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Every year Berlin attracts more than 32 million visitors from all over the world. There is so much to see here that you may need to visit several times to see it all. Perhaps our favorite thing about Berlin is that there are so many free things to do that allow you to get a taste of the eclectic capital. We've put together a list of our favorite free things to do in Berlin to inspire your next trip!
First of all, we'd like to say that Berlin is worth a visit at any time of the year! There is not a single month in which a city trip would not be recommended. Of course, if you want to get to know the city with all its parks and the colorful hustle and bustle of the neighborhoods, then planning a Berlin vacation from May to fall is perfect. Then you can sit in the city's bars late into the night or enjoy a Späti beer on the banks of the River Spree.
Berlin is rich in history and one of the best ways to learn about it is to take a free walking tour. You'll be able to immerse yourself in history as you walk past some of the city's most famous sites.
If you prefer to learn about history by visiting a museum, you'll be surprised to learn that Berlin has more museums than rainy days, many of which are free and open to the public. Here are some of our favorites:
The Palace of Tears: Tuesday to Friday, 9 am to 7 pm
Saturday & Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.
Humboldt Forum: Wednesday to Monday from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm.
The Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse: Monday to Sunday, 8 am to 10 pm.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (The Holocaust Memorial): Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.
The Urban Nation (Museum for Urban Contemporary Art): Tuesday & Wednesday, 10 am to 6 pm; Thursday to Sunday, 12 noon to 8 pm.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art: every Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m.
Hamburger Bahnhof: Museum für Gegenwart: every first Thursday of the month from 4 to 8 pm (as part of Volkswagen Art4All).
Neue Nationalgalerie: every Thursday from 4 to 8 pm (as part of Volkswagen Art4All)
Plus, Free admission on Museum Sunday to over 60 Berlin museums on the first Sunday of each month. View the list of free museums here.
Several hundred feet of the Berlin Wall, which irrevocably divided East and West Berlin during the Cold War, have been preserved along the River Spree in the Friedrichshain district. After reunification, it was painted by artists, creating the longest open-air gallery in the world. Today you can walk along the wall for free. If you'd like to learn more about the history of the wall and the gallery, there are free and paid tours of the East Side Gallery.
In a city this big, you might not think there'd be a lot of open space. Interestingly, Berlin has more parks than any other city in Europe. Most parks in Berlin are free (or charge a small fee to help maintain the park). You really can't go wrong with any of the parks, but here are our favorite free parks:
Monbijou Park - Monbijou Park, near Museum Island on the River Spree, has perhaps the most picturesque view of all the parks. Perfect for a picnic and a few beers while taking in the stunning views of the Berlin Cathedral.
Tiergarten - Berlin's version of New York's Central Park, Tiergarten covers 520 acres in the middle of Berlin. It's home to the Berlin Zoo, memorials, sunbathing meadows, and a café and beer garden by a lake where you can hire boats.
Tempelhofer Feld - The former Tempelhof airport is now a public park where you can join cyclists, joggers, and rollerbladers. There's also a barbecue area and a couple of dog parks.
Mauerpark - Have you even been to Berlin if you haven't taken a trip to the iconic Mauerpark? The public park is located in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district, close to the Berlin Wall Memorial. Many people come here to chill out, practice their graffiti or listen to Karaoke. The park is also home to a huge and eclectic flea market on Sundays, full of vintage and art vendors and lots of good food.
Thai Park (Preußenpark Park) - Known to most Berliners as the Thai Park, the park has a large open space that is home to seasonal Thai food stalls.
Teufelsberg - During the Cold War, there was an Allied listening post on Teufelsberg in West Berlin's Grunewald forest. Today, you can visit the lost site on your own or as part of a historical tour.
Berlin may have plenty of parks, but one thing it definitely doesn't lack is lakes! That's right, Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg have 3,000 lakes, with almost 100 in the city itself. Be sure to check which lakes and beaches are nudist-friendly.
The Reichstag is the famous building that houses the German parliament. The stone building is topped by a glass dome designed by Norman Foster, which offers a 360° view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape. If you want to enter the Reichstag and climb the dome (free of charge), you'll need to register in advance here. Don't forget to bring valid identification on the day of your visit.
Berlin is home to many flea markets, both traditional, where you can find vintage and antique items, and eclectic, where you can find fun stalls filled with handicrafts and artisanal products. Some of our favorites are:
Flea market at Mauerpark
Art market on Museum Island
Berliner Trödelmarkt at Tiergarten
Flea Market at Rathaus Schöneberg
Nowkoelln flow market Maybachufer
Plan your city break to Berlin during one of these free events:
1 May: Myfest 🎊
28 May: Carnival of Cultures 🪘
21 June: Fête de la Musique 🎶
23-26 June: 48 Stunden Neukoelln
30 June - 2 July: Kreuzberg-Festival
22 July: Christopher Street Day 🏳️🌈
Early October: Festival Of Lights* 🏮
End of November to end of December: around 80 Christmas markets every year, most of which are free to enter
31 December: New Year's Eve party at the Brandenburg Gate 🎆
*Festival of Lights: In the capital, many buildings and structures are beautifully lit up! In some cases, animations are even projected onto the facades and accompanied by appropriate music. The main attractions are usually the Brandenburg Gate and Berlin Cathedral. You can see the illuminations on your own or book a guided tour. Bus and boat tours are also available.