Exploring Berlin's Rich Heritage: A 5-Day Itinerary for Unforgettable Tours

Brandenberg gate in Berlin on a cloudy day

Learn about the Berlin's post-war transformation from destruction to vibrance, and reflect on its complex history with visits to Holocaust memorial sites, Museums, and more with Context.

Berlin is a city in a constant state of evolution. From its complicated historical legacy to its modern cultural scene, it is a nuanced and engrossing place to visit. With such a wide range of landmarks and things to see, it’s hard to know what to prioritize when it comes to Berlin city sightseeing.

That’s why we put together a 5-day Berlin itinerary that spans everything from World War II to today.

Day 1: Tracing History – Introduction to Berlin

Our three-hour guided Berlin Tour offers an insightful introduction to Berlin for first timers, or to reorient returning travelers to some of the city's most important sites, including the Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, and the Reichstag.

Led by a historian or scholar, you’ll get a full Berlin historical tour that showcases the city’s transformation from destruction and despair into one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in Europe. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of Berlin’s biography and dig through the overlapping layers of history in this fascinating city.

Context guides have the flexibility to craft their own narrative based on the major sights of Berlin's city center, but locations on the tour may include:

  • The Brandenburger Tor
  • Reichstag
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • Former site of Hitler’s bunker
  • former Nazi chancellery
  • Berlin Wall fragments behind the former Reich Ministry of Aviation
  • Topography of Terror
  • Friedrichstrasse
  • Gendarmenmarkt (site of the Französischer Dom, Deutscher Dom and Konzerthaus)
  • Bebelplatz
  • Berlin's Opera House
  • Sankt-Hedwigs-Kathedrale
  • Unter den Linden
  • Lustgarten and Museum Island
  • Nikolaiviertel
  • Alexanderplatz
  • Hackescher Markt

If you want to take a shorter (but still impactful) tour, check out our short Berlin tour – an experience that packs 1,000 years of history into 90 minutes!

Day 2: Remembrance and Reflection

Hop on a bike and trace part of the Berlin Wall’s path on our Biking the Wall tour. The ease and efficiency of biking enable you to see a greater portion of the wall than you would on foot, so you can learn more during your Berlin Wall Memorial visit. As you glide along the bike route on the Wall, your guide will share historical insights and key information to allow you to fully imagine what life must have been like in the divided, volatile Berlin of the past.

Since biking along Berlin’s flat urban areas is less strenuous than walking, you could take a mid-day break for lunch and some relaxation, then head out for a walking tour designed to foster a deeper knowledge about Berlin’s Jewish history.

Engage with the rich Jewish heritage of Berlin on our Jewish Berlin Tour, an experience that delves into the stories of resilience, tragedy, and revival, visiting significant sites like the Jewish Museum and the New Synagogue. The three-hour tour of Berlin Jewish sites explores the triumphs and sorrows of Jewish thinkers, artists, public figures, and common people who form the foundation of the Jewish community in Berlin.

Day 3: Understanding Nazi History in Berlin

Experience the haunting history of Nazi Germany at the Topography Of Terror, an outdoor and indoor museum that stands on the grounds of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters.

Our Nazi History Tour of Berlin covers Berlin Nazi sites during the tragic years between 1933 and 1945 when Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party steered Germany into war and terror. This exploration of WWII history in Berlin offers a somber look into life in Berlin during this period.

The tour will include visits to the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag exterior, the Topography of Terror museum, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The tour’s purpose is to allow people to have firsthand encounters with Berlin’s history, not in an attempt to sensationalize or historicize the Third Reich, but in order to forge a connection to the present and understand how this history still shapes Berlin and Germany today.

After such a heavy tour topic, you may want to take the rest of the day to reflect and consider the emotional impact of this tour and the sites included.

Day 4: Sachsenhausen Camp Excursion

Looking straight at, rather than away from, humanity’s greatest failures allows us to learn from them, no matter how difficult they may be. That's why we believe in the importance of visiting sites like the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site on a Holocaust history excursion.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is one of the Nazi concentration camps near Berlin and is now a historical site that memorializes the tragedies of the Holocaust. This Sachsenhausen Tour, led by a historian, includes the grounds of the camp and provides a sensitive framework for visiting this site and learning about the sobering events that took place here.

Because the subject matter of this tour is difficult, we recommend taking some downtime after the excursion to pay tribute to the victims and contemplate what you saw, learned, and experienced.

Day 5: Art and Architecture

Berlin is known for its thriving, magnetic art scene, and a visit to the city is incomplete without seeing some of its most famous art and architecture. While much of Berlin’s landscape was punctuated by World War II, Berlin found its architectural footing in the 20th century. Our Berlin Architecture Tour will equip you with great insights into some of the most notable Berlin architectural landmarks and the city’s blend of history and futurism.

Your three-hour walk with a local architect or historian encompasses the innovative and impressive buildings that redefined the cityscape in past decades, from the Bauhaus to Futurism. As you explore the rebuilding of modern-day Berlin, you'll read the rich story of 20th-century architecture in the city’s skyline and see world-famous futuristic buildings in Berlin.

Next, immerse yourself in Berlin's art culture, navigating through Auguststrasse and its hidden gems, guided by our knowledgeable art experts who will tailor the tour based on current exhibitions.

Berlin’s subversive attitude and bold artistic spirit infuse the city, as artists from all backgrounds have transformed the city’s empty spaces into explosions of color, art, and symbolism. On our three-hour Berlin Art Tour, you will join a local curator, arts writer, or artist for a broad introduction to the diverse, cutting-edge, and experimental art scene that has garnered Berlin international fame. From Berlin street art to Berlin art galleries, you’ll take in some of the most incredible works of art in the world.

Plan a Trip to Berlin

No matter your interests – art, history, architecture, food – Berlin is a hub of culture and historic significance.

Berlin has been the center of significant historical events, such as World War II, the Cold War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its evolution into the nucleus of the alternative and subculture scene, an architectural marvel, and a cultural hub makes it a unique and fascinating place to visit.

Expand the potential of your Berlin city exploration with a guided tour, which allows you to see and learn so much more.

Eager to learn more before your flight? Check out our Context Lectures about German History, hosted by local experts. 

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