Berlin is everything except boring. In fact, if you’d want, you can find plenty of events each day of the week. Not to mention, the amazing local and international street food you can try. Plus, the city is so huge and diverse that sightseeing alone is enough to keep you busy during your time here.
Is Berlin an expensive city? We believe Berlin can be done on a moderate budget. In this article, we show how much we spent during our stay here.
We spent our first night in St Christopher’s Inn, within walking distance from the bus stop Alexanderplatz where we arrived in Berlin. Their cheapest bed is €9.90, but we booked beds in the 6-bed dorm instead for €11.90. This hostel can be booked directly on their website so there are no additional booking fees. There is a sports bar on the ground floor so it’s not the best place to meet other travelers, but as a guest you’ll get discounts on beer: €4 for 2 bottles. A tap beer costs €3.50. We booked a private room in easyHotel for our second night for €45.
Dorm bed: €9.90 (per person)
Private room: €45 (total)
If you want to explore Berlin beyond comfortable walking distances, you would need to purchase a ticket or rent a bike like us. Public transportation in Germany is very expensive so you should check what suits your wallet the best.
Single 2-hour ticket: €3
Single 24-hour ticket: €8.80
Bicycle rental (24 hours): €12
You can buy fares through the ticket machines inside the metro stations or in kiosks.
Berlin offers several bike rentals as well as guided bike tours.
We decided to rent from Fat Tire because they had multiple rental locations around the city. The bikes are secured with an integrated lock and come with 3 gears. The price for 24 hours is €12 in most rental places in Berlin.
Considering the great distances and the high price of public transport, renting bicycles is worth the cost and should suit your needs. However, the bicycles are very small and sitting becomes uncomfortable after some time. One day was more than enough for our posteriors and inner thighs.
If you are planning to rent for several days, consider bikes with a softer cushioned seat. You might even opt for a e-bike.
Berlin is a bike-friendly city with a wide network of bicycle lanes. Exploring the city on a bike is fun and will save you money and time spent on public transportation. There are also enough bicycle racks for parking everywhere.
Food & Drinks
We mostly relied on street food and supermarkets for food. Restaurants were, in our opinion, too expensive.
There is a wide choice of German and foreign cuisine. If you want to try out some special type of food, there is a high chance that you’ll find it in Berlin.
Prices for drinks are moderate in kiosks or Spätis (late night kiosks). One annoyance is the deposits on cans and bottles so you end up walking around with a backpack full of empty containers until you find a place to return them. The deposit fee is not included in the price tag, which can be surprising to foreigners who may not expect an additional 25 cents per drink.
Food and drinks (restaurants, street food):
Beer from späti: €1.50
Vegetarian kebab: €3.50
Chicken burger: €4.80
Vegetarian burger: €4.80
Food and drinks (from supermarket):
Beer: €0.50 – €0.89 (+8 cents deposit)
Water (1l): €0.19 (+25 cents deposit)
Fritz lemonade: €0.99 (+8 cents deposit)
Brezel (pretzel): €0.69
Budget things to do
Check out our Alternative Things to Do in Berlin as an addition to our list below.
Rent a bike and cycle the city
Berlin is the first city where we rented bikes. There are several rentals which made it easy to find one that suits our wallet.
In order to save time, I researched some places beforehand that we wanted to visit and entered them in a navigation app (Maps.me). On the way, we stopped occasionally if something caught our attention.
Mitte (middle) is the central district in Berlin. It will most probably be the starting point of your Berlin tour. You will see all touristy landmarks and sights.
There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars. Be aware that prices in the center are higher.
Discover the Berlin bear family
They come in vibrant colors, patterns and themes: the buddy bears of Berlin. Each one of them is hand painted with a unique artwork.
The life-size bear statues keep welcoming visitors since 2002. Not only in Berlin. As part of the United Buddy Bears world tour, they are displayed all over the world.
They are not only cheerful to look at, they are a symbol of tolerance as well.
Go street art hunting
Berlin has a world-class street art scene. The nice thing is that new artworks keep popping up which changes the face of the city all the time.
There are plenty of free street art tours (or on donation basis).
Visit the RAW area
Berlin is characterized by different districts that all have a unique vibe.
Crossing the Oberbaumbrücke to Friedrichshain, you cannot pass without noticing the RAW temple. The former railway maintenance yard hosts all kinds of cultural and artistic venues.
Take a walk through the Mauerpark
Once a border strip of the Berlin wall, today one of the most popular sites to visit. The legendary Sunday’s flea market and karaoke are top activities not to miss on your Berlin trip.
Visit the East Side Gallery
Do you want to experience what a wall separating two parts of the city feels like? Then head to the East Side Gallery, the longest continuous section of the Berlin wall.
After the opening of the East-West borders, artists from all over the world united to turn the wall into an open art gallery and memorial.
Learn about the dark side of history
The topography of terror sheds light on the brutal prosecution of opponents under the regime of the Nazis. The site of the exhibition was used a house prison for political prisoners.
Enjoy street food at Markthalle Neun
Street food Thursday is a popular event for locals and visitors alike. You will find different stalls serving all types of local and international street food. Whereas some stalls are only operating on Thursdays, others are permanently installed and can be visited all week long.
Visit the Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous border crossing during the time of the division.
According to the phonetic alphabet, Checkpoint Charlie was the third checkpoint established by the Allies (C stands for Charlie).
It gained its fame after Soviet and American tanks lined up one day, each on their side, to demonstrate their powers.
Travel back in time
You don’t have to visit the GDR musuem for some 70s or 80s nostalgia. A tour trough Berlin itself can bear many nostalgic moments.
Check out the flea markets selling vintage pieces or browse some vintage stores.
Swap books at the Book Forest
Do you like reading as much as me? Then don’t miss out on the Book forest (Bücherwald). Near the corner at Kollwitzstraße in Prenzlauer Berg you will find a collection of trees harboring books inside their trunks.
Cherish all those Berlin moments
What would be a trip to Berlin without a unique Berlin moment? Cherish them all!
Pose with the Ampelmann
The Eastern traffic light men in green and red became a cult figure after the end of the division.
Check out the Trabi exhibition
Pose with a Trabant or rent one for a tour.
Try all those lemonades and mates
For a lemonade addict like me, I cannot get enough of this refreshing liquid each time I visit. The mate lemonade is a cult drink here that comes in various flavors and caffeine degrees. However, there is also a wide range of classical lemonades and those with a new twist.
Visit Tempelhofer Feld
If you are longing for a quick break from the city, Tempelhofer Feld is the right place to go.
The former airport and parade ground was turned into a huge recreational space including urban garden.
Arts on the go
Berlin’s street art scene has more to offer than just murals. How about wild animals built from scrap metal or a huge ball with weird objects strapped to it?
The sculptures of Adam and Eve are displayed at one of the entrances of the Kulturbrauerei.
Occupied buildings or squats add to the cultural experience. There are some with a long history of occupation, however it gets harder and harder for the occupiers to defend their homes, as police is targeting them frequently.
Have a drink by the Oberbaum Brücke
The iconic red brick bridge with the two towers is the number one landmark in Berlin featuring movies. Enjoy a drink at the river banks and watch the metro rattling over the bridge.
Take a walk through a Kiez
As mentioned earlier Berlin has a colorful landscape of districts, which the Berliners refer to as Kiez. There is something unique about each one of them, just stroll down the streets and you will see for yourself.
Berlin is a budget European capital with an abundance of things to do and even more to discover. We would recommend to stay at least 3 days. If you want to explore Berlin beyond the tourist hot-spots, you should plan another 2 days or return again for another visit.