When you arrive in Berlin, it can be very intimidating as it is very spread out and can take over 90 minutes to drive from one side to the other.

Berlin is a culmination of six neighbourhoods which all grew together to make one united city. It was split in half with the building of the Berlin Wall. One side was the west and run by the allies, and the other side was east and run by the Soviets.



  • In Berlin, there are buses, trams, the S-bahn or overground train, and the U-bahn or underground train.  These are linked onto outer area trains to take you to places like Potsdam or the concentration camp.
  • Public transport tickets are sold by the BVG system and good for all types of transport, but the price goes up with how many areas you want to cover.  A standard A-B Ticket will allow you to see the tourist sites in central Berlin.
  • You can purchase tickets from machines on platforms and bus stops.  You can use coin or some take bills and credit cards.
  • Before boarding the U or S bahn, look for the yellow machine where you can validate your ticket.  If it is a day pass, you only need to validate it once.
  • There are services and lines that run all night, so check before you travel late.


There are many types of tickets available.

  • With a 2 hour ticket you can jump on-off in one direction
  • A four trip ticket can be used as needed
  • A day pass good until 3:30am:  for city AB   for outside city ABC
  • Group ticket for up to 5 people travelling together




The U and S Bahn system

This is a standard BDV map.  (You can also get maps with just tram or bus lines on them, or night lines, regional trains, etc. from larger stations)

-Take note of the 4 lines of burgundy, orange and purple that start on one side of the peach section and cross over to the other side.  This is only S-bahn.  You can get from one side of the city to the other in about 15 minutes on any of these lines.  If you are in the Zoo S bahn station, you can get on any of the S trains going towards Alexander platz and not have to worry about what the train is called, etc.


There are 2 major stations you need to know:

  • Zoologischer Garten (or Zoo for short) with is in the former West or allied side. Here you will find a huge station, the Zoo, a high rise office building and shopping mall with a Mercedes sign on the top, and the ruins of a bombed church.
  • Alexanderplatz which was the former East or Soviet side. Here you find many historical sites, with your marker being the massive telecommunication tower with the big disco ball on the top.
  • Both of these stations are major links between U and S bahn, trams and buses.


Please note that sometimes several trains travel on the same track, so always check that it is the one you want.

If you cannot find your train even though you are on what you think is your platform, check to make sure there aren’t more signs and arrows with your train name on it. Sometimes the stations are joined together and you must walk through one and exit it, to find the platform you were looking for.


Understanding how to find the sites 

-This is a common Berlin map showing part of the peach area of the BVG map.



downtown map of berlin


So for markers you have:

  • the Mercedes tower and bombed church near Zoo Garten
  •  the pillar with golden Elsie on the Groser Stern roundabout
  •  the Brandenburg Gate at the end of Unter den Linden
  •  the TV Tower at Alexander Platz

Mercedes tower


Kaiser Wilhelm Church


Golden Elsie


Brandenburg gate


TV tower Alex. Platz







Basically, anything between Brandenburg gate and east was former Soviet, and anything from Brandenburg gate and west was allied.

As far as sites go, things like Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust memorial, Topography of Terrors, Soviet Prison, all the sites that line Unter Den Linden Street, the squats and the more funky areas, are in the east or to the right of the Brandenburg gate on the map.

The west houses the best Zoo, upmarket shopping at KaDeWe, designer shops, the Charlottenburg palace, trendy bars and cafes.

If you walked without distraction from Zoo to Alex, you could do it in maybe an hour and a half.


Bus 100 takes you from Zoo station, along the main road through the city to Alexander platz, and bus 200 drops down to the sites south of Unter den Linden and back to Zoo station.