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Food and drinks cost in Berlin

Sunderland, United...
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Food and drinks cost in Berlin

My son is going to Berlin for a week in July he was considering taking 500 euros does this seem ok?

He will need all his meals and obviously alcohol will come into the equation. How much do drinks cost and any suggestions for low cost meals would be great. Are travel money cards widely used in Berlin or is cash better?

Any advice would be great.

Thanks

Portland, Oregon USA
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1. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

You could do food, beverages and a hotel for 500 euros a week in Berlin. Berlin is reasonable compared to London, Paris or Amsterdam.

Restaurants usually post a menu with prices in a window or near the front door in Germany. So, he should always be able to gauge how much will be needed before going into the place.

Chinese and Italian restaurants are the cheapest for a "sit-down" meal. For takeaway there are the usual burger joints and even some good Chinese fast food places. Bratwurst and doner kebabs are readily available and it seems to be part of the German Constitution that one or both shall be located within 50 meters of all train and metro stations.

If the weather is fine, buying picnic items at a grocery store and having lunch in a park is an excellent way to save money. German bread rolls are very good and reasonably priced. Stuff them with sliced ham and cheese (butterkase is my favorite). Then a liter of orange juice and some fresh fruit round out the meal.

I can't help with "drinks" prices but beer is the German National Beverage and competitively priced everywhere except at beer festivals.

London, United...
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2. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

Berlin is probably the cheapest capital in Western Europe. It's perfectly possible to eat for €10 (not including a drink) and portion sizes are large, so only one course is fine in general. Bratwurst, currywurst and sandwiches are available all over the city and can be as little as €1.

A beer from a supermarket will be around €0.59-89 depending on the brand; around €2 from a corner shop (Spätkauf) or €4 in a bar. Soft drinks can be very expensive when not bought from a supermarket - I've paid €2 for a litre bottle from a kiosk. Fortunately there are branches of Lidl and Aldi all over. Don't forget to return the bottles for the deposit!

Barcelona, Spain
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3. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

As the others have told you, eating out in Berlin is cheap, not least because as darren says, portions are large so one course will probably do it. Lots of places have lunch specials Mon-Fri and and on Sundays a brunch normally costs under 10€ (plus drink)

Netto is another discount supermarket chain, also all over the place. If he doesn't want to make his own he can get great filled rolls (big, lots of choice of fillings) for around 2-3€, from bakers', and sandwich places at stations etc.

Cash is better, many German retailers including big names, accept only EC cards (German-issued debit-cards), some places not even that

London, United...
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4. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

Unless the €500 includes accommodation costs (you don't say it does, so I assume it doesn't) and unless he is planning to eat at Berlin's most exclusive restaurants, and/or drink himself under the table every night, it is more than enough for a week. He won't need more than one sit-down restaurant meal a day, and 15 euros will cover a main course and a dessert. If dinner is the sit down meal, lunch can be on the hoof: a bratwurst or a kebab from a stall for a few euros.

Italian restaurants aren't especially cheap, in my experience, but there is a Vietnamese restaurant in most neighbourhoods, and they are. Plenty of good Thai restaurants too.

My own average is €40-50 per day, and that includes transport and all incidental expenditure, so I think he'd be hard put to spend 500 euros in a week, and will almost certainly be coming home with quite a few of them left over, for his next visit.

He might want to consider a pre-loaded cash card, to withdraw money from ATMs. Fairfx for example, have better than average exchange rates, and a flat €1.50 transaction charge per transaction, regardless of the amount withdrawn. Very good value - and avoids the need to carry large amounts of cash.

Edited: 29 June 2013, 22:18
Sunderland, United...
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5. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

Thanks everyone for your information its really put my mind at ease and also given him some great tips. He has to pay for his hostel out of the money as well but don't think its very expensive. My idea was to get some of his euros on a money card so that he doesn't have too much cash. Was surprised to find you cant use these cards as readily as in other European countries.

Thanks for the quick and helpful replies.

Houston, Texas
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6. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

To add on that, how much is tipping in Berlin? I know in the United States it ranges fromm 15% to 18% to 20% depending on the restaurant.

London, United...
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7. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

>He has to pay for his hostel out of the money as well but don't think its very expensive. <

You didn't say that, and it changes the picture! At the Circus Hostel, for example, the cheapest dorm accommodation is €23 a night, so there goes €161 of the €500 euros before he eats a meal or buys a beer. €500 for the week no longer sounds over-generous. There are cheaper hostels, of course.

Barcelona, Spain
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8. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

Tipping in Germany is just a matter of rounding up the bill a bit to the nearest euro/couple of euros f the bill is fairly low (as in Berlin they tend to be). Something that prob. works out at 5% (or less) but it's not a calculation. There have been long threads on this in the past.

The norm in Germany is to tell the wait staff what to charge you when they bring the bill (ie you work out what tip you are giving). It's not like Spain or the UK where you leave cash on the table. And NB tips are left in cash, not added to a credit-card bill even if you pay by card (Where you can pay by card, you can't everywhere)

Last year we tipped the waitress 5€ on a bill that came to 80 something euros and she was prettyy surprised. She had been so patient with our family group we wanted to reward her, but normally I wouldn't tip that much. I know what the expectation is in the States (wait staff are very poorly paid so it is expected that the diner contributes to top up their wages..... that's my "take" on that anyway). Friends from Britain tell me the norma there is to add 10%

And back to the question of prices: that meal costing around 85€ was at the Kleine Orangerie by Charlottenburg Palace and there were 6 of us, so that gives you an idea of how reasonable food prices in Berlin are.

United Kingdom
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9. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

Another option to consider for eating and drinking are the restaurant/cafes in the major department stores Karstadt and Galeria Kaufhof.These restaurant/cafes are usually to be found on the top floor of the stores.

They are self service and offer a wide selection of hot and cold food/drinks,desserts,cakes,pastries,beers and wines. Prices are extremely reasonable and clearly displayed.This all makes it convenient for those who perhaps don't speak the local language.

These restaurants tend to be vary spacious and there is no need to feel obliged to leave as soon as the food and drink has been consumed. On many an occasion I have eaten there, returned some hours later and found other people (probably locals) still occupying their tables.

Just make sure to clear away your used dishes before you leave!

Naples, Campania...
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10. Re: Food and drinks cost in Berlin

There are cheaper Hostels than Circus but it is an incredible hostel- also in your 20 euros a night they have FREE walking tours, can save you loads of money on transport because they have cheap travel cards that they lend out, plus their bar is cheap and fantastic too. I would definitely get your sun to stay there, I loved it. Here is their site: www.famoushostels.com/berlin-hostel