Ever experienced the excruciating pain that is a five week month? When pay day seems just so far away and in reality, it bloody is. Well, before me and Andrei went on our city break to Berlin, this is the situation us poor victims of retail were having. Pay day landed – quite literally – as we got back to the UK, which was super helpful. *insert upside down smiley face emoji* However, we managed to do three days in Berlin on a budget and still had an amazing time. We drank, we shopped (well, we window shopped), we travelled around and we enjoyed some culture. It is still all so doable on a super tight budget, and here’s how.
1. Public Transport
The main transport system in Berlin is the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, alongside equally as efficient trams and buses, however we found the metro service the easiest to navigate and to use. As long as you do not forget to validate your ticket once you’ve bought it or potentially face a hefty fine if caught out, fares are extremely good value. We opted for different fares depending on our plans for the day and by considering which direction we were going. For example, there’s day tickets for AB zones for just €7 and single tickets for €3.40 for any zone (ABC), which even meant our hour long direct train to the airport was practically £3.
Everything about the transport is cheap in Berlin and commuting tends to have a warmth and ambience about it too that the busy and stressful London tube lines are definitely missing. Plus, I absolutely hate underground trains usually and will avoid using them at all costs, but Berlin just felt like a doddle in comparison.
2. Getting that Culture Fix
So most museums in Berlin charge entry, and rightfully so as most charges go towards incredible causes. The only problem being that there is a hell of lot of them and so after a couple, it can get rather pricey. There are many things to see and do though to enlighten yourself of the huge amount of history that lies within Berlin without having to spend a penny.
EAST SIDE GALLERY: The Berlin Wall does not still stand within parts of the city to bear a reminder of the oppressive, sad and troublesome times that the people of Berlin faced, they now act as a sign of peace and solidarity. So the fabulous art and graffiti over at the East Side Gallery is a huge must-see, and offers a lovely walk by the riverside of Berlin.
TOPOGRAPHY OF TERROR: This is an outdoor and indoor museum situated where the Nazi headquarters used to lie. The museum relays the history of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich and the Nazi regime throughout the Second World War and provides an abundance of information – some saddening and shocking – but all in all an important message towards history and an appropriate place of remembrance.
CHECKPOINT CHARLIE: As something that was firstly my least favourite part of Berlin due to its extremely gimmicky, underwhelming ‘attraction’ (because that’s what it is), when it should be represented as a historical landmark. I was really quite disappointed by the infamous Checkpoint Charlie. I mean, a German guy dressed up as an American guard taking pictures with tourists all day – what’s the point? BUT, and there’s a huge but! Aside from that and the fact that really, it is another part of Berlin’s history that is so rightfully being remembered. The surrounding area has a lot of interesting information on the background of Checkpoint Charlie as a crossing point between East and West Berlin whilst the Berlin Wall was up in 1961-1989 during The Cold War. Again, it is all free to access and far more informative than the spot where the checkpoint once was. Also around the corner, lies the Trabi Museum, which is a perfect picture spot.
THE BRANDENGURG GATE: Of course I wasn’t going to forget this one! The obvious must-see in Berlin and probably the most recognised attraction in the city: The Brandenburg Tor (Brandenburg Gate). It is easily my favourite place in Berlin just for its impressive structure and amazing surrounding atmosphere. Within the same area you can find The Reichstag and the holocaust memorial which also has a museum that is just so important to take your time to see, understand and remember. Whilst across the road from the monument is Tiergarten, an impressive inner-city park which is lovely for a walk, picnic and even has some further memorials to gather information from.
All that walking and sightseeing is always bound to work up an appetite and Berlin loves its hearty, wholesome and down-right naughty food. As home of the currywurst (which is basically fries and a bratwurst sausage covered in a sauce made up of ketchup and curry powder that looks absolutely awful but tastes amazing), there is practically a stall selling them on every corner. It is a must-try when there and you can grab yourself one for as cheap as three euros. So that’s lunch sorted!
We stayed in Kurfurstendamm which sits right in the heart of the shopping district, of course. However, only a ten minutes walk led us to some cheap and cheerful brunch places in Charlottenburg and who doesn’t love a brunch or two?
4. Capturing It All
PHOTOAUTOMAT BOOTHS: Something that made me fall in love with Berlin that little bit more was the retro photo booths that are randomly placed around the city, with some in the most obvious hot spots and some not so obvious whereby you just happen to fall upon them. It is just the coolest thing and for less than two euros you can have a set of black and white vintage prints as the perfect, cheap memento from your city break.
If you are looking to do a cheap city break to Berlin – it is more than doable and you will have just as much fun doing it for next to nothing than if you had all the money in the world.
‘You know you love me,
xoxo, Broke Bitch in Berlin’