Berlin is really a sprawling metropolis with historic sites, an eclectic mix of subcultures and distinctive neighborhoods filled with local and world cuisines.
Compared to other popular, expensive European capitals for example London, Amsterdam or Paris, Berlin is a city that travelers can enjoy on a tight budget.
Where to stay in Berlin on a budget
As a well known backpacking destination, affordable accommodation in Berlin is plentiful no matter which district you are in. From well-known backpacking hostel chains such as a&o Hostels, Meininger, St Christopher's Inn or Generator, to more unique places like the Eastern & Western Comfort Hostelboats, you can find a dorm bed starting around $USD14 (11EUR) or perhaps a private room from $56 (50EUR) with respect to the season.
Stay at the Circus hostel and get lost every day in Prenzlauer Berg's picturesque streets as you search for an intimate café. Spend the night time at Industriepalast Hostel if you're looking to party all night long at one of Friedrichshain's notorious techno clubs.
Hostels aren't the sole type of affordable accommodations within Berlin. Modest design hotels all over the city offer a fantastic option for those looking for a more private space. NH Hotels can be found all over Berlin and supply a stylish and comfortable stay starting from $80 (70EUR) for a double room.
Dine in Berlin like a king
Find budget-friendly fare on every corner in Berlin. Enjoy Germany's “unofficial” national dish, the d”oner kebab, at the famous Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap next to the Mehringdamm U-Bahn Station, or taste a classical German bite, a currywurst, from a local hotspot, Curry 36.
As probably the most multicultural cities in the world, Berlin's international cuisine is affordable and tasty. Turkish restaurants serving traditional lunches starting at $7 (6EUR) can be found all around the city, together with Vietnamese and Lebanese spots, that have be a staple inside a Berliner's diet.
Italian, Polish and Greek will always be popular choices, but Sudanese, Thai and Venezuelan are beginning to depart a footprint within the city. Stop by the Thai Park in Charlottenburg district and revel in Europe's largest Thai street food market (only open on the weekends). This is a place where one can spoil yourself with delicious Pad Thai or Tom Yum Goong, starting at $7 (6EUR).
Take in Berlin's famous sights for free
Many of Berlin's must-see destinations have the freedom and within walking distance of one another. Pass by Checkpoint Charlie, admire the Brandenburger Tor, go to the Reichstag, pay respects at the Holocaust Memorial, and walk across the Unter den Linden avenue till you arrive to Germany's tallest structure, the Fernseherturm. This can be done in a half-day with plenty of other sights to determine on the way.
If you want to enter the Reichstag and walk inside its crystal dome, you will need to pre-register at least three to four days in advance on the German Bundestag's official website.
Explore Berlin's diverse neighborhoods
Berlin has a large number of neighborhoods, each using its own feel. Hip Kreuzberg is a popular spot to grab a drink, benefit from the international vibe, and discover one-of-a-kind street art. Friedrichshain is the place to go dancing until dawn and Mitte is a must to explore Berlin's culture and history.
Less-visited neighborhoods like Sch”oneberg, Neuk”olln, Wedding and Tiergarten provide a more “laid back” and native atmosphere but still provide plenty of activities to do, restaurants to savor or bars to hang out through the night.
Enjoy the outdoors
Get lost in Berlin's greenest park – Tiergarten – a favorite among Berliners to jog, stroll or sunbathe (clothing optional sometimes). Head to the Grosse Stern, a roundabout which feeds into five avenues, and residential from the Victory Column, an ornate 220ft (67m) symbol of Prussian military victories within the 19th century.
For only $3 (3EUR), visitors can enter via neoclassical temples and climb the column's 270 steps for fantastic views over the park and also the city.
Another good way for a stroll is across the Spree river. Start at Berlin's main train station (HBF) and pass the current governmental buildings at Regierungsviertel, accompanied by the charming Nicholas Quarter, restored to look such as the medieval and baroque eras.
On the way, be sure to browse the magnificent views from the Berliner Dom and Museum Island. If your legs allow it, keep walking until the East Side Gallery, the biggest open-air memorial in the world.
Want to explore Berlin's outdoors? Backstage Tourism rents kayaks or canoes starting $28 (25EUR) and tours across the Spree river starting $40 (35EUR).
Explore Berlin's museums having a Museum Pass
One of numerous methods to explore Berlin's impressive selection of museums in a budget-friendly strategy is to invest in a Museum Pass for $33 (29EUR) ($16/14,50EUR for students). When the Museum Pass is not affordable, head to the Urban Nation museum in Sch”oneberg. It's Germany's first museum dedicated to urban art.
Private galleries will also be another great method to explore new and contemporary local art for free.
The first Sunday from the month is Museum Sonntag (Museum Sunday) that provides free admission to most museums like the iconic Bode Museum or even the German National Gallery. Don't forget to book your spot way in advance; spots are restricted and run out fast.
Browse Berlin's food and local flea markets for bargains
An always-affordable activity in any city would be to visit the local markets. Luckily, Berlin has many to provide. Head over to Kreuzberg district to enjoy the classic Marheineke Market Hall or visit the more popular Markthalle Neun. Both markets serve up local products and tasty, budget-friendly bites. Markthalle Neun is also the place to find Street Food Thursdays, each day when additional vendors setup food stalls from all over the planet.
Interested in Cold War memorabilia, thrifting, local souvenirs or simply strolling around somewhere new? Berlin's local flea markets during the the weekend is always the right choice. The most eccentric of all, Mauerpark, is an ideal spot to visit every sunday. Enjoy the number of street food next to its flea market, discover that vintage postcard you forgot to send or just benefit from the outdoor events taking place in the park.
Discover Berlin on the budget-friendly walking tour
With a choice suiting every budget, visiting Berlin without going on a walking tour should be considered a crime. Dive into Berlin's fascinating culture and history via one of several city tours. In the famous Sandemans New Europe tip-based tours to budget-friendly walking tours starting at $11 (10EUR). The choices are endless: Berlin's top sights, alternative culture, Germans history or street art. Take your pick, Berlin has it.
How to obtain around Berlin on a tight budget
Berlin is really a massive city that may be difficult to cover by foot, a transit pass is really a worthwhile investment. But buying the right ticket the very first time could be a bit overwhelming.
Tickets are broken out by zones: AB, BC, or ABC, the tickets are valid for all forms of public transportation.
An AB zone ticket should cover enough of Berlin for most tourists if you aren't likely to visit Potsdam or will need to go to the airport.
Once you know which zones you intend to go to, you can purchase a single ride ticket ($3/3EUR for that AB zone), Round-the-clock pass ($10/8.80EUR for that AB zone) or a week-long pass ($40.75/36EUR for the AB zone). If you're a group of as much as five people traveling together for some time weekend, purchasing a group 24h pass for $29 (25.50EUR) for that AB zone each day would be worthwhile.
More information about fares, network maps and ticket options can be obtained in the BVG official website.