Things are a little dicey for Airbnb in Berlin at the moment. In May, the local government made it illegal for residents to rent out entire apartments to tourists. The law, called Zwecken-tfremdungsverbot, was intended to deal with rising rental rates and housing shortages for residents. Local protestors have jumped in on the action, going so far as to post graphic ads around the city reimagining the site’s logo as a noose and testicles. In the latest development, a court ruled that homeowners can in fact rent out their second homes on the site while living elsewhere. The drama is sure to continue, but the fact remains that if you want to rent a cool apartment in Berlin, and you don’t feel guilty about potentially destroying the local rental market, your options are plentiful and affordable. Here are 10 of our favorites that are available for under $100/night.
1. Schöneberg loft 2. Modern apartment 3. Quirky gem 4. Artfully decorated home 5. Contemporary studio 6. Sunny spot 7. Roomy two-bedroom 8. Cute loft 9. Kreuzberg apartment 10. Mitte apartment
Erica Jackson Curran is a former alt-weekly editor turned moonlight freelancer based in Richmond, Virginia.
1 of 10
This Schöneberg loft exemplifies the Airbnb selection in Berlin: Clean, funky and so cheap you'll do a double take. With rates averaging just $57/night, the rental includes a fully equipped, private kitchen with a bar made from an antique VW bus. The bathroom is shared with an adjacent apartment. It's about 100 meters from the nearest U-Bahn (subway) station.
2 of 10
This sleek and modern apartment in up-and-coming Friedrichshain was originally designed to film a commercial for a yogurt bar. Besides a unique circular bed, the apartment has a full kitchen, a sitting area with a state-of-the-art entertainment system, and a small balcony. Nearby, you'll find a handful of U-Bahn stations plus attractions like the Oberbaum Bridge and the weekend Boxhagener Square market.
3 of 10
What happens when a few reclaimed woodworkers put their space up for rent? This quirky little gem, which features a rotating selection of handcrafted furniture that can be purchased if you're so inclined. It's in the hip neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg, known for its cobblestone streets, leafy trees and indie bars and cafes. The host provides guests with an organic breakfast kit including milk, coffee and tea, yogurt and muesli.
4 of 10
Stay in the cozy, artfully decorated home of Superhost Prochor, located near Treptower Park along the River Spree. There's room for four guests with a bedroom and fold-out couch, and everything you need to make a proper German dinner, including a gas cooktop and a mini Smeg fridge.
5 of 10
Located in central Tiergarten, this contemporary studio overlooks a private garden and is next to the recently opened Gleisdreieckpark, which won the German Landscape Architecture Prize for its unique design in 2015. The space has a modern, open kitchen with an induction cooktop plus a large bed and an extensive book collection. Markets, boutiques, galleries and coffee shops are also nearby.
6 of 10
Described by past guests as "spotless," "spacious" and "perfectly located," this sunny spot has a large open floor plan with the dining area and bed, along with a separate galley kitchen and bathroom. It's about a 15-minute tram ride from Alexanderplatz, one of Berlin's most visited squares and travel hubs, and five minutes walk from Volkspark Friedrichshain, the city's oldest public park.
7 of 10
This roomy two-bedroom flat has space for six guests, making it perfect for a family or group of friends. Rented out exclusively as a vacation rental, the apartment has an open floorplan with a fully equipped kitchen and plenty of room to lounge, plus a private courtyard. It's on a quiet side street close to cafes, bars and an U-Bahn station.
8 of 10
It's no surprise this cute little loft is booked through next spring—it averages just $37/night. The main living area has a large couch that converts into a bed, plus a workstation complete with a typewriter, and the kitchen is surprisingly roomy for a space this size. The bathroom has a big tub and rain shower, and it's close to a market and train station.
9 of 10
This Kreuzberg apartment oozes vintage charm, from the historic architectural details to the midcentury furniture and glassware. Ideally situated for travelers who love nightlife, the apartment is between Oranienstrasse and Schlesiches Tor, both known for their bars and clubs. And for those who prefer a little green, it's right on Goerlitzer Park and the adjacent Landwehr Canal, where you'll find a brunch café and outdoor theater performances throughout the warmer months.
10 of 10
While the main living area may look subdued enough, this Mitte apartment has a bit of a comic book fetish, most visible in the bathroom. The artist-designed space is around the corner from Schönhauser Allee, a major shopping area in Prenzlauer Berg. Past guests praise host Carina for being welcoming and helpful in getting around Berlin.