
• a 3-course dinner before the concert at Charlottenburg Palace Orangery
• a self-guided tour of the palace, the largest in Berlin.
An elegant night out to remember!
Here is what you may expect:
Charlottenburg Palace is today’s largest residence of the royal house of Hohenzollern in Germany’s capital Berlin. The buildings are surrounded by unique baroque gardens featuring various architectural styles. The palace includes magnificently furnished chambers and ceremonial rooms with exclusive art collections.
Day 8: For a perfectly personal conclusion of your Berlin Wall Trip we suggest you do something real special: The Wall Trip in an authentic military colored East German 2-cylinder Trabant automobile.
What was once the ridiculed automobile of East Germany the Berlin Trabant has been enjoying a revival with the increased nostalgia for all things associated with the GDR, or Ostalgie as the Germans refer to it. The Trabant only has a two stroke engine but is nonetheless a ton of fun to drive during our Berlin trabi tours. It has become the latest craze over the past couple of years to take a Berlin Trabant tour and drive yourself through the streets of Berlin being guided via radio. The Berlin trabi tours offer a wide variety of trabants to choose from; convertible, stretch limo, military jeep, zebra striped and many more.
The Wall Ride is THE Berlin-Tour for those who seek the very special, odd stories as well as interesting personalities and remarkable biographies of a once divided city.
Investigating the remains of the Berlin Wall in a Trabi:
Go where the Cold War was hot and show you Berlin from a really unique perspective. Get in and the adventure begins! The Wall Ride Berlins ultimate City Tour, following the Berlin Wall tracing back Germany’s way to reunification.
We proudly present: The Wall Ride – the most exciting and thrilling Sightseeing Tour you can find in Berlin, 25 years after the fall of the Wall. Driving past historical places which have been and still are the focus of world politics, we will guide you through the formerly divided city of Berlin – a hands-on experience on both Berlin’s exciting past and presence!
Loved, hated, hotly sought-after and finally written off: the story of the Trabant-car is closely related to the history of the former German Democratic Republic. We have made our Trabants the all-star cast of a very special sight seeing-tour which surely is a highlight of every Berlin visit!
Everyone who has joined the Trabi experience was enthusiastic about it! So get in and experience it yourself: the world famous sound of an original Trabi engine will awaken your spirit of adventure immediately! Choose one of our approx. 100 Trabis and drive yourself! Our professional guides will accompany you via a modern radio communication system, providing information about the city along the way.
You choose the car! But whichever model you choose the joy of driving is guaranteed. Your journey through times starts as soon as you get in the car. And this journey has a lot to offer.
Every Trabant on a time travel with The Wall Ride is painted in the original military look. Our models cause sensation and are a popular theme for photos. Your Trabi is going to be a loyal companion on this extraordinary sight-seeing tour following the sights of the Berlin Wall as well as German and European history. Check the Drive below
The Wall Ride Schedule:
The Wall Ride is pure excitement, fun within the group is guaranteed and it is likely to become the unforgettable highlight of your Berlin trip.
- Welcome at checkpoint Alpha
The mission Wall Ride starts here …
The Balloon Garden is our checkpoint alpha, where we set out to the Wall Ride Tour. Framed by two Ural trucks of the Red Army you will get a quick introduction, receive the necessary documents and off we go. Choose your dream Trabi, start the engine, put it into gear, give it some gas. What happens now is a wonderful tour throughout Berlin, filled with unique impressions and stories. Driving along in a Trabi convoy – 2 blocks and everyone will have a serious case of Trabi-fever.
- Our first stop – the Wall Park
The excitement begins
On Wall mission our convoy motors through Berlin. The excitement of mission members and strangers is equally high. Many pedestrians will stop in their tracks, wave and take pictures. 25 minutes into our mission we will reach Bernauer Strasse and the Wall Park. Here you have the chance to inspect the last relicts of the so called death strip and take impressive Photos. You will learn how todays Park got its name and many more facts regarding the construction of the wall on august 13th 1961 as well as life in the divided city. Touching stories regarding the most spectacular escapes and moving fates let you experience this time
- Treat in the heart of East Berlin
With Samovar, bread & salt
After this exciting date with history you deserve a snack. The former Stalin Allee, the pomp and parade avenue in the GDR – was also a popular meeting point of the East-Berliners. One of the best known addresses was the legendary café Moscow and the mocha-milk-ice cream-bar. Here we will invite you to a typical Russian snack, including hot tea from a samovar and, according to Russian tradition, bread and salt as a welcome. During the snack our guide may entertain you with stories of past times.
- The East Side Gallery – first hand history
More crooked, colorful, wild
The next stop of the Wall Ride is the East Side Gallery – the largest and best known piece of the Berlin Wall. Our uniformed personnel is ready to take your group picture in front of the legendary kiss of brothers painting. And you may have time to explore the site briefly by yourself. The original piece of the wall alongside the Spree river was painted 1990 by 118 artist from 21 countries and is a significant document of the political changes 1989/1990. The East Side Gallery is with 1316 meters the longest open air gallery in the world.
- Checkpoint Charlie Ihre Papiere bitte!
Nothing goes without a visa
We will continue to the last stop of the Wall Ride. Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrase is the best known of the former border crossings – next to the border between the American and the Soviet Sector. This legendary border crossing was mainly used by Diplomats. Here was also the focus point of the cold war – two super powers were standing eye to eye and you could cut the tension with a knife. The checks on GDR-side were especially harsh, provoking and sometimes plainly ridiculous. We also have to get checked here – just like in former times – and hopefully – after a thorough inspection – we will get the right stamp for our documents.
Day 9 Re-visit your favorite Berlin spots, do some shopping, visit a museum of your choice or just relax and then take a Happy Hour River Cruise through Berlin’s most monumental vistas.
Berlin’s waterways (river Spree and Landwehrkanal) offer the unique possibility to discover the inner city with its sights from the water. The city round trip lasts about 3 hours and covers a stretch of about 23 km (14 miles) and will lead you both to the historic and modern buildings of Berlin as to the green riverbanks, the densely populated and industrial areas and the elevated railway.
You have until noon to get ready for your airport transfers, and say Auf Wiedersehen.
AVERAGE CLIMATE DATA FOR BERLIN (click to enlarge)
For More Information Call: (904) 775 8684
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check Out Our Trip Planner for more detailed information BEFORE booking.
• May 20 – May 29, 2017
• August 19 – August 28, 2017
- Price per person is $4,295 for 10 days- 9 nights / add. nights available at supplement pricing
- Maximum Number of Travelers for this Trip is 14
- Airport Transportations Included
- Selected Meals Included – See Meal plan
- Number of Tour Guides: 1 or 2
- Accommodations: Luxury Hotel in the Heart of Berlin
- Single Supplement Charge: $950
- Deposit: $ 750 p/p at the time of booking
- Balance: 60 days prior to travel start
Single Occupancy Supplement is $950, Deposit is $750.00
Single Occupancy Supplement is $950, Deposit is $750.00