City breaks, and travel in general, can break the bank. So when I’m going away I always look to see where I could save a penny or two, especially if it means I can stay for longer! Berlin is no exception, and there are some small, but smart changes that could lead to a cheaper but just as enjoyable break away.
Berlin Welcome Card
I’ve written a whole separate post about this card because I just love it that much! There are a ton of discounts on offer with the card, and you can also opt for the travel card which means no ticket-buying stress every journey! I definitely saved money with this card, and you can find out more here.
Book in advance they say, travel off-peak they say, but what seems to have been overlooked is that Berlin is an amazing city to visit year round! Just as the summer demand dips, people start visiting for the Christmas markets and the charm that oozes from the city when it is decked out in all it’s Christmas joy. So my tip to you is use your well-earned annual leave and visit on those ‘awkward’ dates. Friday to Monday is peak for flights and hotels to cater for the weekend break-ers. Because let’s face it, who wants to travel Sunday-Wednesday? Me! Which means I can find super cheap flights on a Sunday. It also means I skip the Friday and Saturday premium hotel costs!
Not really an optional expense seeing as we have to eat. But the food choices we make can add or shave loads off the budget! Most of the time when on a city break I’ll opt for the take out option rather than the dine out option. My favourite thing in Berlin is a roll topped with cheese. Silly, I know, but I can’t get enough of them, and have one every morning from a bakery. My boyfriend will often ‘splash out’ and eat a bit more than a roll, but even so, we rarely break €10 for breakfast, including drinks. If we chose to eat in the hotel, it’d be somewhere between €7-15 each!
Aside from raiding bakeries throughout the day for snacks and lunch, my favourite meal in Berlin is dinner. And the reason for that? Sausages!! I love visiting Berlin at Christmas when the Christmas markets are in full swing. Dinner out for 2 in a restaurant could easily cost €30 and above. Our most expensive haul from a Christmas market was €20 Euros, and we had 2 hot dogs (Bockwurst in a roll), 2 packs of candied nuts, a gingerbread heart and weird doughnuts things that may not have actually been doughnuts.
If you’re visiting outside of Christmas season, why not rent an apartment and make use of the cooking facilities? I love checking out the different foods that are on offer, and have been dying to try out the pizza burger in the frozen aisles that we don’t have in the UK. Common sense and Google translate come in very handy when trying to decipher foreign cooking instructions!
It’s a given that there is loads to see in Berlin, and when there is so much on offer it means there will be lots of free options too. You’ll be able to tick off the big sights without having to spend a cent – Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall are all outside and free to view. If you’re looking for a bit more information, try one of the free museums on offer, such as the open-air ‘lite’ version of the Checkpoint Charlie museum, or the Topography of Terror for an in-depth look at the recent history of Berlin. Another great freebie is the Holocaust Memorial, which I’d list as a must see, and has a free museum underground too.
As such a large city, Berlin has a huge variety of hotels, hostels and other places to stay. I’ve always managed to find a really comfortable hotel in a great location for an absolute steal. This is partly through booking early (rarely though…), but mostly by looking at places that are on offer too. However, with such a great travel network, there’s no reason that you couldn’t stay a bit further away from the centre and still have an amazing place to stay. We usually started our days with a ride on the u-bahn, so what’s an extra 10 minutes on the train to save a bit of money?
Have you been to Berlin and found any great ways to save money without sacrificing experiences?