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Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in Berlin

Tour one of Europe's most historic cities aboard a bus with free stops: the most comfortable and fastest way to discover everything

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

6 min read

Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in Berlin

Sightseeing bus through the streets of Berlin | ©Janusz Jakubowski

Berlin is one of the most exciting tourist destinations in Europe, but also one of the most tiring to fully discover. One solution is to use the tourist bus, a service designed for travelers who do not want to leave anything to see.

1. The best sightseeing buses in Berlin

Plaza Parisier
Plaza Parisier

If you have never ridden on a tourist bus, you will probably find it a "not very authentic" option; but if we want to know Berlin in detail, this solution is very practical and very comfortable. I'll tell you about all the options available:

2. 1 or 2 day Big Bus tour bus

Berlin Central Station | ©Ansgar Koreng
Berlin Central Station | ©Ansgar Koreng

This is the cheapest option to make use of the tour bus in Berlin and also has the advantage of live commentary on the various attractions in addition to the recorded commentary.

How it works

You can book a pass to use it for one or two days and you can also upgrade to the Premium option which includes a one and a half hour walking tour through the center of Berlin (highly recommended) or the Deluxe option which, in addition to the walking tour, includes a one-hour river cruise.

With either option, you will have access to two different routes with free stops. You can use this service as a means of transportation between the different points of interest in Berlin, but I recommend that, at least once, you do the whole tour with live commentary to see the city in a relaxed way and from a different point of view, enjoying the sights and without stress.

In addition, Big Bus buses have an app to locate them in real-time.

Itinerary of the blue route

  • The East Side Gallery open-air museum
  • The Karl-Marx-Allee socialist boulevard
  • The Holzmarkt district
  • The Mercedes-Benz Arena
  • The Wall Museum

Itinerary of the red route

  • Kudamm
  • Kadewe
  • Lützowplatz
  • Potsdamer Platz
  • Open air museum topography of terror
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Gendarmen Markt
  • Alexanderplatz
  • Alexa Shopping Center
  • Neptune Fountain
  • Museum Island
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Central Station
  • Bellevue Palace
  • Victory Column

The guided walking tour
As for the guided walking tour, you can choose between morning or afternoon (when booking online you will be informed about everything via email). You will pass by places such as the Brandenburg Gate, Chekpoint Charlie, or the Holocaust Memorial. A specialized guide will explain the history behind each of these sites.

The cruise

Finally, the river cruise also has several schedules. The total duration is one hour and on this occasion, there are no free stops, but the tour is designed to contemplate different points of interest of the city from the river.

Ana's Traveller Tip

To get the most out of your sightseeing bus pass, activate it first thing in the morning.

3. 1 or 2 day City Circle Tourist Bus

Tourist Bus City Circle | ©North West Transport Photos
Tourist Bus City Circle | ©North West Transport Photos

This option is quite complete in terms of route; the Berlin City Circle bus is the one with the longest routes so it is a good option if you are going to make the complete tour as a walk around the city. The routes are thematic: one focused on the most relevant of Berlin and another focused on the Wall area.

Both offer an audio commentary. You can purchase a 24-hour or 48-hour pass depending on your plans, and you can also optionally extend it by booking a one-hour Spree River cruise.

Itinerary of the "Best of Berlin" Tour

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Museum Island
  • Potsdamer Platz
  • Unter den Linden
  • Kudamm Avenue
  • Kaufhaus des Westens shopping center (KaDeWe)
  • Berlin Cathedral
  • Gendarmenmarkt
  • Charlottenburg Palace
  • Alexanderplatz
  • Kulturforum
  • Victory Column
  • Strasse des 17 Juni Flea Market
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Berlin Central Station
  • Neptune Fountain

Itinerary of route 2 or "Route of the Wall"

  • Alexanderplatz
  • Hackescher Market
  • Wall Memorial
  • Mauer Park
  • Kollwitzkiez
  • East Side Gallery
  • The wall paintings in the Ostbahnhof

Ana's Traveller Tip

Plan your day in Berlin with a map in front of you, taking into account the stops of the sightseeing bus; you can do the whole route interspersed with walking sections.

4. Red Bus sightseeing bus in Berlin

Sunsets from the heights
Sunsets from the heights

If you have little free time to explore the city, this can be an ideal option to get a general picture of Berlin and get an impression of it to complete in future trips. The red buses that run through the city: are based on the concept of Hop On Hop Off which means that the route has free stops where you can get on and off as many times as you want during the 24 hours of duration of this pass.

The general route of the Berlin Red Bus is quite complete (it lasts a total of two and a half hours) and the pass also includes a one hour cruise on the river that runs through the city that you can enjoy during the days and times indicated to you via email when you make your online reservation.

On the same day, you can take the cruise and the full tour on the sightseeing bus while enjoying the audio commentary and panoramic views.

Itinerary

  • Kudamm Avenue
  • Tauentzienstraße
  • Kaufhaus des Westens shopping center (KaDeWe)
  • Potsdamer Platz
  • Martin-Gropius-Bau exhibition space
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Gendarmenmarkt
  • Alexanderplatz
  • Berlin Cathedral
  • Unter den Linden
  • Holocaust Memorial
  • Brandenburg Square
  • Berlin Central Station
  • Center for Contemporary Art Berlin
  • Victory Column
  • Zoologischer Garten
  • Café Kranzler

How the Berlin sightseeing bus works in Berlin

Holocaust Memorial | ©Jared Lisack
Holocaust Memorial | ©Jared Lisack

There are different tour bus companies in Berlin and they all have free stops. This means that buying a pass for one or several days not only allows you to take the complete routes as many times as you want, but you can use it as a means of transportation by hopping on and off wherever you want.

And what is the difference with a regular bus? Mainly the panoramic views that you will have and the comments during the tour of the monuments that you will see. However, for me, the fundamental difference is in something that I did not expect the first time I got on the bus, and that is how comfortable and useful it is to find your way around the city.

While regular buses are designed to communicate the entire city regardless of its points of interest, these routes are specifically designed for those who want to visit the city and want to do so without having to change lines or look at maps.

You can book online your pass for one or several days and pick it up at any of the points that will be indicated to you via email once you make your reservation. You can also have it delivered to your home or hotel. Some of the sightseeing bus options in Berlin have several routes and with the pass, you will be able to access all of them.

Ana's Traveller Tip

Berlin's sightseeing buses are adapted for children and persons with reduced mobility.

6. Other interesting activities in Berlin

Interior of the Reichstag dome | ©Sven Przepiorka
Interior of the Reichstag dome | ©Sven Przepiorka

Using the tourist bus in Berlin has many advantages; especially because of the size of the city it is a great help when it comes to visiting the main points of interest. However, having a one or two-day pass for the tourist bus does not preclude you from walking around certain areas of the city and the best way to do this is through a guided tour.

On board the sightseeing bus you will enjoy audio commentaries about Berlin's main attractions that will probably arouse your curiosity. On the guided walking tours these commentaries are expanded and personalized with a closer tone since the guides of these tours are usually locals as well as experts on the city.

The sightseeing bus tour is ideal to get an overview of the city, but be sure to go deeper into the areas that catch your attention with the organized walking tours of Berlin, you have in my article on Berlin Tours a summary of the best ones.