For those looking to satisfy their wanderlust on a budget, Berlin has a wealth of reasonably priced accommodation options. These budget options are as unique as they are cheap – from rooms on the River Spree to boutique eco-hotels.
Eastern Comfort Hostelboat
The Eastern Comfort Hostelboat offers small but comfortable rooms | Courtesy of Eastern Comfort Hostelboat / Booking.com
Moored on the Spree, Berlin’s “hostel boat” is conveniently located in effortlessly cool Friedrichshain. Eastern Comfort lives up to its name as it lies in the east, which means you’re always near Berlin’s notorious party and culinary scene, and offers cosy compartments. Although the rooms are compact, Eastern Comfort enjoys a prime location, with the East Side Gallery and the techno nightclub Watergate both nearby. How many people can say they actually slept on the Spree? Perfect for: amphibious revellers and explorers.
With a name like The Dude, you already know this converted 19th-century townhouse is going to be pretty chilled out. Each room is individually decorated but stylish, with brass bedsteads and striking feature walls. Guests can avail themselves of the YADA YADA breakfast club, which serves up a generous breakfast buffet each morning, as well as snacks and drinks during the day; The Brooklyn restaurant, which specialises in American fine dining; and complimentary Moleskine and Molton Brown goodies on arrival. Set just a few minutes’ walk from Museum Island, The Dude is an excellent budget-friendly option. There is also an uber-hip yet sociable wine bar attached to the hotel – the ideal spot to make some new friends. Perfect for: solo travellers.
Want to stay in the middle of the action? There’s no better spot than Neukölln. Set within a converted factory building, the Hüttenpalast – or “cabin palace” – is an eco-friendly sanctuary that resembles a hip indoor holiday park. There are three types of cabins with different spaces and amenities. It’s a great budget option for those who don’t want to be too far from the heart of Berlin’s lively creative scene but also want to get some well-deserved rest after a day of exploring. Perfect for: outdoorsy types who also like to party.
While it shares the name of Spain’s premier filmmaker, this hotel is Berlin through and through. Each room has an organic minibar, yoga mats and sustainable rosewood furnishings. Your time at the hotel will be divided between the Almodóvar’s restaurant, which is entirely vegetarian (highlights include vegan currywurst and croissants), and the rooftop sauna and spa area. As prices are budget-friendly, guests can save money for meat-free versions of Berlin’s infamous döner kebab at Vöner. If you want to add a little hedonism, the hotel is surrounded by some of Friedrichshain’s trendiest bars, including craft beer brewery Hops & Barley and Szimpla Berlin. Perfect for: eco-conscious and detox travellers.
Located in Charlottenburg – a lively West Berlin area popular with students – the four-star Bleibtreu features a wellness area and free minibar for all of its guests. If that wasn’t enough, the prices are easy on the wallet, so you can save money for retail therapy along Kurfürstendamm shopping street, which is just a 10-minute walk away. Don’t forget to pick out sweet souvenirs from Charlottenburg’s family-owned Erich Hamann chocolate factory and shop. Perfect for: fashion lovers and shopaholics.
The Steps-Hotel in Mitte-Wedding is the perfect base for a Berlin first-timer looking to tick off the best city attractions. The hotel is served by a direct subway line to Checkpoint Charlie and Kreuzberg and is within walking distance from the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and pretty Prenzlauerberg. Every one of the hotel’s 39 rooms comes with free Wi-Fi, a desk and a fridge, while the breakfast buffet is highly recommended. Perfect for: sightseeing weekenders and Berlin first-timers.
Located in the hip East Berlin kiez (neighbourhood) of Friedrichshain, the Michelberger is particularly popular among creatives and freelancers, who use the stylish lobby area as a co-working space. The hotel’s reasonably priced rooms are sleek and comfortable. The Brutalist-style bar area hosts some excellent parties on the weekend, and guests can buy the hotel’s merchandise and own-brand coconut milk (this is Berlin, after all). Plus, you’re in trendy Friedrichshain, with the enormous Urban Spree – a 1,700-square-metre (18,300-square-foot) artistic space – across the road and one of Berlin’s favourite falafel stops, Oase, only a few minutes’ walk away. Perfect for: trendy creative types and freelancers.
Berlin is filled with reminders of the city’s tumultuous recent past – after World War II, the city was divided into American-, British- and French-controlled West Berlin, and Soviet-controlled East Berlin. Set within the former East Berlin, OSTEL keeps the spirit of this time alive with authentic GDR-era East German design. The hotel offers private single and double rooms plus those with a shared bathroom. With funky, retro decor and a superb position in the vibrant Friedrichshain neighbourhood, close to some of Berlin’s best nightlife, OSTEL is a budget hotel that offers both a taste of socialist history and an entry point to vibrant contemporary Berlin. Perfect for: history buffs and the plain curious.