We have just returned from a fantastic city break in Berlin and found the transport system to be really great value, easy to use and efficient.
Here is our guide to the transport system:
The public transport system is administered by BVG and consists of the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (railway), Trams and Buses. Berlin is split into three fare zones A, B and C. AB tickets cover most city trips but if you are travelling from Schonefeld Airport into the city you will need an ABC ticket. We flew with Easyjet and landed at Schonefeld Airport.
Tickets can be purchased at multilingual ticket machines on the platforms of S and U-Bahn stations. In buses, fares are paid to the bus driver, in trams at machines inside the trains. In larger stations the S-Bahn and BVG provide ticket counters.
A day ticket (Tageskarte) allows travelling during the whole day for as many trips as desired and includes travel for up to three children aged six to fourteen. The ticket is valid from the day of its validation until 3 a.m. the following day and costs 7 Euros in tariff zone AB and 7.70 Euros in tariff zone ABC. If you are doing more than two trips a day then a day ticket tend to be better value than single tickets.
Singles tickets are available from 2.80 to 3.40 Euros.
Validation of Tickets:
Don’t be caught out and think once you have bought your ticket you are OK to travel. Before your journey starts tickets must be validated by stamping them at the yellow or red boxes on the platforms (see picture below). Even if you have bought a ticket if you haven’t stamped it then it is not valid. Anyone caught without a ticket will be issued with a 60 Euro fine and they will not make any exceptions for tourists!
Berlin Welcome Card:
Tourists can purchase the Berlin Welcome Card which is valid for public transport and also gives you discount to lots of tourist attractions. We bought the 72 hour ticket from the Tourist Information desk at the airport which cost 32 Euros for ABC zones. The great thing about the multi day travelcard is that you only validate it once before you first use it to activate it and then you just need to make sure you are carrying it for the rest of your trips in case there is a ticket inspection. This makes travel very easy as we were jumping on and off trains a few times a day.
How to get from the airport into the city:
From the airport take RB14 or RE7 Regional Express trains which cost 3.30 Euros one way. They run approximately every 30 minutes from 5am to 11pm and stop at Karlshorst, Ostbahmhof, Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstrabe. It is about a 10 minute walk from the arrivals terminal to the station which is really well signposted. Once in the station if you haven’t bought a Welcome Card from tourist information then there are loads of self serve ticket machines with validation machines next to them. If you purchased a welcome card then just remember to validate it before getting on the train. Once you have your ticket and have validated it just follow the signs to Berlin City, again very well signposted. When we were there it was the very last platform, although this could obviously change.
Our top tip is to download the BVG app before you travel. The app has network maps for the trains, trams and buses, trip planner and schedules. We found it invaluable in knowing which was the quickest route to get from A to B and which platform to head to at the station.