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22 Fun (and FREE) Things to do in Berlin

22 fun and free things to do in berlin

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 Wall 

The 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 Berlin
The East Side Gallery 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.  

Köpenicker Strasse 
Köpenicker Strasse Berlin
We were staying on Koepenicker Strasse and were really pleased to see bits of the wall displayed on our street. However, I'm not sure if this display was permanent and I can't find any info about it on the internet..

Berlin Wall Memorial Bernauer Strasse 
I think Berlin Wall Memorial, 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:
Berlin Wall Memorial Bernauer Strasse

Berlin Wall Memorial Bernauer Strasse

2. Brandenburger Tor

brandenburger tor berlin germany

The Brandenburger Gate 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

Hotel Adlon Berlin

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

Holocaust Memorial Berlin
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.

5. Reichstag

Reichstag Berlin Germany
Located just a few minutes walk from the Brandenburger Tor (this time go through and go right) is the Reichstag. The Reichstag is the 10 Downing Street of Berlin. You can have free access to the clear dome at the top and the great views, but you have to book in advance. We didn't do that this time, but I did when I was 15 and it was great! Free views always are.

6. Berliner Dom

Berlin Dom Germany
The Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) was my personal favourite of our (self guided)  walking tour through Berlin. I think it's just beautiful - Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame eat your heart out! You can go in for 5, which we didn't. But you could! Or at the very least walk around the edge.

7. Berliner Kunstmarkt 

Berliner Kunstmarkt germany
Kunstmarkt means art market. It runs on Saturday and Sunday, is very short in length and near to the Berliner Dom. So if you go to the BD (you should) have a walk along this art market for free! (Unless you buy something..) The art was good, and I would have bought some if I had any money or a house to hang it in..

8. Zeughauskino 

Zeughauskino Berlin germany
Zeughauskino literally translates as 'stuff house cinema' and isn't free at all, but I really like this building from the outside - and not just because it's pink! Though that's the main reason. It's located opposite the Berliner Dom.

9. Altes Museum 

Altes Museum Berlin Germany
Another building that's just free to look at, and is also located next to the Berliner Dom is the Altes Museum (old museum). There are lots of museums near the Berliner Dom.

10. Alexanderplatz

Alexander Platz Berlin Street Performers
Alexanderplatz is where all the shops hang out - Primark, TKMax etc, which I don't like - I don't like going to these shops in England and I find it sad that you can go to a new country and find the same shops, you might as well stay at home…

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.

11. Fernsehturm

Fernsehturm Berlin Germany
The other thing which hangs out at Alexander Platz (which I also don't like) is the Fernsehturm (tv tower). You can see this monstrosity from all over Berlin. I think it's well ugly, but you may have no taste and want a closer look ;) I'm pretty sure you can go up it. 

12. Watch the bungee jumpers 

Bungee Jumping Alexander Platz Berlin

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 

Mauerpark Flohmarkt Berlin
The Mauerpark Flohmarkt (wall park flea market) was so excellent! I don't think I've ever been to a flea market where there is so much stuff I wanted to buy AND that stuff was really cheap! Normally I find that flea markets are full of junk and junky people trying to overcharge you for it. I'd heard that the Mauerpark was overrated, but I didn't find that that was true at all! It's only downfall is that it's only open on a Sunday.

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 

Ost West Cafe Berlin Germany
Three minutes walk from the Mauerpark Flohmarkt is the Ost West Cafe (East West Cafe), we had breakfast here which was quite good, but I'd actually recommend that you eat at the Flohmarkt. Why mention the Ost West Cafe then? Two reasons: their coffee is excellent and they have a superb collection of DDR items. The staff were pretty friendly too.

15. Enjoy the Mauerpark itself

Mauerpark Berlin Germany

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

Graffiti Berlin Germany

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

Cool cars in Berlin
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

spree berlin germany

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?

Cute dogs in Berlin city

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

Siegessäule berlin germany
Not all the sights you can see in Berlin are depressing and related to WW2 or the DDR. The Siegessäule translates as Victory Column and celebrates Prussia's victory against Denmark, Austria and France. You can climb up it (but no matter how much you work out, it will make you feel unfit).

 21. Enjoy the Tiergarten 

Tiergarten Berlin Germany
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. 
brandenburg gate berlin at night

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!

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:

fun times in berlin

Last, but certainly not least, how about some free accommodation in Berlin? We did housesitting in Berlin and it was perfect!

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