Berlin is a great city to visit for anyone on a budget; accommodation and food is cheap, and many of the paid attractions are reasonably priced. But small expenses add up and before you know it you’ve spent more than planned, often in places that are cheap we justify the low prices and end up spending more than usual. Checkout our Berlin Where “Green” is the New Black. The best way to save money is of course to do things that don’t cost a dime, and fortunately, there are tons of free things to do in Berlin.
The Berlin Wall & The East Side Gallery
Most people who have been to Berlin will instantly tell you that you need to visit the Berlin Wall; it is such a huge piece of modern history. The fall of the division between East and West Germany in 1989 unified a city that had been divided for over thirty years.
The East Side Gallery, which is the longest stretch of wall still intact, is covered in art work and murals from famous artists. It takes about two hours to wander along the full length of the wall and I would highly recommend it.
In March earlier this year they removed a part of the all to make way for new luxury apartments. They started tearing it down at 5 a.m in the morning when everyone was asleep so that it would be too late once the citizens found out about it. If they have the stomach to do something like that, who knows how long the rest of the wall will be there? If you can, go and see it before this piece of the past is gone forever. For more information on the East Side Gallery visit their website here.
The Brandenburg Gate is the main entrance to Berlin, and it is stunning. The gate was designed as the great entrance to the Unter den Linden, which lead led to the palace of the Prussian monarchs. Like the Reichstag, it is a very busy attraction, but it’s really worth a visit, even if just for a photograph. The gate sustained major damage during the Second World War and was used as an ideological tool before standing as a symbol of Germany’s turbulent past. Recently restored, it’s a lovely place to sit and reflect on the rest of the beautiful city for an hour or so.
Free Walking Tour Or Alternative Tour
Sandeman’s new Europe walking tours are free and run every day from the Brandenburg Gate at 11am and 1pm. Taking part in one of the a walking tours on your first few days is a great way to orientate yourself in Berlin and see some of the most famous landmarks. The tour guides are friendly and happy to answer any questions. It might be free, but the guides work on a tips-only basis so make sure you have some cash on you to show your appreciation. If you want to see more of Berlin’s subcultures take an Alternative Berlin Tour around the city. Like the Sandeman tour, it works on a tips only basis, but that’s where the similarities end. This tour will take you to artist’s squats, underground cultural icons and flea markets in the summer. It’s a much more rock and roll way to get around.
The Tiergarten is Berlin’s biggest inner city park. It is extremely popular with visitors and locals alike due to its central location and natural beauty. There are loads of monuments and statues to see, as well as beer gardens and even a zoo. If you can, get your hands on a map so you don’t get too lost in the wilderness. If you want to see all of the park, hire a bike for the afternoon. I hired mine from Fat Tire rentals which cost €12 for one day. To get around the whole of Tiergarten on foot will take up to 4 hours; a bike will get you round much faster. If you are backpacking around Berlin invest in some lightweight luggage from luggage specialists, Luggage Superstore – lightweight luggage will reduce the burden when you’re in-between attractions. I bought a hard shell case – a small case like this will be easier to get around local attractions than a heavy backpack or regular suitcase.
The Reichstag is a fantastic example of Berlin’s clash between old and new. The original building dates from 1884 and was neglected during the Second World War. During its regeneration, a huge glass dome has been attached to the building which offers 360 degree views of the city. It is the busiest parliament in the world, with over 34 million visitors since its regeneration so it’s going to be pretty heaving whenever you go. Make sure you choose your date and time slot online to avoid disappointment on the day. You can pre-book at the official Reichstag website. These are just a few of many free things to do in Berlin.