Being one of the biggest European capitals, Berlin certainly doesn’t need an introduction. But if you’re after a budget adventure here are 10 free things to do and see in this historical old city.
Alternative Berlin organises tours that lead you off the beaten track and show you Berlin through the eyes of a local. The free walking tour takes place every day from 11 am to 1 pm, lasting 3 hours. There’s no need to pre-book – just show up. The meeting point is at Alexanderplatz next to the TV Tower. Tipping is optional, however if you enjoy the tour you can show your appreciation by tipping your guide.
The highest point (66 metres above sea level) of an otherwise flat Berlin offers a nice panoramic view of the city. It’s a great place for taking photos, or for simply relaxing and enjoying the view. There’s also a monument in honour of soldiers who died in Prussian liberation wars.
If you’re missing the hustle of a true bazaar, head to BiOriental Market. Here you’ll find antiques, fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, clothes, flowers and much more for sale, along with street musicians for entertainment. Locals come here mostly for organic produce and Turkish cuisine. Don’t hesitate to haggle, it’s encouraged!
Can you imagine creating vegetable fields in the middle of a big city? That’s exactly what Berliners have done – as a sustainable living social project activists have cleared out a wasteland and turned it into an urban garden called the Princess Garden. Go for a walk here for a quick getaway from the city and find out what the concept is all about. There’s also a lovely café serving dishes made from the garden’s harvest.
This gallery, housed in a regal building that was once a hospital, is the epicentre of Berlin’s alternative art scene. Many of the exhibitions are free of charge. Besides amazing exhibitions there are also theatre and dance performances, and there’s even a scenic park surrounding the area. The best part is that it’s open every day!
Berlin is quite a modern city though this area could be described as its ‘Old Town’. Although Berlin was originally founded here around 1200, this area isn’t actually that old as it was completely destroyed during World War II and only rebuilt in 1987. Some people might say that it doesn’t look authentic, nevertheless it’s a beautiful area with lots of peaceful pedestrian streets and interesting architecture – definitely worth a stroll.
Yes, you can climb to the top of Berlin’s parliament building for free. In addition to offering a nice panoramic view, the dome is kind of an architectural miracle with 360 mirrors integrated into it, all of them reflecting light in different directions. Bear in mind that to visit the building you have to pre-register either online or at a small building close to the southern entry.
The area surrounding this 10-kilometre long canal is absolutely scenic and perfect for quiet walks. On sunny days though it is a very popular spot amongst locals – along the way you’ll probably meet sunbathers, people having picnics and many others simply enjoying the picturesque walk. It’s tempting to take a quick dip in the river but it’s neither allowed nor recommended as the water is polluted.
Topography of Terror is a free museum about the police and state terrors that took place during the Nazi regime in Germany. There are both outdoor and indoor displays as well as permanent and rotating exhibitions. The museum’s location carries great significance as it is housed in the buildings that served as the Gestapo and SS headquarters during the Nazi regime. There are also original parts of the Berlin Wall still standing in the area.
From 1969–2001 the grounds of Spreepark operated as an amusement park, but unfortunately due to rising prices and lack of parking spaces visitor numbers dropped drastically and the owners became insolvent. Since then the area has been abandoned and it is prohibited to enter the premises for safety reasons, however recently guided tours have been introduced.