Berlin is one of our absolute favorite cities to go to for a nice weekend. Close, pleasant and affordable and with lots of exciting restaurants, hotels, shopping and museums. It is not really wise that it only takes a little over an hour from Stockholm to Berlin by plane, the feeling that Berlin offers is many miles further away.
Last weekend we were in Berlin again and usually when we travel to places we've been before, we tend to be very unplanned. It's really nice to just hang out for a weekend in a city that you feel a little at home in. This time, however, we had a plan: We had already seen all the "Berlin must-sees" on previous visits, so this time we would just do "fun" things. There would be quite a lot of riding on the subway and trains around town, some shopping and several museums. Our first thought was to buy a day pass on the subway as usual, but this time we went all-in and bought Berlin Welcome Card.
What is a Berlin Welcome Card? The Berlin Welcome Card is a tourist card which, in addition to providing free public transport, also provides discounts at museums, shops and restaurants. They come in several variants, but the one that suited us best was a 48-hour card for zone AB (central Berlin). Not being that well planned, we bought the ticket at a tourist office on site in Berlin on Saturday morning, but the absolute best is to buy the ticket online in advance or buy it directly when you land at the airport. As we were delayed with the flight and local transport stopped running, we took a taxi from Schönefeldt airport instead of taking local transport. Otherwise, we could have bought the card already at the airport and taken free local transport into town. We did absolutely nothing to maximize the card's value, but only went to the places we had intended to go anyway, and if the card gave discounts, it had to be a bonus.
So how did it go? Did we save any money while sightseeing in Berlin? Here is a comparison between what it would have cost with and without a day pass. NOTE: I am not including the cost of transport to the airport in the calculation, as we did not use the card for this.
|(Prices in Euros for 2 adults and 1 child)||Without card||By card|
|2 pcs 48h Berlin Welcome Cards zone AB for adults (3 children under 14 are included in an adult card) (à 19,90)||39,80|
|Local traffic, day pass for adults 2 days in zone AB (à 7 Euro) (3 children under 14 are included in a day pass for adults)||28|
|German Spy Museum||32||24|
|Computer Games Museum||19||14,25|
|2 bags of popcorn + a cloth bag on Popkonditorei Knalle||13||9,75|
|Pergamon Museum (no discount)||24||24|
|Two chocolate cookies on Ritter Sport Bunte SchokoWelt||2,58||1,95|
|The Glass Dome at the Riksdag House (free)||0||0|
Well, measly 5 euros So we saved on the card. Maybe not the biggest discount in world history, but still cheaper than if we had paid for everything without a card. How could we have saved more money? If we had instead bought a 48h Berlin zone ABC for 3 Euro more per card, we could have taken the Airport Express train back and forth to Schönefeldt free of charge. Single tickets with the train round trip to Schönefeldt otherwise cost a total of 18,60 Euro for 2 adults and 1 child, so there is a saving to be made here! However, it is also possible to buy day passes in the local traffic that apply to zone ABC, which only costs 0,70 Euro more person/day than the AB cards, so in this case it is actually more affordable with the local traffic card.
CONCLUSION: The Berlin Welcome Card has discounts on a wide range of museums and activities – everything from the Berlin Zoo to the TV Tower to Madame Tussauds to hop-on hop-off buses. But to be able to save money, you need to use the card for the transport to and from the airport and be a little more structured in the sightseeing than we were. Remember, however, not to let the card guide you too much in choosing a museum, restaurants or activities, but do spontaneously what you feel regardless of the discount. A spontaneous coffee at the long-standing chocolate house Rausch was worth its weight in gold for us - absolutely without discounts!
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