As one of the biggest European capital cities stretching nearly 900 km in Germany, Berlin needs no introduction. Millions of travelers from across the globe convene on Berlin every year. There are no shortage of amazing things to see and do in Berlin. But Europe can be expensive for many travelers, especially because Germany is often considered the financial powerhouse of Europe. The real question is how to see everything this iconic city has to offer on a budget? We explore how to travel Berlin on a budget. Remember that Germany is part of the Schengen Zone so Americans won’t need a visa to visit Germany. You’ll have 90 days to explore Europe, but you will definitely need a passport!
How to Travel Berlin on a Budget
Visit local monuments (they’re everywhere and they’re free)
Berlin is full of rich history and culture- and monuments! Travelers can quite easily spend the whole day seeing several of these yet not spend a single Euro. Here are a few you MUST see.
- The Berliner Fernsehturm (aka the TV Tower)
With a height of 203 meters this tower is hard to miss. Let this be Berlin’s gift to you as a traveler as a reference if you get lost. It is located in AlexanderPlatz which is like the nucleus of the city. At the top of the tower is a rotating restaurant where you can catch one of the best views of the city (but this, of course, is far from free). Of course, you can also find a cheap beer in any of the nearby cafes and restaurants and enjoy the people watching that the Berliner Fernsehturm brings to Berlin.
2.) Brandenburg Gate
When the Berlin wall in 1989 the gate instantly became a symbol of the reunification of Berlin. This is also a good spot to see because there is a lot of street entertainment, horse and carriages, and street vendors all in the plaza.
The Reichstag is a gorgeous historic building of Berlin. The top of this magnificent building sits a glass dome that offers the best FREE view of the city. Keep in mind this is only by appointment: so plan accordingly! Even a quick picnic near the Reichstag is a great way to spend the afternoon.
4.) Berliner Dom (aka Berlin Cathedral)
If you’re looking for a good place to relax while still seeing some great sites in Berlin this is the place to be! The Berliner Dom’s architecture is captivating and what’s even better is that it has plenty of grass and benches to relax on. (And yes you will be needing a nice place to rest after all that walking). The Cathedral dates back to the 14th century!
5.) Holocaust Memorial
2,711 unmarked concrete slabs are erected to commemorate the murder of six million European Jews by Hitler and his forces. Some pieces are only knee high while others tower over visitors… Definitely one of the best free sites to see.
Explore street art
Urban and street art is all over Berlin and it undeniably adds to the personality of this city (and it’s free!) so grab your walking shoes and hit the streets. Berlin is world renowned for its street art and artists come from all over the world to leave a piece here. A few of the best places to enjoy this are:
Stroll through the East Side Gallery:
…Or home to the remains of the Berlin Wall. Enjoy a nearly 1.3km walk down either side of the Berlin Wall to see some of the best street art ever. You’ll find paintings depicting the hardships of the war and interpretations of the hardships that our country is going through as a whole. This is a MUST see for travelers (especially those on a budget).
With this street in mind you now have a location for open minded, free spirited street art as well as a location for some great pubs, restaurants, and cafes!
Whether you’re interested in military history, ancient art, or a museum for “Unheard of Things” Berlin has a wide variety of free museums to spend your days at. To see a full list, check out: http://www.museumsportal-berlin.de/en/museums/?free_entrance=1
If you visit on the right Thursday you can enjoy the Museum of Film and Television for free from 4-8pm. This museum is worth going to because it makes guests feel like they take a step back in a time machine while learning more about the past and present history of these medias. You are sure to leave viewing television and films much differently!
Although it’s not free, it’s actually pretty easy to find reasonably priced yet very good street food! If you’re new to Berlin you MUST try currywurst. However, be careful because a lot of vendors sell it, you just need to fight the hunger long enough to not over pay for it! Curry 36 is a great choice for a comfortably spicy sauce smothered wurst and mayo covered fries. YUM!
You can’t explore Berlin without being bombarded with Doner shops at every corner, and rightfully so seeing as Doner’s were created in Berlin by Turkish immigrants. This is another must-have dish (and it’s cheap!). You need to get a Durum döner at Tekbir Doner- and its only 3.50 Euro!
*Regardless of what native German dish you want to eat, just remember that the closer you are to Alexadendraplatz the more expensive they will be (and more money doesn’t always mean better quality).
While you can’t find street vendors selling beers, you can find a lot of convenience stores where beers are less than 1 Euro! (Remember that this amazing German city allows you to legally consume alcohol on any street, park, bridge, ANYWHERE!). So if you’re looking for a cheap way to relax, grab a beer or a bottle of wine and kick back on a bench. It’s totally legal and totally German. You’ll feel like a local European soon enough!