Public transport options

Inside Berlin

  • S-Bahn trains
    These red and yellow trains use the same rails as intercity trains. They travel everywhere in Berlin, and parts of Brandenburg, and use the same rails as intercity trains. They are run by the Deutsche Bahn. S-Bahn line names start with an S (S1, S2, ...).
  • U-Bahn trains
    These yellow trains use their own independent rail network. They travel everywhere in Berlin, and use an independent rail network. They are run by the BVG. U-Bahn line names start with a U (U1, U2, ...). The "U" is for "underground", but U-Bahn lines often go above ground.
  • Trams (Straßenbahn)
    Some tram lines start with an M (M1, M2...), and others have just a number (50, 68...). Many tram lines run 24 hours a day. Most of the trams are in the east. Before the reunification, there were no trams in West Berlin.
  • Buses
    Bus stops are marked with a "H" sign or post. There are night buses that replace U-Bahn and tram lines. Night bus lines start with the letter N (N6, N7, ...). Their number is the same as the bus or train line they replace (U6 and N6, 50 and N50...).
  • Ferries

Outside Berlin

  • Regional trains
    The Regio trains travel from Berlin to Brandenburg and other parts of Germany. The express lines start with RE (RE1, RE2...) and the other lines start with RB (RB10, RB49...). There is also the FEX line, which goes to the BER airport1.
  • S-Bahn trains
    Most S-Bahn lines end in zone C, outside of Berlin.
  • Long distance trains
    These trains travel to other German cities. The express lines start with ICE. The other lines start with IC. You can get on some IC and ICE trains with a regular ticket. Use Omio or Bahn.de to find train tickets.

Tariff zones

Berlin has 3 public transit zones: A, B and C:

  • Zone A includes everything inside the Ringbahn.
  • Zone B includes everything that's outside the Ringbahn, but inside Berlin.
  • Zone C includes the area around Berlin. For example, it includes Potsdam and the BER airport.
Tariff zones in Berlin
Tariff zones in Berlin

Step 1: Buy a ticket

One ticket for everything

With a ticket, you can you use all public transit options: the S-Bahn, the U-Bahn, trams, buses, ferries, regional trains and some IC and ICE trains.

Your ticket is valid for 2 hours. You can take as many trains, and buses as you want with the same ticket, but you can only travel in one direction. If you want to go back, you must buy another ticket.

For example, with one ticket, you can take the train from Westkreuz to Hauptbahnhof, eat lunch, then take the tram to Alexanderplatz, then take another train to Ostkreuz.

Choose the right zone

Most of the time, you will travel in zones A and B. For that, you need an AB ticket. If you travel in zone C, you need an ABC ticket. For example, the BER airport is in zone C. If you are caught with the wrong ticket, you will get a 60€ fine.

If you already have an AB ticket, and you want to go to zone C, get a connection ticket (Anschlussfahrausweis). It's cheaper than an ABC ticket, and it lets you travel in zone C.

Choose the right tariff

  • Children
    If your child is between 6 and 14 years old, they need a reduced tariff (Ermäßigungstarif) ticket. Children under 6 years old ride for free.
  • Dogs
    If your dog is bigger than a cat, you must buy a reduced tariff (Ermäßigungstarif) ticket for it. Smaller dogs and guide dogs ride for free. Guide dogs ride for free. If you have a daily, monthly or yearly ticket, your dog can ride for free. More information below.
  • Senior citizens
    Senior citizens pay the regular price, but there is a cheaper VBB-Abo 65plus yearly subscription.

Buy your ticket

There are many ways to buy a train ticket:

  • In the BVG app
    The BVG app is the easiest way to buy train tickets, but if your phone runs out of battery, you don't have a valid ticket. The BVG app is in English. It does not work outside of Berlin.
  • In the VBB app
    The VBB app lets you buy tickets in Berlin and Brandenburg.
  • In the Jelbi app
    The Jelbi app lets you buy train tickets, but also rent cars, bicycles, scooters and mopeds. It's one app for everything.
  • At a ticket machine
    There are ticket machines at every train station. They accept coins, bills, credit cards and EC cards. Most ticket machines work with Apple Pay and Google Pay. The machines are usually on the train platform. The machines also work in English.
  • In the tram
    There is a ticket machine in every tram. It's a big yellow box near the middle of the tram.
  • In the bus
    The bus driver sell tickets. You must pay with cash. You don't need to have the exact amount of money; the driver has change.
  • At a BVG service point
    There are a few BVG service points. You can buy tickets there.
VBB ticket machine
A VBB ticket machine (middle), and the machine that validates tickets (left)

Types of tickets

This official page has a complete list of ticket types. It shows the price of each ticket, and what you can do with it.

Getting caught without a ticket

There are Kontrolleur who enter the train and check everyone's tickets. They dress like normal people, and they wait until the doors close to check tickets, so you can't run away. If your ticket is not valid, they will give you a 60€ fine.

Related guide: How to pay (or avoid paying) a BVG fine

Step 2: Validate your ticket

When you buy a ticket, you must stamp it. If you don't stamp your ticket, it's not valid. If a Kontrolleur catches you with an unstamped you will get a fine. It's like riding without a ticket.

You can validate your ticket at a stamping machine. These machines are on train platforms, and inside trams and buses. Look for a yellow or red metal box.

Ticket stamp machine
Stamp your ticket to validate it

Other ways to get around

Rent a bicycle

How to ride a bicycle in Berlin ➞ Renting a bicycle

Rent a scooter

You can rent electric scooters (🛴) with the Jelbi, Bolt, Lime, Tier or Voi apps. You do not need a driving licence.

Rent a moped

You can rent motor scooters (🛵) with the Jelbi, Emmy, Felyx, Lime or Tier apps. There are also scooter rental businesses. You need a valid driving licence. Scooter rental services don't always accept non-EU driving licences, because they're only valid for 6 months after you move to Germany.

Rent a car

You can rent a car from Sixt, Avis, Budget or Europcar. RentalCars.com can help you find a rental car. You can also use car sharing services like Miles, WeShare and Share Now. The Jelbi app lets you use different car sharing services. Car sharing services let you rent a car for just one trip, and park it when you are finished.

You need a valid driving licence to use those services. Car sharing services don't always accept non-EU licences, because they're only valid for 6 months after you move to Germany.

Call a taxi

People rarely use taxis in Berlin, because they are very expensive1. You can get a taxi from BerlKönig, Bolt, FreeNow, Uber, and standard taxi services. The Jelbi app also lets you book a taxi.

German taxis must accept cash and credit cards1. The Jelbi app also accepts PayPal.

Ride sharing

BlaBlaCar lets you ride with drivers who travel to Berlin. You meet them in one place, and drive together to another city. It's usually the cheapest way to travel between cities.

Bicycles on public transit

You can bring your bicycle on the train (S-Bahn and U-Bahn), and on the N1 to N9 night buses1. You can't bring your bicycle in the tram, or in other buses. On the U-Bahn, don't bring your bicycle in the first carriage. Some carriages also have a "no bicycles" sign near the door.1 On the S-Bahn, only use the carriages with a bicycle sign near the door.1

Bicycle trailers, bicycles with more than two wheels, scooters and motorcycles are not allowed on the train. Electric bicycles are allowed.1

Bicycle tickets

You must buy a bicycle ticket (Fahrradticket) for your bicycle. If you have a student ticket (Schülerticket) or an apprentice ticket (Ausbildungsticket), you don't need a bicycle ticket.

If you have a folding bike, you do not need a bicycle ticket, but your bike must be folded in the train. You can also bring your folded bike on the bus or tram.

On the S-Bahn, only use carriages with a bicycle sign near the door.
On the U-Bahn, don't bring your bicycle in carriages with this sticker.
On the U-Bahn, don't bring your bicycle in the first carriage.

Dogs on public transit

In Berlin, you can take your dog with you in trains, trams and buses. They can't go on the seats. They must be in a closed container. If they don't fit in a container, they must wear a muzzle and be on a leash.

Normally, you must buy a reduced tariff ticket for your dog, but there are exceptions. You can bring your dog on the train, tram or bus for free if...1, 2

  • It's not bigger than a house cat, and you carry it in a closed container
  • or you have a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly pass
  • or your dog is a guide dog

Related guide: Having a dog in Berlin