Some minimal cost may be involved but nearly free doesn’t have the same ring to it.
1. Do a Walking Tour
There are a number of free walking tours available. Most visit in the main sites and take about 3 hours. It is generally practice to offer the tour guide a tip based on how much you have enjoyed the tour. I would generally give €5-€10. The good thing about these tours is that you will be brought to the main sights which you’ll probably want to see anyway and you might learn something along the way.
2. Visit the East Side Gallery
Apart from the part of the Berlin Wall adjacent to the Topography of Terror is located, this is probably the best remaining example of the wall. There are murals with various themes along both sides. It also isn’t a crazy busy place and there’s a nice little park along by the river. The area of Friedrichshain a short walk away contains many nice bars and cafes and is worth a look around.
3. Visit the Holocaust Memorial & Topography of Terrors
These two are certainly not the most uplifting attractions to visit but are excellent in their own way.
Firstly, the memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust is certainly appropriate and profound in a number of ways. The way it looks like a graveyard, the distorted effect of walking through it as well as the individual but orderly fashion in which each stone is placed. There is also a museum underground where you can learn more about the various Concentration Camps and the way Nazis systematically murdered so many people.
Secondly, the Topography of Terror details the rise of the SS and the way that they operated their campaign of oppression and control whilst occupying countries during the war as well their role in the Holocaust. What most fascinated me was the details of how prominent Nazis fared once the war had ended and how some were allowed to lead relative normal lives without repercussions.
Most people feel a bit shit after visiting one or both of these places but we must never forget!
4. Drink in Public
Ok so you will actually have to buy a beer somewhere first, but it can be quite refreshing to stroll around and see Berlin with camera in one hand and bottle in the other. This option works well with 1. & 2. but don’t even think about doing it with 3.
5. Visit the Reichstag
Although the politically correct name is the Bundestag. All the locals refer to it as the Bundestag. This is the big building near the Brandenburg Gate where the German Parliament sits. Entry is free although it is advisable that you book ahead of time on their website www.bundestag.de