Visiting Berlin Travel Tips & Hacks (On A Budget)
I’ve lived in Berlin for nearly a year now and before then I was visiting Berlin quite regularly. It’s a city I love and have discovered exactly how to travel to Berlin on a budget, whilst still having an amazing time!
I came to Berlin often as a tourist and other times to see friends and, believe me, it can be a challenge to save money when you’re trying to have a great time.
Here I have collated my best Berlin travel tips, hacks and resources to help you travel Berlin on a budget.
Affordable Accommodation in Berlin on a Budget
Spending money on accommodation is often the biggest drain on your cash whilst travelling. BUT I have some super helpful tips you can use for minimizing your expenditure whilst still staying in awesome places.
You can find cheap places to stay in Berlin if you just look in the right places. Finding budget accommodation in Berlin is entirely possible but sometimes you’ll need to dig deep, send lots of messages and do a little haggling.
Berlin WG Wohnung Sublet Groups
I actually didn’t discover this travel hack until I was moving to Berlin and I wished I had known sooner!
Subletting your apartment is quite common in Berlin and people will advertise their apartment for as short as one week.
This means you can benefit from very cheap rents and stay in a furnished property right in the heart of Berlin!
You can find sublets for anywhere between one week to one year. So if you plan on staying longer than a weekend then sublet groups are a fantastic way to save money.
You can also find whole affordable apartments to rent with multiple bedrooms. But be prepared to spend the time joining groups and reading through posts in order to find a steal.
The way these groups work is that people post their accommodation sublet offers and you can send them a private message to say a little bit about yourself. If they like the sound of you then they will offer you the room. Simple!
For as cheap as €80 for one week this is an amazing travel hack for visiting Berlin!
VG or Apartment Sublet Facebook Groups
There are loads of great Berlin apartment sublet groups on Facebook but these are the most active:
- Berlin Apartments – Rent, Share & Sell
- WG Zimmer & Wohnungen Berlin
- Berlin Startup Flats & Flatshares
- WG Zimmer Wohnung in Berlin
- WG Zimmer Wohnung in Berlin Room Flat Apartment Rent
- WG Zimmer & Wohnungen Berlin Roomster
- Wohnung Und WG Berlin
- Berlin Rooms, Flats, Housing, Roommates and Expats
- Flats in Berlin
- Wohnung in Berlin WG Zimmer
- Berlin WG Wohnung
- Rooms, Housing, WGs, Accommodation Berlin
- WG Zimmer Wohnungen Berlin
- Short-term Accommodation Berlin
- Temporary Flat Rentals in Berlin
- Berlin Housing
Cheap Hotels & Hostels
Airbnb isn’t particularly cheap for a stay when visiting Berlin, you will find cheaper rates at hotels or hostels.
Another good travel hack to save a couple of euros a night in Berlin is to look for private rooms in hostels which can be cheaper than private hotel rooms.
Hostelworld has a great feature to allow you to filter your search and find private rooms. Often these rooms can be better than private hotel rooms, so read the reviews to find a bargain.
If you’re happy to stay in hostels then these can offer the cheapest rates for travellers in Berlin with a bed from as little as €7 a night in a shared dorm.
Berlin Attractions on a Budget
My absolute, without-a-doubt favorite thing to do in Berlin. Whilst karaoke might sound a little bit lame, the Mauer Park karaoke is anything but!
Hundreds of people gather and sit on the steps surrounding a platform where an Irish compere organises which nutters in the crowd will get up to sing.
And it is absolutely hilarious!
The type of people who have the confidence to perform in front of hundreds of people in the middle of the day are exactly the type of people you want to spend your Sunday afternoon watching!
People come round and sell beer so you can sit on the steps in the sunshine getting slowly merry.
Mauerpark is also great in it’s own right, with an antiques market, food stalls and bands performing in the park. It’s an ideal way to have an amazing, cheap day in Berlin.
Friedrichshain Streets & Graffiti
I can’t understate how enjoyable it is to simply roam around certain areas of Berlin and take in the atmosphere.
Friedrichshain is a perfect example of that as well as the area of Prenzlauer Berg for the same reason.
It can sometimes be a tale of two cities, however, with some areas being a bit more gritty and others being stunningly beautiful. But Friedrichshain has some beautiful spots to discover with lots of outstanding artwork on the buildings and unique, hipster cafes on every corner.
Sidenote: If you’re planning to travel to Berlin, SkyScanner is the absolute best way to find cheap flights. Tip: set destination as “Berlin (any)” to find flights to both Schönefeld and Tegel.
Berlin Lakes and Beaches
I bet you didn’t picture beaches being a feature of Berlin! But actually the city is surrounded by loads of amazing lakes that often have stunning beaches such as this.
Some of the lakes you can get to by train or S-bahn, whereas others might require a car or taxi to get there.
Some of the more established lakes have shops so you can buy a couple of beers or some food and make a day of it.
Other lakes have no buildings nearby so you will have to bring your own food and drink (so make sure you check that before heading out).
There are also a range of nudist beaches in Berlin that you can go to if that takes your fancy!
I often get asked about what travel essentials I rely on when I’m on the road. So here are my absolute travel essentials that make my travels a hell of a lot easier!
Berlin Wall Art
The Berlin Wall is the most iconic feature of Berlin, having played such a pivotal part in the city’s history. There are parts of the wall that are still up and you should definitely take the time to check them out.
The most famous place to go is the East Side Gallery (free, outdoors), where you can see a large section of the wall covered in incredible artwork commemorating the era when the Berlin wall finally came down.
The image pictured above is called the Socialist Fraternal Kiss and it depicts Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker (two socialist leaders) kissing. It is one of the most famous pieces of Berlin wall art.
You can also find sections of the wall in other places across the city such as at the Berlin Wall memorial near Bernauer Strasse and in Potsdamer Platz.
Another one of my absolute favourite places to visit in Berlin is Tempelhofer Feld which is a ginormous park centered around an airplane runway.
At one point in time this area was an airport but now the park is filled with people using the runway for kitesurfing, skating, cycling and hanging out with a few beers.
On a sunny day you will find hundreds of people in the Tempelhofer Feld enjoying the absurdity of hanging out on a runway. Little gardens have been built and there is a bar in one corner as well as a lookout tower, so there is lots to explore.
Of course, Tempelhofer Feld is another free activity to do in Berlin, you might just want to pay for a few beers which should cost you less than €5.
The Holocaust Memorial can be found near the Brandenburg Gate and is a series of nearly 3,000 concrete blocks of different sizes.
A sobering tribute to the murdered Jews during World War 2, walking through the installment is a must-have experience in Berlin.
Just round the corner from here you will also find what looks to be a normal car park but is actually the former site of Hitler’s bunker where he famously committed suicide.
There is no plaque or information to commemorate the event, since his legacy is not worth preserving. You can usually spot which is the correct car park by the tour groups gathering around.
Other Berlin Attractions Of Note
This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list of attractions, there are so many great things to do in Berlin, many of them free or cheap. Here’s a quick overview of additional things to do in Berlin:
- Museums – Museum Island – Berlin is home to loads of great museums, but these can be quite expensive. The cheapest way to experience them is to purchase the Museum Pass for €30 which is valid for 3 days.
- The Reichstag Building Dome – You can go up to the dome of the Berlin Parliament building, the Reichstag/Bundestag for free, but you do need to book ahead and register with your passport details.
- Parks in Berlin – I won’t cover them all but some great ones to visit include Treptower Park, Tiergarten, Viktoria Park and Volkspark.
- Checkpoint Charlie– The most famous border crossing between East and West Berlin is now a free tourist attraction with information and stories to read.
- The River Spree – Hang out on the banks of the river or follow the river path to cover some of the most scenic areas (including Museum Island).
Cheap Food & Drink in Berlin
If you manage to get a sublet, Airbnb or are crashing at a friend’s place, then you can benefit from buying and cooking your own food. Lidl and Aldi are the biggest and cheapest supermarkets in Berlin.
Vegetables and basics are inexpensive and what’s more, Germany is famous for its outstanding selection of cheap, delicious breads. You can pick up ingredients to make a few meals for 2 for under €10.
Germany is not known as a foodie destination like Italy or Japan, and admittedly Germans do sometimes eat some very peculiar foods. But there are a lot of food options available so you are sure to find something you like.
Check out our list of the top German foods to try for inspiration and then you can use Google Maps to search for nearby restaurants based on price.
The most underrated (in my opinion) way to drink for cheap in Berlin is to buy späti bears and drink outside.
Drinking in public is not only legal in Berlin but it is actively encouraged! It’s also incredibly cheap!
Spätis are small convenience stores that predominantly sell alcohol and are open late.
They have huge selections where you can grab a couple of beers from the fridge, open them in the shop and either drink on the tables outside or simply wander around town.
One of my favourite places to drink a few späti beers is in Tempelhoferfeld where everybody is seemingly drinking and having fun.
Eat Cheap Currywurst
You can’t visit Berlin without eating the classic currywurst, and as luck would have it, you can find this filling meal for as cheap as €2.50 in various places around Berlin.
Currywurst is essentially a bratwurst sausage cut into chunks, served in a curry powder sauce with fries.
To be honest it’s nothing super special but it is a cheap meal that will fill you up!
Berlin’s Famous Kebabs
If you’ve been to Berlin before you can’t have failed to notice the amount of kebab shops seemingly on every corner.
A kebab should only cost you between €2.50-€3.50 so they are a great option for a cheap meal. Possibly not the healthiest meal but stuff in lots of salad and it’s a perfectly acceptable holiday food!
Travelling Around Berlin
The public transport in Berlin is good and relatively affordable, but the costs can start to add up if you’re not careful. A single fare fee within the AB zone is €2.80 (which is valid for a trip in one direction regardless of how many u-bahns, s-bahns, buses or trams are required).
A great way to save money is to utilise day tickets or season tickets. A day ticket for the AB zone is €7 and a 7-day ticket is €30 per person. You can also benefit from additional travel cards that might help you save money:
- Small Group Day Ticket – Allows a group of up to 5 people to travel in the AB zone for a whole day for €19.90. (That’s less than €4 each for a group of 5).
- Berlin CityTourCard – Allows travel on public transport and 35% discount on Berlin attractions for as little as €16.90. Full details here.
- Berlin WelcomeCard – Allows travel on public transport and 50% discount on over 200 attractions for as little as €20. Full details here.
The best way to purchase transport tickets in Berlin is to download the BVG app on your phone.
This is way easier than using paper tickets and you minimize the risk of losing it.
The U-bahn and S-bahn stations do not have barriers so you can jump on and off trains without having to go through any gates. Be careful of not purchasing tickets however, because ticket inspectors occasionally come through carriages and there are big fines if you are caught without a valid ticket.
If you do buy a paper ticket, you must validate it before getting on the bus/ train/tram by putting it under the little machine on platforms. non-validated tickets are as susceptible to fines as valid tickets.
Cycling in Berlin
Cycling is a great way to explore Berlin, and the city is perfectly designed for cyclists. You will notice thousands of bikes in Berlin as it is one of the main forms of transport for Berliners to get around. Many people also take their bikes on the S-bahn which seems slightly lazy to me, but hey.
If you are staying in a hostel or hotel you can ask about hiring a bicycle. Bikes can be rented for as little as €5 a day, but more likely in the region of €10/€15. This makes it a great, cheap way to get around the city.
There are also many hire bike schemes where you can use an app to take a bike from the street and pay by credit card. Some of these are affordable whereas others can tally up costs if you’re not careful.
Hire bike companies include Deezer, Lidl and Donkey Republic. There is a handy guide on bikes here.
Depending on where you are staying, Berlin is quite a walkable city. I often find myself walking everywhere rather than catching public transport because it allows you to stumble across hidden gems.
It’s not worthwhile to walk if you want to cover the whole city or you only have a limited time, but if you have time I would recommend going whole days without public transport.
Taxis in Berlin are not cheap, even Uber has minimum fairs set by the city so even taking one taxi could cost you €25 which could be better spent on seeing the sights.
Walking is, of course, the cheapest way to get around Berlin since it costs nothing. If you are on a super strict budget then walking around Berlin is obviously the best option since there is lots to discover,wherever you are.
Recap: Resources For Saving Money In Berlin
So there you have it. Hopefully those travel tips and hacks can help you have an amazing time in Berlin without breaking the bank!
Here is a quick recap of some of the resources we recommend for our cheap travel tips in Berlin:
- Berlin Museum Pass
- Berlin CityTourCard
- Berlin WelcomeCard
- The BVG App
Have a great stay in Berlin and let us know in the comments below if you have any travel tips of your own!