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Berlin Hop on Hop off Bus Tours

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

Berlin Hop on Hop off Bus Tours

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 tour. 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

Parisier Square
Parisier Square

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 most economical option for using the sightseeing 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 make use of it for one or two days and you can also upgrade to the Premium option that includes a commented walking tour through the center of Berlin for an hour and a half (highly recommended) or the Deluxe option that, in addition to the walking tour, includes a one-hour cruise on the river.

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 entire 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, the Big Bus buses have an app to locate them in real time.

Blue Route Itinerary

  • The East Side Gallery open-air museum
  • Karl-Marx-Allee socialist boulevard
  • 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 hours (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 various timetables. 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 make the most of your tourist bus pass, activate it first thing in the morning.

3. 1 or 2 day City Circle sightseeing bus tour

City Circle sightseeing bus| ©North West Transport Photos
City Circle sightseeing bus| ©North West Transport Photos

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

Both have built-in audio commentary. You can buy a 24 or 48-hour pass depending on your plans and you can also extend it optionally by hiring a one-hour cruise on the Spree River.

Itinerary of the route "The best of Berlin".

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Museum Island
  • Potsdamer Platz
  • Unter den Linden
  • Kudamm Avenue
  • Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) shopping center
  • 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 "Wall Route"

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

Ana's Traveller Tip

Plan your day in Berlin with a map in front of you, taking into account the stops of the tourist 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 that in this case the pass lasts.

The general route to which you will have access with 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.

In the same day you can take the cruise and the complete tour in the tourist 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 center
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Gendarmenmarkt
  • Alexanderplatz
  • Berlin Cathedral
  • Unter den Linden
  • Holocaust Memorial
  • Brandenburg Square
  • Berlin Central Station
  • Berlin Center for Contemporary Art
  • Victory Column
  • Zoologischer Garten
  • Café Kranzler

5. How the sightseeing bus works in Berlin

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

There are different tour bus companies in Berlin and they all operate on a stop-free concept. This means that buying a pass for one or several days not only gives you the right 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 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 via email once you make your reservation. You can also ask for it to be sent 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 sightseeing buses are adapted for children and people with reduced mobility.

6. Other interesting activities in Berlin

Inside the Reichstag dome| ©Sven Przepiorka
Inside 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 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 by means of 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 guided walking tours these commentaries are expanded and personalized with a closer tone since the guides of these tours as well as experts in the city are usually locals.

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