An Introduction to Berlin

3-Hour Tour

Get a Solid Feel for a City at the Epicenter of Modern History

Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Berlin Wall, Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie

On this introductory Berlin city tour, we’ll explore iconic landmarks, surveying the political and ideological forces that prompted genocide and global war during the 20th century. The tour will highlight insights into the Nazi and Cold War eras, while looking into Prussia’s transformation into a dominant military power during the 1700s and how this set the stage for the great tragedies of modern history. Your expert guide will help you discover how Germany’s capital has confronted its dark past and renewed itself as a city renowned for multiculturalism, tolerance, and creativity.

Stroll along Berlin's royal boulevard, Unter den Linden, following in the footsteps of Napoleon to Pariser Platz and the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Trace the path of the Berlin Wall and view the dramatic Holocaust Memorial, before crossing through Tiergarten Park and reaching Germany's parliament - the Reichstag.

Pause at the statue of Frederick the Great, and consider his role in shaping Prussia's future as the German Empire.

At the site of the 1933 Nazi book-burning, learn about Hitler's rise to power before a contrasting walk across Museum Island, where Berlin developed into a cultural center in the 19th century.

Soak up the atmosphere in lively Hackescher Markt Square, and take a glimpse into the preserved Art Nouveau courtyards of pre-war Berlin.

Finish your Berlin walking tour at Checkpoint Charlie, where thousands of East Germans poured across the border to end the Cold War.

Tour Details


Private tours – $415 USD (1-10 persons)
*your guide all to yourself

Small groups – $125 USD per person
*still intimate with 8 persons or less

Departure time

Private tours daily at 10 AM and 2 PM

Small groups

  • Monday 10 AM
  • Wednesday 2 PM
  • Friday 10 AM
  • Saturday 2 PM

Meeting point

Private tours include a pick-up at your central hotel or flat

Small groups: Cafe Einstein, Unter den Linden 42, 100117 Berlin




3 hours

Group size

Private tours: 1-10 persons
Groups of over 10 should contact us at in order to get a special rate for their party.

Small groups: 2-8 persons

Participation requirements

As this is a walking tour, please contact us if you have any mobility issues or concerns

Not included

Metro fare: You will need to use public transport a few times since the distances between some key sites are too far to walk. If you do not have a multi-day visitor’s transit pass to Berlin already, we suggest that you purchase the day metro pass. If you cannot purchase it in advance, your guide will help you purchase it at the first metro station on the tour.

What to bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Cash or credit card for the metro fare

About your guide

Read about our Berlin guides

Cancellation policy

For cancellations 48 hours prior to your scheduled tour, Insight Cities offers a full refund. We cannot refund cancellations within 48 hours of a scheduled tour as we need to pay our guide.

Overview of Your Tour

An Introduction to Berlin

Berlin has been at the epicenter of some of the most catastrophic conflicts in modern times, but the seeds of these hostilities were planted centuries before. This 3-­hour Berlin city tour presents a broad view of the political and ideological forces that unleashed genocide and global war in the 20th century. We explore the German capital’s iconic landmarks through the lens of the tumultuous Nazi and Cold War eras, showing how Prussia’s violent 18th-century transformation into Europe’s dominant military power set the stage for the great tragedies of recent history. At the same time, your guide will help you consider present-day Berlin’s successes, confronting its dark past and renewing itself as a dynamic modern capital known for multiculturalism, tolerance, and creativity.

large stone parliament building from behind

Follow in the Footsteps of Napoleon

We begin on Unter den Linden, Berlin’s royal boulevard, and follow in the footsteps of Napoleon past historic embassies and hotels, to Pariser Platz and the Brandenburg Gate – the iconic symbol of reunified Germany. Tracing the path of the Berlin Wall, we experience the dramatic Holocaust Memorial in the shadow of Potsdamer Platz – the brief epicenter of decadent 1920s Berlin, now rebuilt with 21st-century skyscrapers. Crossing through the Tiergarten Park, we reach the home of Germany’s parliament – the Reichstag. A fire that destroyed the building in 1933 was used by the Nazis as the pretext to suspend civil liberties and arrest political opponents. We contrast this witht he building we see today, with the grand glass dome created for its reopening in 1992 by architect Norman Foster (complete with walkways that look down into parliament). This architectural style provokes discussion about the dome as a symbol for Germany’s reunification, transparency, and commitment to democracy.

large memorial gate with statue on top

Adolf Hitler’s Rise to Power

Returning to Unter den Linden, we pause at the famous equestrian statue of Frederick the Great to consider Prussia’s “Poet King”, and his role in shaping the militaristic and cultural orientations of the future German Empire. At Bebelplatz, the site of the 1933 Nazi book-burning, you’ll learn about Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and its terrible consequences. As you cross Museum Island (Berlin’s answer to the Louvre), we discuss the city’s 19th-century development into a cultural center.

large sign with german writing

Explore Pre-war Berlin in Hackescher Markt Square

Next, the lively Hackescher Markt square – a charming pocket of pre-war Berlin – affords us a chance to ramble through a network of preserved Art Nouveau courtyards and glimpse the city that was, untouched by war and gentrification.

Finish your Tour at Checkpoint Charlie

We finish our tour at Checkpoint Charlie, the legendary crossing point from West to East Berlin. This is the point where thousands of East Germans poured across the border bringing the Cold War to an end in 1989. Concluding our tour here, we discuss the East/West divisions that continue to impact Berlin, even as the city evolves in new directions for a modern era.

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