Name any form of urban transportation and there is a big chance it exists in Berlin. Underground subways, trains, trams, e-scooters and much more make itone of the best connected cities in the world.
And while all these options might seem overwhelming when you first arrive, once you spend a couple of days in the German capital you will be thankful for the city’s efficiency and ease. There is a reason why Berliners often say, “No matter where you are, everywhere in Berlin can be reached within 45 minutes.” Here are the best ways to get around Berlin.
With subways running every 5-10 minutes during the day, the Berliner U-Bahn is a symbol of the city and by far the best way to get around. Easy to catch almost everywhere you are, this network of ten different lines, 173stations and 91miles (146km) of track reaches almost every corner of the city. Locals love it for its efficiency, connectivity and frequent connections, while visitors find it the most comfortable way to explore without having to plan too much.
The U1 and U2 lines are good for east-west connections, while the U8 is the favorite for party goers at night. Furthermore, with the recent expansion of the U5 between Brandenburger Tor and Alexanderplatz, travelers can visit Berlin’s key attractions using only a single line.
Even though it is less frequent and not as well connected as the U-Bahn, the S-Bahn is the preferred choice for travelers wanting to cover longer distances or visit the outskirts of Berlin.
Take the Ring line to reach different neighborhoods without going through the busy center, or take one of the connecting trains between Zoologischer Garten and Ostbahnhof to get some beautiful glimpses of the city above ground. They might not be as picturesque as when taking the bus or cycling around, but can give you a good overview of Berlin’s bustling urban vibe.
The S-Bahn is particularly good for day trips to destinations just outside Berlin, such as the city of Potsdam or the beautiful Lake Wannsee.
Buses and trams
Although they are known for being slow and sometimes unreliable (of course, only by German standards), buses and city trams not only take you to the most remote parts of the city, but also offer a different view of Berlin.
While trams mostly run in the former East Berlin, busses reach every single corner of the city with their massive network. Even though they are not as efficient as the U-Bahn due to traffic at peak times, some buses (M11 to M85) and trams (marked with an “M”) run 24/7 and won’t let you down.
Looking to see Berlin’s key spots on a budget? Take the double decker buses 100 or 200. They pass through Berlin’s most famous landmarks. If you are quick getting on at their first stop, Alexanderplatz, you might get a front window spot on the upper floor.
After becoming extremely common in large cities all over the world, electric scooters are the latest way to get around in Berlin. Small, easy to use and fun, they are a good method of transportation for covering small distances or simply sightseeing.
Since e-scooters can use the extensive cycling paths of Berlin, locals and visitors find it an easy way to get around in a safe way, while getting some fresh air as a bonus. Berlin’s most popular e-scooter companies are Lime, Bird, Tier and Bolt.
Just like in any other metropolis around the world, driving a car can sometimes be a nightmare. Still, we can’t deny that sometimes having your own vehicle is the most convenient way to get around.
Luckily, you don’t need to bring your own car to Berlin. Car sharing companies are very popular among locals –almost everywhere within the city limits you can use an app to rent a car in seconds. You then pay for the distance driven.
Remember, when you sign up, car sharing companies will require you to submit your driving license and verify your identity, so be sure to plan ahead. Berlin’s most popular car sharing companies are WeShare, ShareNow and Miles.
It is true that Berliners rarely use private transportation to move around the city. However, hailing a taxi or ordering a ride with an app is sometimes the easiest way to get from A to B. Fortunately, apps like UBER, FREENOW or Bolt offer their service all over the city, and even tend to be slightly cheaper than the traditional taxi cabs.
Ridesharing is also quickly becoming a popular option, due to its lower cost and environmental impact. Berlin’s most popular ridesharing apps are CleverShuttle and BerlKoenig.
Being the preferred method of young Berliners to get around, cycling in the city centeris cheap, environmentally friendly and, in many cases, faster than any other form of transportation.
With over 385mi (620km) of cycling paths all over the city, on a typical day you will see both commuting locals and visitors exploring the city by bike. Although renting a bicycle for a day is very easy at hostels, hotels and rental shops, bike or e-bike sharing is probably the best option when balancing cost and flexibility.
Berlin’s most popular bike-sharing apps are NextBike, Lime, Jump and Donkey Republic.
Berlin is a city designed to be explored on foot. Large avenues connect to beautiful squares, there are parks almost everywhere, and pedestrian-only areas lead to charming alleys.
Also, since each district in Berlin can be considered completely independent from the others, you can simply walk within your own “Kiez” in order to find everything you need, and later can use one of Berlin’s transportation methods if you want to visit a different area.
Tickets and travel zones
The public transportation system comprises fare zones A, B and C. Zone A includes the city center of Berlin and the S-Bahn-Ring, zone B begins outside the S-Bahn ring and reaches Berlin’s city limits, and zone C includes the outskirts, BER airport, and the city of Potsdam. Also, one single ticket is valid for all forms of public transport, and tickets are available for zones AB, BC or ABC.
Single tickets are valid for 120 minutes after the moment of purchase. Tickets bought at the vending machines in any station must always be validated by having them stamped by machines on the station platforms themselves. However, tickets purchased with the BVG app or on trams or buses do not need to be validated further.
Important to remember: with no ticket barriers and only a few inspectors, travelers can get the impression that public transport in Berlin is free. However, if you ever get caught traveling without a ticket, you will get a fine of €60.
Unless you are planning a visit to the city of Potsdam, an ABC ticket isn’t necessary to explore most of Berlin’s highlights. Also, depending on how many days you are staying in the city, you should calculate if it’s better to get a single ticket, a 24-hour ticket or a 7-day pass.
Additionally, take into consideration that Google Maps works perfectly for checking connections in just a few seconds, and to see all available public and private transport options. This can be very handy, particularly at night when the public transport schedule changes.
More information about fares, network maps and ticket options is available at the BVG official website.
Traveling at night
If ever there was a city where public transportation works perfectly at night, Berlin is it. No matter what time it is, there is always a way to get around.
On weekdays (from Sunday until Thursday) most U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines run from 4 am until 1 am. But don’t worry; night buses replace all U-Bahn lines and the major S-Bahn lines for their few hours of downtime, and provide public transport every 30 minutes.
On the weekend (Fridays and Saturdays), like the city itself, Berlin’s public transportation doesn’t sleep, as S-Bahns and U-Bahns run all night long. S-Bahns run at night in 30-minute intervals, while U-Bahns are every 15 minutes.
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What is the best way to get around in Berlin? ›
U-Bahn. With subways running every 5-10 minutes during the day, the Berliner U-Bahn is a symbol of the city and by far the best way to get around. Easy to catch almost everywhere you are, this network of ten different lines, 173 stations and 91 miles (146km) of track reaches almost every corner of the city.Is Berlin a walkable city? ›
From a climate, health and cost standpoint, walking is one the best modes of transport.How do people in Berlin get around? ›
Popular companies include Byke, Deezer Nextbike, Donkey Republic, Lime Bike and more.
- Deezer Nextbike.
- Donkey Republic.
On buses, fares are paid to the bus driver, on trams at the ticket machines inside the trains. In larger stations, the S-Bahn and the BVG also provide ticket counters. Tickets can also be purchased via the free BVG app.Is Uber cheaper than taxi in Berlin? ›
Secondly all Uber drivers are ranked by their ratings – which means they go the extra mile to make sure you are arriving without unnecessary detours and are usually really friendly. And furthermore Uber rides are usually cheaper than normal Taxi services.Is it hard to get around in Berlin? ›
Berlin's public transport system is easy to use once you understand a few things about it. For shorter distances, walking or cycling could be an option, but this won't work well for longer distances or if you're visiting Berlin during a rainy spell or in the cold winter.How many days in Berlin is enough? ›
Sure, you can run through the best of Berlin in one day, but it takes at least three full days to just scratch the surface of Berlin. Add in a day trip or two and before you know it, you need four to five days to explore this city.Is 3 days enough to visit Berlin? ›
Three days in Berlin is enough time to learn about the city's history; visit at least one of its many museums; get to know the most popular quarters (Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Friedrichshain); chill out in a park; discover the new and the old, the east and the west; and last but not least, fall in love with this capital!Can I see Berlin in 3 days? ›
If you're not into museums, 2 days is enough time to see the city's highlights. Yet, if you are a museum lover or a WWII buff, I'd recommend you to spend at least 3 (or even 4) days in Berlin. There are some super interesting museums and a lot of WWII sites to explore.Is Berlin friendly to foreigners? ›
Berlin is a great city in which to be an expat, it is multicultural, dynamic, and open minded. As an expat you're sure to make yourself at home there, even if it takes a little while. You will be able to mix with Germans, people from your own country, and people from all over the globe.
Is taxi expensive in Berlin? ›
Taxis in Berlin are quite expensive; but short trips of up to 2km are included in a fixed rate of € 5 ( US$ 4.90). To enjoy this special tariff, you should say to your taxi driver in German: “Kurzstrecke" as soon as you get into the cab.Is 2 days enough for Berlin? ›
2 days is enough time to get to see all of Berlin's major attractions and test out a few restaurants, though the ideal time to spend would be 3 or 4 days.Can you drink tap water in Berlin? ›
Yes, tap water is safe and the most controlled beverage/food product in Germany. Many German cities including Berlin and Munich brag about the quality of their tap water which often comes from the same source as mineral water.What is the difference between U-Bahn and S-Bahn in Berlin? ›
The U-Bahn commonly understood to stand for Untergrundbahn (underground railway) are conventional rapid transit systems that run mostly underground, while the S-Bahn or Stadtschnellbahn (city rapid railway) are commuter rail services, that may run underground in the city center and have metro-like characteristics in ...Is visiting the Berlin Wall free? ›
This is where the Berlin Wall Memorial starts and where the visitor center is located. There is an exhibit inside of the Nordbahnhof S-Bahn Station titled "Ghost Stations". Admission is free and you do not need a ticket to visit any parts of the Memorial.Do you tip in Berlin restaurants? ›
In restaurants, cafés and bars and Berlin, service is usually not included in the bill. Therefore, tipping is customary, but not compulsory. If the bill is paid by credit card, the tip should be given in cash if possible. It is not common to leave money for servers on the table after leaving.Do taxi drivers in Berlin speak English? ›
Taxis in Berlin
Taxis are plentiful in Berlin and they are cheaper than in many other large European capitals. Most drivers speak English and are generally helpful.
TAXIS AND UBERS AT (BER)
The starting rate is €3.90 and then €2.30/km (for the first 7 km), and from thereafter it's €1.65/km. Expect to pay between €45 - €55 for most locations in the heart of Berlin.
Spending five days in Berlin is the perfect amount of time if you want to get a real feel for the city. You'll still be able fit in some of the main sights and attractions like the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate, whilst also getting to explore the city like a true local and getting off the tourist track.Can you get by with English in Berlin? ›
Berlin, Germany's most multicultural city, is already considered by its dwellers to be more or less bilingual. It's possible to get by speaking English and knowing very little German.
How much spending money will I need for a week in Berlin? ›
How much money will you need for your trip to Berlin? You should plan to spend around €110 ($107) per day on your vacation in Berlin, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, €41 ($40) on meals for one day and €14 ($14) on local transportation.What is the best month to go to Berlin? ›
The best time to visit Berlin is May through September, when the weather is ideal for cafe sitting, park lazing and leisurely city strolling. Winter, on the other hand, is freezing: Temperatures tend to range from 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.Is Berlin is expensive? ›
According to this year's Index, the cheapest city in the world is… Berlin! Of all those surveyed across 53 cities, Berliners were the least likely to describe their city as expensive.Is Berlin or Paris better? ›
Which Is Better Berlin (Germany) or Paris (France)? Depends on what you're looking for! Berlin is known for its crazy nightlife and vibrant culture while Paris has a reputation for being one of the most romantic and best cities in Europe.Where is the best area to stay in Berlin? ›
Conveniently called Mitte, or 'middle', the city centre is the best area to stay in Berlin for the traditional sightseer. Mitte encompasses many of the city's tourist hubs, including Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, the Nikolaiviertel and Unter den Linden.Is it better to visit Berlin or Munich? ›
Berlin vs Munich – the final verdict
Munich is the better city for people who like to see Germany's traditional side and like to explore magnificent tourist attractions and fairy-tale castles. Berlin, on the other hand, will be ideal for people who would like to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of a young city.
While Berlin isn't necessarily the cheapest destination in all of Europe, at an average cost of €53-100 per person per day, it is one of the more affordable cities to visit in Western Europe.Is Berlin Germany worth visiting? ›
Berlin is a capital city and is exploding with history and culture. If you have the time, Berlin deserves a full week-long trip. If you don't have that kind of time, I recommend at least four days to soak in the sights and smells of the city while visiting some of its top museums.Can you go into the Reichstag? ›
The roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag Building can be visited by members of the public, and offer spectacular views of the parliamentary and government district and Berlin's sights. Admission is free; advance registration required.Does Berlin close on Sunday? ›
On Sundays, most shops in Berlin must close. Only a few shops can stay open. Those shops are usually inside train stations.
What is the difference between U-Bahn and S-Bahn in Berlin? ›
The U-Bahn commonly understood to stand for Untergrundbahn (underground railway) are conventional rapid transit systems that run mostly underground, while the S-Bahn or Stadtschnellbahn (city rapid railway) are commuter rail services, that may run underground in the city center and have metro-like characteristics in ...Is public transport easy in Berlin? ›
U-Bahn, S-Bahn & busses: This is how the public transport system works in Berlin. Public transport in Berlin is easy to use as long as you meet two conditions: you know your destination and. you are able to read.Is Uber used in Berlin? ›
In Berlin, Uber provides five ride options: UberX, UberXL, Premium, Green and Taxi. With UberX, UberXL, Premium and Green, you can arrange a trip with an Uber driver-partner. With Taxi, you can arrange a trip with a regular taxi driver, with pricing at the official taxi rates.Is public transport good in Berlin? ›
It's no secret that Berlin's public transport system is among some of the best in the world. The extensive and well-developed network comprises U-Bahn Trains, S-Bahn, and buses, which take both locals and travelers to all corners of the city and beyond.Which is faster U-Bahn or S-Bahn? ›
S-Bahn is an abbreviation of Schnellbahn or Stadtschnellbahn (city rapid rail), and, as the name suggests, is the fastest form of public transportation. It is a kind of urban-suburban rail system and serves a wider metropolitan region, linking the suburbs and commuter regions with the city centre and main rail station.How do I pay for S-Bahn? ›
On bahn.com and in DB Navigator, you can pay using giropay, direct debit, a credit card or PayPal. You have several secure payment options for buying your ticket.Is Berlin underground 24 hours? ›
The U-Bahn operates 24 hours. At night, trains run in 15-minute-intervals. The Metrotram runs 24 hours. From 0.30 AM, trams arrive in 30-minute intervals.Is taxi expensive in Berlin? ›
Taxis in Berlin are quite expensive; but short trips of up to 2km are included in a fixed rate of € 5 ( US$ 4.90). To enjoy this special tariff, you should say to your taxi driver in German: “Kurzstrecke" as soon as you get into the cab.How do you pay for transportation in Berlin? ›
It's one app for everything. There are yellow or red ticket machines at every train station. They accept coins, bills, credit cards and EC cards. Most ticket machines work with Apple Pay and Google Pay.Where is the best area to stay in Berlin? ›
Conveniently called Mitte, or 'middle', the city centre is the best area to stay in Berlin for the traditional sightseer. Mitte encompasses many of the city's tourist hubs, including Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, the Nikolaiviertel and Unter den Linden.
Can you get by in Berlin with English? ›
So you see: In Berlin, you'll be able to speak and work with people in English, while more traditional cities tend to struggle with English. The level of English spoken varies greatly from region to region or city to city.Do taxi drivers in Berlin speak English? ›
Taxis in Berlin
Taxis are plentiful in Berlin and they are cheaper than in many other large European capitals. Most drivers speak English and are generally helpful.
Where can I get the €9 ticket? The plan is that the ticket will be available at service counters and ticket machines. Digital purchase via the apps of Deutsche Bahn, BVG or other regional providers will probably also be possible.Are taxis safe in Berlin? ›
Thankfully, almost all Berlin taxis are reliable and safe, whether you are ordering one from an app, jumping in at a taxi rank or flagging down a passing cab.How do you use 9 Euro tickets in Germany? ›
A 9-euro monthly ticket bought in Berlin could be used on public transport there and anywhere else in Germany. If you were in Munich or Hamburg, the ticket you bought in Berlin was valid there as well. You could ride the bus, tram, or metro anywhere in Germany with a 9-euro ticket bought anywhere in Germany.