Home to stunning monuments, architecture and museums, Berlin is an icon of 20th century history. Yet beyond the tourist hotspots, there is an even more intriguing Berlin to explore. Join us in uncovering a lesser known past: take a private tour of the sprawling Hohenschönhausen Jail; and discover the fully story behind the iconic Berlin Wall.
Archaeologist and Berlin resident, Nick Jackson, leads this exclusive tour as we explore the highs and lows of a city torn apart... and pieced back together again. This tour is a must for those wishing to get at the heart of Berlin’s dynamic and hidden history as well as its finest gastronomic delights.
- Uncover sites behind Berlin’s imperial facade, such as Tempelhof airport
- Enjoy a special evening meal on top of the Reichstag building
- Stay in a 5* hotel in central Berlin
- Enjoy excellent food paired with classical music in the unique setting of Berlin’s historic Charlottenburg Palace Orangery
- Historic Churches
- Ancient Greek
- Special Access
- Small Group
- Just One Hotel
- All Inclusive
We arrive in the vibrant city of Berlin and head straight to the capital’s centre, where we check in to our luxurious hotel and enjoy a walking tour of the sights – the perfect way to orientate ourselves and get to know our fellow travellers on our first afternoon in Germany.
After a wonderful breakfast we waste no time in travelling to Museum Island, the cultural heart of Berlin. This extraordinary treasure trove of buildings nestles up against the River Spree and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famed for its glorious collections, and classical architecture.
Our first stop is to the Pergamon, Berlin’s most popular museum, within which three smaller museums are located: the Collection of Classical Antiquity, the Middle Eastern Museum, and the Museum of Islamic Art. Among its monumental collections are the stunning Pergamon Altar – a colossal find retrieved from an acropolis in Asia Minor – and the dazzling Ishtar Gate, reconstructed on site using its original Babylonian bricks.
In the Neues Museum we explore Germany’s own ancient past through artefacts such as the ‘Berlin Gold Hat’, a bizarrely-shaped Bronze Age headdress which may have served an astronomical purpose. We also examine Heinrich Schliemann’s pioneering collection of antiquities from Troy.
Today our focus is on the Brandenburg region, just an hour’s drive west of Berlin, and once one of the seven electoral states of the Holy Roman Empire. We travel first to the State Archaeological Museum. Originally a Dominican monastery, the building houses artefacts from the Palaeolithic era to the 20th century. Here we meet with a local archaeologist who will enlighten us on the subject of Brandenburg’s prehistoric world. Our chance to pose all of our burning questions…
In the afternoon we trace the history of early Prussia through its Gothic brick architecture, with a close look at the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, ‘the mother of all Brandenburg churches’. Highlights include a 600-year old shrine, a host of Medieval grave-plates, and the elegant arch-lined crypt.
This morning we leap forward in time to Berlin’s more recent history, as we explore sites associated with the German Democratic Republic. We begin with an excursion to Tempelhof, Berlin’s oldest airport, which was redesigned by Nazi architect Ernst Sagebiel as a gateway to Hitler’s ‘World Capital.’ Tempelhof played a crucial role in sustaining West Berlin during the infamous Soviet blockade. Now defunct, the site has been transformed into a vast and innovative public park, with joggers and cyclists speeding along old runways in place of the planes.
Our next stop is Hohenschönhausen Jail, transformed into a detainment camp by the Soviet Secret Police in 1945. Over 20,000 people passed through this site on their way to other camps, and it is estimated that over 3,000 prisoners lost their lives here due to the appalling conditions in which they were kept. Former inmates provide us with an intimate guided tour, leading us to underground cells, and explaining how the jail became used by the Stasi in 1951.
We end the day with a private tour of the Stasi Headquarters, an imposing, well-preserved location which now houses a research and memorial centre.
Today we are privileged to experience an engaging encounter with the Cold War era, via a specially arranged tour of the Berlin Wall. Erected in 1961, this immense structure divided the city for 28 years, and its remnants serve as a chilling reminder of a city torn in two. We discover stories of hope and betrayal, entrapment and escape, as we hear the tales of residents of East Germany attempting to tunnel their way to freedom.
Making the most of our final hours in Berlin, we embark on a World War II-themed walking tour, and head for the German Resistance Memorial Centre. It’s here that resistance fighters were executed in 1944, including Claus von Stauffenberg, the army officer who led the 20th July attempt to assassinate Hitler and overthrow the Nazis. We learn about the various underground movements involved in resistance action, and the daring activities they undertook, for which many lost their lives.
The secrets of Berlin are certain to stay with us as we say our good byes and fly home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
5 nights in a hotel located on Berlin’s Gendarnmenmarkt, only a stone’s throw away from the Friedrichstrasse shopping street
For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.