Browsing articles tagged with " Transportation"

U-Bahn? S-Bahn? Public transportation in Berlin

Berlin, November 2014

Getting around Berlin in public transportation requires only two things: an appropriate ticket and a good city map. The subway and bus network is just as vast as the city itself, so you’d better be patient: you might well need a couple days before getting used to it.

To start with, you should distinguish between U-Bahn and S-Bahn. The U-Bahn (Untergrundbahn, underground train) is constituted of 10 lines and runs basicly underground… but also on the ground, at least some portions of several lines (U1, U2 and U3, mainly). The service is offered by the firma , BVG which also deals with the bus and tram networks. The symbol that identifies these 10 lines is a blue “U”, and the complete list of lines can be consulted here (in English).

On the other hand, the S-Bahn (Stadtbahn, urban railway) has 15 lines that operate mainly on the ground, although some portions in central Berlin run underground. Its symbol is a green “S”. If you click here, you can travel (virtually) on a train of the S-Bahn. Do not forget to close the door when you reach an station; otherwise, the train will not move forward 😉

In total, 25 lines between U-Bahn and S-Bahn, covering practically all of the city. If you click here you will access a complete map of the network, in PDF format. Besides, of course, buses (about 200 lines. If you click here you can check their routes) and also trams, 22 lines running basicly through former East Berlín.

For sure, you will have no problem to reach any spot in town, with such an impressive offer!

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Berlin’s “far East”

Berlin, 20 May 2013

As it happens in most big cities all over the planet, also Berlin has very well known spots, amongst which Alexanderplatz, the Brandenburg Gate and the East Side Gallery. Not very usual is, though, that the occasional visitor ever discovers some areas which are located far from the centre -whatever the centre is, in the case of Berlin. One of this far away districts is Marzahn.

If you look for this name in any tourist guide, you will probably see readers being advised not to explore the area. Actually, it might not be the best idea to get there in “tourist outfit”, carrying your big, expensive photo camera with you all of the time. But Alt-Marzahn, where the then village was born back in the 13th century, is not dangerous at all and it definitely deserves a visit. We at will be happy to take you there and show you this unknown part of the German capital city!

Alt-Marzahn’s main and only street was beautifully restored before the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), giving back the area its wonderful medieval appearance. Its neo-Gothic church, the “District museum” which used to be the school of the village, and also a wonderful mill on top of a small hill… Marzahn will definitely allow you discover an unimaginable Berlin! Contact us for information on a visit and, in the meantime, take a couple minutes to enjoy our photo gallery:

(c) -all pictures on this website and photo galleries on flickr

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“A” as in airports (of Germany)

Berlin, 26 February 2013

The so called “low cost” companies are no longer what they used to be, but flying is still a reasonable way to travel to Germany, even if arriving from a European country. Here you have some information about the airports to reach Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne:

Germany’s capital city, Berlin, has postponed four times the opening of its new airport, “Berlin Brandenburg International” (BER)*. This facility will replace the current airports of Schönefeld (actually, the one under construction is an extension of this) and Tegel, due to shut on the same day of the opening of BER. In the meantime, and after the historical Tempelhof closed down back in 2008, Tegel and Schönefeld are the two gates to enter Berlin by plane. Most flights operate to/from Tegel, but low cost companies like EasyJet are based in Schönefeld.

Tegel airport is located in Berlin (AB zone of the public transportation tickets), whereas Schönefeld is outside the city boundaries, in the neighbouring land of Brandenburg (C zone). From Tegel, it takes some 20 minutes to reach Zoologischer Garten (bus lines X9 and 109), and about 30 min. to Alexanderplatz (line TXL). This central square can be reached from Schönefeld in only 20 minutes, on board a regional train (lines RE7 or RB14), but in over half an hour by travelling on the S-Bahn (urban network), considering change of trains at Ostkreuz or Warschauer Straße stations.

Both airports, all together, welcomed in 2012 some 25 million passengers (London Heathrow 70 million, 105 million all three New York airports).

Hamburg is the second city in Germany and it takes only 1.30 hours to reach from Berlin. Nonetheless, more practical to get there is through its airport: with the line S1 of the S-Bahn, you will arrive at the city’s central station (Hauptbahnhof) in just 25 minutes. Or you can take any of this bus lines: 26, 39, 274 and 292. Other advisable airports are the one in Lübeck, connected with downtown Hamburg through the bus line A20, and that in Bremen, which also has a connexion with Hamburg in some 90 minutes (check the website of bus2fly).

As for Munich, its airport is connected to the city’s Hauptbahnhof (main station) with lines S1 and S8 of the S-Bahn. The journey takes about 45 minutes with both lines, and from the Hauptbahnhof you can reach the rest of the city with the metro (U-Bahn) lines U1, U2, U4 and U5. Another option to get to Munich is through Memmingen airport: although it is located 110 kilometers away from Munich, Ryanair offers several bus connexions between the airport and the city center.

Finally, Cologne is very easily accessible through Cologne‘s airport (officially, “Köln/Bonn”), with the S-Bahn line S13 to/from the city’s Hauptbahnhof: you will only need 15 minutes! The station, by the way, is located next to the city’s famous, wonderful Cathedral (Dom, in German).

Now you know what you need to know, when you prepare your trip to Germany! But before you land here, do not hesitate contact us and our private tours and services in English, to discover Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, amongst other cities (our e-mail: Our tours are the best in town, and besides you do not want German to be a problem for you, do you? 😉

*We have dealt with the future Berlin airport in two articles: Berlin Brandenburg International and BER, an airport not taking off.

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The short U55

Berlin, September 10, 2012

Berlin opened in 2009 its shortest metro line: the U55. In the future, it will be linked to the already existing U5 that runs from Hönow to Alexanderplatz…

The “Hauptbahnhof” station:

BER, an airport not taking off

Berlin, May 14, 2012

The opening of  the future one and only airport in Berlin has been postponed twice: in June 2010 it was announced that the opening, scheduled for November 2011, would not take place until June 3rd 2012. On that day Tegel was due to shutting down for good, while Schönefeld would be renamed to the brand new (and enlarged) Berlin Brandenburg – Willy Brandt Airport (BER), consisting of a new terminal and more capacity, ready to welcome up to 27 million passengers every year.

Quite surprisingly, the managers of BER informed last Tuesday about the postponement of the opening, this time sine die. According to the official communiqué, the reason for this have been some technical problems with the fire protection engineering. Rather painful surprise, especially considering that only 48 hours before the statement, the airport was still informing about its imminent opening (“During the morning of 3 June the “Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt”, abbreviated as BER, will open together with many new direct links to the German capital”, they said in an e-mail we at received on May 6th). It must be taken into consideration that it is not only about the airport being renamed: the closing of Tegel, on that very weekend, had led to the reorganization of many flights to and from Berlin.

The storekeepers, both in Tegel and BER airports, are painfully affected by this postponement: the first ones were ready to close down in the late evening of Saturday 2nd, while those ready to start in the new airport on Sunday 3rd, who have already hired staff, will now have to wait until… further notice. Chaos, and millions of spoiled euros. Needless to say, the postponement is also a problem for the travellers: those with flights already booked for the 3rd of June -and subsequent days- should confirm with their airline company from which airport their flight will take off, either Tegel or Schönefeld. AirBerlin, for example, operating from Tegel up to this day, will continue there after June 3rd, although its flights were intended from and to BER following the failed opening.

Both the mayor-president of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, and the president of the land Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck, have been at the centre of the controversy since the very day the announcement was made, not only because of their responsibilities in the regional governments, but because they are members of the supervisory board of the airport. On that Tuesday, the president of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Berlin, Eric Schweitzer, said explicitly that this setback should involve “personal consequences”, although he did not pronouce any particular name. According to Schweitzer, the “punishment” suffered by the image of Berlin will have a negative impact on the city’s economy.

To learn more about this, you can read the following articles:

Premsa BER (in English):
FlyNews (in Spanish):

For the readers with knowledge of German, this is a snippet of a programme which was broadcasted on Thursday 10th of May on the regional station rbb. It includes a short interview with the mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit:

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