7 frugal things to do in Berlin
There are plenty of frugal things to do in Berlin. It is a city overflowing with culture, history, art, music, and much more. The best thing I found about Berlin is that there are fun and unique activities that will satisfy people with all different kinds of budget. Here are a few options I checked out – all for around €10.
East Side Gallery
This is a 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall that is still standing. It consists of 105 different paintings from artists around the world. It’s very cool, and a must-see in Berlin.
Cost: FREE (€12,50 admission fee to museum)
The history surrounding Checkpoint Charlie was pretty cool. I liked all the signage outside where you could read up about the history of the area, and see the before-and-after photos of the intersection where the border crossing post still stands.
What I wasn’t impressed with was the museum itself. At €12,50 for an adult ticket, it was expensive. And when you got inside, it was super crowded, really hot, and all you did was walk around from room to room, reading big huge billboards on the walls. It is a disorganized museum, and I really don’t recommend it at all. If all I wanted to do was read text about the Berlin Wall, I would have done some research online. And I would say 95% of the information in the Checkpoint Charlie Museum had nothing to do with Checkpoint Charlie at all. Although, I did think the exhibits of how they smuggled people across the border were really cool.
Cost: €5 adults, €2,50 students
This is what Nic was most excited about, because the architect who designed the building is supposed to be really different. He’s the same architect who designed the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Anyway, the architect created the permanent exhibit at the Jewish Museum, which included the amazing Memory Void, which is an open area covered with over 10,000 open-mouthed faces cut from heavy iron plates piled on the ground.
The other exhibit we really liked was the Holocaust Tower – it’s accessed through an underground tunnel. There is a worker who lets you in, and then closes the heavy door behind you. Then, you’re in complete darkness, with the only light coming from a small slit near the top of the tower.
Berlin Wall Documentation Center
Definitely worth a visit if you have time – although you will likely have to take transit to get there. There are parts of the wall still standing, and a lot of good information on the signs surrounding the area. Plus, in the building I really liked the photos, and the viewing platform where you can still see a watchtower standing. There are also short videos that are extremely eye-opening.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
This is a very cool (yet controversial) memorial. The area is covered with 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. There is also a free museum underneath the memorial which was really informative and actually quite in depth for something that’s free (although they do suggest a donation). This was our first destination when we came to the city, and I liked wandering around the memorial so much that we came back a second time before the end of our trip.
Youth African Arts Movement (YAAM)
Cost: €2 – €4 for a drink
YAAM is a great place for food and drink during the day. It is located at the end of the East Side Gallery, and was a completely random find for us. The atmosphere was relaxed, and it was a great way to sit in the shade and drink a beer right next to the river. In the evenings, they have reggae/hip hop shows. Apparently there’s a chance the land will be bought and YAAM will no longer exist. So check it out while you can, or go to their website and sign the petition to save it.
COST: €11 (60 minute boat ride)
We really liked our boat tours in both Amsterdam and Venice, so we thought we’d give it a try in Berlin too. It was really interesting, and it gave us a better feel for how the city developed into what it is today. Going through the area with the government buildings was great, because everything looks so much different from the water.
Berlin was also an amazing place for cheap food. We found a Japanese restaurant called Makato that made their own ramen noodles(!) – something I had been craving since we left Vancouver in January. We also ate sushi, Greek and Indian (at their Karneval der Kulturen), had messy burgers at White Trash Fast Food, and of course we had currywurst – which was invented in Berlin.
Do you have any tips on frugal things to do in Berlin?
Krystal Yee is a travel blogger and personal finance expert with substantial media credits to her name. Lover of off-beat travel, hiking, French macarons, barefoot shoes, and her iPhone. Excel spreadsheet addict. She is currently living in Vancouver, plotting her next adventure.