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.
Aside from covering the entire German capital, Berlin’s extensive network of public transport is comfortable, safe, and punctual, making it fairly easy to navigate around the city.
However, if you’re a first-time traveler visiting Berlin, you might want to get acquainted with the city’s transportation system beforehand. That way, you’ll be able to navigate the city like a pro and reach your favorite attractions at ease.
Keep reading the guide to learn how to use Berlin’s public transport with no stress, as well as advice on the best ticket options and passes, safety, and more!
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Berlin Public Transportation: The Essential Information
Berlin Tariff Zones
Berlin and its surrounding areas are divided into three tariff zones (fare zones): A, B, and C. Fare zone A includes the city center, and it’s limited within the S-Bahn ring. Zone B begins outside the S-Bahn ring and reaches the city limits. Zone C includes the outskirts of Berlin (e.g. Berlin Brandenburg Airport BER, Potsdam, Oranienburg), and the city of Potsdam.
Public transport tickets are only available in the following tariff zone combinations: Berlin AB, BC, and ABC. The most used ticket by travelers in Berlin is fare zone AB.
Transport Tickets & Fares: Bus, Tram & Metro
Single Ticket (Einzelfahrschein) | It’s a one-way ticket valid for one person and a 2-hour journey through Berlin. Round trips and return journeys are not included in a single ticket.
Single Ticket Fare Zone AB: €3 (regular), €1.90 (reduced)
Single Ticket Fare Zone BC: €3.50(regular), €2.40 (reduced)
Single Ticket Fare Zone ABC: €3.80 (regular), €2.70 (reduced)
Short Trip Ticket (Kurzstrecke) | A short trip ticket valid for three stops on the S-Bahn or subway. Change of train, as well as six stops on buses and trams, are allowed. A change of vehicle is not permitted.
Short Trip Ticket Fare: €2 (regular), €1.50 (reduced)
24-Hour Single Ticket | With a 24-hour single ticket, the passenger can travel for 24 hours, for as many trips as desired. Fares for up to 3 children aged 6 to 14 are included in the ticket price.
24-Hour Single Ticket Fare Zone AB: €8.80 (regular), €5.60 (reduced)
24-Hour Single Ticket Fare Zone BC: €9.20 (regular), €5.90 (reduced)
24-Hour Single Ticket Fare Zone ABC: €10 (regular), € 6.10 (reduced)
24-Hour Group Ticket | A small-group day ticket that allows up to 5 people to use all public transportation services in Berlin for 24 hours. One dog can also be taken along.
24-Hour Group Ticket Fare Zone AB: €25.50
24-Hour Group Ticket Fare Zone BC: €26
24-Hour Group Ticket Fare Zone ABC: €26.50
7-Day Ticket | This ticket allows one passenger to travel for 7 consecutive days until midnight at the end of the 7th day.
7-Day Ticket Fare Zone AB: €36
7-Day Ticket Fare Zone BC: €37
7-Day Ticket Fare Zone ABC: €43
Monthly Ticket | The monthly ticket allows unlimited travel within the indicated fare zone from the first day printed on the ticket until midnight at the end of the last day printed on the ticket.
Monthly Ticket Fare Zone AB: €86
Monthly Ticket Fare Zone BC: €89
Monthly Ticket Fare Zone ABC: €107
U-Bahn operating hours:
Mon – Fri: 4 am to 1 am (5–10 minute intervals)
Sat-Sun: 24hr service (10–15 minute intervals)
S-Bahn operating hours:
Mon – Fri: 4:30 am to 1:30 am (5-20 minute intervals)
Sat-Sun: 24hr service (30-minute intervals)
Tram operating hours:
Regular service, 7 days a week (30-minute intervals from 0:30 am)
Bus operating hours:
24-hr service, 7 days a week. Night buses, recognizable by the letter N, take over when other transportation modes shut down. They depart every 30 minutes.
Where To Buy Tickets
Tickets for public transport can be purchased at the ticket machines located on the platforms of S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations. The machines are multilingual (German, English, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Polish).
Tickets can also be purchased in shops marked with “BVG” signs, or via the free BVG app (be sure to purchase the ticket before boarding transport).
On buses, fares are paid directly to the bus driver. On trams, at the ticket machines inside the trains.
Tips For Using Berlin Public Transport
- Make sure to always validate your ticket before the journey starts. For that, you’ll have to stamp the ticket at the yellow or red boxes located on S-Bahn and subway platforms and inside buses or trams. In the case of inspection, a ticket that is not stamped is not valid;
- To avoid confusion, know which ticket to buy in advance;
- Unless you have a German bank card, you’ll have to pay for tickets with cash;
- Keep in mind that children under 6 years of age are exempt from buying a ticket;
- When buying bus tickets, be sure to have the exact change or a small note, since the bus drivers do not carry lots of change.
- Many of the ticket machines on the trams are old, and only allow you to pay with coins.
How To Get Around Berlin, Germany
The U-Bahn (underground) is the main means of public transport in Berlin. It comprises 173 stations spread around the city, and it operates mostly below the ground, although there are a few lines that run on above-ground tracks.
Berlin’s U-Bahn has 10 lines, whose names start with a U (U1, U2, etc). The “U” stands for “underground”.
Stations are present in Berlin’s major neighborhoods and can be easily recognized across the city by the famous ‘U’ signs.
U-Bahn runs throughout the city, making it a convenient way of reaching the top attractions in Berlin, including the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, and Alexanderplatz.
S-Bahn (City Train)
S-Bahn Berlin, or Stadtbahn, is a light rail network that runs primarily above the ground. The system has 15 lines that connect 170 stations, which can be easily recognized by green/white “S” signs.
The S-Bahn runs through Berlin’s city center and the outskirts, making it a convenient option for reaching nearby towns like Potsdam.
Alternatively, travelers can also take the convenient Berlin buses to navigate around the city. The network comprises more than 350 routes and over 2,634 bus stops, which are marked with a circular sign with a green “H”.
If you want to go sightseeing in Berlin, opt for lines 100 and 200, which are great tourist routes running from Alexanderplatz to Zoologischer Garten.
Running 24/7, buses are also useful for getting around Berlin at dawn, which is when the other modes of transport shut down.
However, buses are slower moving than U-Bahn and S-Bahn and are not the best option at peak times.
Available mostly in former East Berlin, trams are a good option for reaching remote parts of the city.
Note that, at night, some tram lines don’t are replaced by buses. Also, at night the tram does not stop at every station, so passengers must request the vehicle to stop by pressing the yellow or red button.
Is public transport in Berlin free?
No. The public transport in Berlin is paid for.
Is public transport good in Berlin?
Yes. Berlin is well connected by several types of public transport, which are efficient, affordable, and usually punctual.
How do you get around Berlin public transport?
The best public transport options in Berlin:
- U-Bahn (Underground);
- S-Bahn (City Train);
Is public transport expensive in Berlin?
Public transport in Berlin is fairly low in cost if compared to other countries in the north and west Europe.
Are there night buses in Berlin?
Yes, there are night buses (Nachtbus) running from 12:30 am to 4:30 am.
Where are ticket machines in Berlin?
Ticket machines in Berlin can be found at all S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations.
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