All travellers know that travelling and sightseeing can be expensive, depending on the choices you make during your trip. With these tips you can visit Berlin on any budget and still discover the city’s rich history and creative spirit, without breaking the bank.
Transport and combination tickets
Berlin is a big sprawling city and the sights you might want to visit can be pretty far apart, so a small investment in an easy way to get around the city can go a long way. The Berlin City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off bus gives you a lot of freedom to visit the sights you want to see and with your ticket you can get discounts at several attractions, such as Körperwelten, the DDR museum and the Computer Spiele Museum.
City Sightseeing Berlin also offers you the opportunity to combine your Hop-on Hop-off tickets with tickets to other attractions for even bigger savings. You can combine your ticket with a cruise on the river Spree, or with a visit to the Berlin Icebar or Madame Tussauds and several more.
Berlin has a rich history, dating back to the 13th century. Ever since 1417 it has been the capital of a state or country, from the Margraviate of Brandenburg to the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire and all the way through to today’s Federal Republic of Germany. This rich history can be seen in many of the city’s famous sights, several of which can be visited for free.
Berlin’s most famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate, is located on Pariser Platz and can be visited at any time, which hasn’t always been the case. The gate was inaccessible when East and West Berlin were separated by the Berlin Wall, as it stood in the restricted area. Ever since the fall of the Wall it has been a symbol of German unity.
Only 500 metres from the Brandenburg Gate, you can climb to the top of the Reichstag Building to see the dome and the roof terrace, for free though you do have to register in advance. The terrace and dome offer spectacular views of the parliamentary and government districts and certain Berlin sights.
The next stop on our list can easily be reached from the Hop-on Hop-off Hauptbahnhof stop. The Berlin Wall Memorial is an open-air exhibition which chronicles the history of the Berlin Wall and includes a preserved section of the original wall. The iconic street-art covered pieces of the wall can be seen at the East Side Gallery, which is similarly free to visit and is the longest open-air gallery in the world.
Another of Berlin’s most visited sights is the former Checkpoint Charlie border crossing. Though the Wall has long since disappeared and the barriers and watchtowers have been replaced by replicas, the location of the former military crossing point continues to attract visitors. In its vicinity you can visit The Wall Museum and the Trabi Museum.
One of Berlin’s most beautiful squares is Gendarmenmarkt, which is surrounded by Konzerthaus Berlin, the French Cathedral and the German Cathedral or Neue Kirche. The last of the three has an admission free German Bundestag exhibition on display which traces the historical development of the liberal parliamentary system of government in Germany over five floors.
If you want to visit some of the city’s amazing sights with a guide, you may want to try a free walking tour. For a traditional tour which includes sights such as the Brandenburg Gate and Hitler’s bunker, you can take New Europe’s Original tips-based tour. If you are looking for something a little different than the usual sightseeing tours, Alternative Berlin has a three hour tour which shows off some of the more underground culture of the city.
Berlin offers hundreds of parks and gardens to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city, most are free to visit and offer their own forms of entertainment. The gardens behind Charlottenburg Palace, for instance, are Berlin’s most beautiful Baroque garden and easy to reach with City Sightseeing Berlin’s shuttle service.
Tiergarten is Berlin’s largest and most-frequented inner-city park. It is a great place for a stroll, a breath of fresh air, a picnic, cycling or a jog or just kicking a ball around. During the summer months the English Garden in Tiergarten organises the Berlin Concert Summer in their Teahouse on Sundays. Numerous top-class bands from a wide variety of music styles, such as jazz, pop, world, funk, soul, hip-hop play here and admission is free.
Mauer Park may be some distance from the city centre of Berlin but it offers it’s own iconic form of entertainment on Sunday afternoons. The park’s amphitheatre fills with a supportive audience for anyone who takes the stage for Bearpit Karaoke. It is the place to be on sunny summer Sunday and the party lasts all afternoon.