“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 no more than a few bucks. Our first four chapter were aimed at showing you how you can explore the city’s sights by foot, on a free bus tour, or with free attractions, as well as how to find cheap eats in Berlin. This week we proudly present you some handy city guide smartphone apps for Berlin:
A travel guide in your pocket
There was a time when you could easily tell a tourist from a local. See that helpless person with a guide book in their hand, not being able to see the city from all the sights? Yeah, those days are over. Everybody can act like a local now, thanks to real-time information on their smartphone. Numerous apps combine thousands of pages of recommendations about attractions, museums, restaurants and public transportation in one handy program on your phone. There are quite a few city guide apps for the German capital now, too. One of them – maybe the best one – is Berlin Travel Guide mTrip. It offers information about all sights and attractions in Berlin, as well as detailed maps and personalized tours. All features are available offline, so you don’t even need mobile data while using it. It is currently available for both android and apple devices at a price of 3.99, which is still cheaper than a print copy of a common travel guide.
A free option is the Berlin Travel Guide by Ulmon. Just like the mTrip app it comes with offline maps, city sights details, and much more. And if you’re looking for activities slightly more off the beaten track, check out Going Local Berlin by Berlin-based tourism platform visitBerlin. It’s also free, works offline and for both android and iOS devices.
Explore Berlin’s history
iPhone users can choose from two amazing apps that will help them explore the city’s history. Berlin History Guide and Berlin Cold War Guide are two apps designed to take you on an exciting gps-based walking tour along certain aspects of the capital’s history. If you want to find out more about the story of the Berlin Wall you should download award-winning app Die Berliner Mauer (Android) resp. The Berlin Wall (iOS) for guided tours along the former wall including historic photographs, videos, and audio files. For virtual time travellers, application Time Traveler The Berlin Wall offers an augmented reality experience at historic locations.
Don’t get lost in the metro jungle
Berlin’s public transportation network is excellent. In a way, it might be too excellent even, for it is not difficult to get completely lost between metros, trams, and subways. Even Berliners are often only familiar with the lines they usually take. A very practical solution are therefore transportation guide smartphone apps. There are numerous apps on the market, most of them cover the German capital, too. If you’re spending a couple of days in town it’s definitely worth installing the official app of Berlin transportation network “BVG FahrInfo Plus”. Real-time information on all busses and trains make sure that you will reach your destination quick and easy. If you’re an Android user you might want to try out the open-source project Öffi – Journey Planner, which works perfectly fine in all major cities in Germany.
If you prefer taking a taxi cab around town, check out application Taxi Berlin. For legal reasons Uber is not really a thing in Germany, thus Taxi Berlin is your best option to call a cab anytime anywhere. What might be a problem though, is that all these apps require a functioning internet connection. If you own a smartphone but no German or EU sim card, this might be an issue. Luckily, there’s a solution for that, too:
Free WiFi almost everywhere
Gone are the days when you had to linger around the corner from a Starbucks or McDonald’s just to “steal” some free WiFi. These days, hotspots are available throughout bigger cities – and Berlin is no exception. Besides commercial hotspots by well-known providers, most subway stations in Berlin offer free WiFi now, too. The city itself runs several hundred WiFi hotspots in exchange for watching a short ad. Apps like Hotspotfinder Berlin (Android) or Berlin FreeWifi (iOS) help you find the closest internet hotspot for your phone. Even more handy, though with one foot in a legal grey zone, is the application WiFi Map (Android & iOS): It not only lists public hotspots in the area, but also private password-protected networks which have been made public by their owners. When roaming a neighborhood rich with coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and shopping malls this is an easy way to stay connected at basically all times – even without a local sim card, and entirely charge-free.
Bildnachweis: Datei: #138835720 | Urheber: Ewais – fotolia
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.