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Getting Around Berlin

The best way to get around Berlin is via the U-Bahn underground trains or S-Bahn regional, elevated trains, which are both a part of the city's extensive BVG public transportation system. You can even take the U-Bahn from Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL), located a mere 5 miles from the city center as well as the secondary airport, Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF), about 13 miles southeast of the city center.

The city also offers an extensive bus and tram lines. Although service is significantly slower, travelers can take advantage of the Berlin WelcomeCard which offers unlimited service on bus routes and rail lines. 

As with every big metropolis, driving is discouraged: heavy traffic and scarce parking are the main culprits. For a bit of exercise, you can also rent a bike and peddle along the city's bike lanes and through the parks. Metered taxis are abundantly available, and these can be hailed on the street or scheduled ahead of time.

U-Bahn and S-Bahn

Most tourists will use the U-Bahn to get around. This underground rail system runs on 10 colored routes throughout the city and makes more than 173 stops. Note that prices are based on a zone system (A, B and C), but most of Berlin's attractions are situated in zones A and B, the cheapest price bracket. Schönefeld Airport is in zone C. The U-Bahn runs until 1 a.m. during the week and 24 hours on the weekends. 

You can also take the S-Bahn, the commuter rail lines that run both east-to-west and north-to-south lines, as well as a circular line, throughout the city. Fares are cheap, and trains run about every five minutes during rush hour and about every 20 minutes on nights and weekends. The S-Bahn runs until 1:30 a.m. during the week and 

A ticket is required for riding, and if you're caught on the train without it, you can be fined 40 euros or more. Make sure to also validate your ticket before boarding. The U-Bahn and S-Bahn run until 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m., respectively and both stay open 24 hours on the weekend. 

Bus and Tram

An efficient bus system can also take you to most places in the city, though it's significantly slower than the rail system. A common bus route is Bus Route 100, which departs from the Berlin Zoologischer Garten Station, drives through Tiergarten park and onto Alexanderplatz, allowing riders to see some of Berlin's most famous landmarks. Buses Nos. 216 and 218 are also popular since they travel outside the city to the lake getaways of Wannsee Beach and Pfaueninsel (or Peacock Island). Bus lines marked with an "N" indicate routes that run 24 hours a day. Trams only operate in the eastern part of the city and incur the same fares as rail lines. 

Taxi

Metered taxis are available throughout Berlin. You can hail one on the street (an illuminated sign means it's free) or call one to pick you up. If you are traveling a short distance, (less than a mile) hail a cab on the street and ask at the start for the Kurzstrecke (short distance tariff) that's only 4 euros.

Car Cars are not a preferred mode of transportation. Along with many of the world's major cities, Berlin shares a penchant for traffic congestion and too few parking spots. Another very unique frustration is the inability to turn left on major thoroughfares; tram lines and other barriers block the way. But if you're set on driving, you can rent cars from American companies at the Berlin Tegel Airport.

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