ABOUT THE Berlin Museum Island Free Tour: from Kaisers to Communists
Join us, as we explore Berlin’s Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important cultural centers in Europe. Comprised of five renowned museums, drawing over 1.8 million visitors a year, the museums on Museum Island are dedicated to art, archaeology, and natural history and showcase a wealth of cultural artifacts and works of art. Whilst we don’t enter the museums, our guides help you understand which ones are right for you, which are free, and which you might save for next time.
Your Berlin Free Tour meets in front of Starbucks Cafe at the Hackesche Markt, and finishes at Bebelplatz on Unter den Linden. Join us on this introduction to Berlin, a great way to orientate yourself in the city as well as in the history of Germany, embodied by the stories and buildings of the Museum Island.
The Seat of Prussian Power
Before this was home to some of the world’s most important antiquities, it was the seat of power for the Kaiser’s of Imperial Germany. For over 400 years, this was their capitol and their stronghold, surrounded by the natural “moat” of the Spree. They built with intention and strategy. Many of their royal buildings survived WWII and others have been restored or rebuilt over the decades, lending to the overwhelming Neo-classical and Greek Revival architecture, creating a sense of time-traveling in the usually modern Berlin cityscape. Listen with fascination about what the Prussians were going for here, become a fan of Fredrick the Great (aka Alte Fritz!), Berlin’s local hero and Prussia’s greatest military genius and King, and why it is that the last Kaiser of Germany is the only one not buried in the crypts of the Berlin Cathedral, their royal church. Read More
Swatstikas Arrive in Berlin
Having exploited the weaknesses in the progressive yet fragile democratic Weimar Republic, Hitler convinces Germany to exchange freedom and liberty for security and national pride. The Nazis arrive to the capitol, a political party from Bavaria led by a demagogue from Austria, with all the pomp, flair, and pageantry of a Roman Legion. Like the Prussians before them, the Nazis would draw much from the Roman Empire, or “Reich”, calling themselves the Third Reich. We’ll visit the Lustgarten, where they held their rallies. We’ll see the bullet holes from the last days of their Reign of Terror. We end our experience together near the site of the Nazi Book Burning, and the powerful memorial there today.
The DDR rises from the ashes of Berlin
Between Allied bombing and Russian artillery, Berlin was in ruins by 1945; tens of millions of people had been killed or murdered in the last few years. What begins as an effort to demilitarize the country, leads quickly to the start of the Cold War and the founding of two new Germanys, one West and one East. The DDR (East Germany) choses Berlin as its capitol, and builds their parliamentary building upon the rubble of the old Prussian palace. In a circle of history, the Palace facade has now been rebuilt on the ground upon which it once stood.
The Berlin Museum Island Free Tour starts in front of the Starbucks Cafe at the Hackesche Markt (Neue Promenade 3)
- Explore Europe’s most important concentration of museums, the Museum Island (UNESCO World Heritage)
- Stand in the footsteps of the leaders of Germany, from where Prussians, Democrats, Nazis, and Communists each in turn ruled their country
- Experience the impact of the Neue Wache (New Guardhouse), the Memorial to the Victims of War and Tyranny
- Visit into the Berlin Palace, destroyed in 1950 and now at last lovingly reconstructed
- Finish at the site of of the Nazi Book Burning, and the stunning (and discreet!) memorial “Bibliotek”
This tour doesn‘t run today
- Local English-language expert guide
- Gratuities for the guide (optional)
- Children up to 13 years old may join free, however, please note that some content may not be suitable for younger guests
- Our business is connecting great guides and smart travelers, and we're proud to help so many local guides welcome travelers like you on their journey through some of the world's best cities. No two tours are alike, and the sites, stories, and length of the tour will vary depending on what your guide decides is best. That's why the tours we promote never get stale or feel scripted, and why savvy travelers prefer SANDEMANs
What is a Free Tour?
The Free Tour is the best introduction to Berlin! A general overview tour including many of the highlights of the city, the Free Tour usually lasts around 2 hours and is led by a superb local tour leader, so tour content can vary depending on your tour leader’s particular area of interest and expertise.
The Free Tour is a walking tour with no need for public transport and is designed for independent travelers, not groups. You can book your spot in advance online or simply show up at the start point on the day. There is no payment necessary at the start of the tour but you are welcome to tip your guide at the end!
We believe in supporting local communities and are committed to giving a voice to some of Berlin's best local freelance tour leaders, who passionately share the city's history and culture with their own unique and always-entertaining style. They'll never pressure you to tip; we believe that, if money is given, it should be voluntary and in direct proportion to the quality of the tour and the budget of the traveller.
Why join the SANDEMANs FREE Tour?
- The route covers many of Berlin's major landmarks
- The meeting point is centrally located in the Brandenburg Gate
- The Free Tour is guaranteed to fit within your budget
- The guides performing tips-based Free Tours are incentivized to perform every time
WALKING TOURS & ACTIVITIES IN BERLIN
Free Tour of Berlin
Book the original Berlin free walking tour and visit many of the city's highlights with a local guid ...
Communist Berlin and Berlin Wall Free Tour
A look at life behind the Berlin Wall, the Red Berlin and the divided city during the Cold War
Berlin Third Reich Free Walking Tour
Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in Berlin
Participation in tours promoted by SANDEMANs NEW Europe is strictly on a voluntary basis. Neither SANDEMANs NEW Europe, its staff members, nor any of the freelance guides we work with will be held responsible in any way for injuries to body or property incurred during tours. The tour guides and tour leaders reserve the right to deny participation in any tour, to any person, for any reason. Thank you for your understanding.