Berlin, capital of Germany, is an obvious choice for any European adventurer. A choice made easy by the incredible amount of culture, nightlife and of course good beer. Getting around Berlin took some getting used to, especially since our German knowledge is ridiculously limited. To help you guys avoid our struggles, here is our Basic Guide to Getting Around Berlin.
During our two-month expedition around Europe’s best cities, we stopped in to explore this huge metropolis. For two days, we hopped around Berlin’s top historical sights, drinking in the beautiful buildings and fascinating history. If you need some inspiration on this city, you can read all about why you need to visit Berlin this summer!
Tickets and Passes
When we first arrived in Berlin, we were overwhelmed by the choice of tickets and passes available. However, once they were explained to us the system is quite simple and easy to understand.
First of all, in order to buy a ticket you are best heading to the station you want to leave from and finding a ticket machine. These are bright yellow and are located all train platforms and before you head to your U-bahn or S-bahn platform. These machines have a useful English option, making selecting the right ticket much easier.
If you are wanting to catch a bus, you can either pay for a ticket on the bus (only if you are buying a Short Trip, 2Hour Trip or Day Ticket), or you buy them from local shops throughout the city. These shops are usually found around the city with “Lyca Mobile” signs outside.
For trams around the city, you will find ticket machines on the platforms, which you can then validate either on the platform or on the tram itself.
Types of Tickets and Passes
The cheapest ticket to buy is a Short Trip ticket, costing only €1.70. This ticket is valid for 3 stops on any service, perfect for hopping between sights around the city. This ticket works on all forms of transport.
The option above this is the Single ticket, costing €3.50. This is valid for two hours after validation and is good if you require several methods of transport to reach your destinations. For example, in order to reach our campsite we caught the U-Bahn for 4 stops, jumped off and did a quick shop before catching a bus for 10 stops to our final destination.
The longest normal ticket available is the Day ticket, costing €7 exactly. This ticket is valid form the day of validation until 3am the following morning, perfect if you are going on a night out and need to stumble home.
When it comes to longer, tourist passes, we purchased the slightly more expensive Berlin Welcome Card, costing €19.50. This transport pass allows you travel and all forms of public transport. Included in this card are over 200 discounts on a huge range of activities, tours, attractions and restaurants. The minimum length of time this pass is valid for is 48 hours, which was perfect for our trip to here as it got us around the city and then back to the train station to leave.
Before you buy this pass, we recommend researching the discounts to find out if you are going to use any of the discounts, as if you are not going to this pass is not good value for money. Check out the full list of activities by downloading the guide from this website.
There is also the option of a Berlin City Tour Card, which we did not purchase ourselves. This gives you similar perks to the Berlin Welcome Card, however since there are less discounts this pass works out slightly cheaper. You can buy one of these passes for €€€€€.
Both of these passes (the Berlin Welcome Card and the City Tour Card) can be bought from either ticket machines or from your local corner shop. When you do get the ticket, make sure you are given the corresponding discount booklet, (which is roughly 200 pages of discounts and information). You are required to show this and your validated ticket to the attraction ticket desk or restaurant in order to use your discount.
Fines for No Valid Ticket
If you are caught riding any of the public transport with either an invalid ticket or no ticket at all, you will face an on the spot fine of €60. We cannot advise you precisely how often this happens, however we only saw one ticket inspector our entire trip so maybe you will get lucky, (we take no responsibility if you do get caught).
Ticket Inspectors usually patrol the transport in plain clothes and only announce who they are once the doors have closed and there is no escape. You may also see uniformed inspectors, however don’t think you are safe simply because you can’t see any.
A cheeky tip from one of the locals we met was if you are asked by an inspector for a ticket, make sure you take your time getting it out so as to give your fellow passengers time to escape if need be. Fight the power!
Types of Transport System
Around Berlin there are a large variety of transport systems available. In the city centre, you are spoilt for choice between the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Tram network and Public Buses. As you leave the city centre, you will find U-Bahn and S-Bahn stops and plenty of frequent buses running.
U-Bahn and S-Bahn
These transport systems and a mixture between underground and overground trains. During the day and into late evening you will find them running every 10 minutes, so don’t worry if you miss the first one. One disadvantage of these methods of transport is the lack of air-conditioning on board. During our visit to Berlin, the weather peaked at 35oC each day, making any journey on these trains very hot and sweaty. Make sure you pack plenty of water!
The tram system runs all over the city centre of Berlin and is also very reliable and frequent. There is also a small amount of air-conditioning available on these vehicles, making them slightly more pleasant for travelling on.
Buses run frequently throughout the day and tend to run twice an hour as you get into the evenings. They also offer a very reliable form of transport to the outskirts of the city. Another fine example of German efficiency!
This is everything we learnt about getting around Berlin during our brief adventure here, and is definitely everything we wish we knew before we arrived. If you found this useful then make sure you check out our other useful guides and top tips on the other European countries we have visited here. Also catch up with us on social media and say “Hi!”.
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