You've taken the typical tourist selfies with the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag Building, but did you know there are many other sights to see that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Avoid the hordes of tourists and see the real Berlin that makes the locals proud to say, 'Ich bin ein Berliner'.
I can't believe it's free
You promised to take the kids to Spreepark Berlin, a free theme park. They were so excited for the roller coasters, fairy floss and carousel rides. Unfortunately, you didn't tell them the reason the theme park was free – it's been abandoned for 13 years. Despite this, a guided tour of Spreepark will have you and your children gawking at broken roller coasters, messy carnival games and a crumbling Ferris wheel that still works.
After fostering your inner child, why not indulge your cultural side with a free Lunchtime concert every Tuesday at 1pm at the Berlin Philharmonic. Enjoy a peaceful lunch accompanied by the chamber music of Berlin's finest musicians. Visitor numbers are strictly limited to 1,500 so make sure you are punctual in order to secure your seat.
You could grab a stereotypical schnitzel and a pint of Becks…
Or head to the Zagreus Projekt for a meal with a difference. This art gallery invites a different artist every two months to create an artwork and corresponding meal that is served to a small group of diners. Check the website for reservations as these unique dinners book up fast.
After a hearty meal, it'll be time for a night out and what better place for a drink than Berlin, teaming with small bars to suit all tastes. If you're on a budget and don't want to blow all your holiday money on one crazy night out, visit Berlin's Weinerei after 8pm. These pay-what-you-want bars thrive on an honesty system where you help yourself to wine and food and, at the end of the night, pay what you think is a fair price.
But surely it's too cold to go for swim
You might be thinking the Northern European weather is not the time for swimming and the River Spree looks a little disgusting, but Badeschiff, or bathing ship, challenges all your preconceived notions. Designed by Berlin local artist Susanne Lorenz, the Badeschiff is an oasis of clean water among the objectionable waters of the River Spree, complete with DJs and an open-air bar. Fashioned out of a former river barge, this swimming pool turns into an indoor health complex in the winter complete with two saunas, a lounging area and a heated pool. Be warned, the Germans let it all hang out in the sauna and Badeschiff's staff will expect you to oblige.
Now that you have saved so much on your hotel, it's up, up and away…
With your very own private flight over Berlin. Get a new perspective on Germany's capital with this stunning bird's eye view where every passenger gets a window seat. Sit back and relax as your experienced pilot flies one of their popular routes. Or be a bit more proactive and choose your own route so you can see your favorite Berlin sights from up in the clouds.
If you have a day or two to spare, hire a car and head to the Gorlitz Department Store just 3 hours south east of Berlin. One of the few buildings to survive the Allied Powers bombing of Germany in WWII, recently the store was the setting for Wes Anderson’s Academy Award winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel.
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