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Germany on a budget: a guide with the best tips and the cheapest places to visit

The ultimate guide to traveling Germany on a budget! Includes budget travel tips, cheap places to visit, interesting work exchanges to try, and more!

8min

germany-on-a-budget

Germany is one of the best places to visit in Europe! With plenty of history, architecture, culture, food, and nature to experience, there is no shortage of things to do in Germany.

From festive Christmas markets, to majestic castles, to cosmopolitan cities, to beaches, forests, charming towns, and more, there is something for everyone in Germany.

And due to its central location in Europe, it is very easy and convenient to visit while backpacking around the continent. Being a country that's wedged right in the center of Europe, the cost to travel there is pretty average. The affordability is great!

Because Germany is centrally located on the continent, it is more expensive than eastern countries like Romania or Bulgaria, but it is cheaper than pricey western countries like France or Spain.

If you want to travel Germany on a budget, it can definitely be done! You just have to know the right budget travel tips to make your stay cheaper. That’s where this article will come in handy!

We will cover everything you need to know for how to travel Germany on a budget! From cheap places to visit, to affordable accommodation and work exchanges, to extra budget travel tips, you can easily plan a visit to Germany with very little money.



How to travel to Germany on a budget?

Despite Germany being one of the most expensive countries in Europe, it is very possible to explore this fascinating country cheaply. 

Here's a quick overview of traveling to Germany on a budget and how you can make the most of your time with little money.

Find cheap transport with budget airlines and rail passes

Europe is full of budget airlines that offer incredibly cheap flights around the continent. Airlines like Ryanair, Wizzair, Norwegian, and Easyjet have flights around Europe for as cheap as 20 Euros one way! If you’re flying into Germany, check budget airlines to see if they have any cheap flights.

If you’re traveling Europe by land, you can enter Germany by train or bus. Germany has an amazing public transport system, and buses are really cheap for traveling to Germany. Trains are a bit more expensive, but if you book your train tickets a week in advance the prices may be cheaper. Also, look into Eurail passes if you’re going to be doing a lot of train travel!

Visit Germany in the winter

The months of December, January, and February are winter in Germany, and they are the cheapest time to travel! 

Winter can get very cold and there may be snow! Because of the cold, sightseeing is slightly less enjoyable and therefore fewer people visit Germany in winter.

Since winter is off-season for travel, flight prices drop significantly during this time. Accommodations and tours may also offer cheaper prices. Just avoid the school holidays times around Christmas, as everything gets really crowded. 

So just pack warm clothes, book a cheap winter flight, and get ready to explore Germany on a budget!



Stick to mainly free or cheap attractions

One of the best ways to enjoy Germany on a budget is by prioritizing the free or cheap attractions. There are lots of fun things to do in Germany that cost very little money, or no money at all

Exploring nature is one of the best things to do for seeing Germany on a budget. Hiking, cycling, or even just hanging out in a city park are all great ways to enjoy Germany for free.

In bigger cities, you can also often find free walking tours! Many landmarks are free, and many museums have free admission on certain days or times so definitely look into that. If you’re visiting Germany in winter, wandering around Christmas Markets is an affordable activity. 

Find cheap accommodation or do a work exchange

Another essential way to save money in Germany is finding cheap accommodation! Hostels are located in most major tourist cities around Germany, such as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Cologne. They are also in smaller cities like Leipzig, Nuremberg, Dresden, Heidelberg, and Dusseldorf. Hostels in Germany cost around 16-30 Euros per night for a dorm bed.

For even cheaper accommodation than a hostel, consider a work exchange! Working in exchange for accommodation not only saves you money, but it also allows you to stay in one place for longer. That way, you can meet and bond with locals, learn some valuable skills, learn more about the culture, and just have a unique and memorable experience.

Some examples of work exchanges in Germany include:



Cheapest places to visit in Germany

There are lots of amazing and cheap places to visit in Germany, from small towns to big cities. For travelers who are new to Germany, here are a few of the top cities to visit in Germany. These places are generally cheap for travelers because they have lots of budget accommodation options and free attractions.

Berlin

When traveling Germany on a budget, you will most likely begin your journey in Berlin, the nation’s capital city. If you’re flying into Germany, there are lots of cheap flights into Berlin, so this is a great place to begin. This city is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines!

Berlin truly has so much to see and do, and many of the best attractions are free. From seeing the colorful murals at the Berlin Wall, to seeing majestic landmarks like the Berliner Dom and the Brandenberg Gate, to visiting historic sights, memorials, and parks, you can explore much of Berlin for very little money!

Cologne

This charming city in western Germany is another incredible place to visit if you’re looking to save money. Cologne is a gorgeous place with some stunning landmarks such as the impressive Cologne Cathedral. Climb up to the top for the best views of the city! Also check out the Old Town for delicious food, fun bars, and lots of colorful, antique architecture.

A fun and unique work exchange you can try in Germany is volunteering at a small hostel that needs help taking care of its alpacas! That’s right, this hostel in Boppard, just 1.5 hours away from Cologne, has 4 alpacas and they need help from travelers to take care of them!



Frankfurt

Another wonderful place to visit in Germany on a budget is Frankfurt. This city is famous for having one of Germany’s best skylines, and it’s also a city of great diversity. There is modern industry that includes shopping and entertainment, but there is also a historic side with an Old Town and lots of museums and galleries.

The best way to stay in Frankfurt on a budget is by working in a hostel! You can volunteer in this hostel and work in exchange for free accommodation. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also get an in-depth experience in the city and get to live like a local.

Munich

Munich is a gorgeous area of Germany that is located in the scenic state of Bavaria. Most travelers head here during the world-famous Oktoberfest so they can dress up in fun outfits and drink beer! 

This festival is on many travelers’ bucket lists, but if you want to visit Germany on a budget it would be wise to avoid this time as many accommodations and flight prices increase dramatically.

Outside Oktoberfest, Munich is actually quite affordable, and it’s one of Germany’s most beautiful cities. There are lots of accommodation options to choose from that may suit your budget. Wander through the Old Town and admire the intricate, historic buildings, or indulge in some hearty Bavarian cuisine at a local restaurant.



Dresden

Located in eastern Germany, Dresden is another city that is amazing for touring Germany on a budget. 

Dresden is the capital city of the state of Saxony, and it’s one of the country’s most populous cities. The city was destroyed by bombings in WWII, but the historic city center has been rebuilt and nowadays there are lots of gorgeous buildings of Baroque and Rococo architecture to check out.

To save money while traveling in Germany, consider this work exchange which is in Forst, about 1.5 hours away from Dresden. You can work for a nonprofit local project and help out with content writing, photography, videography, and more. In exchange, you will get free accommodation and free meals!

Dusseldorf

If you’re going to Germany on a budget, stop in Dusselsorf! This city in western Germany is located on the Rhine River and has lots of art, music, and culture to offer travelers. The east bank of the Rhine is home to the picturesque Old Town, whereas the west bank of the river is home to the more modern part of the city.

Most travelers hang out in the Old Town, also known as the Altstadt. Here you can find an abundance of cool sights and attractions, as well as countless pubs, bars, clubs, and entertainment venues that will keep you entertained for days.

Hamburg

Hamburg is a fun and affordable city that is often skipped by tourists in Germany. But that means it’s full of locals and you can have a cheap and authentic experience here. Visit the museums, stroll along the canals, check out the historic landmarks, and live it up at the many clubs, bars, and restaurants.

For a peaceful cultural experience that will also save you money on accommodation, you can volunteer at a yoga retreat. Test your cooking skills by helping out in the kitchen with preparing healthy meals. This work exchange is located in Göhrde, a town about 1 hour away from Hamburg.



Extra tips for budget travelers in Germany

Here are some extra tips that will help you save money in Germany. If you travel to cheap cities, try some work exchanges to get free accommodation, and follow these tips, you can easily have an epic adventure through Germany on a budget!

Choose the bus over the train

Train travel is often much more attractive than bus travel, but in reality, it is much more expensive. Trains in Germany can be pricey, and buses are cheap, so travel long distances by bus if you want to save money.

Take public transport

When you’re staying in a city, avoid taking taxis as they can be super expensive. Public transport such as metros, trams, and public buses are all very reliable and modern in Germany. But always remember to validate your ticket before you get on the train or bus, otherwise, you could get fined!

Get a city pass

If you’re a huge fan of museums and galleries, it’s worth buying a city pass for places like Berlin or Hamburg. Entry fees for museums can add up, so paying for a city pass can save you money on attractions in the long run.



Bring your student ID card

If you’re a student, always have your student ID card with you! Many attractions throughout Europe offer discounted entry fees for students if they have a valid ID.

Eat and drink like the locals

For eating and drinking out in Germany, stick to the less-touristy, local restaurants and bars. The touristy areas often have overpriced food and drink that is catered towards foreigners. Ask around to some of the locals about the best places to eat and drink on a budget!



Thanks for reading our guide to Germany on a budget!

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