“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. We kick off the new series with a true “classic” of modern backpacking: the tip-based Free Walking Tours:
All the highlights on foot
City tours by food are not exactly the latest invention. But whilst classic sightseeing walks in single file behind a suited guide holding an umbrella up into the air have a somewhat dusty image, free walking tours are the epitome of young, educational, yet entertaining city walks. The concept is simple: A guide, often in their twenties, who knows and loves the city, walks you to the highlights of the town over the course of two to three hours, telling stories and anecdotes, sharing insider’s tips, and answering your questions. But instead of forcing you to spend a lot of money on a ticket before you even know if it is worth it, this all happens tip-based. So by the end of the tour, you decide how much the experience and the guide’s effort are worth to you. These days, Berlin has a number of free walking tour providers focussing on different aspects of the city. These are the ones we trust:
Alternative scene or the “real” Berlin?
Berlin’s unique vibe – and those who know will confirm this – derives mostly from its “alternative scene”, e.g. the thriving (street) art community, musicians and djs, squatting scene, creatives, artists, and hedonists. You won’t find them around the “classic” sights though, thus Original Berlin Tours have made it their mission to take you on a journey to the wild universe of Berlin’s subversive counterculture. Their Free Alternative Walking Tour starts on Warschauer Straße and does not end until you’ve seen more graffitis, galleries, street art projects and squats than you can count. Other than traditional city tours, it is not about the buildings and historical facts here, but about the manifold lifeworlds of the trendy boroughs Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. Parks and spätis, bars, clubs, and street vendors, as well as alternative lifestyles – this tour will take you to the heart of Berlin’s underground culture. “If you only take one tour in Berlin take this one!”, they claim on their website – and we couldn’t agree more. This is the closest you will get to the “real life” in the German capital. The tour guides pick you up every day at 12 am, here at Industriepalast Hostel Berlin and take you on an unforgettable journey. Don’t miss it!
Our hostel blogger Norma took the tour a few years ago and she wrote about it. Check out her account here. Original Berlin Tour offers a number of exciting tours, among them traditional and alternative city tours on bike – tip-based too, of course. Find out more on their website.
The classic option
Exploring the “classic” sights of Berlin should still be part of every trip here, luckily you can do that within a tip-based tour, too: SANDEMANs NEW Europe offers an unforgettable tour along the capital’s main points of interest. After their three-hour Free Walking Tour you will have seen all you need to see in the historic city centre and your instagram account will be filled with some amazing Berlin impressions. The best part of it: the guides are outstandingly qualified and manage to make the walk just as educational as entertaining. As Berlin’s biggest tour operator SANDEMANs is able to guarantee an extremely high quality of every single tour offered, something that is especially visible in the thousands of enthralled online reviews. “I highly recommend this tour”, is what you’ll read often, or even: “The highlight of my trip to Berlin!”. Again, it is not necessary to book in advance or to pay for a ticket beforehand. Instead, you decide afterwards how much you want to tip the guide. SANDEMANs tour guides come and pick you up at Industriepalast Hostel’s lobby every day at 10 am and take you straight to the starting point of the tour at Brandenburg Gate. If you feel like you need more information, check out their website.
Although these tours are called free walking tours, it is courtesy to recompense an entertaining tour with a proper tip. The tour guides live off their work and put a lot of effort into making this an unforgettable experience for you. Thus it is only fair to be as generous with them as your budget allows. If you have further questions regarding the free walking tours, feel free to consult as at the reception.
Enjoy exploring Berlin on a shoestring,
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.