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While Berlin is great for exploring, sometimes it’s hard to figure out the best way to see this historic and fascinating German city.
Do you take a boat, a bus, or your own two feet?
On a recent trip to Berlin, we got to combine all three!
In this Berlin Hop-On, Hop-Off bus sightseeing review, were going to unpack exactly what it means to discover Berlin with the City Sightseeing buses.
Interested in Berlin tours? Check out more of our favorite options here:
- Discover Berlin Half-Day Walking Tour – see all of the major sights in this wonderful half day tour, featuring both Berlin’s history and future with the help of an experienced and local guide. Check out this tour and prices here.
- Berlin World War II Walking Tour – history buffs will absolutely love this tour where you’ll see all of the important World War 2 historic locations, including how the city of Berlin feels about Germany’s role in World War II and the efforts to ensure that history never repeats itself. Check out this tour and prices here.
- 3 Hour Highlights Bike Tour – see Berlin on two wheels this this amazing tour of the city. Bike enthusiasts who are short on time, but want to see as much as possible will fall in love with this unique tour. Check out this tour and prices here.
City sightseeing keeps your ticket flexible for maximum use.
You can choose between 24 hour and 48 hour tickets, and you can also decide whether you want the boat tour added on (we would recommend doing the boat as well!).
If you’re purchasing the tickets ahead of time, you’ll be sent a paper voucher.
You can exchange this with a member of City Sightseeing staff before you get on your first bus.
Where Does the Tour Go?
There are two main routes, one mainly covering East Berlin and one in West Berlin with some overlap.
Two is honestly the perfect number of options for a tour like this because it helps keep it simple and not overwhelm you when you haven’t been to Berlin before to know which route to take!
It also makes it the perfect addition to a 2 days in Berlin itinerary as you can do one route each day.
City Sightseeing have chosen the best routes through the city for you so you don’t need to fret and just take a quick glance and pick your first one.
Check out the maps here.
How Does It Work?
The benefits of a hop on and hop off bus in Berlin are that it allows you to see Berlin through more than a bus window.
While you have the comfort of being able to follow a route, you can hop off or on the bus at any stop, like the Berlin Spy Museum, which gives you the chance to spend time seeing some of the main attractions up close or deciding you’d like to stroll your own way through the streets for a bit.
Once you have exchanged your voucher for a ticket or purchased a ticket from a member of staff, you can use the City Sightseeing App to figure out your closest stop and see where the buses are in real time.
The buses run about every 15 minutes per stop, so even if you get to one once a bus has just left, you won’t have too long to wait.
Due to the double decker nature of the buses, you can choose a seat up top with an open roof or one on the bottom floor which feels more like a regular buses.
Be aware that glass surrounding the too means that you’ll still be looking through a barrier, but you can feel the wind in your fave and sunshine on your face!
Once in the bus, you can use your headphones (provided by City Sightseeing) to plug in to the headphone jack in front of you and listen to the commentary.
The recorded audio plays automatically depending on what part of Berlin you’re driving by, and you’ll hear both practical facts as well as stories and more light-hearted commentary.
You can choose your language from quite a few options.
What About the Boat?
If you choose to do a boat tour as well, this is provided by a different company than City Sightseeing, Reederei Riedel, but you use the same ticket to access the boat.
Boats depart about every 30 minutes and the river tour is about an hour.
There are not stops to get off and on, but rather one long loop that takes you up and down the river while recorded audio in German and English gives you facts and information about what you’re seeing.
Who Should Go on a Hop-on and Hop-off Sightseeing Tour?
Of course you can hop on and hop off at any stop, but if you don’t spend much time on the bus at all then there’s no real point.
We think this would be great for anyone who only has a limited amount of time in Berlin.
To be able to see so many of the major sites while zipping around on the bus is awesome.
Not only that, but you have a recorded guide telling you what you’re seeing so you understand the context of it.
It’s also a great way to start off a trip, like we did.
If you begin by getting a tour of the highlights (getting off at some stops to take pictures of course!), then you can use it to help show you where you want to explore more or find out more about.
Combine it with Secret Food Tours in Berlin and you’ve got yourself an itinerary!