Berliner Unterwelten – Berlin Bunker Tours

This post is about Berlin’s underground bunkers.  Like every city, Berlin has a hidden life under the surface. The sewage system, gas, water electricity, the subway, pneumatic tubes – and in the case of Berlin the air raid shelters and bunkers from World War II. Visitors to Berlin can take a bunker tour to discover this hidden network of tunnels and shelters underground.  Tours are offered by the organization “Berliner Unterwelten e.V.” about 350 members of diverse professional background who do research, explore the underworld and make them accessible to the public by giving tours in various languages, offering an exhibit and publications. Their focus is on World War II and the Berlin Wall. Even though the Berlin Wall is far from being subterranean architecture, escape tunnels  – more than 70 – played an important role in people’s way into freedom.


Tours in English

Tours of Third Reich Sights Berlin

Tours of Cold War Berlin

Where Are the Bunkers?

Pre-tour Things to Know

How to Find Hitler’s Bunker

 

 


Not all bunkers are accessible anymore, for example, Hitler’s bunker has been excavated and filled in and is located underneath what is today a parking lot. If you decide to go there, a bilingual information board helps to understand when, why, and how the bunker was built. The board was installed by “Berliner Unterwelten  – Berlin Underworlds”.


Where do the Berlin bunker tours start?Where do Berlin Bunker tours start

The headquarters of Berliner Unterwelten and the start of the most popular bunker tours is near the transportation hub “Gesundbrunnen” (with U-Bahn-and S-Bahn station) (map). If you exit from the S-train station, it’ll be to your left. It’s located right next to the U-train station. Just follow the signs for “Berliner Unterwelten”.

The U-Bahn (subway) station was built before the war and parts of it then transformed into an air raid shelter. There is the permanent exhibition “Mythos Germania” about Hitler’s and Albert Speer’s (Hitler’s favorite architect) plans for an urban renewal of Berlin in the Third Reich with a lot of oversized buildings.

The exhibit is open  April thru November and December 26 thru January 10 (closed on New Year’s Day) 11 am thru 6 pm (last entrance 5 pm) and is EUR 6.00 for adults.
 


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Are the Berlin bunker tours in English?

Berlin Unterwelten - Berlin bunker tours Berliner Unterwelten provides five of their tours in English. Four of these outings are 90 minutes and the last one is 120 minutes long. Ticket prices range from €11-€14 per person, but students and trainees can get discounts if they can show proof or a student ID.

Dark Worlds Tour

Explore one of the few remaining bunkers from WWII. Discover what life during wartime was like for the average citizen of Berlin. In addition to learning about the Third Reich, you’ll also have the opportunity to see some of the history behind city subway and sewer systems. Although this tour is available all year long, scheduled dates are subject to change.

  • Ticket Prices: €11 per person | €9 for students/trainees
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Availability: Wed-Sun @ 11 AM
  • Additional tours offered Apr-Oct

From Flak Towers to Mountains of Debris Tour

This tour explores some of the towers built under Hitler’s command to defend Berlin from enemy aircraft during the war. Although they have since either been demilitarized or blown up, the remaining debris still has a story to tell. During this trip, you’ll spend about 90 minutes exploring three floors in one of the biggest bunkers in the city.

  • Ticket Prices: €11 per person | €9 for students/trainees
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Availability: Tue-Thur @ 11 AM
  • This tour is only offered from Apr-Oct

Subways and Bunkers in the Cold War Tour

Visit the civil defense shelter known as Blochplatz and learn about how it was used during WWII. Afterward, travel via the subway to see what a more modern bunker looks like. This shelter was intended to protect citizens in case of nuclear war, and it served multiple purposes. As you trace Berlin’s sometimes disturbing history, you’ll find out how people might have survived in a worst case scenario.

  • Ticket Prices: €11 per person | €9 for students/trainees
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Availability: Wed-Sun @ 1 PM
  • Additional tours offered Apr-Oct

The »Fichtebunker« Time Capsule Tour

Originally intended to supply street lanterns, this building was eventually converted into a bunker during WWII to protect mothers and their children. Some of the equipment inside still works to this day, standing as an example of living history. Even though lofts have since been built above this location, the inside remains largely the same as it was almost 80 years ago. See the bunker for yourself and learn all about its functions over the years with the help of a knowledgeable tour guide.

  • Ticket Prices: €11 per person | €9 for students/trainees
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Availability: Thursdays @ 6 PM

Under the Berlin Wall Tour

After the Berlin Wall was constructed, many people made attempts to dig tunnels underneath and avoid detection. In total, there were more than 70 different tunnels built, and this tour will take you to the site of at least seven of them. Find out which escape tunnels were most successful and discover tales of betrayal that you may not have heard about.

  • Ticket Prices: €14 per person | €11 for students/trainees
  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • Availability: Thur-Mon @ 3:30 PM
  • Additional tours offered Apr-Oct

 


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Reviews of Berliner Unterwelten

With a score of 4 ½ stars on TripAdvisor, it’s fair to say that overall ratings for this service are very good. Customers truly appreciate the opportunity to explore historic locations tied to both WWII and the Cold War. Guests are drawn to their tours for a variety of reasons that we will explore in further detail below.

Military History

If it wasn’t already obvious, most of the visitors who enjoy these tours are very interested in military history. Several reviewers feel that this is a wonderful opportunity to see some of the most significant buildings in Berlin. Even if you’re not well versed in the history of this city, your tour guide will provide a plethora of information about each location.

English Tours

Guests from English speaking countries really appreciate the translation services provided by this company. Although they don’t offer all of their tours in English, most customers are just happy that there are a few historically significant trips they can enjoy. Several visitors recommend that you arrive early for these outings because they sell out quickly.

Excellent Tour Guides

A majority of guests who leave positive reviews are most impressed by their tour guides. Several comments indicate that they are not only friendly and helpful, but also very informative. Some visitors were surprised to find that their guide was actually very funny, making the whole experience even more enjoyable. The fact that they provide tours in English is just a bonus!

Historical Simulation

On some tours, this company provides a simulation of what life was like during wartime. Other tours simulate life in a bunker, giving their guests a taste of what life might be like during a nuclear war. In both instances, customers have indicated that they really enjoy the event. Getting the chance to see and experience what these bunkers were built for can be very enlightening, and some visitors felt that it made history come alive.

Effective Storytelling

In addition to the military history tied to the locations featured on these tours, guides will also tell stories about real people who were affected by either WWII or the Cold War. Both events displaced a lot of families and put several people in peril; guests really appreciate the opportunity to hear their stories and discover what life was like for some of the citizens of Berlin.

 


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Things to know before taking the bunker tours:

Berlin bunker tours Please note: The tours cover difficult periods of German history and are conceived for adults. They are recommended for youths aged 14 and older. Children under 7 are not admitted; parent’s discretion is asked for children aged 7 to 14.

As the tours are not in a museum, but in the real underworld, toilets are not provided. Make sure to use one before starting the tour. The shopping mall Gesundbrunnen-Center right next to the train station has restrooms.

Tickets cannot be purchased online but on the day of the tour at the ticket office where the tours start.

And please, wear sturdy footwear (no sandals, no flip-flops) and take a sweater – even in summer, the underworld is very chilly. Also, a small selection of tours also run during the winter.

 

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