Secret Tours Berlin – A Tour of Secret Places
Any regular city tour is a good way to get to know a city and its pivotal sights. In Berlin, those would include the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate or Checkpoint Charlie. But if you, much like me, get anxious just thinking of the crowds, long lines and souvenir shops, there is a worthy alternative now!
Conceived by certified business administrator Stephanie Terwellen, Secret Tours Berlin is a real gem among the city's tourism scene, even to Berliners. They show the city's more quiet side with its hidden secrets and stories, far from any tourist overload. The tours take place in air-conditioned stretch limousines, providing drinks and snacks for groups no larger than seven persons.
Each of the routes begins with a personal pick-up, be it your home or your hotel. Currently, you can choose between the following three tours: “Wannsee – Mansions & Agents”, “Charlottenburg – Olympic Stadium & Spies” or “Hohenschönhausen – Gardens & Prisons”, all of them including a personal guide, comfortable transportation, entry fees, drinks and snacks, as well as all the inside information.
Every route gets you exclusive guided tours and site visits to historic places and buildings, while the small groups allow for a far more intense experience. The Wannsee tour, for instance, lasts up to five hours and takes you through the pompous villas while also talking about the prominent residents and the dark history of the Schwanenwerder island. The “Gleis 17” memorial is another part of this tour, as well as the famous public beach “Strandbad Wannsee” or Heinrich von Kleist's memorial and tomb.
An exclusive tour through the Liebermann Villa follows, introducing the famous painter's summer residence and its prosperous garden. The final stop before ending the tour leads you to the place that hosted the most historic exchange of agents in 1986. Each story is told live on site, of course. Do you already know it? Without having roamed volumes of history yourself and always complemented through qualified tour guides on site, you'll go home feeling enriched.
Stephanie Terwellen has spent a long time researching and preparing each tour, looking for details that she found missing while roaming the city herself. She contacted inside personnel and qualified guides to get all the information, making Secret Tours Berlin one more enterprise that was born out of a personal longing. Coming to Berlin from her hometown of Gladbeck years ago, Terwellen found a lot of information missing, which consequently lead to her taking matters into her own hands.
It is important to her that her tours pass on a broad range of information. This way, participants are guaranteed a mixture of historic knowledge and celebrity anecdotes that make for memorable moments. In the near future, Secret Tours Berlin is planning to offer tours through the former Olympic village as well as the legendary Beelitzer Heilstätten, a place that even as a Berlin resident, I haven't managed to see yet. Definitely a must!