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Berlin – Public Transportation

Berlin is served by IC, ICE, EuroCity and InterRegio trains. The German train corporation Deutsche Bahn (DB) offers ICE connections between Berlin and other major German cities. If you arrive in Berlin on a national (non-regional) DB trip, you are entitled to use your ticket to travel by S-Bahn (local commuter trains), but not U-Bahn (the city’s underground system), to your destination as the S-Bahn is operated by the DB.

Several night trains from/to Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich and Vienna travel every day. They are popular with backpackers so reservations are recommended. Long-haul trains to Eastern European cities (Warsaw, Kaliningrad and Moscow) mostly use the Bahnhof Lichtenberg in Eastern Berlin. Make sure you have a reservation because these lines are also very popular

The trams are mostly in East Berlin, as in the West the tram lines were removed to facilitate more vehicular traffic. If you don’t have a ticket already, you can buy one inside the tram.

Two types of tram service are available. Metrotrams are similar to what English-speakers call Light Rail, with stops spaced farther apart than on local access routes, and with traffic priority measures. Tram routes not so identified stop more frequently and may even include picturesque single-track rides through forested areas east of the Mitte Bezirk (borough).

Perhaps the most picturesque line in the city, known to transit system officials as “the most beloved tram line in Germany” due to its customers’ passionate opposition to reducing service, is Line 68. In off-seasons it has more scenery than people, but when hot weather comes its lakeshore meanderings and the tiny, gemütlich village of Alt-Schmöckwitz at the line’s outer terminal draw so many customers that extra trams are pressed into service. Line 68 may be best accessed at the Berlin-Grünau S-Bahn station, where all types of convenience food and shopping are available.

Beyond the village center and tram terminal, a large forested area of lakefront parkland offers hiking and bicycling possibilities. This was once the home neighborhood for expatriate American, international music and film star Dean Reed. The Line 68 tram itself had one brief moment of glory, in 1936. In its former incarnation as Line 86 it was the best route to the Olympic rowing events and some structures, street names, etc. still reflect that high point.