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Berlin Walking Tours

A suggestion for folks interested in personalized walking tours in Berlin:

Ours with Jeremy Minsberg (www.theberlinexpert.com) was the best tour we've ever taken. Jeremy was smart, funny, thoughtful, patient, and he even knew when to say "I don't know" in response to a question. He even followed up our tour with suggestions for books to read and films to watch if we were curious. In short, we came away with more in our 4 hours than we could've gotten on our own. What more could we want from a tour?

Our experience with tours -- be they big ones, say, at museums or personalized for a small group -- is they're disappointing. The typical guide is windy, slow, repetitious, and asks superfluous Qs like where everybody's from (who cares if the other couple is from Des Moines?!). Jeremy knows better. And even though we know he's done this countless times before, he brings the energy of someone who seems to still get a kick of exploring around and commenting on his adopted town. He reminds us of your best teachers. We cannot recommend Jeremy highly enough.

Posted by
8234 posts

We always go for the "Free Walking Tours" of all major cities as located online. They work for tips. And we go back that night and do their nightlife or pub crawling tours too. People from all over the world take their tours, and they're often a ball.

We were surprised with Berlin. And even a little disappointed with the quality of the museums on Museum Island. They don't compare to the museums of Paris or Amsterdam or London.

While we were in Berlin, we took the 2 hour train ride down to Dresden. Now, that's one beautiful city and the museums were simply incredible. It's the Germany we were looking for, and we will return to see all of Saxony.

Posted by
9032 posts

Jeremy is tops for Berlin. Guides who have a passion for what they are doing are never boring.
Guides who memorized a script, like the "free" tours I have been on, are a waste of my time.
I want a guide who actually knows their stuff that they are talking about, who does constant research, and who cares about the subject they are talking about. Jeremy fits that bill.

Posted by
49 posts

We toured with Jeremy in 2017 and absolutely LOVE him. He also gave us a great referral to a guide in Prague's Jewish Quarter, too.
Unfortunately, Jeremy is not available for our upcoming Berlin trip in September. We have friends coming with us this time who haven't been to Berlin before and we just can't bring ourselves to book with anyone else.

Posted by
3896 posts

Here's my recent cool Berlin tour. The guide is my go-to guy for Berlin, Robert Sommer. He has a PhD (thesis was on prostitution in concentration camps) but is very approachable. When the Berlin wall fell, he was the 15-year-old son of a high-ranking East German bureaucrat but was falling into the East German punk rock subculture. He has lived Berlin's history.

The tour was completely created for my fellow traveler and I. The topic was East Germany: From the Dream of Communism to Neonazi Violence. We met at the usual East Berlin meeting spot -- the world clock on Alexanderplatz. Robert discussed the use of art, architecture and open space as means to promote community in the area around Alexanderplatz and along Karl Marx Allee. We viewed a couple of the few remaining squatters' building in the old East Berlin. We went to Marzhan to see the large residential complex built by the East Germans and to hear Robert's stories of growing up there, including fights/wars between the Neonazis and the punk rockers. We finished up the day with a visit to Alt-Marzahn village, an old village in the midst of the larger surrounding developments. We had a late lunch at the village's butcher shop, which also had some prepared foods. We had some quite good Bulette and and an Apfelshorle that was so good we had a second. An astoundingly good tour with an astoundingly good guide.

Posted by
19167 posts

With respect to what Jo said, as a friend of mine used to say, "TINSTAAFL" (There is no such thing as a free lunch). With a free guided tour you don't pay for the trip, but the guide gets paid in tips. They always take a picture at the beginning of the trip, and the guide has to pay the organizer by the number of people in the picture. What the guide makes is his tips minus what the tour organizer's charge him for the number of people that take the "free" tour.

I would never take the "free" tours. It's a lie, and I would find it difficult from a moral standpoint to reward the organizers for lying.