“The most precious things in life are not those you get for money,” Albert Einstein once said. In fact, you don’t necessarily have to dig deep into your pockets to experience unique moments in Berlin. Sure, the National Memorial in Viktoriapark is not as high as the TV Tower or Panoramapunkt, but, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no better place to enjoy wonderful views over the city. To top it off, there’s a waterfall splashing down the hill beneath my feet.
Free and Outdoors
One of the 440 galleries in Berlin, the East Side Gallery, is the longest permanent open-air exhibition in the world. At more than a kilometre in length, this longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing is decorated with art and is free to see. But there’s also art and culture to be seen on every street corner in Berlin. Even construction sites are turned into creative spots, as can be witnessed at the changing exhibitions featured at the Spree Side Gallery between the Liebknechtbrücke and Rathausbrücke. In addition, the Outdoor Gas Lantern Museum in Tiergarten gives insight into the history of European street lights from 1826-1956, featuring unique lanterns such as the “Wilmersdorfer Widow” and the “Bull’s Leg”. Another beautiful evening stroll can be had among the old buildings in Danckelmann neighbourhood.
Affordable City Tours
City bus 100 follows pretty much the same route as the sightseeing buses and only costs bus fare. Another affordable option is a tour of the city on the circle line of the S-Bahn (S41 and S42), which will take you through nineteenth-century neighbourhoods that once lined the outer edge of the city. The complete journey takes just about an hour. If you have the Berlin WelcomeCard, by the way, you not only get unlimited travel throughout Berlin’s public transport systems, but also receive discounts on many Berlin attractions.
Sweet and Free
Sweet information about the cacao bean, the food of the gods, and its most famous product, chocolate, are offered at Ritter Sport Bunte Schokowelt. Old craftsmanship can be admired for free at the Bonbonmacherei, where the sugary smell coming from the cellar tells passers-by that original Berlin sweets are being cooked directly over the fire here.
You can even enjoy a delicious four-course meal in Berlin on a budget: Opposite the Zionskirche (in Mitte), is the cosy little restaurant Der Hahn ist tot opened by Ralf Kern and Marcus Purkot in 2011 that offers French and German country cuisine. Various wooden tables and chairs, beautiful crystal glasses, and purplish-red wallpaper with a grape pattern lend the restaurant a very unique atmosphere. And you can put together a four-course prix-fixe menu from a number of selections for just €21. My absolute favourites are coq au vin as a main course and moules-frites when in season.
Conclusion: Berlin does not have to cost the world, but the memories of a day in the metropolis are priceless. And what about everyday life? There’s no such thing as everyday routine here, because new opportunities spring up every day in the city. But I’ve put together a couple of free tips for each day of the week here: Berlin – one week for little money (2/2)
Written by Anna Bockhoff