The capital of Germany, Berlin is well known for its festivals, techno-scene, creative start-up culture and trendy art and architecture.
As such, it’s no surprise that the city is a favourite destination among budget travellers, backpackers in particular.
Home to some of Germany’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate and Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin has a rich place in this country’s history and is both a diverse and exciting metropolis to explore independently.
The city also serves as a great place to learn more about Germany and its people and is a great base from which to explore other parts of the country too.
And of course, Berlin also has some excellent beer and food that is well worth sampling!
So if you’re heading to the German capital anytime soon, but haven’t got a lot of cash to spend, check out these 10 unmissable things to do in Berlin on a budget – this city is definitely one of my favourite cities in Europe.
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#1 Grab a Bird’s Eye View of Berlin
Fernsehhturm, or more commonly referred to as the TV Tower, was built in 1969.
Standing in East Berlin (before the Berlin wall came down you couldn’t visit it!) it is the tallest building in the city and gives you one hell of a view on a clear day!
You do have to buy a ticket to explore the 360 degree view from the tower’s observation deck, but if you visit as soon as it opens at 9am/10am (season dependent), and stand in line to get a standard ticket, you can secure the cheapest ones possible, which are just €13.
If you really want to save money, then I also recommend you stay away from both the bar and the restaurant as they are very pricey!
Instead just enjoy the views some 203m above the city and snap away to your heart’s content.
Key Info: Tickets can also be bought on the Fernsehturm website. This way you can also fast track the queues, for just a few euros more.
#2 Visit the DDR Museum / Checkpoint Charlie
This small, quirky museum located on the corner of the infamous Checkpoint Charlie chronicles the daily lives of people living in communist East Berlin.
Fascinating to see how people lived in a communist country, there are lots of interesting artifacts here that give you one hell of a perspective into how things differed on the other side of the Berlin Wall.
And for only €8.50 it’s a bargain!
Otherwise, if you can’t stretch to that, just heading to Checkpoint Charlie and exploring the free information panels there and imagining what it would have been like, is free.
Top Tip: If you want an even cheaper ticket, order one from DDR Museum website for only €4.50.
#3 Skip the Metro and Walk
Berlin is a big city, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so fascinating and has so much to offer, that strolling around and getting a bit lost, is part of the pleasure!
The metro is quick and easy too, but if really want to see Berlin on a budget, get your walking shoes on and explore it using your own 2 feet instead.
You’ll see way more interesting things if you amble around the capital – discovering quirky side streets, cafes, bars and street art – rather than ride on the metro and most of all, you save those euros too!
The river banks are a particularly nice place to amble, soaking up the ambience, and come highly recommended especially in the summer!
Google Maps and Maps.me (if you don’t have data) are must have apps to get around Berlin, so make sure you download them before your trip.
Top Tip: Try and visit Berlin in the summer months, when walking is much more pleasant. Berlin is harsh in the winter, the wind especially! Although, that said, if you do visit in winter, Berlin gets snowy and very picturesque too.
BONUS TIP: If you plan on sightseeing a lot in Berlin, then the Berlin Pass is a great way to save tons of money and tons of time when visiting the city’s top attractions. Granting you free entry and line-skipping, check out how much you could save with The Berlin Pass now!
#4 Eat Currywurst and Drink Steins!
You will see Currywurst advertised throughout the city of Berlin, in fact any city in Germany!
It’s world famous but if you’re not sure what it is, it’s Germany’s world famous sausages mixed with curry!
Sound good and cheap?
Well it definitely is (to the non-vegetarians among us), so if you’re hungry and come across a shop selling Currywurst definitely try some!
For only a couple of euros, it’s a must try when eating in Berlin on a budget.
And if you’re looking to enjoy a drink, then it’s great to know German beer is both plentiful and very affordbale in Berlin!
Just make sure you order a stein.
These are much better value for budget travelers than buying pints or bottles, so get involved if you’re wanting to drink Berlin on a budget!
Top Tip: Currywurst is served all over, but it can vary between vendors. If you don’t enjoy it the first time around therefore, try it from somewhere else too!
#5 Relax in Tiergarten
The lungs of Berlin, Tiergarten is a gorgeous sprawling park that you can spend hours in, lazing on the grass, wandering the trails of and discovering the historic monuments and memorials set within its grounds.
Near the Brandenburg Gate, these 2 free attractions tie-in quite nicely and are well worth a few hours of your time in the city.
Otherwise, further out of the centre, the Tempelhof Gardens (the site of the former airport) is now a beautiful community garden, an important urban habitat for many bird and insect species, and a great spot for a picnic!
#6 Take a Free Walking Tour
This is a must if you want to see Berlin on a budget.
Not just for history buffs like myself, this is a great free activity for anyone who wants to know a little bit more about Berlin’s heritage and its famous buildings.
Running 3 times a day, it’s a 2.5 hour walking tour, so ensure you’ve got comfortable trainers on.
Amazingly you will explore some of the most famous places in Berlin like the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and what’s left of the Berlin Wall.
Top Tip: Visit the walking tour website and book on early as it gets rather full! I attended during the week and there were so many of us we were put into two large groups!
Otherwise, if you want a smaller group, check out this super 2 hour walking tour, which covers the Third Reich and Cold War period of Berlin history and is very cheaply priced.
#7 Visit Brandenburg Gate at Night
You may have seen the Brandenburg Gate on the free walking tour, but it’s also a sight you need to see once it gets dark!
You can now walk through the gate, which wasn’t possible when the Berlin wall was around, so take advantage and give it a go.
Grab your camera and get a snap of this amazing, world-famous building when it’s all lit up.
Free to do and a real showstopper!
Top Tip: The metro is located really close to the Brandenburg Gate, so it’s easy to get to even if it’s late at night.
#8 Stay at Generator Berlin Mitte
The standard of hostel’s in Berlin is extremely high and many are located in exciting parts fo the city and offer great value for money.
And it doesn’t get better than the fantastic Generator Berlin Mitte.
Right in Berlin’s Mitte region, with loads of top cafes all around, free wifi, some female-only dorms and a historic courtyard, this hostel is perfect for those wishing to visit Berlin on a budget.
Don’t worry if you’re a couple either, Generator Berlin Mitte offers some well-priced private rooms too!
#9 Pay your Respects at the Holocaust Memorial
Berlin’s past can be tough to stomach, but it’s important to understand just what happened, not least to ensure this sort of tragedy doesn’t happen ever again.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was opened in 2015 and is made up of 2,711 concrete columns, of all different sizes, that form a maze-like memorial.
It’s an interesting sight and open 24 hours, 7 days a week, and free, so you can check it out both during the day or at night.
#10 Climb the Reichstag
The parliament building of the reunified Germany is an amazing feat of engineering and architectural skills and highly unique with its glass beehive-like dome clearly visible from around the city.
It provides amazing views of the city too, as well as loads of interesting info about the reunification of the country post the fall of the wall and how the political life of the nation works.
It’s free to visit the Reichstag too – and climb the dome complete with informative audioguide – but you’ll need to register in advance at the German Bundestag website.
It’s highly worth doing this however – as this really is one of the best things to do in Berlin on a budget – especially at the end of your time in the city, because you can stare down on all the places you’ve been!
Other Top Things to Do in Berlin
- Stroll the East Side Gallery
- Explore Potsdamer Platz and the Berlin Wall Remnants Here
- Visit Museum Island
- Get Your Bargain Hunt on at a Local Flea Market
- Rent a Bike
- Enjoy a Coffee and Some People Watching in the Mitte area
- Check Out Pick n Weight Vintage Store
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So there you have it, the 10 unmissable things to do in Berlin.
Have you visited this great European city?
What did you enjoy doing there most?
Travel Blogger, digital marketer and founder of IAmDanElson.com, Dan is on a mission to inspire other people to travel.
Featuring his own experiences through images, stories and videos, he also provides excellent tips on how to save and make money for travel.