Berlin is exciting. In addition to a vibrant art, design and fashion scene, overnight the city has become Europe’s next great tech hub. The fast-paced modern industries weaved into the fabric of the hedonism brought by the creatives decades before makes the city a tipping point for both gritty and glam. For how long the city will straddle on the edge of both sides is anyone’s guess. For now, it’s still the perfect destination for the budget traveler to experience both worlds without breaking the bank.
Visit a Gallery or Museum
Berlin has a reputation for being the cultural capital of Europe and little to no costs will grant you access to many of the galleries and museums the city has to offer. One of Berlin’s most provocative museums is the Topography of Terror. Built on the former site of the Nazis SS and Gestapo, the museum documents the Nazi’s rise to power as well as their wartime atrocities between 1933 -1945. The museum serves as a reminder of Germany’s culpability as well as the path it has taken to become the welcoming and open place it is now.
Admire Berlin’s Street Art
Admire Berlin’s Street Art Berlin’s most ostensible display of its creativity comes in the form of the graffiti and street art that canvas the city. The graffiti is a perfect representation of the underground countercultural scene, such as the techno scene, which contributes to the uniqueness that defines the city. In recent times, monumental street art projects are commissioned by the city itself, essentially turning the city into one large free art exhibition. A walk around Friedrichshain offers many of the most interesting pieces in the most condensed area.
Hop on the U-banh, really.
Due to the size of Berlin, chances are you’ll need to take the U-Banh at one point. But, for the cost of a ticket, you shouldn’t overlook this quintessential Berlin experience. Stemming from 1902, the history of the city has left a mark on the features of the U-Banh; from typefaces to the ghost stations of East Berlin which look like they have been frozen in time. Today, the company that runs the U-Banh, The BVG, runs the funniest and most outrageous marketing campaigns. From hiring YouTube rap sensations to partnering with Adidas to design sneakers, there’s little wonder why Berliners love it.
Explore on a Bicycle
Alternatively, hop on a bicycle. Berlin is flat, has an extensive network of cycle paths and the majority of roads are wide enough that drivers actually expect cyclists to be on the side of the road. Hiring a bicycle is incredibly cheap and there are many uber-cool neighborhoods to check out —Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain to name a few. You can rent a bicycle in the heart of trendy Neukölln for €4 from ‘Rent a Bike 44’. These guys keep the costs cheaper than public transport and they don’t have tacky advertising on their bicycles so you can get away with appearing like a local.
Go hunting for a Bargain
With your new wheels, pick up a bargain at one of Berlin’s world-famous flea markets. Every weekend traders attempt to give new life to old items. In almost every Kiev there’s a version of a flea market with traders selling used items from electronics to antiques but the most famous, by far, is the Mauerpark Flohmarkt. Private and Professional traders hustle to sell off a number of crazy things you can find. Often making the top 10 list to do in Berlin, it’s best to get there early and enjoy it before the rush that usually happens at midday.
Visit a Landmark
With more than 700 years of history, each generation has left its mark on Berlin. The most notable landmarks are The Brandenburg Gate, Television Tower and The East Side Gallery which have all become synonymous with Berlin. The Brandenburg Gate is a particularly prominent option. Representing two hundred years of history, it was erected as a military monument but now stands to symbolize peace and unity. One of the most iconic scenes from history also took place here during the tearing down of the infamous Berlin Wall.
Drink a beer at a Späti
When you’re ready to relax, be sure to grab a beer at a Späti, there’s nothing more ubiquitous to Berlin than these small late night stores which stock mostly beer. Fueling Berlin’s late nights and weekends, they are the preferred stores to stock up on drinks, smokes and snacks. A popular destination for locals to enjoy a drink en route to a club or bar. In the summertime, you can also find inviting wooden benches parked outside, being the most low-key and down-to-earth place to enjoy a beer.
Hang out at Tempelhof
Once you have a German beer such as a Berliner Kindl or Club-Mate in hand, you could now make your way to a park. Berlin has many parks but none as interesting as Tempelhofer Feld. Once home to the City’s former Tempelhof Airport, it was decommissioned and turned into a public space. The generous flat space with long runways makes it a popular spot for cyclists, street windsurfers and runners. The large green fields also make it a perfect place to have a picnic and soak up the Berlin atmosphere.
Chill on the Side of a Canal
Alternatively, hang out in true Berliner fashion along a canal. The Landwehr Canal in Kreuzberg is the best place for this. On one side of the canal is Paul-Lincke-Ufer, which is lined with rows of swanky restaurants. On the other side, Maybachufer hosts a Turkish market. Sitting on the banks of the canal amongst the markets, restaurants and bars provides a great experience that aptly showcases the diversity available in Berlin.
Go out and Experience Berlin’s Nightlife
For some, going out in Berlin is obligatory. Berlin is the capital of European nightlife and is home to one of the most famous underground techno scenes in the world. While it may be risky to go out without any hesitation to places like Berghain, Kater Blau and Klunkerkranich without becoming broke, simply exercising restraint makes it entirely possible to enjoy a night out without leaving a hole in your pocket, as cover charges usually vary between €5- €15 and drinks are relatively cheap from €3- €5 each.
For more ways on how to save money, check out: 13 Budget Hacks For People Who Really Want To Visit Europe