The Ultimate Backpacker’s Guide to Berlin on a Budget

The Ultimate Backpacker’s Guide to Berlin on a Budget

Witness Berlin’s transformation over the last three decades from a divided metropolis to a hub of artistry, cuisine, nightlife, and history.

Here’s our Berlin budget travel guide.

Travel Costs: Detailed Breakdown

Berlin is a budget-friendly city with something to offer everyone. Here’s a breakdown of the average daily costs you can expect:

Suggested Budget per person

  • Low Budget: €35-€55
  • Mid-Range: €55-€110
  • High-End: €110+

Detailed Costs: Berlin Guide


  • Low: Hostels or budget guesthouses: €15-€30 per night
  • Mid-Range: Mid-range hotels or B&Bs: €40-€80 per night
  • High-End: Luxury hotels or upscale apartments: €150+ per night

Read: Best hostels in Berlin

Public Transportation:

  • Metro ticket (single journey): €3.20
  • Day ticket (AB zone): €8.80
  • 3-Day tourist pass (AB zone): €36

Entrance Fees:

  • Low (Mostly Free Activities): Berlin Wall Memorial, Tiergarten Park, Brandenburg Gate
  • Mid-Range: Museum Island (€18 combined ticket), Berlin Dungeon (€22.50)
  • High-End: Panoramapunkt (360° views from the Kollhoff Tower, €23.50)


  • Low: Currywurst (iconic German sausage dish), Döner Kebab: €4-€6
  • Mid-Range: Mid-range restaurants offering local and international cuisine: €10-€20 per main course
  • High-End: Fine dining experiences with seasonal menus: €30+ per main course

Popular Food Staple: Currywurst 

  • Low: Street food vendors: €2-€3
  • Mid-Range: Sit-down restaurants with variations and side dishes: €6-€8
  • High-End: Gourmet interpretations with premium ingredients: €10+


  • Low: Takeaway coffee or coffee at a local bakery: €1.50-€2.00
  • Mid-Range: Coffee shops offering specialty brews and pastries: €3-€4
  • High-End: Designer coffee chains or trendy cafes: €4+

Beer & Wine:

  • Low: Local bar or pub: €3-€4 per pint of beer / glass of wine
  • Mid-Range: Mid-range restaurants or trendy bars: €5-€7 per pint of beer / glass of wine
  • High-End: Craft beers or special vintage wines: €8+ per beverage

Exploring Berlin: Things to See & Do

Get ready to time travel through towering landmarks, delve into artistic treasures, and soak up the city’s cool vibes. Buckle up, because Berlin offers a smorgasbord of experiences:

Must Do: Best Berlin Travel Guide

  1. Brandenburg Gate: Snap a pic of this iconic symbol of German reunification.
  2. Reichstag Building: Witness the impressive glass dome offering panoramic city views (free entry!).
  3. Museum Island: Explore a cluster of world-class museums like the Pergamonmuseum (renowned for its awe-inspiring Pergamon Altar).
  4. Berlin Wall Memorial: Walk along the remaining sections of the Berlin Wall and learn about its chilling history at the visitor center. Witness the power of human resilience and the fight for freedom, especially during the Cold War. Make sure to check out the east side gallery, this stretch of the Berlin Wall, separating East Berlin from West Berlin during the Cold War, is plastered with iconic murals celebrating freedom and unity.
  5. Tiergarten: Escape the urban jungle and unwind in Berlin’s sprawling Tiergarten park. Rent a boat and cruise along the Spree River, have a picnic under the chestnut trees, or spot some furry (and feathered) friends.
  6. Fernsehturm (Berlin TV Tower): Ascend to the top for jaw-dropping 360° cityscapes (paid entry).
  7. Gendarmenmarkt: Marvel at the architectural beauty of this square graced by the Konzerthaus (concert hall), the Französischer Dom (French Cathedral), and the Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral).
  8. Charlottenburg Palace: Explore the largest palace in Berlin, boasting stunning interiors and expansive gardens.
  9. Holocaust Memorial: A powerful and moving tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
  10. Olympiastadion Berlin: Witness the grandeur of this historic stadium, which once hosted the 1936 Olympic Games.

Free things to do in Berlin

  1. Explore Different Neighborhoods: Prenzlauer Berg boasts a charming atmosphere with cute cafes and indie shops. Kreuzberg is a haven for street art and Turkish delights. Pursue vintage treasures in Mitte, or soak up the alternative vibes of Friedrichshain. Head to Potsdamer Platz to marvel at the modern architecture and grab a coffee at a streetside cafe, people-watching the urban energy.
  2. Free Walking Tours: Join a free walking tour for a historical and cultural introduction to the city. Remember, tips are always appreciated for passionate guides.
  3. Tiergarten Park: Escape the urban jungle and relax amidst lush greenery, perfect for picnics, walks, or simply basking in the sun.
  4. Open-Air Cinema: During summer, catch classic films projected outdoors in various locations across the city.
  5. Museum Island on Mondays: Score free entry to most museums on the first Monday of every month (except some special exhibitions).

Museums in Berlin

  1. Pergamonmuseum: Witness the architectural marvel of the Pergamon Altar, alongside Mesopotamian and Islamic art collections.
  2. Neues Museum: Delve into Egyptian artifacts, including the iconic bust of Nefertiti.
  3. Bode Museum: Explore a treasure trove of sculptures and Byzantine art.
  4. Alte Nationalgalerie: Admire masterpieces by European painters like Monet, Manet, and Delacroix.
  5. Jewish Museum Berlin: Learn about the rich history and culture of Jewish life in Germany. 
  6. The Wall Museum: Gain a deeper understanding of the Berlin Wall’s history and its impact on the city.
  7. Technik Museum: Step back in time and explore the fascinating world of technology through interactive exhibits. 

Where to Stay on a Budget

Berlin isn’t called “Budget Backpacker Paradise” for nothing. Finding a decent place to stay without hemorrhaging Euros is totally doable.

First things first: the city center (Mitte) is stunning and teeming with sights, but be prepared to loosen your purse strings for a hotel there.

Several fantastic neighborhoods offer a more affordable stay while remaining perfectly placed to explore the city’s awesomeness.

Friedrichshain: Edgy and alternative, Friedrichshain is a haven for budget-conscious travelers and those seeking a taste of the real Berlin. Think street art murals everywhere, cool bars tucked away in back alleys, and an undeniable “we don’t care what you wear” vibe. Accommodation options range from funky hostels to quirky AirBnBs.

Prenzlauer Berg: This charming neighborhood offers a delightful mix of old and new. Stroll down tree-lined streets past adorable cafes and independent shops. The vibe is more relaxed than Friedrichshain, with a family-friendly atmosphere. While slightly pricier than Friedrichshain, you’ll still find good deals on guesthouses and budget hotels.

Kreuzberg: A melting pot of cultures, Kreuzberg is known for its Turkish delights, street art scene, and undeniable coolness. This is the place to go if you want a taste of multicultural Berlin. Be prepared for a bit of a party atmosphere, especially on weekends. Hostels and budget hotels are plentiful here.

Neukölln: The up-and-coming hipster haven, Neukölln boasts trendy bars, eclectic shops, and a relaxed atmosphere. Score points for bragging rights by telling your friends you stayed in the “it” neighborhood. Accommodation options are varied, with some hidden gem budget hotels and hostels alongside the trendier options.

Remember: Berlin is a walkable city, so staying slightly further out from the center won’t necessarily hinder your exploration. Do your research, compare prices, and choose the neighborhood that best suits your travel style and budget.

Read: We have a great guide to the best hostels in Berlin.

Eating and Drinking

Forget fancy Michelin-starred dinners, Berlin’s culinary scene is all about delicious eats without denting your wallet. Here’s how to keep your tummy happy and your bank account overflowing:

Water: Berlin boasts some of the best tap water in Germany. Skip the bottled stuff and refill your reusable bottle with confidence. 
Restaurants on a Budget:

Tourist Traps? Nein Danke! While the Brandenburg Gate is a must-see, the restaurants surrounding it are often tourist traps with inflated prices. Wander a few streets away and discover local gems offering authentic flavors at a fraction of the cost.

Berlin Travel Guide Itinerary: Food Edition

  • Bouletten Blitz: Ditch the fancy schnitzel and delve into the world of Boulette (pronounced Boo-lette). These juicy German meatballs are often served in a bread roll (“im Brötchen”) for a quick and satisfying €2-€3. Look for “Boulette im Brötchen” signs on menus – a local favorite for a reason.
  • Imbiss Extravaganza: These ubiquitous street vendors are lifesavers for budget travelers. Döner Kebabs (meat and veggies in pita bread) are a classic choice, starting around €3-€5. For a true Berliner experience, try the legendary Currywurst (sausage drowned in a sweet curry ketchup sauce) – usually under €5.
  • Mittagstisch Magic: Many restaurants in Berlin offer a special “Mittagstisch” (lunch menu) during weekdays. This set menu features a starter and a main course for a significantly discounted price (around €6-€10). Look out for the “Mittagstisch” sign displayed outside restaurants.

Market Munchies:

  • Mauerpark Flea Market: Beyond the vintage treasures, this weekend market is a haven for international street food. Sample everything from falafel wraps to juicy Argentinian steaks, all at reasonable prices.
  • Markthalle Neun: Calling all foodies! This trendy market in Prenzlauer Berg offers everything from fresh local produce to international delicacies. Grab a delicious and affordable lunch from one of the many food stalls, or stock up on picnic supplies for a day exploring the city.
  • Maybachufer’s Turkish Delights: Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Turkish Market on Maybachufer. Here, you’ll find gözleme (stuffed flatbreads) overflowing with flavorful fillings, gözleme prices typically start around €3. Don’t forget to try some freshly squeezed pomegranate juice for a refreshing pick-me-up.

Grocery Gems:

  • Lidl and Aldi: These German discount supermarket giants are your best friends for budget-friendly groceries. Stock up on everything from fresh produce and local cheeses to pre-made sandwiches for picnics, all at rock-bottom prices.
  • Rewe: While slightly pricier than Lidl and Aldi, Rewe offers a wider selection of groceries, including a good selection of organic options. Perfect for those seeking specific dietary needs.

Bonus Tip: Bakeries in Berlin (Bäckereien) often have a “Brötchentüte” (bag of bread rolls) deal towards the end of the day. These discounted bags, typically containing leftover rolls from the day, are perfect for a budget-friendly breakfast or afternoon snack.

How to Get Around

Berlin’s a sprawling metropolis, but fear not, traversing this historic city doesn’t require a king’s ransom. Buckle up and get ready to navigate like a local, all without breaking the bank:

Understanding Berlin’s Public Transportation

BVG: Berlin’s public transport system, BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe), is your secret weapon for affordable exploration. A well-organized network of U-Bahn (subway), S-Bahn (commuter trains), trams, and buses guarantees you can reach almost any corner of the city.

Ticketing Tactics:

  • Single Ticket (“Einzelfahrschein”): Valid for 2 hours with unlimited transfers within that timeframe, perfect for short trips (around €3.40).
  • Day Ticket (“Tageskarte”): Your golden ticket for unlimited travel within a day. Choose between zones AB (covering most of central Berlin) for €8.80 or explore further with zone ABC (€9.60).
  • Weekly Ticket (“Wochenkarte”): Ideal for extended stays, offering unlimited travel for 7 days within your chosen zones (around €36 for zones AB).
  • Group Ticket (“Gruppentageskarte”): Traveling with your crew? Grab a group ticket (valid for up to 5 people) and split the fare. Prices start around €29 for a 24-hour zone AB ticket.
  • Biking Berlin: Feeling energetic? Berlin is a paradise for cyclists. Numerous rental shops offer daily rentals (around €10-€15) – a perfect way to explore the city at your own pace and get some exercise.

Beyond the Basics:

  • Taxis: While not the most budget-friendly option, taxis can be handy for late-night journeys or navigating with heavy luggage. Flag down a taxi on the street or pre-book through a ride-hailing app. Fares start around €3.90 per kilometer.
  • Car Sharing: For a more flexible option, consider car-sharing services like car2go or Flinkster. These services allow you to rent a car by the minute, perfect for quick errands or exploring areas outside the city center.
  • Walking: Berlin’s city center is surprisingly compact, making walking a viable and often enjoyable option. Stroll along charming streets like Unter den Linden, soak up the atmosphere in historic squares like Gendarmenmarkt, and discover hidden gems along the way.

Cheapest Way to Get To and From the Airport in Berlin

Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER):

  • Trains: The most convenient and affordable option. Take the RE7 regional train directly from the airport to various stations in central Berlin (around €3.40). Tickets can be purchased at the airport train station.
  • Buses: Public buses (TXL) connect the airport to different parts of the city. While slower than trains, they offer a budget-friendly choice (around €3.00).

Schönefeld Airport (SFX): Primarily used by budget airlines.

  • Trains: Similar to BER, the RE7 regional train connects the airport to central Berlin (around €3.40).
  • Buses: Public buses (SXF) also connect Schönefeld Airport to the city center (around €3.00).
  • Bonus Tip: Consider purchasing a Berlin WelcomeCard. This card combines discounted entry to many attractions with unlimited travel on public transportation for a set period (2, 3, or 5 days). Depending on your itinerary, this can be a cost-effective way to explore the city.

Remember when visiting Berlin:

Ticket Validation: Always validate your ticket before boarding any public transport (usually at yellow machines on platforms or inside buses/trams).

Night owls: Night buses operate throughout the night, so you can keep exploring even after the sun sets.

Berlin Architecture

Best Time to Visit Berlin

Berlin pulsates with life year-round, but choosing the perfect time for your visit depends on your priorities. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons, including relevant national holidays and festivals that might influence your decision:

  • High Season (May – September):

Pros: Pleasant weather with long sunny days, outdoor scene with festivals and events, a city bursting with life.
Cons: Crowds and higher prices for flights and accommodation.

  • Shoulder Season (April & October):

Pros: Pleasant temperatures without the summer crowds, good deals on flights and accommodation.
Cons: Weather can be unpredictable with occasional rain showers.

  • Low Season (November – March):

Pros: Rock-bottom prices on flights and accommodation, fewer crowds at popular attractions.
Cons: Colder weather with shorter daylight hours, some outdoor activities may be limited.

National Holidays & Peak Festivals

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st): Festive celebrations and potential price hikes.
  • Good Friday & Easter Monday (movable holidays): Religious holidays impacting some shops and potentially affecting prices.
  • May Day (May 1st): Labor Day with demonstrations and potential disruptions.
  • Day of German Unity (October 3rd): National holiday with celebrations and increased demand for accommodation.
  • Christmas Markets (November – December): The city transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting crowds and driving up prices significantly.
  • Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) – February: One of the world’s largest film festivals, attracting cinephiles and raising hotel rates.
  • Fashion Week Berlin (March): Showcases the latest fashion trends, potentially impacting hotel availability.
  • Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) – May/June: A celebration of diversity with parades and street performances, leading to increased demand for accommodation.
  • Berlin Marathon (September): A major sporting event attracting runners from around the world, potentially impacting hotel availability.
  • Christopher Street Day (Berlin Pride) – July: A massive LGBTQ+ celebration attracting large crowds and impacting hotel availability.

Essentials, Money & Safety Tips

Berlin is a backpacker’s paradise. From budget-friendly eats to free historical sights, the city caters to the adventurous traveler. But fear not, even the most seasoned explorer needs a little guidance. Here’s your ultimate guide to packing smart and staying safe in Berlin:

Berlin Safety Tips

  • Fake Police: Be wary of individuals claiming to be police officers, especially around tourist areas. Real officers will always have proper identification.
  • Pickpockets: Like any major city, Berlin has its share of pickpockets. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas like public transport.

Common Scams

  • The “Friendship Bracelet” Scam: Individuals might approach you, often with a sob story, and attempt to tie a bracelet on your wrist. Don’t feel obligated to accept or pay, politely decline and walk away.
  • The “Change-making” Scam: When paying for something, be wary of vendors trying to trick you with sleight of hand or wrong change. Always double-check your bill and count your change carefully.

Things Not to Do

  • No Jumpy Joyrides: While tempting, resist the urge to climb onto the iconic Brandenburg Gate. Security is tight, and you might end up with a fine or worse.
  • Public Transportation Etiquette: Mind the gap when getting on and off trains, and avoid blocking the doors for exiting passengers. It’s considered rude.
  • Respect the Locals: Berliners are known for their directness. Don’t be offended if they seem curt or unfriendly – it’s just their way.
  • Silent Sundays: Loud noises and parties are generally restricted on Sundays in residential areas. Be mindful of the noise level, especially if staying in an apartment.

Berlin Travel Pass

  • Berlin WelcomeCard: Consider this your sightseeing and travel BFF. This magic card combines discounted entry to many attractions with unlimited travel on public transport for 2, 3, or 5 days. Think of it as your passport to savings and convenience.
  • Museum Discounts: Many museums offer free admission on specific days or discounted rates for students and holders of certain city passes. Do your research and snag those sweet deals.

Berlin Budget Tips Reminder

  • Embrace Street Food: Ditch fancy restaurants and delve into the world of Berlin’s delicious and affordable street food. Think €3 Döner Kebabs, Currywurst, and the ever-reliable Boulette (meatball) im Brötchen (in a roll).
  • Picnic Power: Stock up on fresh produce and local cheeses from budget-friendly grocery stores like Lidl or Aldi. Picnic in one of Berlin’s many parks for a delightful and affordable lunch break.
  • Happy Hour Hunter: Several restaurants and bars offer discounted drinks and snacks during happy hour. Grab an early dinner or pre-dinner drinks at a fraction of the price.
  • Free Walking Tours: Berlin boasts a plethora of free walking tours. Explore the city with a knowledgeable guide while getting your daily dose of exercise (and saving on those expensive tour buses).

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