Free tour

Beyond Berlin’s History - making sense of the present learning from the past

Duration: 3h and 30min
Languages: English
Guru: Mary
Quality Verified Registered on April 24, 2023

Hi, I’m Mary and I hope you can have a fantastic time at one of my tours! I grew up in Warsaw where my Jewish/Polish roots and family’s experience pointed me towards a keen interest in European history. In my work I combine my interest in social sciences with experience as a journalist fixer and grassroot organiser to deliver understandable explanation of even most complex processes and phenomena that shaped Germany and Europe as it is today. I have lived in Berlin for 3 years now, which have been intense and extremely educational. I gained tour guiding experience working for the commercial market leader. Now I offer my independent tours - I’m particularly fond of those visitors who would like to reflect for a minute longer and go beyond the standard tourist glimpse-catching. Challenge your thinking, deepen your historical knowledge, feel the great vibes of the heart of Europe - just come along!

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  • No minimum number of attendees
    No minimum number of attendees is required for the tour
  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free
  • Accepts electronic payment
    This tour allows payment by electronic means or credit card

Tour description

Welcome to Berlin! Join me for a captivating tour of Berlin's rich and complex history. Starting at Alexanderplatz, we'll explore the city's diverse landmarks and delve into its fascinating past.

My tour will take us to iconic sites such as the Marx and Engels Memorial, Museums Island, the Nazi book burning site, Gendarmenmarkt, Checkpoint Charlie, the remains of the Berlin Wall, Hitler's bunker, the Jewish Memorial, the Reichstag, and the Brandenburg Gate.

What sets my tour apart is my unique perspective on history. My focus is not just on the places themselves, but on the ideas they reflect. As a Jewish woman of Polish heritage, I approach Berlin's past with a deep sense of personal connection and empathy. I tell the stories of my own family, weaving together personal narratives with broader historical themes.

Rather than simply presenting historical facts and events, I approach the subject of ideologies like fascism from a sociological perspective, highlighting their current relevance.

We'll explore the ways in which Berlin's history has shaped its character and identity, and how it continues to impact the city today. We'll examine the parallels between the past and present and reflect on the lessons we can learn from history.

My effort to combine history of communism and nazism in one tour is an effect of long research and consideration. The trend to separate those two subjects into two separate tour “products”, while beneficial for a provider’s marketing, may in my opinion unintentionally (but seriously) impair historical accuracy and explanative value. On my tour I’ll be able to explain how dichotomy and relationship between those two ideologies make up the key to their understanding. 

The most meaningful thing I often hear from my guests feedback is that I’m able to provide new, deep but very clear explanations of historical and ideological nuances, both to guests who need first basic overview and those who are fairly familiar with the subjects.


Please be aware that the tour length is very hard to define precisely, for several reasons. 


One is that a city like Berlin often attracts rallies and demonstrations of all kinds - we cannot avoid them of predict their length, so tour diversions sometimes happen. 


Weather has an impact as well. In case of serious cold or rain, I always look for shelter at stops, so that we all feel comfortable. This can add to the total length.


But more importantly - my tour details depend on how the group reacts. Questions are answered, issues explained, and that’s the purpose and beauty of serious approach to visitors, I believe.


Guru Walk doesn’t offer the technical option to put timing brackets in the system. The duration 3,5h is estimated for most common 4-6 people group on weekday but in general it may take from 3,5h up to 4h 20 min.


There is always a 15-20 min break, roughly in the middle.


What are the benefits of taking a tour with a non corporate guide:


- You can be sure your guide is experienced. 


- You can read the specific guide’s personal reviews.


- The group will be very comfortable in size, usually under 8 people. Even largest groups (weekend, mid season) are always under 30 people, comparing to often 40-50 people booked mid season for big providers.


- You will be precisely informed about tour duration on the
date you’re booking. (From my work experience, the unfortunately common practice is that tours can be either false advertised as shorter than they are, or subject to a specific guide’s leaning.) 


- You support a serious and honest approach to guiding which is sadly not always the norm in times of growing commercialisation. There’s a visible tendency towards providing as fun and easy as possible experience, sometimes crossing the thin line between a fair narrative and Holocaust entertainment (this issue itself is also one of my tour subjects)

Come along with me on a journey through the heart of Berlin. Let's gain a deeper understanding of the forces that have shaped it into the vibrant and dynamic metropolis it is today.

Please be aware that guests who arrive more than 10 minutes after the tour’s start can’t be added to the group. The only exception can be made for guests who agree not to review the tour they saw in this reduced and potentially less satisfying form.

Thank you for your cooperation!

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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 8, 10178 Berlin,...
    Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 8, 10178 Berlin, Germany
    View on map

    We meet on Alexanderplatz, in the precise center of the city. I’ll be waiting for you with a red umbrella in front of the Marienkirche church

  • 1
    Outside visit
  • 2
    Outside visit
  • 3
    Outside visit
    Museum Island
  • 4
    Outside visit
    Humboldt Forum

    Reconstruction of the original Imperial Palace.

  • 5
    Outside visit
    Unter den Linden
  • 6
    Outside visit
    Bebelplatz, book burning site
  • 7
    Outside visit
    Humboldt-Universität in Berlin
  • 8
    Outside visit

    (May not be accessible due to the ongoing renovation)

  • 9
    Outside visit
    Berlin Wall Remains
  • 10
    Outside visit
    Checkpoint Charlie

    15-minute break is scheduled on arrival here.

  • 11
    Outside visit
    Bundesministerium of Finance

    Original building of the former Nazi Aviation Ministry.

  • 12
    Outside visit
    Hitler’s Bunker
  • 13
    Outside visit
    Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • 14
    Outside visit
    Reichstag/Bundestag (Berlin)

    Temporarily (June 2024) this stop is harder to reach due to the EURO 24 fan zone. Therefore this is now an additional stop, offered to those guests who can afford extra time after the main tour length.

  • 15
    Outside visit
    Brandenburg Gate

    Temporarily (June 2024) this stop is harder to reach due to the EURO 24 fan zone. Therefore this is now an additional stop, offered to those guests who can afford extra time after the main tour length.

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

(426 ratings)
By category
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1 star
Oliver 21 Jun 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Jun 2024
Great tour, learned a lot.
John 21 Jun 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Jun 2024
Excellent tour, good balance of historical facts and personal experiences. Room for discussion and questions. Ideally fits the spirit of Guruwalk.
Molly 17 Jun 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Jun 2024
If you want a thorough historical tour that will leave you thinking, this is for you. I’m not a history buff, but found that Mary does a great job opening up for questions and elaborating on things she talks aboiut. Mary is incredibly knowledgeable about history and makes connections to her own personal and family experiences. Mary’s insights, intelligence, dry humor, and vulnerability made the tour very worthwhile. Highly recommend.
Dalia 16 Jun 2024
San Diego

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Jun 2024
The tour was super interesting and I definitely appreciated the personal touch that made it different from a basic tour!
Devon 16 Jun 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Jun 2024
Long tour but worth it! Make sure you have the time. Mary shared her personal connection to the history and you can feel it
Show 426 reviews

Who is this tour for?

Suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Does not accept large group reservations.
Suitable for carrying pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
There is no minimum number of people required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour does not require the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
Payment methods
Electronic or credit card payment is accepted.
When do you want to go?
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