Transportation in Berlin 101: How to Get Around in Germany’s Capital

Berlin Transportation 101
Berlin Transportation 101

I’ve been living on and off in Berlin for about five years now. Let’s call it a total of two and a half. One thing I’ve become a master at in this time is navigating around this monstrous city efficiently.

Out of all the forms of transportation a city could possibly have, Berlin has all of them. Ok maybe not all of them; I haven’t seen a tuk-tuk driving around lately, but to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. There is no shortage of ways to get around, no matter if you’re a tourist or a local, you have plenty of options.

And we’re not only talking about public transportation here, we’re also talking about ridesharing, ride-hailing, ride-pooling, e-scooters, bikes, taxis, and even walking.

So let’s quickly go over some basics, then get into the details on the types of transportation, the pros and cons of each, and the various options you have within each type of transport.

The Basics

Since most of this stuff has been covered to death and is super easy to research, I’ll just go over the basics quickly.

Berlin is big. No, not London or Tokyo big, but it’s big.

Split up into three zones, with Zone A being within the Ringbahn (the main part of the city, where most visitors won’t go further than,) Zone B, which could be called “Outside of the Center”, and Zone C, which I would call “The Outskirts”:

Berlin’s Tariff Zones

For the most part, you most likely won’t be leaving Zone A as a visitor, except to come in from the airports. Tegel Airport (TXL) is in Zone B, and Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF) is in Zone C.

Even though SXF seems further away and you need a Zone C ticket to travel to/from it, it’s actually easier to travel from than Tegel.

Now let’s get into the public transportation system:

Public Transportation

Public transportation in Berlin is generally very good, and thankfully, a very popular way to get around the city, whether you’re in Zones A, B, or C. The public system is mostly run by Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, or BVG, as you’ll see it written around town.

This is how I get around Berlin most of the time. Unless I’m in a hurry, too hungover to cope with it, it’s too late, or I’m in a weird area, it’s public transport for me unless it’s nice weather out (in which case I’m bicycling).

Note: If you get checked by a controller and don’t have a ticket (or it’s not validated), you will get a fine. Currently that fine is at a “no joke” €60 if you get caught. Playing the “Stupid Tourist” Card is very unlikely to work, so fare-evade at your own risk.

Operating Hours & Schedule

Overall the operating hours of public transport is good in Berlin, but there are a few things to note.

On the weekends from Friday to Sunday, all transportation runs 24 hours (except the U4 and U55, but you probably won’t be using those anyway).

During the week, the S-Bahn and U-Bahn run until about 1-1:30 am and start up again around 4 am. So if you’re at a party and just miss your last train home, feel free to stick around another few hours and head back at 4.

Alternatively, you could catch a replacement night bus, which is the same name as the U-Bahn routes except with an “N” replacing the “U” and follows (generally) the same route. That is, the N8 night bus will follow roughly the same route as the U8 when the U8 isn’t in service.

Trams typically run 24 hours, but make sure to double check where it’s going at night, as sometimes they take an atypical route.

Where to Buy a Public Transport Ticket?

You have a few options on where you can buy tickets for transportation:

Ticket Machines

In every station and tram, you’ll find a touch-screen ticket machine that says “Fahrkarten”, “Fahrscheine”, or “Fahrausweise”. You can change the language by tapping the little flag icon on the touchscreen. You can pay with cash, some cards, and now even Apple or Google Pay.

On the S-Bahn they’re usually red and look something like this:

Berlin S-Bahn ticket machine

For the U-Bahn, they’re yellow and look more like this:

Berlin U-bahn ticket machine

To complicate things even more, the tram ticket machines are on the tram itself and look like this:

Berlin Tram ticket machine

All of these machines will print out any short-term tickets for you. That is, any time period under a month.

Important Note: You must validate your ticket before entering the train, bus, or tram. As I mentioned, if you get controlled and you have a ticket but it’s not validated, you will get fined.

There are little validation machines usually next to the ticket machines that look like this:

Berlin ticket validation machine

Just stick the arrow end of the ticket into the slot and wait for it to stamp your ticket.

Apps or Mobile Phones

Yes, Germany has finally gotten with the times and now allows you to buy tickets on your mobile device.

There is an official app simply called “BVG” which also gives you decent directions using the public transportation routes.

There is another app called Jelbi, which is owned by BVG but is actually an aggregator of various types of transportation services and mobility services including public, carsharing, personal transport and more.

Each has its own benefits, but if you’re only going to download one, I recommend Jelbi since it offers far more mobility options and has a better UI overall. The only downside is that it can get a bit overwhelming.

A Physical Shop

Finally, you can buy tickets in many corner shops (called “Spätis” or “Spätkaufs” with a yellow BVG sign out front), or any type of ticket can be purchased at a physical BVG Service Point, which will also be able to offer you longer term tickets if you’re staying for a while.

What Types of Public Transport Will a Ticket Work On?

A single public transportation ticket will work on all forms of Berlin’s transportation network:

  • S-Bahn (Suburban Overground Trains)
  • U-Bahn (Underground Trains)
  • Regional Trains
  • Buses
  • Trams (only in East Berlin, interestingly)
  • Ferries

Here’s a map of the S-Bahn and U-Bahn network in Berlin. Mind you, this does not include the buses, trams, or ferries:

Berlin-Transportation-and-Zone-Map

Yes, it’s pretty massive.

Since the routes are sometimes changing and you might want more info about buses, trams, night transportation, and closures, BVG’s website has all that and more, so I would suggest checking out this page for up-to-date and interactive information on routes and closures.

Zone Options

The ticket you’re most likely going to need is the Berlin AB ticket, which lets you travel – you guessed it – within Zones A and B. There is also Berlin BC and Berlin ABC, but chances are you won’t be needing that unless you plan on moving to the suburbs. I’m convinced they’re only there to confuse tourists into buying a more expensive ticket.

The only exception is if you’re traveling to and from Zone C (like from SXF, Potsdam, or a surrounding lake). If you only have a Berlin AB ticket, you’ll need to grab an extension to Zone C only for the time you need it.

Types of Tickets and Pricing

Tickets listed are standard and valid in Zones A and B, and for an adult with no discounts unless otherwise noted.

Ticket prices have increased for 2020. I’ve updated all of the prices below with the new pricing.

The most common types of tickets you’re going to use as a visitor are:

  • Single-Ride Ticket (Einzelfahrschein): €2.90 – Valid for 2 hours within Zones A and B. There’s a weird clause that you can’t use this as a round-trip ticket, even within the two hours. It’s supposed to be a one-way ride.
  • Short Ticket (Kurzstrecke): €1.90 – Good for three stops in a train or six stops in a tram or bus. Only valid for 20 minutes.

You can buy those two tickets in bundles of four, which can save you a few Euros. A 4-ticket bundle of the AB single tickets (4-Fahrten-Karte) cost €9, and it’s €5.60 for the bundle of short tickets. This is definitely a better deal, especially since they did not increase in price for 2020 like the others.

  • Day Ticket (Tageskarte): €8.60 – Good for the full day until 3 am the following morning. These are not 24 hour tickets.
  • 7-Day-Ticket (7-Tage-Karte): €34 – Good for seven consecutive days until midnight on the seventh day.
  • Group Day Ticket (Kleingruppen-Tageskarte): €23.50 – If you’re traveling with a few friends, it could be worth getting this ticket, which allows up to five people to travel for a day under the same ticket. This is smart if the group is three or more people traveling together.
  • Monthly Ticket (Monatskarte): €84 – This is what many locals get as it allows you to travel unlimitedly throughout Berlin for a full month.
    Guest Pass: This ticket also allows you to bring one other person with you for free after 8 pm on weekdays and all weekend.

Pro Tip: If you have the Monatskarte, instead of bringing a person with you as a guest after 8 pm on weekdays and all weekend, you can bring your bike instead!

  • 10 am Monthly Ticket (10-Uhr-Karte): €61 – If you’re like me and not an early bird, this ticket lets you travel after 10 am on weekdays and all weekend for a month. The guest pass does not extend to this ticket. This is the ticket I have.

Tourist Cards

Berlin also has some all-inclusive tourist tickets. If you’re here for a few days and want to check out some attractions, all public transport and tickets to attraction are included.

For example, with the WelcomeCard you can get three days of public transportation, a nice map and city guide, and a bunch of discounts to museums, attractions, and tours for €33. Not a bad choice if you’re strapped for time and want to see a lot.

Check out the CityTourCard website and the Berlin WelcomeCard website for more info and options for those.

Extras

All the prices listed above are standard ticket prices for an adult, but there are some extras I want to touch on:

  • Discounted Tickets: Children (6-14 years old), students, and other concessions get a discounted ticket for all options, which vary depending on your choice.
  • Extension: €1.90 – If you have a Berlin AB card and want to travel to Zone C, you’ll need an extension. This is useful for traveling from SXF airport or visiting Potsdam, which is a nice little day trip.
  • Bicycle Ticket: €2 – Bringing your bike on the train will cost you a bit extra. There are also daily (€4.90) and monthly (€10.50) tickets for bikes.
  • Dog Ticket: €1.80 – Same as a reduced fare child ticket if you travel with your dog. If they’re the size of a housecat and in a carrier, they can travel for free.
  • Longer-Term Tickets: If you’re gonna be here a while you can get tickets by the year, which are significantly less expensive.

That pretty much covers it for public transportation in Berlin. If I missed anything or you have any questions, just let me know.

Ride-Hailing Services & Taxis

Taxis

Taxis waiting outside Tegel Airport – Image Source

There are tons of taxi services in Berlin and you’ll see them all over the streets. For the most part, the metered taxis are safe and won’t rip you off, but as always, be careful.

Most places in the city you can just wave one down if you see it, and there are also various taxi stands around the city. If you’re in a bar, hotel, or restaurant, you can ask an employee to call you a taxi. If you’re wanting to practice your German, ask “Können Sie mir ein Taxi rufen?” or if you’re at a more casual place or most bars, “Kannst du mir ein Taxi rufen?”

Taxi Rates

Taxis should be a standard rate. €3.90 to start, the first seven kilometers are €2 each, then each additional km should be €1.50.

There’s a special fare for short trips called a Kurzstrecke (short trip, same as the short public transport ticket above). For any trip under 2 km, the fare should only be €5 flat. Make sure to tell the driver before-hand if you want this fare.

You can pay in traditional cash, or in many taxis you can now pay with a credit card.

Ridesharing

There are a couple main ridesharing (also called ride-hailing) services in Berlin we use on the regular. Sadly, the ride-hailing here isn’t the best. There are often delays and it isn’t quite as inexpensive as other cities when you compare the Ride-Hailing vs. Taxis rate.

Still though, we use them for the convenience.

Uber

Uber app logo

I suppose there’s no need to introduce Uber, is there? The biggest ride-hailing company in the world is of course, also in Berlin.

Interestingly, they had a really hard time here up until recently. The government didn’t let them operate with their own drivers, so the app only served as a taxi-hailing service.

Now though, you can use Uber as you’re used to, even though the German government is still making it difficult.

If you use my referral code pxh3i you can get $2 off your first 3 rides. Sign up for the discount here.

Free Now

FreeNow app logo

Free Now (which used to be called MyTaxi) is a relatively new service.

They tend to be a bit less expensive in general and have better promotions, but their availability is lower, meaning you might have to wait more frequently, and sometimes they won’t even be able to find a driver, which is frustrating.

I still check them though, as the service is otherwise pretty decent. Sadly I don’t have a discount code for them.

Download:

Ride-Pooling

Along the lines of the ride-hailing or ride-sharing services, there are a few players in town who offer this carpooling-type option, which are a less expensive and more economical (albeit slightly less convenient) way of getting around.

Ride-Pooling involves an app similar to that of Uber or FreeNow, except the driver picking you up in a van also might have other people with them. The route is not direct to your destination (usually), but slightly out of the way so he can pick up or drop off other riders along the route.

This is a more cost-effective way of getting a semi-private ride and doesn’t involve having one car on the road for every ride, clearing up the streets a bit. Plus, if it’s late and you and the others in the van have had a few drinks, it can be an interesting experience.

I really like this type of service. The only downside is sometimes it can take a little bit longer to get where you’re going, and sometimes you have to walk a block or so to get to the pickup point so the route can stay efficient.

BerlKönig

BerlKönig app icon

BerlKönig is a service run by BVG and is very cost effective. The basic cost is €1.50 per km, and if you book multiple riders at the same time, it’s the same fare just split between the two.

As I write this, all fares within the eastern part of the Ringbahn are only €4, and if you sign up using my referral code chris5q8, you get €10 in credit (and so do I – thanks!).

Just download the app here and let me know what you think.

Clever Shuttle

CleverShuttle logo

This is a very similar service to BerlKönig and they have a ton of special offers and are very active in the promo department.

They have a loyalty program, a tell-a-friend program, and a bonus program (the more credit you buy the bigger discount you get).

Their fleet tends to be very “green”, using electric and hydrogen vehicles to transport you around.

Use the promo code vegmdo when you sign up and we each get a signup bonus. Download the app here.

Personal Mobility

If you live in a metro area, you’ve surely noticed all those bikes, small cars, and e-scooters that have been infiltrating our streets for the past couple years. Heck, South Park even did an episode about it.

There happens to be a Personal Mobility revolution going on, and Berlin is no exception. In fact, a lot of the companies involved are based in or have offices in Berlin! There’s even a coworking space dedicated specifically to people and companies working in the mobility space.

If you open up an aggregator app like the aforementioned Jelbi, or Urbi (who also has an office in Berlin, natch), you’ll find many of those options all in one place. Let’s go over some of the better options:

e-Scooters

Some people love them, some people hate them. Some people call them Kick Scooters. There’s a lot of controversy over e-scooters’ take-over of Berlin streets, but one thing is for sure; people love to use them (including yours truly).

There are multiple companies offering these free-floating scooters around Berlin, each competing with the next. The main contenders:

  • Lime
  • Tier
  • Jump (by Uber)
  • Circ
  • Bird
  • Voi

How Does it Work?

Typically, all of the e-scooter sharing services work the same; you open the app, find a scooter near you, scan its QR code, then you drive away. Once you’re at your destination, you lock the scooter via the app, payment is made, and you’re done.

Safety

Naturally, having a 24-hour free-floating scooter service at your fingertips is going to invite drunk riding. I won’t deny I may have taken a few tipsy scooter rides myself.

One drunk rider even lost his license while he was riding – and yodeling – drunkenly through the streets of Erfurt on an e-scooter.

Needless to say, be careful out there. Most of the apps will warn you about drunk driving after a certain time of night before you unlock the scooter:

Lime drunk riding warning
Lime’s drunk riding warning

When driving these scooters, note that they are limited to 20 km/h (and will actually brake themselves if you exceed that), and you are supposed to ride them in the same manner as a bicycle – in the bike lane, same laws, same rules.

Finally, keep in mind that Berlin has lots of cobblestone streets, and they suck to drive scooters on. You will shake yourself silly and maybe fall over, so be careful on cobblestone.

Availability

Different e-scooter companies have different availability and coverage throughout Berlin. They each have “zones” where you’re allowed to drive and park and won’t let you lock the scooter if you’re outside of this zone, while another might have that part of the city open.

For example, I used to live in Schillerkiez, which is right next to Tempelhofer Feld. For some weird reason, Lime had my neighborhood blocked off despite it being very popular, but Tier had my street open. So naturally, I took Tier more often. If I did take a Lime, I had to park it up a few blocks away and walk back home. Since then, Tier has reduced their coverage drastically though, and seems to be focusing much more on central Berlin.

Let me give you a few examples:

Tier

Tier map screenshot
As you can see, I’m currently outside of Tier’s coverage area, despite being in a very popular area of Berlin.

Circ

You can see I’m still in Circ’s coverage area here, allowing me to travel around my area.

voi

Voi seems to have really taken over recently, and there are lots of options in most areas in Berlin.

Pricing

This is really where the main competition lives. When it comes down to it, there isn’t so much of a difference between the scooters except for availability and pricing (except for some of them offering a drink holder and phone holder, which all else being equal, I would take simply because of that).

Let’s look at all the companies, how much they cost, and what kind of discounts they offer if you use the link or code provided:

e-Scooter Price & Discount Comparison

BrandPrice to unlockPrice per min.Discount
Voi€1.00€0.152.5 Credits
Tier€1.00€0.151 Free Ride + Unlock
Circ€1.00€0.203 Free Unlocks (use code g106ik)
Jump€1.00€0.15none
Lime€1.00 €0.201 Free Unlock
Bird€1.00€0.201 Free Ride

As you can see, they each keep a very close eye on each other, as the pricing is almost identical. Every one of them has a €1.00 unlock fee (unless you use the discount codes up there), then each one is either €0.15 or €0.20 per minute of driving time.

When all is said and done, it’s all about availability, discounts, and whether the scooter itself has the features you want (like a phone holder, which I find super useful for navigation).

Bike-Sharing

NextBike Berlin

This is a very similar service as the e-scooters. These shared bicycles come in both electric and non-electric versions and are seen around town quite a bit as well (although their popularity has waned since the scooters became available.

Of course, you also have the traditional “rent a bicycle” model from shops, but we’ll get into that later. In this section I want to talk about the app-based, GPS-tracked short-term bike rental model.

How Does Bike Sharing Work?

Some bikes are bound to a station, or single place you have to collect the bike from and return to another station, while others are dockless, meaning you can pick up and leave them anywhere within the service zone.

Additionally, there are traditional bicycle services, as well as e-bikes, which assist the rider while starting and going up hills with electric motors.

Bike Sharing Companies in Berlin

Donkey Republic

Donkey Republic is a Copenhagen-based startup that uses traditional bikes that are bound to stations. You can also rent their bikes for longer term, up to one week at a time. I’ve never used them, and I don’t know why I like them, but they seem like a cool little independent startup.

Jump

Yes, the same service run by Uber who has electric scooters also rents out electric bicycles. Costs are the same as the scooters (€1 to unlock and €0.15 per minute of riding. These are dock-less, so you can use and park them anywhere in the service area.

Lidl Bikes

This popular supermarket chain and Deutsche Bahn teamed up on this venture, offering these bikes to be rented either by the half hour, or if you pay a monthly rate, you can rent them for the first half hour for free. You don’t have to park these at a station, but if you do, you get a discounted rate.

NextBike

Similar to Lidl Bikes above, but with better and less confusing rates, NextBike offers a good solution for many, including renting the bikes longer term.

You can rent the bikes for €1 per half hour (or if you pay €10/month you get the first 30 minutes free). There’s a €9 per 24 hours cap, so that comes out to €9 per day.

Lime Bike

Lime – the same folks offering the e-scooters – also used to offer regular and electric bikes in Berlin, but I haven’t seen them around in ages, and I can’t find any on their app, so I’m not so confident they’re around anymore.

Mobike

Last and definitely least, Mobike doesn’t get much love around here. They’re known for littering the streets with thousands of bikes, leaving them as litter when they’re broken down, and being poor quality slow bikes. They also have a weird credit system that has no clear pricing, costing users more if they don’t add a large amount of credit to their account and punishing users who aren’t “behaving”. No thanks.

Moped Scooter Sharing

Interestingly, there is only one company renting out moped scooters in Berlin, and their name is Emmy! There used to be another company around called Coup, who was owned by Bosch, but they closed down in mid-December 2019, due to being “economically unsustainable” in the long term.

Emmy is still around though, and their cool vintage-style scooters look like a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, they charge a €10 fee just to register. I’m not a fan of paying just to register with a service. That does come with 50 free minutes, though, so as long as you use 50 minutes of riding within six months, it’s close to worth it.

Their rates are €0.23 per minute or €29 per day, which isn’t so bad. The per-minute rate also goes down if you buy pre-paid packages with minutes included.

Car Sharing

Car Sharing is huge right now. As people try to cut down on expenses and clogging up cities with personal vehicles, many urban dwellers are looking to get rid of their vehicles and only use cars when they need them, taking public transportation the rest of the time.

Even though car sharing has struggled to grow in Germany historically (Germany has a strong car ownership culture), it’s been growing over the past few years.

One struggle has been getting more environmentally-friendly cars on the road under this platform, but recently, WeShare – a subsidiary of Volkswagen – has landed, bringing an all-electric fleet of shared cars to the streets of Berlin. Let’s hope this trend continues.

Another huge benefit of car sharing? Maintenance, cleaning, insurance, fuel costs…all of that is included and you don’t have to worry about it. Score one for us lazy millennials, right?

How Does Car Sharing Work?

All the car sharing services are similar in that they each give you a car to drive. However, there are some crucial differences for each, which make it kind of hard to compare them directly like the e-scooters or bikes above.

Some are simply by the minute, some are by the hour, most vary depending on the car, and one (Miles) charges by the km instead of time (unless you’re parked). Regardless, I’ll do my best to compare.

Most of the services here are also free-floating, meaning you can find them scattered around the city and leave them anywhere within the service zone. I’ll note in a column where a service is free-floating or not.

Car Sharing Berlin Price and Features Comparison

Brand€/min€/hour€/dayNotesFree-FloatingDetails
car2go€0.19-0.39200 km included, €0.39/km afterYesPricing Page
Drive Now€0.20-0.36€9€80€1 per rideYesPricing Page
WeShare€0.19€39€1 per rideYesPricing Page
Oply€6-9€45-75Up to 150 km, then €0.19/kmNoPricing Page
Miles€59-99€0.89/km, no per-minute rate.YesPricing Page
Flinkster€1.50-9.50€29-110+€0.18-0.22/kmNoPricing Page
SIXT€0.09+€59200 km included, €0.34/km afterNoPricing Page
Ubeeqo€3.50-6.50€30-6550 km included, €0.15-0.17 afterYesPricing Page

Car Sharing Companies in Berlin

car2go
ShareNow app icon

Owned by Daimler, car2go offers smart fortwo at the cheapest rates, as well as Mercedes A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA at higher rates.

They are the most similar to the e-scooter pricing above, with similar per minute rates and no unlock fee. car2go and DriveNow (below) have merged, soon to be the same service under the brand “ShareNow“.

DriveNow

Owned by BMW, DriveNow offers higher-end cars by BMW and MINI, and offers the option to rent by the minute, hour, or day.

As mentioned above, DriveNow and car2go are soon merging into ShareNow, a single service to try and take over the market.

WeShare
WeShare logo

WeShare is a newer service owned by VW and only offers electric e-Golfs in their fleet, which is cool. They’re also one of the less expensive options, although they will be expanding their fleet and coverage soon.

I really like this option and how simple it is. I look forward to seeing where this company goes, as they’re not only the least expensive and have the simplest pricing model, but are the only one that offers easy access to electric vehicles.

Oply
Oply logo

Oply works a bit differently than the others above. They do not have a free-floating setup. Instead, they have certain points in the city to pick up and drop off the car. Not quite as flexible, but similar to a traditional rental car.

Continuing that trend, instead of a per-minute rate, they rent by the hour or day. depending on the type of vehicle it can run between €6-9 per hour, or €45-75 per day.

Miles
Miles app icon

Miles‘ slogan is “Pay for the Ride, Not the Traffic”. This means their schtick is to charge by the km instead of the minute. I’m sure this can work for some trips and it does calm the time anxiety while stuck in traffic.

Their normal cars are €0.89 per km, €0.29/min while parked, up to €59/day. They also rent vans for a bit more. 150 km is included in the daily rate, then it’s €0.29/km after that. They also offer a lot of special offers for buying larger packages which you can see on their pricing page.

Flinkster
Flinkster app icon

Flinkster is run by Deutsche Bahn, so obviously it has to be the most confusing of the bunch. Having said that, they are also the most flexible and offer many options. They offer hourly rates that vary depending on the type of vehicle and time of day (night rates are cheaper), as well as daily rates.

There’s also a per-km rate that varies per vehicle, and a one-time registration fee of €9 if you don’t have a BahnCard (free if you do). I give them credit, this is a great alternative to traditional car rentals, but a bit complicated compared to the other offerings here.

SIXT
SIXT logo

SIXT, the traditional car rental company, also runs a car sharing program around Germany. The service is quite flexible, and since SIXT already has a huge fleet of cars, you get a lot of cars to choose from. If you find a car you want, reserving it for up to 15 minutes is free.

Price depends on the vehicle, starting at €0.09 per minute. If you need it for longer, daily rentals start at €59 per day (200 km included, €0.34/km over the limit). One thing to note is that there is a drop-off fee, even if it’s at a SIXT station, and the service is not free-floating.

Ubeeqo
Ubeeqo logo

Ubeeqo is kind of a hybrid car rental/sharing company as well. They offer cars for an affordable price by the hour or day. Each rental has 50 km included, after which you pay an extra €0.15 – 0.17, depending on your plan.

The Flex plan is the normal one with no monthly costs. A small car costs €5/hr or €40/day. If you opt for the Prime plan which runs €25 for three months, your costs for the same car drop to €3.50 and €30, respectively. More details on their pricing page, but you get the idea. They rent small cars, medium cars, and transporter vans.

Human-Power!

Walking

Berlin is a big city, but as long as you’re staying within your Kiez (neighborhood) or adjacent, it’s a great city to get around by foot. After all, the human was meant to see the world by foot, so what better way to explore?

There are a number of guided and self-guided walking tours of Berlin, and even as a local it’s a good idea to get out there and soak in the city by foot every once in a while, seeing something new in the city in which you live.

Free Self-Guided Walking Tours

Free Guided Walking Tours

Most of these free guided walking tours are around 2-3 hours, taking you around the main parts of the city while explaining the culture, history, and significance of what you’re seeing.

These tours are by donation, so while not technically “free”, you pay what you want at the end of the tour.

Biking

Image Source – For most trips within Zone A this tends to be pretty accurate

Berlin is a very bike-friendly city, as you’ll see by the numerous bikers yelling at you if you accidentally step into the bike lane. No matter the weather, Berliners love their bikes.

I bike a lot myself, although I must admit when the weather starts getting too cold, out comes my trusty public transportation pass, and despite best efforts, I’m just not a fan of biking in the cold and dark.

Where to Get a Bike in Berlin?

I covered a number of bike-sharing services above, so if you’re here for just a few days or you want to grab a bike for an hour or two, those are going to be your best bet. Some of them have daily rates – NextBike for example runs €9 per 24 hours.

If you’re wanting to rent a bike by the day, your hotel might offer a service, otherwise you’ll find bike rental services all over Berlin. They run between €8 per day (in less touristy areas) to €12 per day. The bikes are in various states of condition, as I’ve noticed.

If you’re here for longer, consider buying a bike. You can pick up a brand new quality bike from Decathlon with a warranty for as low as €150. Alternatively look for second-hand bike markets all around Berlin (especially in the warmer months) called a Fahrradmarkt. Keep an eye on a few Facebook groups as well:

eBay Kleinanzeigen (classifieds) also has a section for bikes you should keep an eye on.

Where to Ride?

Most streets have a bike lane (called a Fahrradweg) which is clearly marked. If it doesn’t, you can still ride on the street, but be extra careful and courteous. A few quick notes and reminders:

  • Always signal before turning
  • Ride on the right, pass on the left
  • Stay in the bike lane
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Always have a front and rear light on at night

Oh, and it’s perfectly acceptable to ride down the street with your bluetooth speaker blasting techno.

Komoot is a Potsdam-based company that has an app for all sorts of great riding trails, whether it’s in the city, in the parks, or in nature. I suggest checking out their app – it’s built for helping people explore on their bikes. The app does cost, but your first region is free, and you can buy regions or packages after that.

A few other great free options:

If you end up too tired or the weather is bad and you want to just jump back on the public transport, you can bring your bike onto the trains and trams, just make sure you get the extra ticket to ride with your bike.

Jetpacks

Just kidding, sadly.

As you can see, Berlin has all of the possible forms of transportation you could hope for (except for jetpacks, sad face) just like any big city should. Its public transportation system is good overall, and in lieu of that, there are plenty of other good ways to get around.

Any other ways to get around Berlin that I didn’t mention?

Any tips that could help fellow readers traverse Berlin more effectively?

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