Tours of central Berlin's Spree and Landwehr canals give you up-close views of sights such as Charlottenburg Palace, the Reichstag, and the Berliner Dom. Tours usually depart twice a day from several bridges and piers in Berlin, such as Schlossbrücke in Charlottenburg; Hansabrücke and Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Tiergarten; Friedrichstrasse, Museum Island, and Nikolaiviertel in Mitte; and near the Jannowitzbrücke S-bahn and U-bahn station. Drinks, snacks, and wursts are available during the narrated trips. Reederei Riedel offers three inner-city trips that range from €8.50 to €18.
A tour of the Havel Lakes (which include Tegeler See and Wannsee) begins at the Wannsee, where you can sail on either the whale-shape vessel Moby Dick or the Havel Queen, a Mississippi-style boat, and cruise 28 km (17 mi) through the lakes and past forests (Stern- und Kreisschiffahrt). Tours can last from one to seven hours, and cost between €8 and €20. There are 20 operators.
Boat Tour Information
Reederei Bruno Winkler (030/349–9595. www.reedereiwinkler.de.)
Reederei Riedel (030/6796-1470. www.reederei-riedel.de.)
Stern und Kreisschiffahrt (030/536–3600. www.sternundkreis.de.)
Four companies (Berliner Bären Stadtrundfahrten, Berolina Berlin-Service, Bus Verkehr Berlin, and Severin & Kühn) jointly offer city tours on yellow, double-decker City Circle buses, which run every 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the season. The full circuit takes two hours, as does the recorded narration listened to through headphones. For €20 you can jump on and off at the 16 stops. 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. Severin & Kühn also runs all-day tours to Dresden.
The Stadtrundfahrtbüro Berlin offers a 2½-hour tour (€15) and 1¾-hour tour (€12) at 10:15, 10:45, 11, 11:30, 1 pm, and 1:30 pm, 3 pm, 3:30 pm, and 5 pm. A guide narrates in both German and English. The bus departs from Kurfürstendamm 236, at the corner of Rankestrasse.
Bus Tour Information
BBS Berliner Bären Stadtrundfahrt (030/3519–5270. www.bbsberlin.de.)
Berolina Berlin-Service (030/8856–8030. www.berolina-berlin.com.)
Bus Verkehr Berlin (Kurfürstendamm 225, Western Downtown, Berlin, 10719. 030/683–8910. www.bvb.net.)
BEX Sightseeing (Mannheimer Str. 33/34, Wilmersdorf, Berlin, 10713. 030/880–4190. www.bex.de.)
Stadtrundfahrtbüro Berlin (Kurfürstendamm 236, Western Downtown, Berlin, 10789. 030/261–2001. www.stadtrundfahrtbuero-berlin.de.)
Walking and Bike Tours
Getting oriented through a walking tour is a great way to start a Berlin visit. In addition to daily city highlight tours, companies have themed tours such as Third Reich Berlin, Potsdam, and pub crawls. Berlin Walks offers a Monday "Jewish Life" tour, a Potsdam tour on Thursday and Sunday, and visits to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Insider Tours has a "Cold War" Berlin tour about the Soviet era and a bike tour as well as a Cruise'n'Walk tour, a combination of boating and walking. Brit Terry Brewer's firsthand accounts of divided and reunified Berlin are a highlight of the all-day "Brewer's Best of Berlin" tour. Tours cost from €9 to €15. Printable discount coupons may be available on the tour operators' Web sites; some companies grant discounts to WelcomeCard and CityCard holders. Fat Tire Bike Tours rides through Berlin daily early March–November and has a Berlin Wall tour. The 4½-hour city tour costs €22, bike rental included.
Walking and Bike Tour Information
Original Berlin Walks (030/301–9194. www.berlinwalks.com.)
Brewer's Berlin Tours (0177/388–1537. www.brewersberlintours.com.)
Fat Tire Bike Tours (Panoramastr. 1a, base of TV tower, Mitte, Berlin, 10178. 030/2404–7991. www.fattirebiketoursberlin.com.)
Insider Tour (Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten, outside McDonalds, Charlottenburg, Berlin, 10623. 030/692–3149. www.insidertour.com.)