Top Tips for a Budget Break in Berlin
Categories: General Travel Info
Berlin Tegel airport
[ source: Wikipedia]
With the recession dragging onward and aviation taxes increasing, travellers are now more than ever searching for that elusive destination that will provide a great break without breaking the bank. With flights of little more than an hour and a half to Berlin (Berlin vacation rentals | Berlin travel guide) Tegel (Tegel vacation rentals | Tegel travel guide) Airport and under two hours to Berlin Schonefeld Airport available from some UK airports, Germany’s capital is a short-haul destination that is becoming increasingly popular among the savvy and discerning.
Cheap flights to Berlin are easy to find, with all the big-name low-cost airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and bmibaby frequently offering discounted fares for the destination. One-way prices often fall to as little as £25 or less which, combined with the short travelling time, makes the city viable for fun-filled flying visits such as weekend breaks as well as longer trips. There is a wide range of accommodation to suit your needs and budget, from hostels charging little over £10 a night per person to low, medium-priced and premium hotels. Perfect for larger groups seeking nightlife and adventure as well as couples seeking a cultural and romantic getaway, families, or single travellers, Berlin’s potential is limitless.
The savings continue when you’ve landed in the city. Transport within Berlin itself is also moderately priced, with options including trams, buses, the U-Bahn underground trains and the S-Bahn elevated railway and discount fare options for each. Groups of up to five may purchase Small Group Tickets allowing a day’s unlimited travel on both U-Bahn and S-Bahn for €15.50, and similar tickets for individual travellers are available for only €6.50. Also available is the Berlin WelcomeCard, which can be purchased online or at many transport hubs and tourist information centres and allows unlimited public transport use for two (€16.90) to five (€29.90) days, as well as discounts at museums, restaurants and nightspots. Taking advantage of such offers, you can explore the city and its sites on a budget and, as opposed to via bus tours for instance, do so like a native Berliner.
Once you’ve visited iconic and historic sites such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and seen the remains of the Berlin Wall at Kreuzberg’s East Side Gallery or at the Topography of Terror exhibit in Niederkirchnerstrasse, culture vultures and history buffs may wish to explore the city’s many and varied museums. Clued-up travellers can make savings here too by investing in a Berlin Museum Pass, available for €19 (€9 for students) or for even less if bought in conjunction with a WelcomeCard, and allows up to three days’ entry to more than 60 museums and galleries in Berlin, including those on Museum Island such as the Bode Museum, Neu Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Pergamon Museum and Altes Museum.
When the sun goes down, Berlin’s vivacious nightlife entices fun-loving residents and visitors alike to the city’s bars and clubs that offer something for everyone. Many flock to the Mitte district in Berlin’s historical centre, where busy establishments around the likes of Hackescher Markt and Oranienburger Strasse playing all the latest hits. However, this bohemian metropolis has other charms for those that choose to venture off the beaten track and seek new and different experiences, which include burlesque clubs, absinthe bars, and derelict buildings (“squats”) adapted for use as music venues, cinemas and art exhibition spaces. The latter have gained a cult following over the years, with the likes of Supamolly, Arcanoa and Tacheles (once a grand department store) attracting hip Berliners in droves. A free tour entitled “Alternative Berlin” giving a glimpse of some of the eclectic charms the city has to offer departs from outside the Alexanderplatz TV tower at 11am and 1pm daily, and similar paid tours are also offered in the evenings that show visitors further facets of Berlin that tourists are often oblivious to.
Berlin is a forward-thinking and welcoming city that rewards the adventurous, is easy and cheap to explore, and attracts many a return visitor. With a little prior knowledge and planning, you can get the most from your trip to German’s buzzing capital with an itinerary that matches your budget, individual needs and interests and have an unforgettable European city break.
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