Original Berlin Walks is a family business founded by Nick and Serena Gay
in 1993. Since June 2011 the tour operator welcome berlin tours GmbH is the
new owner of Original Berlin Walks and will continue the all business
operation as an independant division within the company.
(Note: for independent comment on our tours, go to » Comment)
Operations & Partner Relations
Don't miss: the stunning, newly-reopened New Museum. Most visitors head for this building to see the 3,300 year old bust of Nefertiti but leave yourself enough time to enjoy the building itself (remodelled by British architect, David Chipperfield). To avoid lines, book tickets in advance on line www.neues-museum.de.
Tour Content & Guide Liasion
Being bilingual and having been raised by a German mother and an American father, I am often asked which country - Germany or the United States - I call home. The short answer is both, although friends accuse me of picking one or the other on an ad hoc basis ("We Germans are very punctual," "You Germans have no sense of humor"). If it were only so easy! Using the duration of my university studies as a yardstick, I am really very German. But then, living in a fascinating city like Berlin is hardly conducive to speeding through college - not even (or should I say especially not?) for someone who grew up on Long Island, New York. Berlin, let it be said, is wonderful. Now if only baseball would take off here… Don't those Germans know what's good for them?
Don't miss: The 1936 Olympic Stadium in Charlottenburg where the finals of the 2006 Soccer World Championship were also played. In the summer, you can swim in the very pool where races were held in the infamous 1936 games, although of course it has been modernised and there is a pool for toddlers too.
Administration & Customer Service
I never imagined that Berlin would so much become “home” for me when moving here for my husband’s job over five years ago, having studied geography/tourism at a small town university in West Germany. Today cycling through the Brandenburg Gate on my usual way around town still gives me a thrill, considering the city’s rich history makes me think and marvel at the great sites, but most of all I just love the big city feel and small town flair of this ever changing unique city.
Don't miss: Potsdamer Platz, because today it has impressive buildings and is bustling with locals and visitors alike for work and play when only 20 years ago it was part of the Death Strip.
Restaurant Recommendation: Not really a restaurant, but the best chips/french fries in town! “Fritz & Co” (on Wittenberg Platz). Especially try their sate/peanut sauce. Great after a stroll along Ku’damm and an interesting contrast after just visiting the gourmet department on the sixth floor of the KaDeWe next door!
PS. Don’t be afraid of taking public transport – it’s fast, it’s cheap, it’s safe, and it’s what the Berliners take too.
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Sony Center tower, Potsdamer Platz
a team of wonderful and talented people. In no particular order, let us introduce
As a Geordie girl from Newcastle in the North East of England my first encounter with Berlin was as a fresh-faced, starry-eyed 16 year old, a class trip and fatefully, a Berlin Walks tour! Now, a decade later (ouch) I still feel a familiar grin and twinge of pride spread across my face when people ask me where I live. Berlin has become home, ever since moving for a few 'months' back in 2007 as part of my undergraduate degree in German and Mathematics at Durham University. I'm now studying for my Masters in European Relations here. Whilst it was the tumultuous yet fascinating history of the city that lured me in the first place and makes it impossible for me to leave, Berlin really has everything to offer. It's rare a day goes by without this city impressing, exciting or surprising me. Why live anywhere else?!
Don't miss: Enjoying the sunshine at one of Berlins multitude of open air offerings in the summer. Whether going for a swim at one of Berlins many lakes (if you have a bit more time head up to Liepnitzsee 8km north of the Berlin city boundary, stunningly clear water and an island to swim across to in the middle!), indulging in open-air festivities at outdoor beer gardens or festivals (check out the beer garden tucked away in Berlins Tiergarten park - Cafe am Neuen See) or even checking out a film on a warm summer night at one of the many open-air cinema venues, there's something for everyone when the sun is shining!
Restaurant Recommendation: Tucked behind the Neue Wache in the Palais am Festungsgraben is the Tajik Tea room, a hidden oriental wonder based in what used to be the culture house of the Soviet Union during the years of the cold war. Originally a gift from Tajikistan to the GDR, the tea room today serves over 20 different types of tea, offers a full tea service to share complete with Samowar and many delicious treats (including vodka of course!) and many other savoury dishes typical of russian cuisine. Guests are asked to take off their shoes and enjoy their tea on the persian carpets and cushions scattered around low level tables and every Monday night at 7.30 there are fairytale readings. Tip: Worth calling in advance to reserve your spot at one of the tables on the floor!
Of mixed German and Costa Rican background, I never thought of returning to Germany any time soon after leaving for university in England and Denmark, but perhaps it was just a matter of time. Having wider family relations here as well, I came to Berlin for its archives and libraries so that I could write up my PhD thesis in history. Of course, the city has more to offer than dusty books and documents! After successfully defending my thesis and a semester of teaching at the Free University, I decided to get some hands-on experience to learn more about this fascinating city. By now, I hope I can share some of this with people from all over the world and give them a sense of just how welcoming Berlin can be to anyone.
Don't miss: Our Tours! When walking tours became popular across Europe, I was sceptical of their worth, but having grown up I find that these are the best way to get to know any city. Particularly, the all-in-one main sights tour will give you an overview of Berlin and help you decide what you want to check out on your own. Berlin has tons of fantastic museums, the German Historical Museum being among the finest. The most gripping, the Jewish Museum and particularly the Axes of Continuity, Exile and Holocaust will leave a profound impression on you. To relax, get a sense of a wonderful Berlin pastime: brunch! This is best served by cafés and restaurants on the weekends. My favourite: Potemkin at Viktoria-Luise-Platz, one of the most beautiful spots in West Berlin.
Restaurant Recommendation: The good thing about Berlin is that good food does not have to be expensive. First off, one can be sober and eat a Döner Kebap in Germany! One of the most popular places is Mustafas at Mehringdamm, just off Curry 36, in turn legendary for the typical Berlin Currywurst. Visit Mehringdamm and Bergmannstraße to find wonderful cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs etc. in a uniquely alternative and informal part of town. For hearty German food, Max und Moritz on Oranienstraße and the Treff-Punkt Berlin pub near Friedrichstraße and Dussmann’s amazing book and music store are fantastic.
I came to Berlin to study history, theatre and education at the Humboldt University in 1999 after having grown up in a village where my family has lived for generations, located in the remote country-side, roughly between Cologne and Frankfurt. I studied in Milan for a year and worked on my PhD in Budapest for two years since then, but as much as I enjoyed going abroad, I always came back: after all, Berlin has become my home. I have lived in quite different corners of the city and it’s the particularity of every Kiez, Berlin’s neighborhoods, the city’s variety, that I adore, not to forget the pleasure of its various cinemas, theaters, clubs and bars. But a certain Kiez patriotism is one of the ridiculous characteristics of a New Berliner and for me it is Kreuzberg and Neukölln where I feel most at home. I keep being fascinated by this beautiful but troubled city and its layers of local, national, often global history that it has accumulated. Working as a tour guide allows me to introduce visitors to the city’s complex historical matrix and to convey the fascination with German history that was at the basis of my decision to study history in the first place.
Restaurant Recommendation: Altes Europa, Gipsstr.11 (S Hackescher Markt / U Weinmeisterstraße). When strolling through the Jewish quarter or visiting Mitte’s galleries or checking out some of the area’s local fashion designer’s boutiques, the Altes Europa is one of the best choices for a rather inexpensive and tasty lunch or dinner. The daily menu usually offers a mix of German and Italian cuisine which you can enjoy in the laid-back atmosphere of an old coffee house or on a warm day, outside in the sun on one of the few quiet corners of Mitte. And as it is the usual mixture of café, pub and restaurant, you can also just stop by or stay for a coffee or drinks.
I come from the seaside town of Bangor in Northern Ireland, and have called Berlin my home since 2009. Before arriving here, I studied at the University of Warwick in England, and completed my PhD there in early 2012. My academic work is primarily in the field of Film Studies - and do feel free to ask me for my list of top 10 Berlin movies! - but Modern History has been a long-term fascination for me. I live in Schoeneberg, one of Berlin's old cabaret quarters and a centre of the city's legendary decadence during the Weimar era. I can't wait to show you around this magical city.
Don't miss: if you're here during the summer, check out one of Berlin's numerous 'Freiluftkinos': open-air cinemas. And on Saturdays all year round, try the Winterfeldmarkt near to Nollendorfplatz - the best place in town for a leisurely brunch, with countless stalls selling all manner of goodies.
Restaurant Recommendation: for the most bizarre and delicious pizza in town (my favourite is the French fries, veggie sausage and root beer sauce combination!), it must be Ron Telesky's Canadian Pizza on Dieffenbachstrasse. For a real treat, it's got to be Sauvage on Pfluegerstrasse - the world's only Paleolithic restaurant!
For someone who studies 20th century European history, Berlin is the epicenter of it all. The scars of the city´s tumultuous past can be seen everywhere; perhaps the most interesting thing for me is how those scars are remembered and memorialized. I´ve lived in Berlin for three long stretches and now I´m here to stay. The city is so dynamic and ever-changing it´s nearly impossible to leave. While Pennsylvania may be my birthplace, Berlin is where I really feel at home. I took a walking tour when I first visited, which made me want to live in Berlin. Maybe I can inspire you to move here as well!
Don't miss: There's a treasure hidden in plain sight on Pariser Platz next to the Brandenburg Gate. If you're interested in modern architecture, check it out. Inside the DZ Bank HQ beside the American Embassy, you will find a fantastic abstract sculpture done by Frank Gehry. It is supposed to be a fish, but even if you can't tell what it is, it will still take your breath away.
Restaurant Recommendation: For outstanding and reasonably-priced German food, check out the Schwarzwaldstuben, which is located on the corner of Tucholskystrasse and Linienstrasse, just around the corner from the Neue Synogogue. The atmosphere is quirky, the waitstaff are all very friendly, and the food is phenomenal. Try the Gemusemaultauschen, which are pockets of pasta filled with vegetable puree and fried in egg and leek. I could eat there every night!
I grew up in a small village north of Berlin but have lived in the city for more than 10 years now. I am a passionate traveller but always love to come back to this exciting, diverse and yes, sometimes rough city. But that is what makes Berlin so special.
My favorite place is Kreuzberg, especially in the Summer. Have a stroll along the Landwehrkanal; watch the locals playing boule, buy fresh fruit and veg at the Turkish Market on Maybachufer (Tuesdays and Fridays) or relax in one of the many cafés, bars and restaurants in the neighborhood (Görlitzer Bahnhof; Schlesisches Tor- both U1 or Schönleinstrasse U8).
Don't miss: exploring Berlin east of the city centre. If you are interested in architecture, go to the former Stalinallee, which starts just east of Alexanderplatz. For more about the system of political persecution in East Germany, go to the Stasi Memorial in Hohenschönhausen and if you like beautiful gardens, visit the park in Marzahn (Gärten der Welt).
Restaurant Recommendation: if you are a vegetarian, check out Cookies Cream. Amazing food, not cheap but worth it for a special night out. Behrenstrasse 55, near the Komische Oper and Hotel Westin Grand.
Fate brought me to Berlin after the University of Minnesota offered me a full-academic scholarship to complete my double major in modern German history and German in 2005. Since then, the city and its surroundings have had a special hold on me, and I now feel complacent calling Berlin my home. It is, most decidedly, the history that keeps me here at the end of the day. Living and working in Berlin has allowed me to be a part of something that is so much bigger than I could have ever imagined back in the Midwest ... something, by now, I could never see myself leaving.
Don't miss:...the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) on Museum Island. Not only will you be impressed by how beautifully decorated the interior is, but you can also make your way to the cupola where you will have an amazing bird`s eye view of the city. Not a lot of people know that you can go up there, so you typically will not have to wait in any sort of line to go up there.
Restaurant Recommendation: Tucked away underneath the S-bahn tracks between Friderichstrasse and Hackescher Markt is "Deponie No.3" restaurant. This cozy and quaint place, with a wooden interior and a cobblestoned floor, serves hearty portions of traditional "Berliner" and German food, salads, and pasta. If you want an "old Berlin" feeling whilst enjoying a Berliner Pilsner beer as you're waiting for your meal, this will be somewhere you won't forget. It’s also very close to the Pergamon Museum: head towards Friedrichstrasse station and it’s on the righthand side under the train lines (Georgenstrasse 5).
I have lived in Berlin since 2000, working as an author and screenplay writer. As a life-long history buff, I take great pride in recreating for visitors to "my city" the drama, the horror, and the tragedy of the Nazi years. Blending historical fact, vivid anecdotes, and personal perspective, I aim to make the history of the Third Reich come alive as a multi-dimensional experience.
Restaurant Recommendation: Toro Negro on Nurembergerstr. - corner of Augsburger serves really good Continental food at great prices. (3 course lunch menu for 5 euro). Also Shaan II on Marbergerstr. - an excellent Indian restaurant with moderate prices and wonderful food.
Ruins of Anhalter Bhf
I am a Berliner – born here in the late 1970s. I have a MA in history from Berlin´s Humboldt-University so you could say that I am a genuine Berlin historian! Studying history runs in the family; both my parents and my aunt and uncle did it before me, and now I wonder if my young sons will also follow in our footsteps! Giving tours came as a stroke of luck for me because it gives me the chance to combine two things I like: history and performing. I just hope that my enthusiasm for history and my home town of Berlin rubs off on the people who join my tours.
Don't miss: The Volkspark Friedrichshain in summer. With memorials and traces of Berlin's turbulent history (two hills of rubble piled up over the remains of a massive Flak-tower with some parts still sticking out, a memorial for Polish soldiers, another memorial for soldiers of the International Brigades who fought in the Spanish Civil War, a cemetery for fallen Revolutionaries of 1848, ...), sports opportunities (tennis, beach volleyball, half pipe, bouldering, ...), the beautiful park itself with trees, ponds and fountains for the children to splash about in; with playgrounds and lawns, an open air cinema and lots of other things to do, this park offers enough to last a whole summer. Sitting under the evening sun in the Biergarten of the Café Schönbrunn you realize what life in Berlin is all about.
Restaurant Recommendation: Anita Wronski, Knaackstr. 26, 10405 Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg. Nice little place for breakfast.
PS Almost everywhere in Berlin tap water is of a very high quality and safe to drink. No need to buy expensive water in plastic bottles all the time.
Although originally from The Netherlands, I have made my home in Berlin since 2003. Initially I came to study here for one semester, and, well, that’s now more than six years ago! I met my German wife here and our two-year-old son is a genuine Berliner. If you’re interested in history, Berlin is the perfect place to be: no other city in Europe has such an interesting and at the same time tragic history. I have specialized not only in the history of National Socialism and the Third Reich, but also in the ways in which post-war Germany coped (and copes!) with this past, with all the fascinating differences between how this was treated in East and West Germany.
Don't miss: the immense Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park (a 10 min walk from S-Bahnhof Treptower Park). This is, first of all, Berlin’s largest war memorial honouring the Soviet soldiers who died fighting during the battle of Berlin in April/May 1945. At the same time, it can be seen as propaganda carved into stone, showing how Stalin and the communist dictatorship abused WWII history to claim legitimacy.
Restaurant Recommendation: Dada Falafel, Linienstrasse 132 (almost on the corner Oranienburgerstrasse/Friedrichstrasse) – simply the best falafel in the whole of Berlin. Don’t forget to try their freshly squeezed carrot-orange juice!
PS Many city-run museums are free of charge every Thursday 6-10pm (but not when there is a special exhibition on!)
Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park
While studying history at Hamburg University, I worked as a freelance journalist. My love of travel attracted me to become a guide touring Europe and Russia before "settling down" in Berlin! Germany and Berlin are home but I have spent quite some time in Australia and New Zealand on my travels. What I have enjoyed most in recent years was bringing tourists to my home country and introducing them to my culture and history.
Don't miss:…(if you’ve staying a bit longer!) a visit to the abandoned Spreepark: enjoy the atmosphere of a decaying fun park, take lots of photos, incredible! Kiehnwerderallee 1 (east of Treptower Park)
Restaurant Recommendation: PraterGarten Berlin, Kastanienallee 7-9 in Prenzlauer Berg (U2 Eberswalder Strasse). Serves hearty German food in a cosy atmosphere and has a fantastic beer garden in summer (www.pratergarten.de)
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| BOOKS ABOUT BERLIN
|Berlin Then & Now
By Nick Gay of Original Berlin Walks » Books.