You all know how much I love Berlin, and I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time there in the past few months. One thing I hear again and again from visitor I take around: how cheap it is! And I couldn’t agree more. Berlin is easily the cheapest city in Western Europe, and there’s one aspect in which Berlin beats my other favorite two cities in the world, New York and London, it is the value for money it offers. So if you are planning on visiting Europe on a budget, then Berlin should be on the top of your wish list. In a city renowned for its defining history, vibrant nightlife and contribution to the arts, however long you go for – it won’t be long enough. The city has a huge expat community, and draws in creative types from all over the world, resulting in the opportunity to explore every cultural avenue you care to imagine. The streets are awash with stylish graffiti, the bars are filled with art and the coffee shops and restaurants offer a huge range of international cuisines.One of the biggest lures to Berlin is that it is extremely livable – it’s a very affordable city not only for visitors but also for its residents. The rent is amongst the lowest in Europe, and daily expenditures don’t amount to much if you’re a little careful. You can even enjoy the nightlife on a budget. You can buy cheap beer from the famous Späti shops, which are on almost every street corner, then enjoy your beverages outside and unhindered by the authorities (It’s legal to drink alcohol on the streets in Berlin). This means that you can experience more of the city on a budget.Today I wanted to share some of the cheap things I love doing in Berlin:
Free Art everywhere!
Berlin is packed with art everywhere you look. No matter what kind of art you want to see, you’ll find it in Berlin. From exploring the famous Museum Island to the smaller galleries – Berlin has plenty to offer for art lovers. The East Side Gallery near Warschauer Straße is the largest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall and is a graffiti mecca which can be enjoyed for free, and many parts of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain serve as a giant canvas for street artists.
Mauerpark on Sundays
Running adjacent to another previous stretch of the Berlin Wall is Mauer Park (Mauer means wall in German) where a massive flea market is held every Sunday. Not only do merchants sell a whole manner of interesting items, but it’s what’s happening in the surrounding field that’s perhaps most entertaining. There are usually a host a musicians, street performers and people picnicking in the open spaces. It does take a break in the winter months, so but you can find out more info here. It’s a real insight into life as a Berliner, and you’ll no doubt come across a few bargains in the market.
While Mauerpark is my favorite, there are plenty of other markets to check out around town: the Turkish Market in Maybachufer on Tuesdays and Fridays (I go every time I’m in Berlin!), the weekend markets at Boxhagener Platz (fresh produce on Saturdays, flea market on Sundays), and the biggest flea market in Berlin: every Saturday and Sunday in Strasse des 17. Juni right through Tiergarten Park from the Victory Column all the way down to S-Bahn station Tiergarten.
Sights that don’t cost a thing
The beautiful thing about Berlin is that most of its famous landmarks can be visited for free. For example the city’s most iconic structure, the Brandenburg Gate. The 18th century neoclassical arch is not only a Berlin landmark, it’s just as important to the rest of the country. The beautiful structure is just around the corner from the Reichstag (Parliament) which is free to visit as long as you book in advance. I highly recommend the free tour of the Reichstag Dome, the new glass cupola designed by Sir Norman Foster, which you can walk up till the top. Homage must also be payed to the infamous Checkpoint Charlie, the a former border crossing point when Berlin was divided into the East and West, and the Mauer, which has several memorials. Probably the most famous one is in Bernauer Strasse, where you find the last piece of Berlin Wall with the preserved grounds behind it, allowing visitors to get an impression of how the border fortifications developed until the end of the 1980s.
These are only a few of Berlin’s free sights – please check out a full list of things to in Berlin in my Globetrottergirls Quick Guide To Berlin.Have you been to Berlin? Share your favorite activity in Berlin on a budget in the comments!