“I would love to travel, but I just don’t have the money!” Have you heard that excuse lately? Travel blogs, Instagram channels full of enviable travel pics, and our widely travelled friends’ Facebook feed not only make for heaps of wanderlust, they also bring up the question: How on earth can they afford that? The answer is fairly easy: Travelling doesn’t have to be expansive! On the contrary, the best experiences are often the ones that money can’t buy. At Industriepalast Hostel Berlin we offer you a comfortable stay in a great atmosphere at a really low price, but we also want to make sure that you can get the best out of your trip to Berlin without spending too much. And this is where our newest series Budget Berlin comes into play. In multiple episodes we provide you with some tips and tricks regarding awesome experiences in the German capital that will set you back not more than a few bucks. Last week we introduced you to the popular Free Walking Tours (Hier Artikel von letzter Woche verlinken), this week it is quite an insider’s tip for you: How does a free city tour by bus sound to you? Too good to be true? Well, stay tuned:
The magic numbers: 100 & 200
Ok, to say it is entirely free is not quite true. You will need to get a valid day pass for public transportation in order to do this. But the 7.- € for a Day Pass AB are well invested, since metro, subway, tram, and bus are the best way to get around town quickly and efficiently anyway – day and night. The magic numbers for your free bus tour are just as easy: 100 plus 200. Those are the bus lines that take you perfectly comfortable around the main sights of the capital in a near-perfect circle. Sure, there’s no audio commentary from creaky loudspeakers, but with a city guide or a similar smartphone app at hand there is no need for that anyway. Given you purchased a day pass beforehand you can hop on and off the bus as often as you wish in order to explore any site before hopping onto the next bus a few minutes later. The whole tour takes some 60 minutes and not only takes you to the capital’s attraction, but also closer to its people.
What to do:
Take the S-Bahn to Alexanderplatz. Here, at the base of famous TV Tower (1) is where your journey begins. Look for the yellow double-decker busses that leave at the large street in front of the station, then choose Bus 100 going through “S+U Zoologischer Garten”. Make sure to get a window seat, preferably on the upper deck, because from now on you don’t want to miss anything. Passing Red City Hall (2) we approach Berlin Cathedral (3) on Lustgarten (4) – and already you are on Museum Island (5), a world-famous UNESCO heritage site. We leave the construction sites of Stadtschloss (6) and Staatsoper (7) behind, before passing Humboldt University (8) and Staatsbibliothek (9) on our way down Unter den Linden Boulevard to Berlin’s most famous landmark: Brandenburg Gate (10). The epicentre of political power, the Government District, is not far now. Passing Reichstag (11), seat of the German parliament, House of the Cultures of the World (12), and, of course, Bellevue Palace (13) we make our way along Tiergarten Park. This is the City West, and we’re being greeted by magnificent Siegessäule (14). Our last stop before taking a longer break is one of the country’s most well-known ruins: Gedächtniskirche (15) on Breitscheidplatz. Zoo Station is the final destination of bus 100, so it is time to get off the bus and to treat yourself to some yummy currywurst before exploring the area a bit. We’re halfway into our bus tour now, so there is still a lot ahead of us.
Have you met the elephants at Zoological Garden (16) and waved to the monkeys from Bikini Mall’s rooftop terrace? Then it is time to return to the bus station and get onboard Bus 200 through “S+U Alexanderplatz”. We’re passing Gedächtniskirche again, but this time keeping to the south of the giant park. Through the streets of the embassy district and along the massive trees of Tiergarten the bus takes you to Berlin Philharmony (17). Lying ahead you can already make out the high-rise buildings of Potsdamer Platz (18) with impressive Sony Center. Right behind it awaits you Bundesrat (19), seat of the upper house of the German parliament, with the ministry of finance (20) right next to it. Two more stops and it is worth hopping off the bus for a few minutes at stop “Behrenstraße/Wilhelmstraße” since Holocaust Memorial (21) lies just one block to the west. Once you’re back on the bus you can sit back and relax, as you are already familiar with the way back to Alexanderplatz. Don’t forget to get off the bus here, it is not the final destination. If the weather is nice enough you might want to consider staying on the bus though and to let it take you to Volkspark Friedrichshain where you will find plenty of great picnic spots.
Make sure to purchase your Day Pass AB at 7.- € beforehand or from the driver when entering the bus, as it allows you to hop on and off the bus as much as you like. Normally both bus 100 and 200 go every 10 minutes or so, unless you take them late at night. Check out the bus route and the most important sights on the map below:
Viral: the BVG
This extensive city tour not only offers you the opportunity to visit the most important sights at a very comfortable pace and – most importantly – a very reasonable price, it’s also a chance to meet locals. Because Berliners tend to spend a lot of time on public transportation. BVG is short for Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe and they are the city-owned company that runs the subways, busses, and trams in town. They enjoy a somewhat special reputation, because even though Berliners tend to complain a lot about unpunctuality, ticket inspections, and grumpy bus drivers, BVG has used self-ironic PR strategies to create a lovably clumsy brand for themselves that now forms part of the city’s identity.
Enjoy a free bus tour of the city,
Foto: Datei: #80043980 | Urheber: tilialucida
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.