In order to ensure your FENS Forum 2018 experience in Berlin will be the best you've ever had, we gathered around great options for you that will be affordable, social and unique!
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Free fun things to do in Berlin
They say the best things in life are free, and without naming any names, they're kind of right. After all, while Berlin is one of the cheapest big cities in Europe, there are still plenty of fantastic ways to have some fun without spending even a single penny...
Catch a ride to the Reichstag’s dome
The Reichstag is home to Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, and a free lift ride to its roof terrace offers spectacular views over the city and close-ups of the modern, Norman Foster–designed glass dome powering from the historic building. Pick up a free audioguide and learn about surrounding sights, the building and the workings of the parliament while moseying up the dome’s spiralling ramp. The glass aims to create a sense of political transparency. Book way ahead
Stroll the East Side Gallery
A colourful memorial to freedom, the East Side Gallery sits along the Spree River and is the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall. Shortly after its fall in November 1989, more than 100 artists from all over the world turned it into an open-air gallery covered in declarations of peace and other, often politically minded murals.
Marvel at the architecture on Museum Island
At the tip of Spree Island, Museum Island is complex of five museums – Pergamonmuseum, Bodemuseum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum – that collectively enjoy Unesco World Heritage status. While you’ll need to pay entry to peruse artefacts within, strolling the island to take in the magnificent architecture costs you nothing.
Pay your respects at the Holocaust Memorial
The haunting Holocaust Memorial, which commemorates the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, consists of a giant field of stelae – 2711 sarcophagus-like concrete slabs varying in height on undulating ground. As you walk through, an unsettling atmosphere is created from the audible whispers and footsteps of others close by.
Picnic in a park
In summer Berliners flock to their favourite parks to tan, picnic and knock back a few beers. The Tiergarten is the sprawling central city park with lots of paths, ponds and romantic corners. Or, for something unconventional, head to Tempelhofer Park, a former airport turned public park. Grab a disposable BBQ at the supermarket and grill your bratwursts next to the former runway. Mauerpark, which was forged from the ‘death strip’ once dividing the two Berlins, is another great hangout, especially on Sundays when a flea market and outdoor karaoke kick into action.
Feast your eyes at food markets
Check out what gets cooked up in local kitchens by stopping by gourmet delights at a farmers’ market. One of the best, Kollwitzplatz in Prenzlauer Berg, has an artisanal bent and takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays. Kudos for being the most colourful goes to the Turkish Market held on Tuesday and Friday afternoon along the canal in Kreuzberg. Nearby, Markthalle Neun is a historic market hall that hosts produce vendors on Fridays and Saturdays but is most fun on Thursday evenings when fashionable foodies invade for a celebration of international street food.
Rummage around a flea market
Seek out one of the many flea markets that set up around town on weekends. Whether you’re after vintage threads, GDR kitchenware or retro lighting, you’ll find a flea market to your fancy. Our picks are Arkonaplatz for vintage finds, Nowkoelln Flowmarkt for Berlin fashion and designs, and Mauerpark for its eclectic selection, beer gardens and people-watching.
A selection of the quirky vintage finds at Berlin's flea markets.
Although Checkpoint Charlie has mostly degenerated into a tourist trap, it’s still an essential place to visit. The principal gateway for foreigners and diplomats between the two Berlins, it was here where the world stood on the brink of WWIII when US and Soviet tanks faced off in 1961. A free outdoor exhibits chronicles milestones in Cold War history.
Get the full picture of the Berlin Wall
Germany’s central memorial to the victims of the Berlin Wall, the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) stretches for 1.4km along Bernauer Strasse, along the actual course of the Wall. This is the best place to learn how all the elements of the hated barrier and the death strip fit together, how the border fortifications were enlarged and perfected over time, and what impact they had on the daily lives of people on both sides.