Berlin has more spunk than any other city in Europe. It may not be the most eye-catching, but this place makes up for it with its rich character. Unlike other European cities, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good time. I’ve found so many Berlin travel guides to be inaccessible to my budget, which is why I wrote this budget guide for Berlin.
There are plenty of cheap hotels and hostels in Berlin where you will feel right at home. Berlin is the city for people that haven’t yet found a city that fits their vibe. When the Berlin wall fell, people flooded into East Berlin and transformed into a hub for artists. Today, the area still retains its appeal to a young, hip crowd. There are cafés, concert venues, and some of the best nightclubs in the entire world. Once you figure out how to do Berlin on a budget, you’ll never want to leave.
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Table of Contents
The best time to visit Berlin
The best time to visit Berlin is from May to September. The average temperature for these months is 24 degrees Celsius, perfect for drinking beers in the city’s famous biergartens or picnicking in Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin’s oldest park. Winter, on the other hand, is quite cold. Yet if you really want to visit Berlin on a budget, coming to the city from January to April may be your best bet. You won’t have any trouble booking anything and prices will be the cheapest you can find.
How to get around Berlin on a budget
Fortunate for budget travelers, Berlin’s public transportation system is one of the most advanced in the world. Using public transportation is the best way to do Berlin on a budget. If you really want to dive into how to use each system, check out some Berlin blogger guides for how to make your trip the most efficient. However, the U-Bahn and the S-Bahn are by far the most efficient transportation systems and the easiest to navigate. You can simply show up to the station, by your ticket, and check out the map for the best way to arrive at your destination.
You can also buy a day pass if you plan on hopping around the city for the entire day. It’s a great way to save money and see the different corners of this massive city. It’s important to remember that you cannot use a credit card at any of the machines where tickets are sold. So come prepared with simple bills or coins! There are also a bunch of busses that run all over the city, but they can be a bit trickier to navigate. Finally, I would recommend using Uber if you need a cab. They are often much cheaper and you are guaranteed to arrive exactly where you want to go.
Budget things to do in Berlin
Walking tours are arguably the best way to experience Berlin. You’ll have a local showing you around and adding their own personal stories to the tour. The best thing is that these tours are usually run for free. You’ll just be expected to give a tip to your guide at the end of the tour. The tour guides are always understanding that you give what you can, especially in such a young city like Berlin. There are a bunch of different walking tours in Berlin that focus on specific things.
For example, Alternative Berlin Tours conveys a side of Berlin that you won’t see unless you spend an extended period of time in the city. The Berlin Food Tour is also great. You’ll get to learn about Berlin’s culinary scene and scoop some recommendations on other places to visit during your time in the city.
When visiting any city in Europe, you’ll be able to dive into history in many different ways. Berlin is no exception, and in fact, has one of the most interesting stories to tell. What makes this city interesting is the fact that the captivating history is so recent. There are museums in Berlin that focus on the Cold War, the Third Reich, and other aspects of history and culture. Museum Island is the most popular place to go and have five museums all within walking distance of one another.
One trick to saving money in Berlin is finding the day of the week that certain museums are free. For example, Hamburg Bahnhof, the museum of contemporary art, is free on the first Thursday of the month from 4 pm to 8 pm. If you do your research, you can find a bunch of different Berlin blogger guides to help you find ways to save money during your stay in the city.
Explore Berlin’s Parks
Berlin is the largest city in Germany, but it still has a large amount of green space where you can escape the concrete jungle. The best part about visiting parks is that you won’t have to pay a single euro. Visit a local butcher and bakery and make your way to Tiergarten or Templehofer park.
You’ll find plenty of space where you can have a picnic and simply enjoy being outside. There also parks, like Mauer Park, that are ingrained in the interesting history of the city. Mauer Park was a militarized area that split the city into two during the cold war. Today, there is a flea market held on Sunday, which is another great thing to do if you want to visit Berlin on a budget.
Visit Flea Markets
You don’t have to plan on buying anything to enjoy a good time at one of Berlin’s flea markets. If you’re like me, you’ll have a great time imagining just where some of the things for sale came from. The flea market at Arkonaplatz is one of the oldest in the city and has everything from antique books to clothes. It is located in one of the city’s coolest parks too. The flea markets also offer some of the best, homemade food in Berlin.
Berlin is hailed as the techno capital of the world, and chances are you’ll be able to see a world class DJ any weekend of the year. If you’re a techno fan, surely you’ve heard of Berghain, the most famous club in Berlin. It’s an old power plant that boasts the best sound system of any club in the world. The hard part is getting past the bouncer, Sven Marquardt, who takes a look at you and decides on if you’ll be allowed in for the night.
If you get past him, be prepared to have one of the best clubbing experiences of your life. Salon zur Wilden Renate is another renown club in Berlin, famous for having a maze in the middle of its dance floor. This place is massive and has one of the most festive atmospheres of any club in Berlin. These are just two clubs, but there are so many to find in Berlin.
Relax in Plazas
Berlin has been around since the Middle Ages, and Alexanderplatz has always been considered the heart of the city. It’s the oldest plaza in a city full of them. Each plaza has a story to tell. So be sure to do your reading before you arrive. The best part about visiting the plazas is that you don’t have to pay anything. However, if you want to enjoy a coffee or a beer, there are plenty of cafés and bars surrounding to choose from.
Rent a Bike
Berlin is a very large and spread out city, and riding a bike is one great way to really get to know it. There are plenty of different options for doing this in Berlin, from rental bike shops to apps like Donkey Republic, where you simply find a bike on a map and pay by the hour.
Drink some Delicious German Beer
Biergartens are a true German thing, and you cannot come to Berlin without stopping by one and sampling some beer. I recommend Zollpackhof because it has one of the best locations and a ton of different beers to try. It’s also an awesome place to try some authentic German bar food. Muted Horn is another place where you can sample a bunch of different craft beers. Come here if you consider yourself a beer snob. They have 21 taps that are constantly changing. Chances are you’ll find your new favorite brew.
Places to visit in Berlin on a budget
The Holocaust Memorial, or Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, is a powerful place to visit. Not only is it massive, but it also is a work of architectural genius. This place is in every Berlin travel guide because it simply cannot be missed. Its a special place of remembrance for one of the most tragic events in human history.
The East Side Gallery
When you first arrive in Berlin, you won’t miss the art that covers walls all over the city. The East Side Gallery is 1.3 kilometers of street art on the Berlin Wall. It’s an iconic spectacle that is really representative of the city of Berlin, a place with rich history that has been transformed into a center for artists from all over the world.
The Brandenburg Gate is another Berlin attraction that has a deep connection with the history of the city. It was actually the place where Ronald Reagan spoke the famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall.” However, it was originally built in the 18th century by a Prussian king. In those years, it became the central entrance to the city of Berlin. It still remains a very central location, with many other monuments and attractions nearby.
Tränenpalast (Palace of Tears)
This place is another place in Berlin that will really pull on your heartstrings. It retells the experience of living in Berlin when it was split into East and West. So often we focus on the wall itself and forget about the fact that so many families were separated because of it. In the past, this building was one of the only places where people could move between East and West. This is a great place to visit to deepen your understanding of how the Berlin Wall impacted the people living in the city.
The Reichstag building was the center of German government from the late 1800’s until 1933, when it was set on fire. People visit this building to see the beautiful spectacle that it is, but also to catch an impressive view of the city. There is a massive dome on top from where you can see the city at night. You can see all of Berlin’s important goverment buildings as well.
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial
It’s impossible to visit Germany and not think about the horrible event that they are guilty of, the Holocaust. This memorial is a place where you can see what it was like to be in a concentration camp. Germans are not proud of their history, and this place really makes you feel upset. It’s located about 40 kilometers outside of Berlin, making it a good option for a day trip. Don’t plan on doing much after though. Chances are you aren’t going to want to do much but reflect on what you just experienced.
Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is true to it’s name. There are 5 different museums here that are dedicated to archaeology and anthropology. I wouldn’t plan on visiting all five in a single day unless you are ready to really dive into history. However, don’t let the area be overshadowed by the museums. The island itself is full of cultural and historical significance.
Checkpoint Charlie was the only place where foreigners could pass between East and West Germany. It was also the place where Russian and American tanks lined up during the Cold War. Some people thought that it could have been the start of World War 3, but no rounds were ever fired. The guardhouse is now a museum where you can learn all about the site and its historical significance.
Where to stay in Berlin on a budget
Kreuzberg is home to many students and artists in Berlin, but backpackers also flock here when visiting the city. Not only does it have a young vibe, but it’s also one of the most affordable places in the city. If you want to try and dive into the underground scene of the city, this is the place to stay.
36 Rooms is a cheap hostel in Berlin that can provide any sort of room that you are looking for. It’s also located near a ton of bars and restaurants. Jetpak Alternative is a cheap hotel in Berlin that is near some of the best night clubs in the city. There are plenty of other types of accommodations in the neighborhood, and surely you will be able to find one that fits your budget. This neighborhood is truly one of my favorites in all of Europe.
Mitte is more centrally located to the big tourist sites of Berlin. It also is home to most of Berlin’s accommodation for tourists. It can be a bit more expensive that Kreuzberg, but you will save money on transportation from place to place because you can walk everywhere here. It is really the cultural center of the city because of the diverse amount of buildings, bars, clubs, and museums. All In Hostel is one of the best bang-for-your-buck places to stay in the city.
The hostel has an incredible breakfast but is also very social. You will have the chance to do a bunch of different things and meet people from all over the world. Leonardo Hotel Mitte is a good option for those who want to avoid the backpacker crowd. There are many cheap hotels in Berlin, but Mitte is the area where you will find the most.
If street art is your jam, Prenzlauer Berg is the place for you. It feels like you are constantly walking through an art gallery and each corner feels like a scene from a movie. There are also plenty of cinemas and theatres where you can spend your evenings. It’s one of my favorite places to stay in Berlin because it has an authentic vibe that isn’t overrun with tourism just yet. Sunflower Hostel Berlin is the place I recommend to budget travelers.
There is also a rooftop bar in the hostel, which is a great place to start your evening out. I also would recommend this area if you are planning to get a place on AirBnb or VRBO. People here are down to earth and friendly, and you’ll most likely stay in an awesome historical building.
Cheap tours to do in Berlin
There are simply so many sites to see in Berlin, and doing this tour makes it easy for you to spend as much time as you want at each one. You will also get to learn more about the different neighborhoods surrounding the city’s famous places. If you aren’t able to spend too much time in the city, I highly recommend this tour.
Booking a tour to visit this place takes away the hassle of using public transportation. Not only that, but you will get a much more informed tour of the concentration camp itself. This tour is really great for those who want to hear about the concentration camps, not just visit them.
The more time you spend in Berlin, the more you are going to love this city. It’s really a quirky place with hidden gems all around. Doing this tour allows for you to really experience the quirkiness of the city with a local. You will be able to visit some of the places that most tourists miss and really start to feel at home in the city. I recommend it to people who want to see a different side of Berlin.
Recommend budget tours in Berlin
- Discover Berlin Half-Day Walking Tour
- Berlin Bike Tour
- Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial Walking Tour
- Cold War Walking Tour of Berlin
- Berlin Off-the-Beaten-Path Walking Tour: Kreuzberg, Mitte and Friedrichshain
- Small-Group Berlin Street Art Tour and Graffiti Workshop
- Skip-the-Line Pergamon and New Museum Guided Tour in Berlin including Museum Island Day Pass
- Private Walking Tour: World War 2 and Cold War Sites in Berlin
- Full-Day Berlin Excursion with Round-Trip Transportation from Warnemünde or Rostock
- Berlin Christmas Markets Walking Tour
- Secret Food Tours East Berlin
- 3-Hour Berlin Beer Tour
- Berlin Welcome Card
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