If you're thinking about adding Berlin to your travel plans, taking the Hop-on Hop-off (HoHo) bus tour would make it worth the visit. Most Ho-Ho tour operators have stops at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, the main train station in Berlin. Getting a ticket is easy, either you can buy one online, or ask your hotel, or as I did - get it from the driver in the bus. The standard fare is € 22 for 48 hours, or € 20 for a day. I asked around and found the closest stop near my hotel was at Alexanderplatz. You can spot these double-decker buses almost anywhere in Berlin. To find the exact stop location I have listed a few operators at the end of this post.
Your Guide To The City
If you're lucky or have the patience to wait for good seats, the ones in the front on the top floor offer the best view. With every ticket you also get a set of ear plugs (earphones), which can be plugged into audio sockets near each seat. There is an option to select the language for the live audio commentary. It is amazing how the audio is always in-sync with the bus's journey, providing nuggets of information about the attractions, as you go through this historic city. The commentary is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Chinese , Japanese and more.
From Boat Cruise to Museum Hopping
The tours also come in packages, where one could buy extra attractions. I bought the City tour plus Schifffahrt Boat Ride, which cost € 32. It included a one-hour boat ride on the river Spree, and took me through the historical center of Berlin. Different tour operators offer different packages; you can ask for a handy guide to make a selection. Other packages included options to add attractions like the GDR Museum, The Humboldt-Box, The Kollhoff-Tower (which has the fastest lift in Europe), Berlin Dungeon, and more.
Berlin in 20 Stops
I checked tour guides for three Berlin Ho-Ho tour operators, and almost all tours cover at least 20 city destinations. The bus stops at each destination for a few minutes, and there's another bus coming in 15 minutes. You need about 3-5 hours to complete the tour, and considering the buses run from 10 am - 6 pm, the 48-hour ticket makes sense. The best part is the freedom to hop-off the bus at any stop and hop-on whenever you're ready to move on, exploring the city at your own pace. Be aware that come 6 pm all buses stop, wherever they are, so if you're keen to explore Berlin through the city tour buses, get on an early morning bus.
Berlin's Top Attractions
If you're in Berlin only for a day, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and TV Tower are must-see destinations to hop-off at.
Tour operators I'd recommend:
- City Circle Tour Berlin: www.bbsberlin.de/citycircle_eng.html
- Berlin City Tour: www.berlin-city-tour.de/