Berlin, the capital of Germany, is probably Europe’s most trending city right now. Especially famous for the great nightlife and hipster vibe, it’s a must-go destination for anyone visiting Germany. And you know what’s the best part of it? It’s sooo much cheaper than other European capitals like London or Paris.
It’s a city that’s not only great for foodies and hipsters, it’s also insanely rich in history and filled with the most interesting corners and districts. Whether you’re traveling on a budget or just like to do things that are free (cause who doesn’t?), you’ll be happy to know that I’ve put together a list of 41 Free Things To Do In Berlin which can keep you busy for days, if not weeks! Let’s dive right in, shall we?
1. Dome of the Reichstag Building
The Reichstag building is one of the most important and historic buildings in Berlin. It was constructed to house the Imperial Diet (highest representative assembly) of the German empire. Though it costs to enter, you can visit the dome and the roof terrace for free. The views up here are spectacular. You do need to register online in advance to get in so make sure to prepare that ahead!
2. East Side Gallery
This is a part of the Berlin wall that serves as a thousand meter long memorial with artwork done by artists from all over the world. It’s now like a really cool open air art gallery. Discover all the colourful artwork that send out messages of peace, unity and also some political views.
3. Museum Island
Take a walk along Spree River and check out the beautiful architecture of important museums in Berlin. 5 museums are located on the northern part of an island in the river. There are entrance fees to get into the museums but it is definitely free to stroll around the area and take in all the beautiful scenery!
4. Holocaust Memorial
Reflect on the events of the past and pay your respects at the Holocaust memorial. The memorial comprises of huge slabs of concrete – more than two thousand of these in different heights and levels.
5. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial
Admission to this memorial and exhibit is free. It was the site of the largest concentration camp in German territory. The memorial is one where you can walk around and see where everything was when it happened in its actual place, rather than having everything all in one area. You can see buildings, bunks where the prisoners were kept and even parts of the gas chambers that were left.
6. Topography of Terror
This is an open air museum where you can see the site where the SS headquarters were during the Third Reich of Germany. It’s well worth a visit as the displays are very informative and the presentation rather impressive. The name itself couldn’t be more fitting. It chronicles the history, timeline and events during that terrible time in history. One of the many free museums in the city!
7. Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie was famous for being the only crossing where tourists and non-Germans can get from the West to the East side and vice versa during the cold war. It is also famous for the face-off that happened in 1961 between Soviet Tanks and US Tanks. Many feared and thought that this point in history could have led to World War III. Today, it is a significant icon of history. The city area around it is also booming with many restaurants, shops and galleries to see
8. Berlin Wall Memorial
This monument was created in 1998 to commemorate the division and the deaths that happened there. It features a remnant of the wall. It’s important to remember that this site used to be where the division of the city was and that in the past nobody could cross over as you can now. It’s a must visit to learn more about the history and events that took place during this time.
9. Brandenburg Gate
One of the most famous and important monuments in Germany. A former symbol of the divided city that is now a symbol of unity. It was built in a neo-classical style in the 18th century. It’s a beautiful structure and a must-see while in Berlin. It’s also breathtaking at night when it is all lit up.
10. Room of Silence
A must visit landmark that’s located just off the Brandenburg gate, this place is a 30 sqm. room where you can come in to get lost in your thoughts. A room where you can contemplate all the happenings in the past and let all that history sink in.
11. Berliner Dom
Of course how can you miss visiting this iconic building in Berlin. It’s a cathedral and the inside is filled with a lot of noteworthy artwork. The admission is free during services. Be sure to check ahead the schedule for the services!
You must visit the Central district of Tiergarten, where you can find a huge park. Take a stroll and see some statues and memorials, wildlife and a beautiful lake. It’s a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city. You can also do a nice little scenic picnic here!
13. Tempelhofer Park
Another open space and park in the city where you can do lots of outdoor activities like hike, run or bike. You can have picnics here and some people even grill sausages and bring out some beers for a lovely Berlin day out in the sun.
Once known to be in the “death strip”, a militarized area that divided the east and west side of the Berlin wall. Now, the whole area spans both sides of the wall. It is now known to be a social, artistic, cultural center and park where you can lie around, take walks, have picnics and take in all the greenery. There is also a flea market going on every Sunday and it’s known for the Bearpit Karaoke – where people gather in the amphitheater to watch others bravely belt out tunes voluntarily.
It is a park situated on Museum Island with the Berliner Dom right in front of it so you can get some of the best angles for your photos. Sometimes there are even street musicians, adding such a wonderful vibe to the ambiance. It’s one of the most perfect places to just sit around, people watch and enjoy the open air scenery of Berlin.
16. Treptower Park
The river Spree runs right through it and this is one of the best places to do a variety of activities from running, to cycling and boating. You must check out the giant Russian War memorial. There’s also a woodsy area that has a rather eerie abandoned amusement park.
17. Volkspark Friedrichshain
This park contains a huge fountain that feature fairytale characters. There is also a swan pond. Perhaps one of the most interesting features of this park are the hills. They are actually rubble covered bunkers that were destroyed during WWII.
18. Schlosspark Charlottenburg
One of the prettiest parks in Berlin, located behind the Charlottenburg Palace. This has one of the best views of the palace and its grounds.
19. Volkspark Humboldthain
Another one of the more interesting parks as it still has anti-aircraft towers and also some of the remaining bunker walls from the war. You can go up these towers and see beautiful views of the city. There is also a rose garden that you have to check out.
20. Görlitzer Park
This park is located in the Kreuzberg area, so be sure to pop by here when you’re in the neighbourhood. It features a huge open and green space where you can just chill after all the hectic activities you no doubt crammed into your itinerary.
A beautiful park located in Kreuzberg. Besides being one of the most usual places for relaxing and having a barbecue, it’s also located in the most elevated part of Berlin so you have a gorgeous view. The park also has an artificial waterfall and is bordered by two vineyards.
Districts and Neighborhoods
This is one of the most interesting areas in Berlin as this is where the Reichstag is located, the Berliner Dom, Museum Island and many other popular attractions. You will have no doubt checked all those out but whilst in this area, have a walk around to check out the shops and cafes and some other sites. Don’t miss the Kindertransport Memorial statue which is located in the Friedrichstrasse Railway station (one of the main international railway stations in the Nazi era). This statue which is made of bronze depicts two children about to board a train, but each had very different destinations and fates.
Another great area to visit in Berlin. This quirky and hipster area has a lot of interesting cafes, street art, thrift shops and also gorgeous Viktoriapark. You can find a lot of bars and food stalls here. There are a lot of shaded pathways that are perfect for walking around or cycling in. You should also visit the Turkish market here as its home to the largest population of Turkish people in Berlin.
This is a must-see neighborhood in Berlin. It has a very alternative and also artsy vibe about it with many techno clubs, indie boutiques as well as Soviet era style buildings. It’s linked to the Kreuzberg district by a castle like bridge. It’s a part of Berlin with such an interesting mix so it’s worth a visit!
25. Prenzlauer Berg
This is one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Berlin. Spend an afternoon walking around and discovering markets, parks, nightlife and a lot of pretty looking streets and buildings. Most parts of this area were spared from much destruction from world war II so a lot of the buildings and architecture have really been preserved.
Squares and Courtyards
26. Die Hackeschen Höfe
A complex of courtyards that feature restaurants, cafes and markets in the center of Berlin. It consists of 8 interconnected courtyards with a beautiful arched ceilinged entrance. It’s a great place to just walk around in for hours, discovering all the great eateries and other establishments.
Check out one of the city’s most visited squares. The square has layers of history on it – from the time it was built, to being destroyed during the war and to being an important site where thousands gathered in protest right before the Berlin wall fell. Now it’s a modern area made for pedestrians with lots of shops and interesting buildings to see and take pictures of – one of which is the Fernsehturm, a 365 meter TV tower which is the highest point of Berlin with a globe at the very top. World Clock (also known as Urania) is also here. Lots of things to see in this square!
Another square to visit in Berlin. This one has the most picturesque scenery with a lot of beautiful buildings on display like the Konzerthaus and the French and German churches. You should also come here at night and see all these magnificent buildings all lit up! There are some bars nearby so it’s the perfect place to start for a night out in town too.
One of the most attractive public squares in Berlin. It’s also one of the most historic and has some famous buildings like St. Hedwig’s Cathedral, the State Opera and Altes Palais. Definitely a picture perfect spot! The book burning memorial is also found here.
30. Pariser Platz
This is another beautiful and historic square that is located just by the Brandenburg gate. The square is closed off to cars making it very pedestrian-friendly. The French and US Embassies, as well as the famous hotel Adlon are located here. This square is definitely a must and the point where you will probably start off if you’re going on a walking tour of Berlin!
31. Arminius Market Hall
An old school market located in Moabit. Coming here is like going back in time. It features local and artisanal products although it has recently also been serving up some new and foreign food concepts.
32. Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg
If your trip schedule happens to include a Thursday in it, make sure you go here. You definitely need to experience Street Food Thursday as it has one of the biggest diversity of food and different cuisines from around the world.
33. Thai Park
This is one of the longest running street food markets in Berlin. For over 200 years, Thai families in Berlin gather at a park and cook and sell their food. This is the place in all of Berlin where you can get the most authentic Thai food. It’s also nice to be caught up in the bustle of the Thai community here! The atmosphere is amazing!
One of the must-see flea markets that feature vintage East German items. You can find an assortment of furniture, jewelry and clothes here. It’s set next to a really huge playground too!
35. Kunstmarkt Straße des 17. Juni
This is a traditional flea market and is one of the oldest and most famous in Berlin. It’s not one of the cheapest as it contains many antiques and unusual items. Even if you’re not planning to buy anything, it’s fun to just have a poke around and examine all the curiosities on display.
Other Things To Do and Places To Visit
36. Deutsches Guggenheim Museum
Berlin has its own Guggenheim museum! Admission is free every Monday so be sure to time your visit here on that day!
A picturesque scene, this canal is a long stretch that’s parallel to the spree river. Have a lovely walk here at sunset. Many people gather here also for drinks since there are a lot of beer gardens dotted around!
Check out this iconic fountain that is located at the very center of the city. Neptunbrunnen, or Neptune’s fountain is a beautiful sight. Standing at 10 meters tall with a baroque style, it consists of a statue of Neptune (the god of the seas) and four women surrounding him representing the four rivers of Prussia (the old name of Germany).
39. Street Art
Walk or bike all over Berlin and discover all the amazing street art dotted all over the city. There is so much of it here! Check some of them out in these areas: Kreuzberg, Lake Tegel Art Park, Urban Spree Area, East Side Gallery, around Moritzplatz and Urban Nation. Some of the most notable ones are The Cosmonaut by Victor Ash, Elephant playing a balloon by Jadore Tong, Linda’s Ex by Ronald Brueckner and Robi the Dog.
40. Berliner Philharmonie
For a world famous concert hall, you would probably think that it costs an arm and a leg to get tickets to a show inside. Yes in some cases, maybe that’s how it is but every Tuesday from September to June, they actually offer free lunchtime concerts every 1pm. Be sure to catch one for a chance to experience this superior concert hall.
41. Tegeler See
This is one of the largest lakes in Berlin. Take a stroll around here or have a swim if you’re visiting in the summertime. The waters are really nice and clean!
As you can see, there are lots of things to do for free in Berlin. It really is one of the most fantastic capitals in Europe. Don’t let a pesky little thing like a budget get in the way of doing as much as you can when you visit Deutschland!
I’m sure there are many more things to do, so if you know of any other activities, I’d be more than happy to hear from you and add them to the list! Just leave a comment below 🙂
If you’re touring around Europe, you might want to check out my list of 101 Free Things To Do In London!