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How to Enjoy a Week-long Holiday in Berlin for Less Than $1,600

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Joanne Poh

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Despite the fact that German isn’t exactly known for being the most romantic of languages, lots of Singaporeans seem to be studying it these days, either so they can embark on further studies in one of Germany’s almost-free universities, or to find a job there and enjoy the work-life balance the country has become famous for.

But if your interest in the country goes only as far as its potential as a holiday destination and, of course, the beer, the good news it that Berlin is chock full of historical sites, offbeat bars and a great art scene. The bad news is that since renting out apartments on Airbnb to tourists is now forbidden, accommodation is going to cost you more than in many other EU capitals. Here’s a breakdown of the costs of a week-long trip to Berlin.

 

Flights

Flights to Europe seem to have gotten consistently cheaper over the years, or maybe it’s just that we can now do our own research thanks to sites like Kayak.

There is now no need to pay 1,000+ SGD for a ticket to Berlin. In fact, a search on Kayak right now reveals that there are tickets in October on Turkish Airlines for a cool 803 SGD, while tickets on Finnair are also under 900 SGD. With a bit of research and luck (obviously, avoid the school holidays), you should be able to get tickets for under 900 SGD.

Cost: 900 SGD

 

Accommodation

Airbnb offers the best deals for travellers to most Western European countries, where hotels tend to be quite expensive and hostels are, well, hostels. Unfortunately, in order to ensure residents have access to affordable housing, Airbnb tourist rentals are now forbidden in Berlin.

That means budget travellers can choose between a cheap hotel, which will cost at least 90 SGD to 100 SGD for a night, or hostel rooms, where a bunk for one person costs 10 euro (15 SGD) to 20 euro (31 SGD), depending on the area and the general condition of the place.

If you’re travelling with a friend, your best bet is to look for a private room in a hostel. This might work out to be even cheaper than having each of you get a bunk in a shared room. You might or might not have to share bathrooms with other guests, but at least you’ll have the security (and cleanliness) of your own room, if that’s what you want.

Cost: 30 euro per night / 180 euro (276 SGD) for a week

 

Transport

Berlin’s rail systems, the U-Bahn (underground) and the S-Bahn (local railway) will show Singaporeans what real mass transit efficiency is all about. Take that, SMRT.

Short trips on the rail or bus system within Zone A cost 1.70 euro (2.61 SGD), while a longer trip into Zone B will cost 2.7 euro (4.14 SGD).

For those travelling into Zone B, a day ticket encompassing both Zones A and B costs 7 euro (10.72 SGD) and lets you take multiple rides within 24 hours.

Practically speaking, if you’re staying in centrally located accommodation and are exploring the city centre, you’ll be spending most of your time in Zone A.

From the airport, there are numerous buses that will take you to the city centre, meticulously labelled in truly efficient German style. Just pick your accommodation or ask someone if you don’t know where to go—the locals are notoriously precise with their directions. As the airport is located in Zone B, you pay 2.70 euro (4.14 SGD) to get to the city centre by bus.

Cost: 70 euro (107 SGD) for a week

 

Sights

Berlin is home to a treasure trove of museums and historical sights. Even if you’re not exactly a history buff, the remains of the Berlin Wall and the many holocaust-related sights are an eye-opener. It’s a good thing many of the sights are free to visit. Here’s a list of some of the most important and how much they cost.

  • Brandenburg Gate – Free
  • East Side Gallery – Free
  • Checkpoint Charlie – Free, 12.50 euro (19.16 SGD) for the museum
  • Jewish Museum – 5 euro (7.66 SGD)
  • Holocaust Museum – Free
  • Pergamon Museum – 12 euro (18 SGD), or 18 euro (27.59 SGD)f or Museum Island Pass which lets you visit all the museums on Museum Island in 3 days

Cost: 50 euro (77 SGD) to keep you busy for a week

 

Food

You’re not exactly wrong if you think you’ll be eating lots of sausages in Berlin, because they’re seriously everywhere. Fortunately, they can also be quite cheap.

Cheap eats in the form of sausages, burgers and Turkish snacks like kofte can cost as little as 2.50 euro (3.80 SGD) and 3.50 euro (5.36 SGD). These can often be bought from little stands or tiny shops.

A meal at a simple, inexpensive restaurant would cost around 8 euro (12.26 SGD), which isn’t too bad, while you should budget about 20 euro (30.65 SG) per person for a meal at a mid-range restaurant.

Cost: 105 euro (161 SGD) for a week

Total cost of a week-long trip to Berlin: 1,521 SGD

Berlin really isn’t that expensive a destination. It’s increasingly getting taking over by young people, students, artists and freelancers, so the demand for cheap food has grown. The main thing that will raise your costs is the lack of Airbnb rentals. If you’ve ever considered staying with a Couchsurfing host or visiting a friend who’s currently based in Berlin, now’s a good time to darken their doors.

Have you ever been to Berlin? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.