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Berlin is a massive city with a hell of a lot going on, so figuring out the best way to get around the city can be tough.
By far the best way to maximise your fun in Berlin, is by mastering the city’s public transport system.
Read our article called How To Get Around Berlin for a basic step by step guide.
The Main Options
You have 3 main options to use when getting yourself around Berlin. These are cycling, walking and using public transport. All three are good options and it is likely you may end up using all three, depending of course on where you are staying and what you are doing.
Bicycles can be hired in neighbourhoods all over the city and it is one way to get yourself around. This can be a really cheap and enjoyable way to experience Berlin. Biking through European cities is something we strongly encourage, as it can often be a highlight of your visit and a great way to burn off last nights beers.
While walking is also a great way to get around and enjoy any European city, it is not always the best method of getting you where you need to go. Berlin is a big place, so understanding the most practical way of getting around to see the sights is essential.
To be honest using the Berlin Public Transport system is really your best option. Don’t Panic, it’s very efficient and easy to use. Read on to find out how!
Public Transport Guide
As mentioned, public transport in Berlin is readily accessible and user friendly. For tourists, this is the ideal way to explore the city. The public transport system is run by a company called, BVG and their multiple modes of transport are listed below.
– S-Bahn (overground train)
– U-Bahn (underground train)
The S-Bahn and U-Bahn service mostly the inner city, while the other modes help connect you to wider Berlin.
The city is also broken up into three major fare zones, these being A, B and C. Zone A is the most central part of the city, with zones B and then C pushing further out. Your destination will influence the type of transport needed.
The best thing to do on arrival to Berlin, is to get a BVG Route Map or download the BVG app to your smartphone. The maps are available at most hostels, shops and stations. Having this information handy will make planning your days in Berlin much easier.
The cost of your ticket can vary depending on the amount of fare zones travelled through and the length of time of your journey. Read below to see what ticket is best for you.
Tickets and Prices
Berlin Welcome Card (19.90-41.70 euros)- Easily the best option for most tourists. It allows free unlimited travel on all methods of public transport during the period of validation. This card can be purchased for periods ranging from 2 to 6 days. Cost varies depending on the amount of days. Another bonus of this card, is that you can get up to 50% off most tourist attractions in Berlin. Berlin Welcome Card Info
One Way Ticket (1.70-3.40 euros)- Valid for one person and one trip. Used for a total of 2 hours in the city. Cost varies depending on tariff and journey. Can’t change transport, eg. Train to train or train to bus.
Short Distance Ticket (1.30-1.70 euros)- Valid for one person, and three stops with the S-Bahn or U-Bahn. You are allowed to change trains if needed. Ticket is valid for one person, and up to 6 stops if using buses or trams, but you are not allowed to change vehicles.
Day Ticket (4.70-7 euros)- Valid for one person and up to three children between ages 6-14. Unlimited trips throughout the day on any mode of public transport. Ticket expires at 3am on the same day as validation.
Seven Day Ticket (30 euros)- Valid for one person for seven consecutive days. Unlimited use each day and can be used on any mode of public transport. Ticket expires at midnight on the 7th day of validation.
Group Day Ticket (19.90 euros)- Valid for up to 5 people for a period of one day. Ticket expires at 3am on the day of validation. Can be used on all modes of transport.
Where to Buy and Validate Tickets
The Berlin Welcome Card can be purchased online before arriving in Berlin from the BVG website. You can print the ticket beforehand and bring it along with you. Just be sure to validate your ticket prior to you first journey. Otherwise, you can purchase the card in person on arrival at tourist offices in the city.
General tickets can be bought at ticketing machines at all S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations, and also some tram stops. If your German is not great, don’t worry, these machines are multilingual. Some of the major S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations will also have manned ticketing booths to make life easier. When using the bus, you can pay your money directly to the driver if needed. Some small shops in the city also sell general tickets.
All tickets or passes must be validated prior to your first journey. These are validated by stamping them at the red or yellow boxes located on the train platforms, or inside the trams and busses.
Putting it all together
Now that you know how to use the public transport, you can start to plan your days of sightseeing. Start off by buying the best ticket that will suit your length of stay, and also figuring out the closest U-Bahn or S-Bahn station to where you’re staying.
Once you know what you want to see and do in Berlin, you can search for the closest station to where you are heading. Remember to use their BVG Journey Planner or your map to figure out the best route.
Enjoy your time seeing the sights of Berlin!