Lisa Lansing

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Tips for using public transit in Berlin

Photo by Life Of Pix

Remember the new friend I met at the other day at the Turkish Market? The one from Well, it turns out she’s awesome! I’m spending a few days at her flat so I can get to know her better while exploring a new part of the city.

Lately, I’ve had the best of luck when it comes to meeting cool people online. I hope I can keep this up!

I took a train to her flat because walking would take me close to an hour and a half. The cost of a single (one-way) ticket within the city limits is only €2,70, so figured I could spare this cash and give my feet a much-needed break. (That’s how I felt this morning, but now I realise I walked close to 8 miles today.)

Riding public transit in a new city can be intimidating, but trust me if I can figure it out (with the help of Google maps, of course), you can too!

The impressive Berlin Hauptbahnhof: the main train station in the city. My trip to Poland will start here in just over a week.

Tickets are purchased from machines right on the train platform since ticket counters and attendants are nowhere to be found. You’ll need cash to purchase a ticket unless you happen to have a Maestro card so find a cash machine beforehand. I recommend giving yourself enough time to locate a ticket machine well before you need to depart because some temperamental machines only take cash, some demand exact change, others only take cards, and some are out of order.

And don’t worry about deciphering German because the ticket machines are multi-lingual. Whew!

If you plan on using transit multiple times in one day, purchase a day ticket for €7. This ticket gives you unlimited trips until 3 a.m. the following day. (Thanks to Victoria for that tip!)

Tickets are also valid for all public transit methods: S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, and trams.

I learned (thanks to Google) that tickets must be validated before you board the train. Insert your ticket into the wee red or yellow box (located next to the ticket machines) and have it stamped before boarding the train or face the consequences: a stiff €60 fine!

According to

Anyone caught in public transportation without a valid ticket must pay a higher fare of €60. Even people who forgot to stamp their ticket must pay the fine. Note: Ticket inspectors are dressed in plain clothes and will not make any exceptions for tourists. Those who get caught have to show an ID, otherwise the police will be called.

Now I feel more comfortable navigating the train stations here, even though they aren’t nearly as organised as the ones in Scotland. It’s nice to know I can use public transit if I’m pressed for time or need to rest from all this walking.

Have you used public transit in a foreign country?

How did it go?

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