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Affordable Berlin

A budget-minded take on Germany’s cool, artsy capital.
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Rating: 3 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days

Overview:  Berlin has cold-war mystique, ambitious contemporary architecture, and booming gallery and restaurant scenes. With its cosmopolitan,... more »

Tips:  Although it’s hopping year-round, Berlin’s atmosphere is most buoyant in the late summer months and into the fall. The weather is... more »

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Points of Interest

Browse the impressionist collection at Alte Nationalgalerie.

Address:
1-3 Bodestrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-2090-5577

For a bite to eat, stop into this pizza restaurant popular with couples who come for the ballroom dancing.

Address:
24 Auguststrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-282-9295

3. Einstein Tower

A must-see for any Potsdam itinerary, visit Erich Mendelsohn’s 1921 masterpiece.

Address:
1 Telegrafenberg
Potsdam
Germany

Phone:
49-31-291-741

Open since the spring of 2007, this terrific Spree-riverfront steak house is still one of the city’s see-and-be-seen hot spots. (No surprise, given the résumés of its founders, nightclub impresario Boris Radczun and gallerist/art collector Stephan Landwehr.) With low ceilings, deep chaises, and red-lamped lighting, the interior... More

5. Kunst-Werke

This former margarine factory displays work from fifty international artists.

Address:
69 Auguststrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-243-4590

6. Leo Bettini

For lunch, order the signature Knödel (German dumplings).

Address:
33 Mulackstrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-6050-7494

In the heart of the buzzing Mitte neighborhood, Lux 11 is the latest creation from a dynamic minimalist duo, Claudio Silvestrin and his wife, Giuliana Salmaso. The 72 rooms (20 more are slated to open in early 2006), each a monolithic space, have open bathrooms finished in concrete and honey-colored wood. An Aveda spa occupies the ground floor,... More

New York architect Peter Eisenman's haunting field of concrete pillars.

Address:
Cora-Berliner-Straße 1
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-2639-4336

9. Neues Palais

Within the Schloss Sanssouci, spend some time exploring Neues Palais, an 18th-century palace commissioned by Frederick the Great.

Address:
Park Sanssouci
Potsdam
Germany

Phone:
49-331-969-4255

The Baroque façade disguises a modern interior.

Address:
88 Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse
Potsdam
Germany

Phone:
49-331-23170

Arguably one of the world’s finest archaeological museums, the Pergamon sits proudly in the center of the city’s famed Museumsinsel (Museum Island), a collection of five spectacular museums that’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Among the showstoppers in the permanent collection here is an enormous partial re-creation of the Pergamon altar from... More

Four billion dollars and five years were sunk into the building of this supposed future-scape just so that one of its main squares—Marlene-Dietrich-Platz, mind you—could host a McDonald’s, a Starbucks, a sad-looking casino, and Mamma Mia!, the musical. Arriving at the glassed-in Hauptbahnhof, the central train station and one of the largest in... More

The Reichstag, with its transparent Norman Foster dome and top-notch collection of contemporary art (cue Gerhard Richter’s stunning interpretation of the German flag in the lobby), is a blessing upon the urban grid and a serious statement about Western democracy’s chances of survival.

Address:
1 Platz der Republik
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30... More

14. Ristorante Villa Kellermann

Splurge on truffled pasta at this Potsdam restaurant housed in a waterfront mansion.

Address:
34-36 Mangerstrasse
Potsdam
Germany

Phone:
49-331-291-572

The most famous attraction in the Brandenburg capital city of Potsdam (an easy day trip from Berlin) is the elaborate, Rococo-style Sanssouci castle—Berlin’s answer to Versailles, created by King Friedrich Wilhelm II between 1745 and 1747. The sprawling, ornate palace is surrounded by acres of painstakingly landscaped parklands, which include... More

This newly expanded hotel is set around a secluded courtyard and has a modern café to match its 50 studios and apartments.

Address:
185 Schönhauser Allee
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-4737-3970

Dine at this lively pub, filled with mismatched furniture. Try the Schweinschnitzel or ravioli-like Maultaschen with a Rothaus beer.

Address:
48 Tucholskystrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-2809-8084

Start the morning in the 543-acre park in the city’s center. Walk along the shaded paths to wind up at the Brandenburg Gate.

Address:
89 Alt-Moabit
Berlin
Germany

19. Berlinomat

Berlinomat sells mostly Berlin-sourced stuff: books, clothes, a cookie cutter shaped like the Fernsehturm (Berlin’s famous TV tower).

Address:
89 Frankfurter Allee
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-4208-1445

There are no toilets at Burgermeister, which is somewhat curious as the place itself is really a toilet. No joke; it is actually a 19th-century cast-iron public bathroom that’s been recommisioned as an Imbiss, or snack joint.

Address:
8 Oberbaumstrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-2243-6493

Surely the coolest vegetarian restaurant in the world; the restaurant is also a club. Menu changes weekly.

Address:
55 Behrenstraße
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-2749-2940

So adored is Berlin currywurst (a hefty sliced pork sausage slathered in curry-spiked ketchup) that there’s even a new museum devoted to it. Curry 36, in Kreuzberg, is the place for a fix—especially after midnight. Ask for Einmal ohne Darm mit Pommes rot-weiß: skinless sausage and fries with both ketchup and mayo.

Address:
36 Mehringdamm
... More

Facil, on the top floor of the Mandala Hotel at Potsdamer Platz, is reminiscent of the clean lines of the Neue Nationalgalerie down the street, and one is mesmerized by the two rows of chestnut trees—yellow and green in equal measure—shivering in the autumn cold on the attractive patio. The weird acoustics deposit snatches of political and... More

This formal wood-paneled dining room is one of the grandest in the city and the only one with two Michelin stars. Walking into the room you pass a rolling silver Christofle lobster press parked in the corner. It’s a message, like the giant wine glasses and the hum of service, a symbol of the haute cuisine and rarefied experience ahead.

Address:
... More

Frarosa is a wine bar/restaurant where you drink all you like and pay whatever you choose. “You put two euros into the pig to begin,” the barman explains, pointing to a bank on the bar. “At the end, we have a talk and you pay what you think is fair for you and fair for us.” As you can imagine, this is a popular policy. The 15 tables fill quickly... More

26. In’t Veld

Artisanal chocolate shop.

Address:
26 Auguststrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-4862-3423

Starchitect Daniel Libeskind’s boldly designed museum building—an angular assemblage of zinc-coated panels that’s been called both visionary and blasphemous—houses exhibits that pay powerful tribute to both the devastation and hope of the Jewish people. The zigzagging architecture of the building is an essential part of the visitor experience,... More

A veritable Disneyland of comestibles, the sixth floor of the KaDeWe department store showcases all the latest food trends and ingredients. At its 30-plus dining bars, one can taste anything from bratwurst to bouillabaisse, but the best among them might be the cool, nameless herring nook—it’s right next to the fish section—mannered by a chef who... More

Gourmet food wing of well-edited store that sells German products.

Address:
4-5 Hardenbergstrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-30-2630-0346

Take the tram to the Mauerpark flea market in Prenzlauer Berg, near the site of the crumbling Wall. Stop into one of the café stalls alongside the market for shots of glühwein, mulled wine spiked with rum.

Address:
63-64 Bernauer Str.
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-17-629-250-021

Unlike a lot of self-consciously funky hotels around the world, the Michelberger is genuinely cool. And friendly and funny: hallway TV’s play a permanent loop of The Big Lebowski in German. Built in a refashioned factory on Warschauerstrasse in the east, the whole operation feels like a large-scale art-school project. There is free Wi-Fi and cheap... More

32. Schoene Schreibwaren

Art supply store.

Address:
6 Niederbarnimstrasse
Berlin
Germany

Phone:
49-17-681-006-670