A primer to Berlin’s public transport


Berlin’s public transportation system – the BVG

Our Hop On – Hop Off sightseeing tour may take you to Berlin’s most beautiful sights, but sometimes you just are in the mood to go and experience something that’s perhaps a little ways away from the city center. Be it a trip out to the lake Müggelsee for a day of swimming in the summer or a sledding trip in the winter, the charm of old Berlin in the district Köpenick, or the view over Berlin from the old radar station Teufelsberg – Berlin has plenty to offer in addition to its many world-famous sights.

So, if the focus is on getting from A to B as quickly and conveniently as possible, nothing beats Berlin’s public transportation system, the BVG. A solemn headshake and a deep sigh before launching into a resigned complaint about the state of the trains and a presumed lack of punctuality has by now almost become a part of Berlin folklore, but once you actually have to get somewhere, you’re going to thank the high heavens for Berlin’s transit system.

You find all information regarding the different ticket options to choose from on the BVG homepage. But above all, you also find the indispensable route planner; just let the planner know from where to where you’d like to travel at what time, and it will be happy to oblige and show you all possible routes you can take. And once you’ve decided which ticket works best for you – single trip, day ticket, or even a multi-day pass – you’re good to go. And of course, one ticket allows you to use all BVG rides, including trams, subways, and buses.

Stamp your ticket to the trams, subways and buses

Chances are that nobody will actually tell you this, but your ticket has to be stamped before using the transport system if you don’t get a mobile ticket on your phone! After buying your ticket at one of the many ticket machines, you have to keep your eyes peeled for one of the yellow machines on the platform or when getting on a bus; all it takes is just slightly pushing your ticket in and getting it stamped. But if you fail to do so and end up getting checked, your ticket won’t count as valid and you will have to pay a hefty charge! This is a fate that has befallen many a tourist in Berlin but if you just keep in mind to stamp your ticket – or ask someone if you’re not sure what to do – you’ll be on the safe side.

Should you have purchased your ticket at one of the machines located in the pram cars or from a sometimes more, sometimes less helpful bus driver, you need not worry about that – your ticket comes validated right out of the gate. However, this option comes with its own potential pratfalls: the machines only accept coins and no bills and the bus drivers carry only a limited amount of change that they’re usually loath to part with.

But not to worry: what sounds pretty complicated is actually a completely straightforward process in real life. Just keep our pointers in mind, and you’re all set to go and explore Berlin and its countless attractions!

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