Compared to most of Western Europe, Berlin is a bargain. Hotel rooms cost about half the price of rooms in Paris or London, and it’s easy to fill your belly for fewer than five bucks. The city’s affordable activities and creative spirit make it a budget traveler’s dream. And there are plenty of free things to do — from museums and monuments, to public parks and open-air karaoke. Here are some of the best free things to do in Berlin.
See the View from the Reichstag
The beautiful steel-and-glass dome of the Reichstag building is open to the public free of charge. Not only is the dome a beautiful work of architecture, it also offers a great perspective of the parliamentary and government district around it. To see the views from the dome, all you need to do is register online.
Take a Free History Lesson
Many of Berlin’s most famous historical sights charge no admission fee. The open-air holocaust memorial and the Topography of Terror, a museum built into the former headquarters of the S.S. and the Gestapo, educate visitors on the atrocities of the Nazi party and honor those who lost their lives during the Holocaust. The Berlin Wall Memorial marks a length of the former wall and pays tribute to those who died trying to escape from East to West. Understanding Berlin’s often tragic history is a vital part of understanding modern life in Berlin. That history is on display throughout the city so you don’t have to spend a single euro to begin your lesson.
Part historical marker, part art museum, the East Side Gallery is a 1.3-kilometer stretch of the remaining Berlin Wall which has been painted with more than 100 murals by artists from all over the world. It’s not the only place to see art for free in Berlin, though; the city has some of the best street art in the world. To learn more about street art, you can take a tour, or simply wander neighborhoods like Kruezburg and Friedrichshain with your eyes open. You’ll see murals and tags on almost every corner.
Relax in One of 2,500 Parks and Gardens
Nearly half of Berlin is comprised of green space or water and there are free parks and gardens in every neighborhood. The most famous park is the Tiergarten, the city’s green heart and largest city-center park. It offers more than 23 km (14 miles) of pathways and houses the Berlin Zoo. The Mauerpark (or Wall Park, so named because a section of the Berlin Wall still stands here) is a popular warm-weather hangout, with a weekend flea market and an always-crowded Sunday afternoon karaoke session. Farther off the beaten-path, Templehofer Park is the site of the former Templehof Airport, originally built by the Nazi regime. Today it’s a wide open space where people picnic in the grass and run, bike, and rollerblade on the runways.
Take a Free Tour
Alternative Berlin, which also offers street art tours and nightlife tours of Berlin, runs a daily tour to some of Berlin’s off-the-beaten path sites. If you’ve seen the highlights and main tourist attractions of Berlin and want to dig a bit deeper, the tour is a great way to learn more about daily life in the city. You’ll explore multicultural neighborhoods and check out some of the city’s lesser-known sights. Original Berlin Tours and Brewer’s Berlin also offer free tours. Of course, with all free tours, the guides work for tips. So if you enjoy yourself, you should pass along at least a few euros.