How To Do ‘Poor But Sexy’ Berlin In Under £300

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The metropolis of Berlin is a famous travel destination amongst students. Still, with student life comes the tiresome requirement of calculating every move when on holiday. Throw away your worries, print out this guide and book the next flight to Berlin – this is how you do Germany’s capital in under £300!

Berlin follows the European red thread of architecture and space. It is like a modern Rome, with archaeological leftovers of the German Empire, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich sprawled among spanking newborn artistic frameworks. And it is like the Scandinavian capitals Stockholm and Copenhagen, with pastel coloured 18th century facades enveloping spacious, green streets.

Berlin is a perfect concept in itself, a phenomenon to be experienced first handed.

Berlin has the inviting pulse of distinct night clubs, but also the calmness of a sleepy town on the countryside. In short, Berlin is a perfect concept in itself, a phenomenon to be experienced first hand. But, as always, a great holiday is all about the details:

Accommodation

In case you do not know a Berliner, inexpensive living is spelt hostels. The best hostels are on the outskirts of Berlin. Lichtenberg, Charlottenburg, Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain are beautiful districts to visit in their own rights, and by living in one you can explore the whole of Berlin rather than just the city centre.

Hostels also usually allow you to rent bed linen and towels for a cheap euro which enables you to drop the luggage and save money on the flight ticket. Schlafmeile is one example of a great hostel.

Eating

Living in a hostel does not only ensure cheap living but also cheap eating. Porridge costs less than 10p per portion, and you can even bring a bag of oats from home. Cooking facilities in hostels can be used for dinner, but if you cannot resist the mouth watering strawberry kuchen or meat schnitzel, a meal at a restaurant can easily go under £7.

Curry wursts from street food stands are a Berliner speciality and outdoor facilities are never crowded. Instant food curing instant hunger, so to speak.

Curry wursts from street food stands are a Berliner speciality and outdoor facilities are never crowded. Instant food curing instant hunger, so to speak. The restaurant 1001 Falafel on Mariannenstrasse in Kreuzberg makes the most delicious plates of Lebanese food, and the café Schmitt’s, placed on the corner between Oderstrasse and Weichselstrasse, can give you anything between home-made pea soup and the biggest bowl of muesli, yoghurt and fresh fruit.

Travelling

First rule: do not take a taxi. A group ticket – including U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trains and buses -costs about €15. For under £5 you can travel all over Berlin, lazily window shopping Berlin’s skyline. Another warning; if you travel to Berlin Schönefeld Airport, please buy a ticket for zone B. I did not and was suddenly £50 poorer.

Clubbing

Bound to its reputation, Berlin has to offer a great party scene. If you look carefully, you will find this. Crammed in a World War II-bombed train cargo area on Revalerstrasse in Friedrichshain, a graffiti-covered gay club oozes cigarette smoke, sweat and 90s music chosen by a happy transvestite. It is as fun and crazy as you would imagine Berlin clubbing to be. And it’s totally free.

 

 

Tourist attractions

There is much to see in Berlin, but the trick is to make it as cheap as possible. Getting to know the city by foot is perfect – walk along Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz and Unter den Linden, or why not take the chance to explore Berlin’s districts? Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Charlottenburg offer graffiti paintings, art galleries, cosy coffee houses and flee markets.

Don’t buy a guided tour to the historical sites. Instead, do some research before the trip and find the way yourself. Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag are free of charge, but you need to apply for the Reichstag in advance (follow this guide). If interested in history the Holocaust Memorial, the Topography of Terror and the East Side Gallery are perfect, and free, places to visit. Some price worthy exhibitions are the Jewish Museum for €3.50, and the Hohenschönhausen Stasi-prison for €1.

You’ll do best to ignore Checkpoint Charlie and the TV-tower; they are both stressful, exploited and the TV tower is very expensive (€11). Instead, put your money and time into a graffiti tour. It’s an exciting alternative to the historical Berlin, offering anecdotes about the modern anti-Fascist, socialist and communist movements.

When walking into an art gallery in Charlottenburg, a friendly woman told me that Berlin is called ‘poor but sexy’.

This is what makes Berlin so exciting; its overwhelming history merged with today’s interpretations and dealings with it.

This is a good description. The 20s trademark of being the cultural metropolis in Europe is gone, but the style and atmosphere persist. This is what makes Berlin so exciting; its overwhelming history merged with today’s interpretations and dealings with it. A city in struggle. But what a beautiful struggle.

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