Public Transport & Tickets

How to Travel Around Berlin - Train, Tram, Subway & Bus

Berlin Transport Yellow Tram

1. How Berlin's Public Transport Works.

Berlin's public transport system is comfortable, efficient and affordable. The network includes S-Bahn (main line), U-Bahn (underground), bus, tram and ferry services. Berlin's transport system is divided into 3 fare zones A, B and C.

Zone A includes the inner city up to and including the S-Bahn Ring, this zone contains the majority of Berlin's tourist sights. Zone B ends at Berlin’s city limits. Zone C is the area around Berlin, including the town of Potsdam and Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER).

Top Tips:
(1) Check which zone your hotel is located in (most tourist hotels are located in central Berlin) as this will probably determine which travel zone you chose for your tickets or travel pass.
(2) The 'one travel ticket' can be conveniently used across the city's large public transport network, including Underground Trains, Bus, Ferry and Tram services.

2. Types of Travel Tickets and Fares.

Berlin's travel ticket prices are based on the travel zone selected and the ticket period of validity. For travel to tourist attractions, the most popular fare zone is AB. The standard €3.00 fare for a single ticket (Einzelfahrschein) is valid for one person and has a two-hour validity. For shorter journeys, (Kurzstrecke Karten) of 3 stops or less using the S-Bahn and/or subway, or 6 stops by tram or bus - a cheaper fare is charged at €2.00. Child fares are available for children aged 6 to 14 years, children under 6 travel free.

Travel passes are available for multiple durations, including daily, weekly or monthly pass tickets. The 24hrs pass for zone AB costs € 8.80 and offers multiple trips within a (24hrs) validity period.

Top Tip: If you're visiting Berlin as a tourist and plan to use the city's mass transit system regularly, consider buying a tourist pass such as (the Berlin Welcome Card), this card provides unlimited rides across the city's public transport system, plus discounts at many popular tourist attractions, see below for more info.

3. How to Buy & Use Public Transport Travel Tickets.

The Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) is the public transport authority for the city-state of Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg. This authority allows for the 'one travel ticket' to be conveniently used across Berlin's large public transport network, including underground trains, bus, ferry and tram services, subject to ticket validity and ticket terms of use.

Tickets can be purchased at multilingual ticket machines located on platforms at S-Bahn and U-Bahn (subway) stations or online or via the free BVG app.

To use the transport network you need to validate your travel ticket before starting your journey, tickets must be validated by stamping them at the yellow or red validation boxes located on S-Bahn and subway platforms and inside buses or trams. If you are caught using the transport network without a valid ticket you will be fined (plain clothes ticket inspectors regularly check for valid tickets).

4. The Berlin Tourist & Travel Pass

There are many different tourist passes to choose from, some include public transport options and some include attractions admission only. We found the Berlin Welcome Card to be a good all-rounder, it provides good discounts, convenient public transport options and flexibility. Top Tip: Do your research as to which pass would suit you best. Research and choose your travel/tourist card before leaving home to save time on arrival.

5. What is the Berlin Welcome Card?

The Welcome Card gives you access to free public transport in Berlin (including rail & bus), a free pocket-size City Guidebook (including map), plus savings of up to 50% on over 200 popular tourist attractions and cultural highlights. The card is valid for 48 hours, 72 hours, 4 days, 5 days or 6 days and gives unlimited travel for an adult and up to three children in either tariff Zone AB or Zones ABC.

Travellers can choose either the city centre (Tariff Zone AB) or Berlin and surrounding areas (Tariff Zone ABC), Tariff C includes Berlin and the surrounding area, including Potsdam (Sanssouci Palace), Brandenburg airport (BER) and the Sachsenhausen Memorial. Top Tip: Consider buying the WelcomeCard Museum Island (72hr) Card - as well as the standard benefits, this card also gives you exclusive access to the five top museums on Berlin’s Museum Island.

6. Where to purchase the Berlin Welcome Card

The Welcome Card can be purchased online, or from Berlin's tourist information centre, ticket machines at subway and rail stations and at the arrival hall at Berlin Airport. If buying a Welcome Card from a machine you can collect the free guide and map from any tourist information centre, as well as at BVG and S-Bahn sales outlets.

  • Berlin Welcome Card gives you - discounts on selected guided city tours, sightseeing excursions, museums, cultural attractions, restaurants & bars, boat rides, palaces, plus theatre & stage performances.
  • Berlin Welcome Card gives you - one travel ticket for all Berlin's public transport services for 48 hours, 72 hours, 4, 5 or 6 days.
  • Berlin Welcome Card allows you - to book securely online, print your ticket or have it sent to your home by post.
  • Berlin Welcome Card gives you - family friendliness, included with each adult ticket up to 3 children can travel free (up to age 14).
Berlin Train

7. How to use Berlin U-Bahn Subway (underground).

The Underground consists of nine underground lines connecting 174 stations over a track length of 157 kilometres, this is Germany’s largest public transport network. Subway tickets can be purchased at automated ticket machines on subway platforms, or at ticket counters located in main stations. Subway tickets can be used to travel on buses, the S-Bahn, trams and vice versa.

The subway network runs from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. during weekdays, with daytime departures every 5 minutes. Weekend subway services run 24 hours a day with departures at 10-15 minute intervals.

You can view a Subway route map here or if you prefer you can plan a journey using the route planner tool.

Top Tips: (1) Some ticket machines do not accept credit cards so keep plenty of small notes and change with you! (2) Remember to validate/stamp your ticket by inserting it into a 'ticket validating machine' before boarding the train (validating machines are usually located near ticket machines on the platform).

8. How to use Berlin Tram Services.

Travelling by tram provides a relaxing 'traffic-jam-free' way to experience the city, it's also an extremely eco-friendly mode of transport. Berlin’s tram network has 22 routes with over 800 stopping points along 300km of track, making it the third largest tram network in the world after Melbourne and St. Petersburg.

Tram services mainly operate in the eastern part of Berlin with standard trams operating to limited operating hours. Some lines are known as Metrotram, meaning they operate 24 hours a day, they can be identified by the letter "M" before the service number (Metrotram lines run more frequently than regular tram lines).

Tram tickets can be purchased at automated multilingual ticket machines at S-Bahn and subway stations or machines inside the trams.

9. How to use Berlin Bus Services

Using Berlin's extensive Bus network can be slightly daunting at first, start by planning your journey and route using a journey planner. You can buy your bus ticket directly from the driver, but you'll need to tell the driver the type of ticket you want. For example, you may request a single ticket in zone AB. Top Tips: All ticket prices for travel in zone AB are the same, pay using coins only, there's no need to stamp your ticket if purchased from the driver. If you already have a travel ticket or pass - board the bus at the front and show the driver your ticket.

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