Berlin has an abundance of affordable hostels and hotels dotted around the city. To be close to the city’s nightlife, alternative art and cheap eats, stay in trendy Kreuzberg. There are plenty of hostels on offer in this bustling district, however, for cheap rates and central location, 36 Rooms hostel can’t be beaten. Eight-bed dorms are €10 (USD$11.70) a night, with a one-off €2.50 (USD$2.95) bed linen charge for the whole stay.
Many of Berlin’s top sights and experiences can be enjoyed without spending a penny. Among them are important historical sights such as the East Side Gallery, Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie and Topography of Terror. However, for visitors wanting to know a little more about the stories behind these spots, walking tours are a great, cheap way to do this. Ranging from donation-only to €10 (USD$11.70), these tours are the perfect way to check out the city’s top sights on a budget.
Berlin is a big city and its neighbourhoods are quiet spread out, so getting around foot can be difficult and taxis are very expensive. The cheapest way to get from A to B is by bike, and the city has a number of reasonably priced options to suit any budget. The most cost-effective is BikeSurf, a bike sharing platform where the users pay what they can to rent bikes located across the city. Alternatively, for visitors who want the same bike for a few days, Rent A Bike in Kreuzberg offers €12 (USD$14) rentals for two days.
However, for longer journeys, nothing beats Berlin’s public transport. Compared to other capital cities Berlin’s underground (U-Bahn) and overground (S-Bahn) trains are incredibly cheap. A daily ticket (Tageskarte) costs €7.70 (USD$9), while a single fare ticket (Einzelfahrschein), valid for one person for a two-hour journey, costs €2.80 (USD$3.30) or €3.40 (USD$4) depending on how far your journey is. Similarly, there is a short trip ticket, which can be used for one-way journeys, valid for three stops on S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains or six stops on buses and trams and costs €1.70 (USD$2).
Dining on a budget is easy in Berlin, especially in Kreuzberg, where tasty street food markets and cheap restaurants reign. The best budget dishes can be found at the area’s many Turkish joints and a döner kebab is always a filling, inexpensive meal, usually costing around €3 (USD$3.50). However, for visitors looking for gourmet cheap eats should head over to Street Food Thursdays at Markthalle Neun. A bustling weekly affair, the market hosts the very best street food from Berlin vendors, ranging from German to Vietnamese to contemporary or fusion. Beer and wine can be pricey at the market, however, the dishes are usually under €8 (USD$9.40). Ultimately though, it’s possible to eat out in small cafes and restaurants across the city for €10 (USD$11.70) or less.
Exploring Berlin’s nightlife doesn’t have to break the bank as the city is brimming with well-priced bars, even cheaper spätis and affordable clubs. The most inexpensive way to party in Berlin is to take to the streets – in summer it’s common to find locals and tourists alike sitting in parks, by the canal and on colourful street corners enjoying a few beers. However, it’s not the only way to hit the town, dotted around the city are kneipes and small cosy bars that boast extremely economical beer prices, usually about €2.50 (USD$2.90) for a pint. These smoky, quirky and trendy haunts are the perfect spot to start out or spend a night out in Berlin.
As the city of sin, it’s understandable that tourists will want to head to Berlin’s infamous techno clubs and budget travellers don’t have to miss out. Entry to most clubs is between €10-20 (USD$11.70-23.40), and beer inside most clubs remains cheap, at around €3 (USD$3.50), meaning it’s easy to get wild in the German capital on a shoestring.