How to Get Around Germany

Public Transportation – Germany has some of the best public transportation in the world. After all, they created the first highway system ever! All the cities and larger towns have public transportation that is reliable and efficient. In cities like Berlin and Munich, all of the various networks are integrated: one ticket gives you access to buses, trams, U-Bahn trains (subway), and S-Bahn trains (above ground). Fares are determined by zone, but generally a one-way fare starts from 2.90 EUR ($3.30 USD). You can get a one-day unlimited pass for 7 EUR ($8 USD), or three days for 17 EUR ($19 USD).

Another great way to get around is by bicycle. Germans love their bicycles! Most cities have well marked bicycle lanes, making it easy to navigate even the busiest streets. You can find bicycle rentals for around 18 EUR ($21 USD) per day in most places. Some hostels even have a rental program in place.

Taxis are expensive and not recommended, especially since the public transportation is so good. All taxis are metered. The base rate is around 3.70 EUR ($4.20 USD) plus an additional 1.90 EUR ($2.15 USD) per kilometer. It’s not worth it! Uber is not used in Germany, but if you want to order a taxi, you can use the MyTaxi app.

Train – Train travel is an incredibly efficient way to get around Germany, albeit not the most cost effective. Germany’s main rail system is Deutsche Bahn, which has both high-speed trains and regular trains. The high-speed trains are an quick way to get around but are usually much more expensive.

For example, a high-speed train from Berlin to Munich can cost as much as 190 EUR ($216 USD), but you can also find seats for 20 EUR if you have a more flexible itinerary. Last minute tickets from Berlin to Hamburg can cost 50 EUR ($57 USD), but advance bookings start around 20 EUR ($23 USD). Frankfurt to Cologne is also around 20 EUR ($23 USD).

It’s always best to book in advance when possible, otherwise you’ll pay the price for last-minute bookings. You can track schedules and fares on the Deutsche Bahn website.

A Eurail Pass, which allows travelers to explore Europe by providing a set number of stops in a specific time period, might also be a good option if you’re doing some country hopping. For more information, here’s a detailed breakdown of how Eurail passes work and can save you money.

Bus – Other than hitchhiking or ride-sharing, buses are the cheapest way to get around Berlin. The service is usually punctual, although not as efficient as the train. Buses are comfortable with reclining seats, air-conditioning, rest stops, and sometimes even free WiFi.

There are a few major bus companies servicing Germany, including:

  • Flixbus
  • Eurolines
  • Deinbus

I recommend Flixbus for the cheapest rates and most comfortable buses. You can get from Berlin to Dresden for as little as 8 EUR ($9 USD), or Berlin to Munich for 25 EUR ($28 USD). Munich to Hamburg is also around 26 EUR ($30 USD).

Ride-sharing – Ride-sharing in Germany is very common. Ride-sharing means you travel as a passenger with someone in exchange for payment toward fuel costs. It’s cheap, and you’ll meet some interesting characters! BlaBlaCar and Mitfahren are the two most popular ride-sharing websites.

Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking in Germany is very safe, but it’s not for everyone. HitchWiki is the best website for hitchhiking info.

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