We visited 3 days in Berlin in December and fell head over heels in love with the city. It’s a fascinating place with a rich and varied history, filled with lots of family-friendly sights and activities.
Playgrounds and parks are seemingly everywhere (there are over 1,800 play spaces in Berlin!), kid-friendly museums are numerous and the city is home to some of the best bakeries in the world.
The great news for families visiting Berlin is that the capital of Germany is significantly cheaper than other European cities such as London or Paris. Still, when you’re travelling with kids the costs mount up quickly so it’s good to know where you can save.
I have partnered with Asda Money on behalf of their ‘City Breaks on a Budget’ campaign to share my top tips on visiting Berlin on a budget.
Ready to pack your bags? Here are my top five ways families can save money in Berlin.
Disclosure: This is a paid campaign with Asda Money. All opinions are, as always, entirely my own. For more information, see my disclosure policy.
How to save money in Berlin
1. Buy the Berlin Welcome Card
You know how sometimes you have to spend money to make money? Well the same is true of the Berlin Welcome Card, sometimes you have to spend money to save it.
Available in the arrivals area at the Berlin airports as well as tourist information centres, the Berlin Welcome Card gives you free travel on the city’s highly efficient (and clean, and comfortable) public transport system. We loved travelling on the S- and U-Bahn trains, make sure to keep an eye out for the Berlin ‘Buddy Bears’ that can be found in some of the stations.
The pass also gives you discounted entry to a huge number of sights, museums, shows and tours. Prices depend on the length of your stay and which city zones you want to visit but the good news is that children aged 14 and below are completely free meaning you only have to buy Welcome Cards for the adults in your group.
2. Take a free walking tour
There’s no better way to get a feel for a city than to have a local show you around. So, start your family holiday in Berlin with a free three-hour walking tour.
This tour takes in the city’s top spots including the mighty Brandenburg Gate, the moving Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, parts of the Berlin Wall and more. English-speaking tours are held daily and are completely free, but I’d recommend taking some change in case you want to tip your tour guide at the end.
For an off-the-beaten-track introduction to Berlin join Alternative Berlin for a look at the city beyond its iconic sights. These free walking tours include markets, urban art projects, street art and more. They might be a little lost on younger kids but they’re a great option for tweens and teens. Tours are held most days but check their schedule for timings.
3. Stay in an apartment
One of our favourite ways to save money when we travel is to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel. We’re a family of five and finding a hotel that can accommodate us all on the cheap (that we actually want to stay in!) can be challenging.
Staying in an apartment through a site such as Airbnb or Booking.com gives us much more space and saves us money as well. Granted, the apartment we booked in Berlin was a little kooky with its shower located in the kitchen but it was all part of the adventure! If you want to avoid showering while your other half is making tea make sure you read the reviews before booking (I didn’t!).
4. Get a bird’s-eye view of the city
There’s no denying that the Fernsehturm (the Berlin TV Tower) boasts photo-worthy views of the city but they don’t come cheap (although your Berlin Welcomecard will get you a good discount).
For a bird’s-eye view of Berlin for free head to the amazing Norman Foster-designed Reichstag dome. This beautiful glass cupola sits at the top of the Reichstag building, the seat of the German parliament, and offers visitors 360-degree views of the Berlin cityscape. Entry is complimentary but you must register for your time slot in advance and, if you want to really see the city, don’t book an evening slot like I did!
5. Find the free sights
There are lots of free attractions to do in Berlin that won’t cost you a penny.
Places like Checkpoint Charlie are free to visit as is the amazing East Side Gallery, the longest continuous section of the Berlin Wall still in existence. Measuring 1.3km, this old section of the wall has been painted by 118 different artists from 21 countries creating an incredible open-air gallery that has no entry fee. My kids loved this outdoor art exhibit and had a great time trying to decide which mural was their favourite.
Other free attractions include the Holocaust Memorial, the Topography of Terror (where the SS headquarters once were) and the Berliner Dom. Many of the art galleries in the Mitte neighbourhood are free and there’s plenty of street art that’s worth exploring (you can download a map to make sure you see the best ones).
Visit in the summer and there are myriad parks to explore, many of them home to brilliant playgrounds where pirate ships and space rockets sit alongside swings and roundabouts.
For more ideas on how you can save money on your family travels take a look at these top travel tips.