Top Things to do in Berlin - All of which are free!
The best thing about this post is it's not just the top things to do in Berlin. It's also free things to do in Berlin! Yes that's right - a list of top things to do, which all just happen to be free. Isn't life great? Berlin is definitely a cheap city. We barely spent any money when we were there, which is our normal practice, but unlike other cities we didn't feel like we were missing out by not spending.
We took two days to do all of this, you may need a lot less or a lot more time - depending on how active you are.
1. See the Berlin WallThe Berlin Wall is a horrific historical monument that has now been pulled down or turned into beautiful art (mostly). There are a few places to see it:
East Side Gallery
This is located in former East Berlin on the other side of the Spree. It was originally graffittied just on the west side, but now it's been decorated on both sides and looks great. I love 'organised' graffiti and we had fun walking along here, which is completely free of course.
Berlin Wall Memorial Bernauer Strasse
I think this, along with the East Side Gallery, is the typical place to see the Berlin Wall - we actually went here on our second trip to Berlin together, it is kind of interesting. There is lots going on on this street - lots of things to learn and see. If we're honest we preferred East Side Gallery because it was more our kind of thing. But if you love history and haven't learnt about the Berlin Wall in school, this is the place for you:
2. Brandenburger Tor
This is the quintessential symbol of Berlin - it's like the German Eiffel Tower, but apparently not so famous.. It's a damn good piece of architecture and was a lot less crowded than we expected. We really like this Tor/ Gate and you must not miss it.
3. Hotel Adlon
Jacko fan or not if you're looking at the Brandenburger Tor, you might as well look to your left and see Hotel Adlon where Michael Jackson dangled that baby out of the window.. douche. Thoughts of Jacko aside, this is an expensive hotel and you can have luxury afternoon tea here, but it's not free (obviously).
4. Holocaust Memorial
Three minutes walk from the Brandenburger Tor (walk through it, go left) is the Holocaust Memorial. It was built in 2005 it consists of 2,711 blocks of concrete in varying heights. Most people go and take quirky photos, but there is also a museum underneath. I have absolutely no idea why there's 2,711 blocks and I really want to know - if anyone knows please tell me! The quirky upside stones are free to walk through, and the museum is free too - though donations are appreciated.
6. Berliner Dom
7. Berliner Kunstmarkt
9. Altes Museum
10. Alexander Platz
However, I really did enjoy the street artists! There were guys playing the drums on empty paint pots, and acrobats! Both were incredible. Like most street artist these were free to view, but appreciate (and deserve) a donation.
12. Watch the bungee jumpers
Another thing that goes down in Alexander Platz are the bungee jumpers. Like most bungee jumping it's expensive to do, but like most dangerous sports it's free to observe! It's fun to watch - they scream so hard.
13. Mauerpark Flohmarkt
There were so many cool things to 'window' shop for - candle sticks, old coins, old photos, jewellery, clothes, vinyls.. you get the picture. They also sell the best smelling food! We'd had breakfast somewhere else so didn't have the privilege of eating any of the food.. but we did treat ourselves to freshly squeezed OJ for EUR1. Living the dream!
14. Ost West Cafe
15. Enjoy the Mauerpark itself
The Mauerpark Flohmarkt is actually hosted in (you guessed it) the Mauerpark. This is a pretty grimy park - but that's what I liked about it. At the top of the park is a nicely decorated graffiti wall and some swings!
16. Check out the graffiti
I am a big art fan so this is something I enjoy a lot, and around Berlin there is a lot of street graffiti - and not just the stuff that's on the old Berlin wall. This above photo is quite famous in Germany because it was in an advert.
17. Go Auto spotting
There are a lot of lovely BMWs and VWs in Berlin, it sounds cliche but it's true. We also saw lots of trabis this time. Trabis were very much wished for in East Berlin, they're also some of the worst cars ever. My favourite car that we spotted was the bottom one in the above photo - it was decorated as the German flag!
18. Walk along the Spree
You can rent a boat/ go on a boat tour etc. But this is a post about free things to do in Berlin, and walking is almost always free. We walked along the Spree and it was very nice and surprisingly clean.
19. Ask: who let the dogs out?
We love dogs and we saw no cats, so if you're a cat person look away. We saw loads of dogs in Berlin, one looked like it was on its own (Mauerpark) but all the rest were with owners. You can ask the people if you're allowed to take photos, or just be rude and touristy like me and just do it.
20. Be victorious at the Siegessäule
21. Enjoy the Tiergarten
The Tiergarten (animal garden) is beautiful. The Siegessäule lives there and the Brandenburg Gate is right on the edge. I think it's a lot more beautiful than the Mauerpark, but not as fun. It's very big and there are lots of statues and monuments to look out for (other than the Siegessäule).
22. See the Brandenburg Gate at night
I like the Brandenburg Gate a lot and I especially liked it at night. When we were there Germany had just won the World Cup, so the atmosphere was incredible.
We did all of this over a Saturday and a Sunday. On the Sunday evening we watched Germany win the World Cup, that was awesome and you can read about it here
So there you have it, free and top things to do in Berlin. We love Berlin so much and really recommend that you go there. This photo sums up our feelings about it:
We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same!