Berlin on a budget

Berlin on a budget

Insider tips for the small purse.

– © Adenis
Reichstag – © Scholvien
East Side Gallery – © visitBerlin / Künstler: Teresa Casanueva, Stephan Cacciatore
– © J. Blechschmidt
– © visitBerlin; Foto: J. Pfaff
Mauerpark – © Philip Koschel
– © Fête de la Musique, 2011
– © Guenther Steffen
– © Günter Steffen
Mauerpark – © Günter Steffen

Berlin is exciting, Berlin is diverse and surprising for a capital city, Berlin isn't expensive. For visitors on a low budget the city is a veritable paradise. As one of the cheapest capital cities in Europe, Berlin offers visitors an attractive price-ratio quality. Even on a small budget, you don’t have to miss out on museums, operas, karaoke in the Mauerpark and the like. A stay in the metropolis doesn’t have to cost the earth to be exciting and full of variety.

Getting around and discover Berlin on the cheap

There’s a simple and comfortable way to discover the tourist highlights of Berlin by bus and S-/U-Bahn. The M100 and M200 bus routes from Alexanderplatz to Bahnhof Zoo, in particular, pass the most important sightseeing attractions. The M100 bus route goes past the north side of the Tiergarten via the Reichstag, Bellevue Palace and the Siegessäule (Victory Column), while the M200 bus takes the route south of the Tiergarten via Potsdamer Platz. As a Berlin WelcomeCard holder, you not only enjoy free travel on all the local public transports services, but also receive discounted admittance to plenty of attractions in the city.

Free sightseeing including breathtaking views

Well, of course you don’t have to pay anything to view the outside of all the attractions in Berlin. A particular tip in this respect is the East Side Gallery between Ostbahnhof and Warschauer Straße, which represents a part of the former Berlin Wall. Don’t miss out on the longest permanent open-air gallery in the world!

At the Reichstag you don’t have to only remain outside admiring it – admittance is free of charge here. No visitor to Berlin should miss out on the view from the Reichstag dome over the city. A word of warning, however: advance notification is absolutely necessary. More information on this is available on the internet website of the German Bundestag. Close to the Reichstag are situated some of the best-known symbols of Berlin: The Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and the Holocaust Memorial.

In the Hackesche Höfe you can gaze in awe at perhaps the most famous example of Berlin’s courtyard architecture. Visiting the Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church) on Kurfürstendamm or the exhibitions in the Säulensaal (Hall of Columns) in the Rotes Rathaus (Red Town Hall) is free of charge.

The view from the Reichstag dome isn’t the only wonderful view you can enjoy – take for example Berlin’s bridges: Behmstraßenbrücke, Eisenbrücke or Oberbaumbrücke. The Nationaldenkmal (National Memorial) in Viktoria Park also has an incredible view of the city skyline.

Hörpol offers a free audio guide through Berlin-Mitte for teenagers from the age of 14. It is especially useful for school classes because everybody finds their own tour and does not have to follow a prescribed route. There are many audio stations with names like "Huh??", "Party" or "Shards".

View museums and art for free'

School classes get in free of charge into the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums). Children and teenagers up to 18 years of age generally pay nothing to visit the museums. The State Museums include all the museums on Museum Island as well as the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery).

The following history museums open their permanent exhibitions free of charge: the Allied Museum, the Deutsche Dom (German Dome) at Gendarmenmarkt and the Anti-War Museum.

Visitors generally have free admittance to the Friedrichswerdersche Church, which exhibits classical sculptures, and the Mies van der Rohe House. In Berlin you also find great Street Art you can enjoy for free.

For those who enjoy quirky things and the stories behind them will love the Museum der Unerhörten Dinge (Museum of unheard-of things)

Future trends in medicine, chemistry and energy are discussed in various exhibitions at Max Planck Science-Galley. Free guided tours are available for groups from 5 to 20 people.

Free admission to museums fpr children and teens: visitberlin.com.

A special offer for lovers of culture: As a Museum Pass holder, you can visit 55 museum buildings in a three-day period for €19 (€9.50 discounted), including both the major and small insider tips.

Tip: The Long Night of Museums takes place in Summer when up to 100 of them open up their doors. With a single ticket you can at these times visit as many of them as you like. You find the next dates for this opportunity to explore the Berlin museum landscape in our event calender.

Concerts and theatres on a low budget

Just like the museums, the Berlin stages also have their annual Long Night of Opera Houses and Theatres: On that evening, theatre lovers (as well as would-be theatre lovers) can with a single ticket get to know almost 70 theatres and see excerpts from current productions. Check the dates here: event calender.

Another very popular event for Berliners and tourists are the Berlin Philharmonic Lunch Concerts. Several times a year, the invitation is in the foyer of the Philharmonic to chamber music of the highest quality. More information on this is available on the Philharmonic Website.

The focus in summer will also be on classical music, when – as every year – the Staatsoper für alle (State Opera House for everybody) is held on Bebelplatz. In order to be able to enjoy the beautiful music to the max, make sure you bring a picnic basket and folding chair with you. Check the event calender.

And if even that does not sate your appetite for classical music, you can pay a visit to the Berlin Konzerthaus ( Berlin Concert House). You can watch the daily rehearsals being held in the Großes Saal (Great Hall) from 11 am to 6 pm from the concert vestibule under the motto “Free Glimpse”.

Street festivals and parades

The city in summer is bursting with that pure holiday feeling. This is the time to take to the streets and celebrate. Experiencing some great parades won’t cost you anything: Whether the Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures), which always takes place over the Whitsun weekend, or the Christopher Street Day Parade, at which the motley, many-coloured Berlin gay and lesbian scene make their statement for equal rights.

At the time when Midsommar is celebrated in Sweden, it’s time in Berlin for the Fête de la Musique. The Berliners spend the summer solstice out on the streets of their city: Artists appear on some 90 stages to play music for every taste: from punk to gospel, and from rock to reggae.

The open-air party continues: Then you can see the Kreuzberg Jazz Festival in Bergmannstraße, with over 50 artists appearing on stage.

Find all information here.

Shopping and eating out at a low price

And for shopping and gastronomic pleasures too, Berlin is anything but expensive. There are plenty of Berlin snack bars that offer everything you could wish for from curry wurst to doner kebabs, and all for comparably cheap prices too. It’s become almost an obligatory ritual to eat brunch on Sundays in Berlin. For between €8 and €12, you can sit for hours on end in cosy cafés and have a decent meal. Several tips are available here. In addition, our team with insider knowledge of the city provide various recommended venues in their Berlin Blog, where you can eat well and inexpensively.

After a good brunch, there’s nothing better than a long walk taking in the flea markets of Berlin, where you pick up a bargain.

The perfect way to round off a relaxing Summer Sunday in Berlin is in the Mauerpark, as that’s where the free Open-Air Karaoke is held, an event famous well beyond the city’s borders. Current infos on this are best taken from the Facebook fan page.

Current tips

Current information is available here (in German):
www.gratis-in-berlin.de

And there are more great tips available here (in German):
www.top10berlin.de