I can’t shout it loud it enough, but Berlin is such a lovely city to live in. It’s so green that you would hardly know that you’re in the capital city of Europe’s strongest economy, and one of the largest countries in the European Union. In fact, I would liken it to be a collection of suburbs with the advantage of city living, and boy, do we live!
As you might know, Berlin is a river city. As you might not, I’ve always lived in places where water is nearby. River-living is great and soothes the soul. As far as Berlin is concerned the river called the River Spree, is the heart of the city.
How lucky we are then, that 44% of Berlin is covered with parks, forests, fields, rivers, lakes and canals, and that Berlin has about 30 beaches and about 960 bridges, which is far more than the ever romantic city of Venice!
Berlin is the capital city of Berlin and the number one (1) travel destination in Germany and by virtue of this, in 2013 saw 11.32 million visitors with 57% coming from other parts of Germany, 31% coming from Europe, and 12% coming from overseas. A significant percentage of the international tourist population came from Great Britain and the USA, with a large number also came from Italy, Holland and Denmark, and a reasonable increase from the Gulf States of the MIddle East, China, and Russia. As a result, there are a huge number of tours and guided walks that cater for our tourists.
Most of the tours are pretty reasonably priced and an absolute bargain in terms of creativity, like the alternative walking tour that I went on a few months ago. Of course, if you’re broke or want to meet the locals, then the best way of doing that is not to go on the tourist trail but to use public transport.
Yes, public transport.
Germany has one of the most efficient and certainly, the safest mode of transport (outside of Switzerland) in Europe, and Berlin is no exception. In my opinion, Berlin has one of the cleanest, safest, most efficient, cheapest, and easily accessible, forms of public transportation in Western Europe! There is absolutely no where in Berlin that doesn’t have some sort of public transport within walking distance. I repeat, no where!
- The underground train known as the Ubahn.
- The mainline train or urban train known as Sbahn.
- We have the RE trains known as the Regional Trains.
- We have the trams.
- We have the buses.
- We have bicycles which can be used as public transport, and picked up in one destination and returned, to another.
- We have city tuk-tuks as part of the green economy, in the tourist district.
- We have taxis or cabs.
- And we have boats and ferries.
I’d like to talk about the ferries. Not as a city or regional cruise of which they are many, and enormously fantastic, but as a means of public transport and getting from A to B.
Here are the 10 reasons why you should definitely check out the river and lakes of Berlin and Brandenburg!
- With an area of 892 square kilometres, Berlin is nine (9) times bigger than Paris, and has 180 kilometres of navigable waterways within the city limits!
- You can take the ferryboat as part of the public transport system all around the city. The symbol of the public ferry is distinguished by the letter “F.”
- The shortest ferry service in Berlin is between the suburb of Rahnsdorf and Müggelheim which crosses the very large and lovely Müggelspree or Müggel River and is 10 metres wide, and consists of a small rowing boat that takes people across, to the other side of the river, during the summer.
- The ferry service isn’t fancy but you can buy refreshments, take your bike, and take a picnic with you. Don’t forget the beers, and if you do. You can buy them on the ferry!
- The largest lake in Berlin is the Müggelsee in the Treptow-Köpenick suburbs of East Berlin, also known as the Großer Müggelsee or Bigger Müggel Lake and has a total surface of 7.4 square kilometres. The smallest lake which covers just 0.3 square metres, is Pechsee or Pech Lake and is in a marshy nature reserve in the leafy suburb of Grunewald in West Berlin.
- You don’t have to buy an extra ticket to use the ferry but can use either, a reduced fare, “a normal” single, a return, a day ticket, or even a short trip ticket (but short-trip tickets are only accepted on the F11, F12, F21, F23, and F24 lines), and if you don’t have one, you can buy it on the ferry!
- You can use your Berliner Verkehrs Aktiengesellschaft (Berlin Transport Corporation) or BVG ticket on six (6) ferry lines which are operated daily on 6.9 kilometres of water routes in the city. The lines are F10, F11, and F12 throughout the year and F21, F23, and F24 through the summer peak and mid-peak seasons.
- Bicycles can be taken on all ferries.
- It’s a lovely way to see the suburbs and beaches of Berlin.
- Er. More beer, wine, and ice-cream!
HOW MUCH ARE THE BVG (PUBLIC TRANSPORT) TICKETS?
- Single tickets: Single Tickets entitle you to travel with any number of changes towards your destination via a direct travel route. They are valid for a maximum of two hours. Within the two-hour validity of the single ticket you may change trains/buses, etc. or interrupt your journey as often as you wish, but you cannot return or do a round trip. You can use the buses, trams, underground and mainline or urban rail network transport within the Berlin fare zones of A, B and C, including regional rails and the ferries. Single tickets cost €2.60. Children under 6 years old are free. Single tickets for children aged 6 to 14 cost €1.60.
- Short-Trip tickets: If you do not want to travel any further than three mainline or urban rail or underground stations, or no more than six bus or tram stops, then it pays to buy a Short Trip ticket. With the short trip fare, you can also use the ferries, the only exception is the F10 (Wannsee-Kladow) route as it’s a bit of a journey albeit, a lovely one. In fact, it’s my favourite ferry route! The Short-Trip ticket is not valid on regional rail transport and you can only change between underground and mainline / urban rail trains. You cannot interrupt or break your journey, and return trips are not permitted. Short-Trip tickets cost €1.50. Children under 6 years old are free. Short-Trip tickets for children aged 6 to 14 cost €1.20.
- Day Pass or Day Return tickets: With a Day Pass, you can travel as often as you want on the day printed on the ticket, or from validation of the ticket. The ticket is valid up to 3.00 a.m. on the following day! SECRET TIP: You can also take another person with you on your ticket for free from 20:00, all day weekends, and on public holidays! Day Pass tickets cost €6.70. Children under 6 years old are free. Day Pass tickets for children aged 6 to 14 cost €4.70.
- Bicycle Tickets: You will need an extra bicycle ticket to travel with a bicycle. A single bicycle ticket is €1.70, a short trip ticket with your bicycle is €1.10, and a day pass is €4.70. Don’t try to “forget” this, as the BVG inspectors take it seriously and will fine you.
P.S. Please validate and click your ticket in the red validating ticket machine that you will find on every platform. Before you take the train!
The days of the dumb tourist are over and ticket inspectors are now wiser. Berlin public transport have no automatic barriers, or any barriers at all. You wouldn’t want to spoil the good times would you?
I thought not!
The waterways, canals, rivers and lakes in Berlin; are wonderful. See for yourself!
This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!
Next week, I will be writing about the fantastic blog award that I received from Waegook Tom. Thank you Tom!
Watch this space!
Have you been on a yacht, boat, or cruise? Would you visit our many lakes and rivers? Do you like German beer?!
See you in Berlin.
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