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Five Green and unusual ways to see Berlin

Features Cities
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Posted by Yvonne Gordon at 06:17 on Wednesday 18 May 2011

Stumbling upon street art in Berllin. Photo: Holly TuppenStumbling upon street art in Berllin. Photo: Holly TuppenIt’s no surprise that a city as diverse as Berlin has a mind-boggling array of tours, from underground tours, trabi-safaris, poetry, music or art tours to cycling, boat and even canoe tours. But this bustling capital also has some unusual tours which provide fun and eco-friendly ways to see the city:

Berlin by Segway. Photo: Aefa MulhollandBerlin by Segway. Photo: Aefa Mulholland1) Gliding around on a Segway (electrically-operated scooter) is a fun and eco-friendly way to see the sights. We meet at the TV tower in Alexanderplatz for a short lesson on how to operate the Segway, learning how to control the speed through body movement. We are soon zipping off to the main sights, passing Museum Island, down the Unter den Linden to the Brandenburg Gate, while our witty tour guide Walid gives us an amusing tour of the city at each stop. Segways go on both road and pavement and can reach speeds of 20kph, so it’s a great thrill. A four-hour city tour costs €69 and a 1.5-hour mini tour is €45. See City Segway Tours

Designer pizza-naan and apple-grass cocktail on the GastryRallye Tour. Photo: Yvonne GordonDesigner pizza-naan and apple-grass cocktail on the GastryRallye Tour. Photo: Yvonne Gordon2) The Gastro-Rallye culinary tour is a great way to see the coolest restaurants and bars as you eat a different course in each place. Our guide Henrik Tidefjärd takes us around the hotspots in the boho-chic area of Prenzlauer Berg, where he says a new trend is born on every corner. Our first course, at tiny eatery W-Der Imbiss, is a designer naan-pizza, washed down with an ‘applegrass’ cocktail (wheatgrass and apple juice) and a mango lassi. Main course is in an assortment of dishes in airy Vietnamese teahouse ChénChè, while we get the insider knowledge of Berlin. The tour finishes with dessert and coffee at Maxwell, a hip restaurant set in an old brewery. Four-course tours for private groups or individuals cost from €100 to €175 per person (depending on group size), including food and drinks. See www.berlinagenten.com

3) In Berlin dogs go everywhere from public transport to shops and restaurants, so it’s no surprise that there’s even a tour for dogs. On the Berlin mit Hund tour (Berlin with dog), guide Melanie Kies takes myself and a four-legged friend through the parks, back streets and courtyards of the rebellious and graffiti-filled Kreuzberg district. With a doggy bag full of goodies, we set off on foot for an insight into this non-conformist area’s history and culture. The final stop on the tour is dog shop Hunkekuss 36, for a special doggie treat. A 2.5-hour tour costs €22 per person and €5 per dog. See www.berlinmithund.de. Dogs can travel to Germany from the UK under the PETS travel scheme

Melanie Keis, tour guide on Berlin With Dog tour. Photo: Yvonne GordonMelanie Keis, tour guide on Berlin With Dog tour. Photo: Yvonne Gordon

4) The ‘Ghost Tour with the Nightwatchman’ traces the ghosts and history of Old Berlin. We meet our spooky guide Michael, who is dressed in a Middle Ages costume, outside Berlin’s oldest church, Nikolaikirche, in the dead of night. The tour visits gloomy locations such as a graveyard and mysterious catacombs normally closed to visitors. It’s a stormy night and stopping under creaking lanterns, we hear stories of robberies, witches, gallows, pillory and ghosts, before dropping into an old tavern for a traditional beer. The 2.5-hour tour costs €12, see www.baerentouren.de

5) The Eco City Tour is a hybrid bus and walking tour which uses public transport so you can see the city by bus but safe in the knowledge that no new buses have been added to the city for the tour. The tour covers both East and West Berlin, taking in the main sights such as the Brandenburg Gate, Under den Linden and Reichstag as well as the Holocaust Memorial, the Tiergarten park and Bellevue Palace, and travelling around as the Berliners do by public transport and on foot. Tours cost €12 per adult, see www.neweuropetours.eu

 

Other eco-friendly tours in Berlin:

Solar-powered boat tours, www.solarpolis.de
Canoe tours on the Spree, see www.derkanutourist.de
Sightjogging tour for running enthusiasts, www.sightjogging-berlin.de
A tour in an Asian-style rickshaw, www.berlin-rikscha-tours.de
Cycling tours, www.berlinonbike.de or www.fattirebiketours.com

For an eco place to stay, the brand new Scandic Berlin in Potsdamer Platz is the first hotel in Germany to get the EU Ecolabel and has won awards for its sustainable building construction. The hotel serves water which is bottled at the hotel, has Segways, an electric car which guest can rent for €10 an hour, free bicycles for guests and can organise hybrid taxis. See www.scandichotels.com/Berlin

For information on how to reach Berlin by train and staying near the station see our Plan Your Journey to Berlin section and hotels near Berlin station.

This article was written by Yvonne Gordon

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