Is Berlin Expensive? A Guide to Prices in Berlin


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Berlin is a city synonymous with the Cold War era, no thanks in part to the dividing wall which ran through it. The wall’s destruction was one of the most significant events in modern Europe and the reunification of Berlin, and Germany in general, kick-started a transformation that has seen the city become the capital of the fourth-largest economy in the world. Before travelling or even deciding to travel, one may wish to get a rough idea as to how much a trip will cost. This guide, covering accommodation, transportation, activities and entertainment, should act as a good gauge of the prices in Berlin and will go some way to answering the question “is Berlin expensive?”

As a travel destination, Berlin boasts globally recognised sites of modern historical and cultural importance, a flourishing arts scene and a highly efficient public transport system with prices that are generally cheaper than similar in Paris or London adding to the city’s appeal.

Berlin Trip Cost Guide

Accommodation Prices in Berlin

Beginning with accommodation, Berlin should have something to suit most tastes, whether that’s somewhere lavish to relax with a host of amenities or merely somewhere, quiet, comfortable and clean. As ever, prices change according to demand, which is often higher in the summer or if a particular event or festival comes to town, so plan and book ahead.

Berlin Skyline
Berlin Skyline

The most basic form of accommodation, that is, a single bed in a hostel dormitory should cost from around €15 per night, but this is based on a Saturday in summer so prices may be lower at other times of the year. Click here to view the top-rated hostels in Berlin.

Compare this with an apartment, which for two people on the same date, average prices in Berlin are about €110 per night. For a mid-range hotel, expect to pay in the region of €100 on average for a standard double room. Anything beyond this in terms of quality will cost north of €180. Click here to see the best hotel options in Berlin.

In general, the further away from the centre one chooses to stay, the cheaper the price of accommodation. This isn’t a major problem in Berlin due to the excellent public transport which leads suitably onto…

Transportation Prices in Berlin

The Berlin public transport network is comprehensive, efficient and reasonably priced. It is comprised of the U-Bahn (underground or metro system), S-Bahn (light rail), trams and buses. It is likely that even the most avid walker will, at some point, find a need for it, even if it’s just arriving in the city from the airport. For those who are likely to be heavy users, then a range of passes and multi-journey tickets can be purchased.

Fares are charged according to zone, with the city broken up into three- A, B and C. The majority of sites of interest to tourists will be found centrally, so for most intents and purposes, travel beyond zones A and B will not be necessary, although that will depend on which airport, if any, is being flown into or out of.

A standard ticket for use in zone AB costs €2.80, although a cheaper €1.70 ‘short trip’ ticket can be purchased that covers 3 stops on the S and U-Bahn or 6 stops if using buses and trams. For multiple journeys, consider investing in a travel pass, as for only €7 one can travel unlimited in zone AB from the date of purchase until 3 AM the following morning. If travelling in a group of up to 5 people, consider a Group Day Pass for just under €20, and for longer, individual stays, a 7-day card or ‘Wochenkarte’ might be worth acquiring.

Another option is the Berlin Welcome Card, which in addition to unlimited travel covering the purchase period, entitles the holder to discounts at various attractions, sites, restaurants and shops. Prices start at €23 for an AB zone 48-hour card, so work out in advance whether this will prove cost-effective.

If you're wondering is Berlin expensive, then take the U-bahn rather than taxis!
The U Bahn in Berlin is a great way to get around

The good news for those who prefer to walk and/or save some money is that it’s possible to group together and see a good few of Berlin’s major attractions without digging out that travel pass. For example, the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe are within a 10-minute walk or so of each other.

Another cluster of sites worth exploring on foot start from the Berlin Television Tower (Fernsehturm) via Museum Island (and Berlin Cathedral) to Gendarmenmarkt, with no more than a 25-minute walking time from the start to the end point.

Berlin has catered well for cyclists with over 650km of cycle paths and a large range of rental shops and options. Prices start at about €5 per day (although do check what period this actually covers in terms of hours) with some places also charging per hour rates, alongside a recently introduced self- service scheme. If cycling around the city is something you’re keen on doing and money is tight, then some hostels and hotels may include bike rental for free.

Taxis are seldom used by the budget traveller although sometimes are a necessity. Flagging one down on the street will cost just under €4 with an additional €2 charge for every kilometre up to 7km (it’s €1.50 thereafter). Ask the driver for a ‘Kurzstrecke’ or short trip journey, if in a group of 4 or less as this should allow you to travel up to 2km for just €5. 

The usual firms can be found if seeking to hire a car, however with parking being somewhat problematic, pricey, and having to compete against comprehensive public transport, then hiring a car may well be best avoided. If you’re still not put off, at least book in advance on Rentalcars.com to save money.

Food Prices in Berlin

Food and dining tastes are very subjective, but fortunately, most dietary requirements can be met and Berlin food prices are reasonable meaning you won’t have to ‘fork out’ too much money.

Breakfast may well be included in the cost of your accommodation, but if not, a pastry and coffee at a café may well suffice and will cost only a few euros.

Fast food outlets are plentiful and Berlin’s market halls sell street food originating from a host of countries. A quick bite to eat on-the-go, including some of Berlin’s well-known titles, shouldn’t be any more than €5. Some cafés and restaurants offer set-menu type deals during the week with a start, main and drink for around the €10 mark.

Cool Places to Eat in Berlin
There are plenty of different cuisines to try in Berlin!

For a sit-down meal for two at a mid-range restaurant, prices start from €40 but allow for at least double that if considering eating somewhere more high-end.

Supermarkets are a wise choice for the budget-conscious, particularly if the weather’s good, where an impromptu picnic can be hastily assembled and consumed in one of the city’s parks or even the green spaces outside the Reichstag.   

Activities Prices in Berlin

How expensive is Berlin in terms of sites and activities? The following suggestions include a good portion of Berlin’s main attractions and highlights. Some are free, some aren’t, and some can be if you want them to be. Options.

Berlin’s most famous, still standing landmark is probably The Brandenburg Gate, for its symbolism over anything else, although it is aesthetically pleasing and the last surviving of what were once many similar gates around the city. It faces the plush Pariser Platz and is not only free but one of those all-year-round, public, no opening hours attractions.

Also free is a site synonymous with the Nazis and their nefarious activities known as the Topography of Terror. This part museum, part memorial focuses on the involvement of the Gestapo, SS and security services and the crimes these organisations committed in order to maintain Nazi power.

2,711 concrete slabs of varying size comprise the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It’s a unique installation, imposing at times, with almost graveyard-like qualities, though it’s one of those places that will mean different things to different people. The memorial has no charge.

Government buildings don’t necessarily jump out as obvious tourist attractions, but the Reichstag, the home of the German parliament, has certainly become one. Visits to the roof terrace and glass dome are free of charge but require advanced online registration. 

Checkpoint Charlie was the third border-crossing point opened by Allied forces (C for Charlie is the third letter in the NATO phonetic alphabet) during the post-war partition of Berlin, and the most famous. The nearby open-air exhibit is free and with adult ticket prices for the corresponding museum costing €14.50.

Alongside Humpty Dumpty, the People’s Republic of China, and more recently, US President Donald Trump, Berlin arguably has the most famous association with a wall. Although most of it is now just a memory, parts do still remain, none more spectacular than the section found in the east of the city that has become the East Side Gallery- the largest open-air gallery in the world. It won’t cost anything to peruse the 1.3km unless you wish to visit the nearby Wall Museum East Side Gallery, tickets for which can be booked online for €10.

One of the most unmissable sites, because it’s so high, in fact, the highest building in Europe with public access, is the Berlin Television Tower (Fernsehturm). There are a range of offers/ticket combinations but a simple visit to the observation deck and bar when purchased at the entrance cost will cost €17.50. Times and dates can be booked in advance online. Berlin Welcome Card Holders can save up to 25% here too.

Museum Island Berlin
The Bode Museum on the Museum Island

Berlin has an actual island dedicated to museums. On Museumsinsel, a UNESCO world heritage site, five museums can be visited with highlights including the Pergamon Altar and Ishtar Gate of Babylon in the Pergamon Museum, and the bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti on display at the Neues Museum.

Individual tickets for the Pergamon and Neues Museums cost €12, and it’s €10 for the Old National Gallery, Altes Museum and Bode Museum. A pass for all the museums for €18 makes financial sense if the intention is to take in multiple of the above- or at least two. There is also a Museum Pass Berlin which allows entry to over 30 establishments over a period of three consecutive days. It costs €29 and can be purchased here.

Walking tours cover a diverse range of topics so if this is an activity of interest then look online for something that fits. Free tours are good value for money in that they essentially cost whatever it is you wish to tip the guide. There are also plenty of paid walking tours available if you would like to dig deeper into a specific region or period of history.

Entertainment Prices in Berlin

If entertainment means more to you than worrying about tram line ticket costs or Berlin food prices, then this section briefly looks at the price of alcohol, theatre, concerts and entry into nightclubs.

Germany is well known for producing high-quality beer. In popular restaurants, bars and clubs, beer prices in Berlin for a 500ml glass of domestic draft will be about €3.50, but this should drop in more local establishments and if drinking a lower volume. In a supermarket, the same can be purchased for under a euro. A cocktail bought in a club will cost just under €10.  

To make your Berlin nightlife experience that little more German, or if you like techno music, then entry into a techno-club will cost around the €10 mark, with drinks in the same price bracket as mentioned above.

Some opera and classical music venues offer big discounts to students under 30 and the over 65s. Bargains can be had if you’re willing to stand or buy tickets directly from the box office during the late afternoon on the day of a performance, for example, at the Berliner Philharmoniker. Standard tickets for well-known operas will be about €30, but prices do vary so check online.

During the festive season, Christmas markets with varying themes (although Christmas is quite a strong one…) sprout up all over the city. Many are free or charge a token fee of €1 to enter. One can enjoy the atmosphere and entertainment for nothing after that or shell out a few euros for a hot mug of gluhwein.

Prices in Berlin can be higher at Christmas markets
Christmas market in Berlin

Is Berlin Expensive? Average Prices in Berlin

The main topics discussed are summarised in price below. Costs do change according to a host of factors so take these figures as approximations which err on the more budget-conscious side.

Accommodation: €15 / night for a hostel bed in high season.

Transportation: €6 / day assuming two standard journeys are taken in Zone AB per day.

Food: €20 / day- for a cheap breakfast, a set-meal at lunch and fast or street food as a third meal option.

Activities: €10-15 / day- for a museum and alongside the free sites.

Entertainment: €7 / day – a couple of beers only.

All in all, you should expect to budget an average daily spend per person of around €58 per person. However, this will increase if you plan on staying in hotels and eating out more frequently in restaurants.   

This also doesn’t include any pre-trip expenses such as flights (search on Skyscanner for the best deals!) or travel insurance. World Nomads is a popular option for travellers looking for travel insurance – click here to get a quote from World Nomads.

SafetyWing is another good option if you’re travelling in Berlin on a budget. They offer affordable and flexible travel medical insurance policies. Click here to get a quote from SafetyWing.

Visiting Brandenburg Gate is free
The Famous Brandenburg Gate

So is Berlin expensive to visit? In summary, it’s simply a great city destination offering much for the traveller to see and enjoy, particularly at major tourist attractions, without having to spend too many, or in some cases, any euros at all.

Are you wondering about the prices in Berlin? Have you visited Germany’s dynamic capital? Let us know in the comments!

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Adrian is a writer for The World Was Here First. His day job is in science research and when he is not booking, boarding or berating flights, his spare time is likely to involve football, writing comedy and producing content for his own website, Best Vegan Documentaries.

Comments

  1. Hey Maggie!

    Awesome post about Berlin! We’re heading back to Prague in May so maybe we’ll have to make a quick stop to Berlin for a weekend! =)

    Reply

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