Top free things to do in Berlin

Berlin was never on my Europe list but I happened to visit it in April 2015 (whoa 3 years already!) when I was pursuing a course in Rotterdam. Berlin had to be on the list, thanks to the best friend living there, who promised to host me (yaay!). I was on a tight schedule of 3 days and shoe string budget as it was the last city of my European travel. I had exhausted most of my Euros and wanted to make most of the free things to do in Berlin like a budget traveler.

After reaching Berlin I realized that there are so many free things to do, it’s hard to choose. Here are some of the top free things to do in Berlin you should certainly not miss whether you are a budget traveler or not.

FREE WALKING TOUR

Not a place but a volunteer based group which will take a group of 15-20 people to most of the popular Berlin places for free! Of course it is decent to tip the volunteer as they do this tour for free. There are a number of free walking tours, with different timings and starting points. Google it and you can decide what’s best for you. The duration is 2.5-3 hours. Places visited with walking tour and otherwise for free:

1. Brandenburg Gate

Visiting and clicking the Brandenburg Gate is obligatory for anyone visiting Berlin. Posed as the landmark during the destruction of the Second World War, this gate was erected in 1790s. Since 1989, it stands for the reunification of Germany.

Bradenburg gate, berlin

2. Site of Hitler’s bunker

The walking tour group will take you to a parking lot which does have any path or signs. Under the parking lot was one entrance to Hitler’s former bunker, the so-called “Führerbunker” (“Leader’s bunker”). It is of course inaccessible but makes for a great story. There was really nothing to click a photo.

3. Holocaust Memorial

A memorial build to commemorate the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust is created near the Brandenburg Gate. It is 2711 concrete slabs of varying heights. There is also an underground gallery which offers background on Jewish victims of the holocaust, with biographies, letters and personal effects of some of the victims. You need to visit it separately if you are brave enough to!

holocaust memorial, berlin

4. Checkpoint Charlie

This checkpoint acted as the official crossing between East and West Berlin during the Cold War mainly for diplomats. Now it is a big photography attraction.

Checkpoint charlie, berlin

5. The Berlin Wall

I don’t think I need to write anything about this iconic structure.

Berlin wall, berlin

6. Topography of Terror

Right behind the Berlin wall is an exhibition of documents.  It highlights the changes in life of local people after the Nazi took over. You need to visit this later if you want to read all about it. The walking tour does not have enough time to accommodate.

topography of terror, berlin

7. Book burning memorial

Located in the middle of the square, next to Humboldt University, is a tiny see-through hole in the ground. This is the square where the Nazi’s burned all the books written by Jewish authors in 1933.

8. Fernsehturm (TV Tower)

Next to Alexanderplatz is the Fernsehturm (Television Tower) is the highest building in entire Europe. No matter where you are in Berlin, you can see the TV tower from literally anywhere and makes for an amazing view. You can climb up the tower to get a view of the city but be warned it comes with a fee!

9. Alexanderplatz

It is the largest and most happening squares of Berlin. It was a former parade ground which has now completely transformed into Berlin’s happening shopping and art display. I had fun recounting the number of movie shootings conducted here!

art and food at alexanderplatz, berlin

10. East side gallery

The famous graffiti wall (unfortunately much more famous than the actual Berlin wall) is the world’s longest open air gallery. It has over 100 colorful paintings and is the most photographed place in Berlin.

11. Reichstag building (Parliament)

The Reichstag houses the German parliament. You can actually watch German politicians from a glass dome which is at the top of the building. Be ready to wait in a long line to do it or just laze in the garden. If you really want to go, book ahead online.

German parliament, berlin

12. Visit the Berlin Cathedral

Known as the Berliner Dom, it is the largest church in Berlin. Admire the details of the exterior which was a former royal court.

Berlin cathedral, berlin

13. Volksbühne

Volksbühne is one of the oldest and iconic theaters of Berlin. Started as Free people’s theater before World War, it now hosts amazing shows and plays, ofcourse at a cost. The architecture is however worth a visit.

Volksbuehne, berlin

14. Konzerthaus

The Konzerthaus is a concert hall situated at the Gendarmenmarkt square.Do not forget to feel like a superstar by stepping on the red carpet!

Konzerthaus, berlin

Sustainable tips:

  • Germany is known for its cars! But try avoiding them by using the extremely efficient public transport – metro and bus.
  • Walking tours are amazing – they tell you the history and walk you through popular places. All this for a small tip! Also you loose some calories off currywurst and beer.
  • Do tip the walking tour guides, they are generally part time students and that is the only way they earn. Ideally 5 euro per person is the least you should give.
  • Respect the memorials and walls by not sitting on them for photo opportunity or having a picnic. Remember what happened there.

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Top free things to do in #berlin

 

 

 

39 thoughts on “Top free things to do in Berlin

  1. That’s a long list of things to do in Berlin, at a minumum cost. Such a beautiful city, Planning to visit this year. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The architecture in Berlin looks absolutely magnificent with the Brandenburg Gate and Konzerthaus being prime examples. I enjoy exploring cities and towns on foot so I’m down for the walking tours 🙂 Thanks for sharing about all these free attractions, would love to visit them when I’m in the area!

  3. Haven’t been there yet, but I hear all the great things about Berlin. And I had no idea you could do so many things for free. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love Berlin! I’ve been a few times now and agree with your recommendations. You never can go wrong seeing Brandenburg Gate and Alexanderplatz!

  5. I think I would be taking all possible free walking tours. They do them so well in Europe. Berlin wall is of course the epic attraction in Berlin.

  6. An exciting and vibrant city. I had the good fortune to see it both before and after the wall came down. You’ve definitely highlighted its greatest attractions.

  7. Berlin is one city that is almost on every travelers list. It’s good that there are so many free things to do here. The real cultural experience lies in walking the streets, taking the public transport, and not necessarily paying the entrance fees to all the museums and palaces. I loved the tips you have included at the end

  8. Thank you for such an informative post! We can’t wait to take our kids to visit Germany and Berlin is definitely on the list!

  9. I cannot believe I still haven’t made it to Berlin. I know many people who live or lived there, and all had only positive things to say about it. It looks like a very interesting city to visit. There is so much to do, thanks for the tips. I’m glad I know there is a free walking tour. It’s the kind of info I often find out too late!

  10. Berlin is such a great city filled with fascinating history. We only spent one weekend there and it wasn’t nearly enough. Must go back to see the Holocaust Memorial and Hitler’s bunker!

  11. I only had a short stop in Berlin between flights so went on the hop on hop off bus tour…I wish we’d done a walking tour though, the bus went by all these things but it’s a bit of a blink and you miss it case!

  12. Wow! I had no idea there was so many great free things to do in Berlin! Will defiantly keep these on my list when I visit there! Thanks for all the reccomendations!

    1. That’s great. You’ll love Berlin and especially the walking tours. Have a superb vacation 🙂

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