Seeing Berlin, Germany – Free!

Last year, Brian and I travelled to Germany for three weeks in the summer.  It was an amazing trip and we are itching to go back!  We budgeted spent $3000 each, including all accommodations, food, flight, and spending – not bad!  We spent some money on attractions and events, but there are there are lots of free tourist options for seeing Germany as well.

Brandenbur Tor

Brandenburg Tor

Brandenburg Tor:

This landmark, the Brandenburg Gate, stands between what was once East and West Berlin.  It is a massive structure, formerly a city gate, and later recommissioned as a neo-classical triumphal arch. It is simply awe-inspiring.  To me, North American architecture just does not compare to the size and grandeur of old Europe.  When we were in Berlin, a massive festival was being held on the grounds surrounding the gate with music and performers.


The Reichstag:

And if the Brandenburg Gate failed to impress you, head over to the Reichstag.  This even more massive structure is the traditional seat of the German Parliament.  The top of the building features a glass dome.  If you register ahead of time, you can tour the building and make your way to the top of the dome.

Pergamon Museum

Pergamon Museum


Museum Island:

Literally – museums on an island.  How could it get any better?!  Located on an island in the Spree river, it is a great area to spend a few hours.  If you have the cash, check out at least a few of the many museums.  But even if you don’t, take a walk around. Beautiful columns, carefully landscaped grounds, arching bridges and roadside cafes abound.  Face it – even the outside of the museums are more attractive than many structures in North America!  Brian and I went to the Pergamon and the Altes Museum.

Holocaust Memorial:

The Holocaust Memorial is a staggering 4.7 acre site with more than 2,500 obsidian pillars of varying heights, representing the murdered Jews of Europe.  Many of the pillars tower over the average person and it is very easy to get lost within the memorial’s depths.  By the way – It’s frowned upon to leap frog from pillar to pillar, so don’t do it!  There is also an underground museum on site which lists the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims.



The Tiergarten was one of my favourite parts of Berlin.  It was founded in 1527 as a royal hunting area.  Today, it is more than 500 acres of landscaped gardens, verdant lawns, waterworks, and even beer gardens!  The garden also features numerous sculptures of historical figures, so it’s a great sightseeing excursion as well.  At the center, is the Siegessäule (Victory column).  When we visited, we simply picked a trail and started walking.

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  1. I would love to make it to Europe, and it’s encouraging that there are some free attractions. I would definitely want to visit some of the sites you listed on this page.

  2. I’ve been to Germany twice and it’s been WAY too long since I’ve been there. I never made it to Berlin though. :( I think Germany is the next international destination we’re going to.

  3. WorkSaveLive says:

    The beer gardens sounds pretty impressive! I can’t wait until my wife and I are able to take a vacation our to Europe. It should be a lot of fun but I can’t see it happening for a few more years.

  4. It sounds like a fantastic experience to see Germany. I’ve never been but would love to. There are some other destinations on my list, but Europe (Germany included) are top priority too :)

  5. I love Germany! I was there 10 years ago and had a great time! Love the hot German pretzels. I agree with you, the architecture is amazing. And not just in Germany, but all over the Europe and the UK.

  6. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom says:

    I’m glad you made a point of sharing Brandenburg and it’s significance. When I was in Berlin we took a walking tour, and everyone was too busy looking for the balcony that Michael Jackson held his baby over to appreciate the significance of Brandenburg. Did you make it to Checkpoint Charlie. The museum isn’t free, but worth admission in this frugal girls opinion.

  7. Pauline says:

    I loved Berlin too, so many cool things to do! I liked Mauerpark, a park with a huge piece of the wall, and a flee market, and people painting the wall with art over and over again. And the Tacheles squat, it is free to enter, with lots of exhibitions and art projects inside.

    • CF says:

      We browsed Mauerpark, but not the Tacheles squat (I don’t think). Honestly, it’s such a huge city and all the districts have their own distinct vibe. I would need another few visits to explore it all I think.

  8. Germany is definitely on my travel list! Great post!

  9. eemusings says:

    Bookmarked! I’ll be there next year and this will definitely come in useful.

  10. What about Sans Souci? It’s a little bit outside of the city in Potsdam. I *think* the gardens used to be free, but guided tours of the palace were a small fee. Well worth it though. Freaking amazingly gorgeous and an easy way to spend a whole afternoon or even a whole day.

  11. So cool! I went to Germany a few years ago and was absolutely blown away. Such great people and really a beautiful country. We found tons of historical “attractions” that were free mostly in Bamberg. I think we blew the biggest part of our budget on food…but it was so incredibly worth it.

    • CF says:

      Interestingly, we didn’t spend so much on meals – we found that a lot of prepared foods (eg. sandwiches, sausages, etc) at train stations were well priced and we supplemented with fresh fruit. But restaurants and bars were definitely expensive.

  12. Wow this looks amazing! Berlin is definitely on my list of places to see in my lifetime.

  13. That looks awesome! I would definitely like to go there as well. It’s on the list!

  14. Pretty great budget for a trip to Europe! I can’t wait until I finally make it there.

  15. Catherine says:

    I love Germany- although I’ve never been to Berlin :( We flew into Frankfurt and went south to Munich, my favorite city in the world, hands down. Hubby and I have seriously considered moving to Germany, who knows maybe we will some day?

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