Berlin, Germany has its very own Magic Bus, which can offer you a spellbinding and enchanting experience of the city. Like Berlin, the Magic Bus is all about history and creativity. Interested to know more? Of course, who would not be curious to find out about a spectacular private tailor-made sightseeing tour that they could enjoy over a few hours in one of the most historic and cultural cities in the world! Your guide and host — and the one with the power of steering the Magic Bus — Jens is your informative genie that will make your wishes of seeing Berlin in all its glory come to light.
The Magic Bus is all about making you feel special and ensuring that you have an exclusive introduction to Berlin; this review will share some information on some of the incredible sites that you could choose to see in Berlin, as I did.
Plan your own route with great suggestions from Jens
The Magic Bus is an original VW van from the 1970s and can pick you up, take you around the city and drop-you off at any part of Berlin that your heart desires. Whilst the Magic Bus does have a few example routes that can be selected from on its website, it is also able to accommodate an itinerary that you put together. I selected the “Big Berlin” tour, from its website, which lasted 4 hours and included the following sites: Potsdamer Platz, Memorial-Church, Checkpoint Charlie, Nikolaviertel, East Side Gallery, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Column of Victory, Charlottenburg Palace, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Grunewald and a few more.
Being the Magic Bus that it is, it is not restricted to a fixed route or visiting time to stand outside a monument or site for you to see and learn about. This is very important because it means that you can have an opportunity to step outside the Magic Bus and take a photograph at the various sites that you’re being shown as well as taking a moment, to stop and take in everything that you’re learning about. Berlin is rich with history and as some of its history is tragic, it is important to take the time out to fully grasp and understand some the tragedies that occurred.
The Magic Bus is priced according to the amount of hours in which it is used as opposed to the number of passengers. The cost for a Magic Bus experience ranges from 130 EUR (136 USD) for 2 hours to 295 EUR (308 USD) for 5 hours.
You will feel like you're being transported back in time
As the Magic Bus can accommodate up to 6 passengers, an experience on the Magic Bus with Jens at its helm is certainly value for money. Importantly, I can attest that the Magic Bus can make miracles happen. This is because if you have any type of mobility issues, it can give you an opportunity to see and appreciate entire city in real warmth and comfort.
As the Magic Bus is very unlike conventional tour buses, you will be given the opportunity to view a number of black and white photographs of many of the sites that you’re being taken too. These are photographs that Jens has kept safely for years and is sharing with you so that you can see how a site or monument looked throughout history. The consequence of this is that you’re having a more enhanced and informative experience of all the destinations that you’re seeing in real-time. There will be moments that you will feel, whilst looking at the photographs, and seeing the sites as they are today, that you’re being transported back into time. This makes the entire tour so much more incredible and the best and most appropriate word to use is “magical”.
As you can see from the photograph, one of the first spots that the Magic Bus could take you to is Potsdamer Platz, followed by Checkpoint Charlie.
Visit the monumental East Side Gallery and see the murals
As a tour of Berlin would not be complete without seeing the Berlin Wall, the Magic Bus could take you to the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery is 1,316 metres (4,318 feet) long section of the Berlin Wall and is the longest open air gallery in the world. The Berlin Wall was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989 between East and West Germany. It was constructed by the German Democratic Republic on 13 August 1961 and fell on 9 November 1989. It divided families and neighbourhoods and represented a tragic episode in the post-war world.
Afterwards and in respect to the parts of the Berlin Wall that had remained in place (that being the East Side Gallery) it was decided that artists from different countries would paint murals on the walls to express the change in times and a more free future for all people around the world. Around 118 artists from 21 different countries painted on this wall; some restoration work was completed on 40 of the murals in 2009. The mural that you can see in the photograph is by Kani Alavi and is called, “It happened in November”. Alavi witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and was inspired to depict the reaction of those from the East entering the West. He was surprised that people, in his words, “looked so sad, insecure and frightened” to be able to have such freedom to enter an area in which they had been banished from.
Take some time to see the magnanimous Brandenburg Gate
Following on from the East Side Gallery, you could also visit Brandenburg Gate and won’t be surprised when Magic Bus conductor, Jens, pulls out another photograph to show you what this site looked like in the past. Brandenburg Gate was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia and was built by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791. The reason for this is that King Frederick William II wanted to enhance the Boulevard Unter den Linden and mark the end to this area by an important piece of art. Brandenburg Gate has twelve columns, six on the entrance side and six on the exit. On the top, it has a statue known as the, “Quadriga”, which is of a goddess of victory driving a chariot pulled by four horses. Throughout its history, Brandenburg Gate has often been a site of major historical events and today is a symbol of peace and unity.
The Magic Bus is made for you to take brilliant photographs
Afterwards, the Magic Bus could make its way to the Reichstag and possibly even the Column of Victory for you. Today, the Reichstag is the home of the German Parliament and has a lengthy history behind the purpose of the grounds and the building before the German Parliament moved in. However, I will not share that with you today and will leave you in the capable hands of Jens to enlighten you about it. Although, one thing that I will add is that the glass dome at the top of the building includes a 360 degree view of Berlin’s landscape as well as that of the parliamentary chamber inside. The dome is accessible to the public and symbolises that people are above the government and should always watch and monitor politicians as they work. As you can see from my photograph, the Magic Bus is great for taking photographs from. All windows can be opened up and there is even a sun roof from which you can pop your head out in order to take more photographs too.
See Charlottenburg Palace and the Olympic Stadium
If you wish, the Magic Bus could take you to Charlottenburg Palace and the Olympic Stadium. Charlottenburg Palace was commissioned by Elector Frederick III in 1699 as a summer residence for his wife, Sophie Charlotte. It was designed and built by Johann Arnold Nering between 1965 – 1699. In 1701, Elector Frederick III became the first Prussian King and consequently arranged for this residence to be made much larger for his love. The whole complex is about 500 metres (1,500 feet) long and is the largest remaining palace in Berlin. Its interior and design includes that of both baroque and rococo styles due to the transformations that it has experienced through time.
If you’ve decided to opt for a longer experience on the Magic Bus, which I’d recommend, then you may be given the option to take a break at Charlottenburg Palace where you can sit back in the sunshine and have a hot or cold beverage and enjoy some of the gardens before heading to see the Olympic Stadium.
See sites that you could not see with other tour operators
Other areas that the Magic Bus can take you to include the neighbourhood of Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer as well as the residential area of Grunewald. Unlike a conventional tour operator, there is no fixed route for your tour and if you express to Jens that you have seen certain sights already or have an interest in an area of history such as the suffering of the Jewish community in the run up to and during World War II, he will use his powers to do everything to ensure that you see sights that are of real interest to you personally. This is actually how I learnt of Track 17, which is based in Grunewald, as I expressed to Jens my interest in history and he took me to this incredibly moving yet isolated sight. Shockingly, no other conventional tour operators share this site with tourists despite it being so important. This is why the Magic Bus really is magical.
If you do decide to visit Grunewald, Jens will point out a library that has the letter, “A” written in every single language outside; which is a wonderful surprise. Without “A” the alphabet does not start and our reading and learning cannot begin so it was fruitful seeing how this important letter is written in every language. The library with all the “A”s listed also symbolised the importance of understanding that we all start from the same place, “A”, even though we see it differently. You will also notice a small bridge as you enter Grunewald, which will have engravings of the flags of every country in the world across it. You can tell that Berliners certainly want to make you feel welcome.
A spectacular experience on the quirky and stylish Magic Bus
Whilst sitting back and embracing what Berlin has to offer from your own VW van, you may also find that you are the site that tourists wish to take a snap of, and this is very much because you’re travelling in the Magic Bus. The Magic Bus offers a spectacular, once in a lifetime experience and the sparkle of this bus has to be rooted in its operator, Jens. Jens will ensure that you will have an absolutely positive experience on-board with him; he will provide live commentary with a microphone (if needed) and will answer each and every one of your questions with enthusiasm and happiness.
If you have visited Berlin before and are simply seeking some fun and quirky transportation to get from one destination to another (such as from your hotel to a specific site), then do get in touch with Jens as he may be able to accommodate a one-off trip to be of assistance to you. Alternatively, if you would like to see the town of Potsdam, then this is certainly a possibility with the Magic Bus. The Magic Bus is ready to move with any passengers that are ready for the ride of their life, which of course is in a sheer amount of quirky style and laughter. Having been fortunate to enjoy a number of private tours, I would have to say that a ride on the Magic Bus was and is one of my favourites. I bet it will make your favourites list too.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.