Discover Berlin with a van, enjoy the German capital with a low budget.
All our good tips in our travel blog!
We planned to stay there for 3 or 4 days, but we soon fell in love with Berlin and finally spent almost 2 weeks there!
So, you’ll find here:
- 1/ The must do and see in the capital with a low budget and
- 2/ the useful info to travel to Berlin with a van.
A modern capital but with a rich history, a cosmopolitan capital, always full of surprises and where everyone will find what he looks for.
Visit Berlin with a van
1/ Limited budget? Our tips to visit Berlin
On the map above you’ll find our different spots in Berlin: where to park the van, good places to eat, go out, museums and else… !
1.1/ Culture, art and history with a low budget
Berlin is a rich city in terms of history. And no need to be very wealthy to enjoy it.
First of all, in the Prenzlauer Berg district, you can not miss the “Berlin Wall” … Climb the belvedere (free), be careful, it closes at 4pm. It gives you a first glimpse of how it was before. You can see how large was the road to cross from west and east Berlin, with still an observation tower. Then we went up the street using the various information and scenography on the way: information panels, photos, statues … There are also testimonials from people who lived the separation. Like people who were blocked on one side while their family and friends found themselves on the other side of the wall (Subway Bernauer Strasse).
East Side Gallery
5km from here, the East Side Gallery. 1.3km of the Berlin Wall (the largest remaining part) which supports a open air street-art exhibition in the Friedrichshain district. Paintings usually have for themes the fall of the wall or peace and tolerance, as the famous kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker. (Schleisches Tor subway and cross the beautiful Oberbaumbrucke bridge, or Warschauer subway, Eastern train station).
Brandenburg Gate and Holocaust Memorial
More in the center, between Mitte and Tiergarten districts, do not miss the Brandenburg Gate. But also the Holocaust Memorial … a monument dedicated to the murdered Jews of Europe. A labyrinth of stele of different sizes (up to 4m height) … Personally, walking between these blocks made me feel something special. Between sadness, strength, the feeling of being very small… There is an information center which is free, unfortunately we could not do it with our little dog.
A little further north, the visit of the dome of the impressive Reichstag Palace is also free. On the other hand it is necessary to plan it a bit in advance. Book 3 days before if you are on site (by going to the ticket office one hundred meters from the building). Or if you book online, you can plan up to 1 or 2 weeks earlier. But we were told that there is more available place on site. Tip, do not forget your ID.
You like classical music?
Whould you like a free concert at the Berlin Philharmonie? Well yes, it’s possible! Ok, not in the big hall, but you can still enjoy a free concert every Tuesday at 1pm in the Philharmonie’s lobby. Seats are reserved for the elderly, otherwise you can sit on the stairs. It lasts about 1h30 and it is forbidden to film.
Of course, there are many other great museums to visit in Berlin (like the natural history museum 8€). It’s up to you to see what you are interested in! But you can also just wander around the city to see beautiful buildings, such as: the Berlin’s Fernsehturm, the Berlin’s Central Station (the largest in Europe), the German Historical Museum, the Jewish Museum, the new Synagogue, the city hall, the imperial post office, the Sony building, the main squares…
1.2/ Where to go out in Berlin
Of course, everyone knows about Berlin’s parties, endless nights and legendary clubs: Bergain, Tresor, Watergate and many more …
But if you are not really into electro, you still have many alternatives to enjoy Berlin by night.
A gentrificated neighborhood
Friedrichstain and Kreuzberg districts seemed to be the most festive for us. And they were also the closest from the Tempelhof Park (it’s where we were parked)! There are many bars and alternative restaurants. As for example close to the East Station, a gentrificated neighborhood with outdoor bars (like the YAAM), nightclub, large indoor skatepark, climbing wall ... Good vibes!
Have a drink by the Spree
A bit South, in Kreuzberg, we liked the Club der Visionare. A bar and a nightclub, but with a outdoor space by the Spree river.
Really cool when you can still enjoy the sun of September.
Bar with a view
Even closer to our spot (20 mins by feet from Tempelhof), in Neukölln district: the Klunkerkranich. It’s above a mall, not really easy to find by the way. But the view is nice and perfect for sunset. Later in the night people begin to dance.
Oldest pub in Berlin
If you want to discover “Berlin’s oldest bars”, go get a drink (and / or eat) at the “Zum Nussbaum” in the city center (Mitte district). And for a more festive atmosphere, make the late afternoon at the “Prater Garten“, the oldest beer garden in Berlin. A large outdoor area with large tables … friendly and not bad to meet people.
For your info, in Berlin, party begins late… don’t expect much people before 11pm, midnight.
1.3/ Berlin’s events in September
In September, summer seemed to be over, so we were afraid that we missed the crowd. But no! There are still many things to do in the capital. Sunny days are still ON and outdoor pubs still attract people!
When we were there, we found;
- The film festival in Tempelhof,
- Food Festival at Alexander Platz,
- Kite festival at Tempelhof park,
- Lollapalooza festival (rock music),
- and of course the Oktoberfest, a must do… in many places in town.
There is certainly more but it’s what we saw.
1.4/ Around Berlin
If like us you have a bit more time to discover Berlin, you can take a day or 2 to go a bit around Berlin.
– The usual: Charlottenburg castle and garden. It’s nice to have a walk in the garden. A moring or afternoon seems to be enough. There is a good and cheap asiatic imbiss when you go out the Richard Wagner Platz subway.
– More original: Paint in Berlin ! There are some places in Berlin where painting is OK (find more on this wesite). Of course, don’t expect to find your masterpiece next year, someone will paint over it. But we were looking for something legal and it was! South west of Berlin (30 mins from the center with commun transport), it’s 1€ to get in. It’s only open from 3 to 8 pm on weekdays and it’s normally forbidden for dogs, but the guy accepted Huaca, really nice. It was a really cool moment!
– A bit further away: Postdam, Sanssouci Palace and garden. About 1h by train from Berlin, do not hesitate to go visit the Sanssouci Palace and its wonderful garden. You’ll find, the new palace, the chinese house, green and goldy shelter, the orangery, small lakes… it really worth it. (If you have your own van / vehicle, go park in the university parking in front of the new palace, it’s free).
2/ Useful info, Berlin with a van
Here you’ll find useful infoto prepare a trip to Berlin with a van.
2.1/ Where to park a van in Berlin
Discover Berlin with a van… we saw a spot on the Park4Night mobile application… and we really like it. 10 mins from a clothest subway (U Boddinstrasse) and 45 mins by foot from the city center.
There are many other vans and camping-cars and some of them seem to stay here all year… but it feel safe! Just next to the Tempelhof Park, which is a former airport that the city reorganised as a big park for commuters. The landing strips are still here and all joggers, rollers, bicycles enjoy it !
Collective gardern, skatepark, possibilité to make BBQ on weekend… great! Especially with our dog who really enjoyed to spend time in a park every morning and evening, and not only visiting the city center.
2.2/ Where to take a shower and take water
There is a swimming pool not far (15 mins north), the entrance is 5,50€. There are some gym with a free trial, check on internet. And sometimes we just went early to the park’s toilets to have a quick hygiene. Toilets are open form 8.30 am to 8.30pm, maybe even earlier during summer. We took water there too.
2.3/ How to move in Berlin
When you arrive in Berlin with a van, then you need to move in town…
There are different possibilities. By foot in order to have time to see everything, but it can be a bit long! You can also take the bus, subway or rent a bicycle.
A metro ticket is valid for 2 hours with possible changes and stops, but no return with the same ticket. They are valid for Metro (U), (S), Tram, bus and ferry in town. They can be bought individually, by book or day. By book, it cost 2 €/ ticket.
Or you can also rent a bike in Berlin. It’s really nice to ride in the city. After we looked for different options on internet to find the cheapest plans, we tried the “Mobike”. We really enjoy it, we just regret that bike services are less easy to use than in London or even Paris.
2.4/ Budget in Berlin
On the budget side, Berlin is a super reasonable capital. You can find very expensive as very affordable. For small budgets like us, eat for less than € 5 (curry wurst, kebab, burger, ramen …), choose to walk, visit free museums, drink 3€ beer … in short, you can easily enjoy Berlin without being rich.
>> We hope that this article about Berlin, the German capital will be useful!
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