Berlin is the about the cheapest capital city in western Europe for a tourist. Transportation passes for the city are 28 Euro for 7 days and include city trains U-bahn (urban rail system) and S-bahn trams and busses.
Pick up a 7-day pass at the Tegel airport BVG center when you arrive or any train station in the city.
BVG Ticket Passes
- single ride = 2.40€(A-B zones includes most Berlin tourist areas and Tegel Airport TXL)
- one day pass = 6.50 €(A-B zones)
- 7-day ticket = 28 € (A-B zones)
BVG is Berlin Verkehrsbetriebe or Berlin Transport Company.
Be aware that Berlin is a city of 3.5 million residents. In the USA only New York and Los Angeles have a larger population. Unless you have reason to travel to the outer city limits, then A-B zones will likely cover all your tourist travel needs.
I purchased a 7-day transportation ticket for my seven day stay in Berlin and I will probably have overpaid 2€ compared to buying individual tickets at 2.40€. The convenience of the ticket was worth the extra money since I did not have to spend time buying a ticket or finding the cash for a ticket each time I got on a train or tram or bus.
The weather was dry on four days of my trip and I walked 20 or so miles on the streets rather than taking trams or trains.
A side note is you only need to stamp your ticket or multi-use pass the first time you use it and then put it away. There are no ticket gates at U-bahn entrances of exits in train and subway stations. Busses are the only time I needed to even show the pass during my week in Berlin.
Berlin transportation signs.
My first ride out of ten rides on the bus from TXL airport was the only time ticket inspectors came aboard the bus to check passenger tickets. Everyone on the bus had a valid ticket. Two guys jumped off the crowded bus as the inspectors boarded.
In Amsterdam when I have seen ticket inspectors enter trams, as many as half the riders were fined for not having a valid ticket.
Germans tend to follow the rules.
Also you must take a bus to and from TXL. The U-Bahn does not go all the way to the airport. There are plenty of signs and announcements to let you know where the transfer points from the S-Bahn and U-Bahn to the TXL bus.
Berlin Museum Pass
Berlin Museum Pass gives admission to 55 museums 19€ over 3 consecutive days.
8 versions based on regions and length from 2 to 5 days.
- 48 hours (A-B zones) = 18.50€.
- 72 hours (A-B zones) = 24.50€.
- 5 days (A-B zones) = 31.50€.
Whether a Berlin museum pass or Berlin Welcome Card is for you depends on your plans.
I have lived on Asian noodle shops which are all over the city where 3 € buys a box of noodles and vegetables with chicken. There are usually a dozen different dishes ranging from 3 to 6 Euros.
Happy Noodles menu near Alexanderplatz.
On the left is the basic noodle and vegetable mix and chicken, pork, beef and shrimp are added when you order and heated on the spot.
When customers come in regularly the food is generally fresh. I walked out of one noodle shop in Berlin west side since the food looked like it had been sitting for some time without customers.
Soup for under 2€. I ate at Happy Noodles once and took photographs of their menu.
My favorite place where I ate several times is AsiaGourmet at Alexanderplatz by KFC. My typical meal was 4.50 to 5.50 € and a 0.5 L Berliner Kindl beer for 2 € made a filling and satisfying dinner for this traveler.
5.50 € beef and noodles AsiaGourmet.
3.00 € chicken and noodles at Happy Noodles.
Prices are the same for lunch and dinner.
In neighborhoods away from Alexanderplatz and major hotels there are typically plenty of ethnic restaurants for Indian, Thai and Middle Eastern food.
I did not eat any German style meals this week. I lived in Germany for three years and German food is primarily meats and potatoes. I passed by a German restaurant in the hotel district near Alexanderplatz charging 20 € for a schnitzel dinner. Certainly there are German meals for less and a sausage with bread can be found for 3€ or less.
If your hotel does not provide breakfast then go shopping at a market. Boxed salad with chicken about 1.80 €, yogurt drink 720 ml for 1.00 €; baguette 0.50 €; sliced cheeses under 2€ and sliced meats under 2€.
Beer averages about 0.40 to 0.65€ at supermarkets and 2€ at night shops.
Bars typically charge 2.20 to 3.50€ for beer.