Getting around Berlin
Berlin is made up of three (3) distinct zones: A, B and C (yeah, it’s as easy as one, two, three!). Zone C is the outermost part of the city; this is where you will find Potsdam and the Schönefeld Airport, for example. Zone A is central Berlin.
Getting around Berlin is a breeze. There’s really something to be said about the Berlin public transport system – talk about German efficiency! Whether you choose to get around via the Berlin subway (also known as the U-Bahn), train (also known as the S-bahn), bus (A) or tram (T), you’ll be pleased to find that all operate in a timely manner. If you haven’t studied your guide book prior to arriving you can find train maps at the stations and via the ticket machines. If you want to plan your trip around the city ahead of time you can use www.bvg.de/en
Words of advice: While there are no security gates to walk through, you need to get your ticket from a ticket machine before hopping on to any of Berlin’s transport options. The ticket machines offer multiple languages at train stations, and if you choose to go by bus you can buy a ticket directly from the driver. Regardless of which mode of transport you opt for, always remember to scan your ticket. A ticket won’t help you unless it has been scanned; if it hasn’t been scanned, you could face a juicy fine. The scanning prevents people from reusing the same ticket (Yes, I have been guilty of this in the past).
Regular tickets for zones A-B
– Einzelticket – this is a one-way ticket that is valid for 2 hours and costs 2,80Euros
– Kurzfahrstrecke – this is a short trip ticket (3 stops via metro or 6 stops via bus) and costs 1,70Euros
– Tageskarte – this is a 7.00 Euros day ticket which is valid until 3am the following day
– 7 Tage Karte – this is a 7 day ticket at a price of 30Euros
– Kleingruppenkarte – this is a day ticket for a group of up to 5 people at a cost of 19.30 Euros. As you can see, this works out way better than buying several 7- day tickets
- 4Fahrten Karte – this is one single ticket that is valid for four rides at a cost of 9Euros.
Trains run from 4am until 12.30 am during weekdays, and many trains run all night during the weekend. This is of course a great plus seeing as Berlin’s bustling nightlife does not sleep, and it is not uncommon to find yourself out enjoying the city into the wee hours of the following morning – or even later.
You can also get the Berlin CityTourCard or the Berlin WelcomeCard which offer unlimited transport as well as discounts and deals with partnering tourist and cultural attractions such as museums, shops and bars. Prices start at 16.90Euros and go up to 40.50Euros depending on how many hours you need it for and which zones and attractions you want to see. Just be sure you will be taking full advantage of the perks and discounts of these cards, otherwise it would be a waste. If you’re finding it difficult to decide on the best way to take advantage of your CityTourCard, plan out your journey on one of the many Berlin subway maps you’ve probably accumulated by now.
If you prefer to swap solid footing for sea legs, you can venture out by boat and soak in all the tourist attractions along the rivers Spree and Havel, whilst sipping on a glass of bubbly and, possibly, devouring yet another delicious Curry Bratwurst. There are several boat tour companies that offer tours of up to three hours, with drinks and meals included. All boats follow the same route along the Spree and the Landwehr canal, but each company focuses on different sight-seeing spots along the way. If you want a unique view of the East Side Gallery or the Museum Island, this is the way to go!
Last but not least, Berlin is one of the best cities to explore by bicycle. You will see a lot of different styles of bicycles and converted bikes for groceries, children etc., much like you would expect to see in The Netherlands. There is a big biking scene in the city and people are more than happy to show off their wheels at any given chance. You can rent a bike for as cheap as 10 Euros a day on literally every corner!
For those of you who prefer to watch a short video rather than read, you can find similar information in the video below.