Public Transport In Germany: Your Guide to Seamless Travel 2023

Get ready to embark on a transportation journey like no other! Germany boasts an extraordinary public transport system that seamlessly connects bustling cities, links towns of all sizes, and ensures hassle-free commuting for locals and ex-pats alike.

Renowned for its reliability, comfort, and impressive speed, Public Transport In Germany is a well-kept secret, even among car enthusiasts. Whether you’re a busy commuter or a curious explorer, rest assured that Germany’s extensive network has you covered.

Discover Germany’s World-Class Public Transport System

With an impeccably organized national railway network, journeying across the country becomes a breeze with Deutsche Bahn at your service. On a local scale, buses, trams, metro networks, suburban trains, and even ferries are seamlessly managed by Germany’s states.

Discover a transportation revolution in Germany. Embrace safe, efficient, and user-friendly public transport that has reshaped car-centric cities like Berlin (30% reliance on cars) and Munich (33% reliance). With an astounding 30 million passengers traveling daily, Germany stands as a true transportation haven. Get ready for a remarkable voyage alluring Public Transport In Germany by your side.

All about Germany’s €49 Ticket

If you love traveling around Germany and exploring its diverse regions and cities, you might be interested in a new offer from Deutsche Bahn: the €49 ticket. This ticket allows you to use all public transport in Germany for a flat monthly fee of €49. Sounds too good to be true? Here’s what you need to know about this amazing deal.

The €49 ticket, also known as the “Deutschlandticket”, is a monthly subscription ticket that gives you access to all public transport throughout Germany (excluding ICE, IC, or EC trains). Once you’ve signed up for the subscription, €49 will be debited from your account every month. You can cancel the subscription at any time, with no minimum contract duration or notice period.

The ticket is valid on all local public transport, including buses, trams, subways, regional trains, and ferries. You can use it to travel within and between cities, as long as you don’t board any long-distance trains. You can also take other people with you using the €49 ticket, as long as they are children under 15 years old or dogs.

The €49 ticket is a great way to save money and enjoy the convenience of traveling without having to buy individual tickets or worry about zones and fares. You can discover new places and attractions in Germany, or visit your friends and family more often. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by using public transport instead of driving or flying.

The €49 ticket is available to purchase online, in the app, and at DB travel centers from 3 April 2023. You can start using it from 1 May 2023. All you need is a valid ID card or passport and a bank account. You will receive a mobile ticket or a chip card that you can show to the ticket inspectors.

If you are looking for a flexible and affordable way to travel around Germany, don’t miss this opportunity. The €49 ticket is a limited offer that will only be available until 31 December 2023. So hurry up and get yours today!

Modes Of Public Transportation In Germany

Germany’s bustling urban centers offer an array of transportation options that cater to every traveler’s needs. The go-to choice for speed and popularity lies in the Rapid transit system, comprising five U-Bahn lines covering city centers, complemented by thirteen S-Bahn lines that seamlessly navigate underground and overground routes, extending towards the suburbs.

The reliable Straßenbahn (tramlines) and the trusty bus system are complementing this network. Buses prove invaluable during nighttime journeys, offering affordability and availability, although they may sacrifice speed and comfort. Meanwhile, the tramlines boast higher capacity and faster speeds, running on dedicated tracks, but with fixed routes that limit flexibility.

U-Bahn (subway/underground)

U-Bahn (subway/underground)

Germany’s major cities boast an extensive underground transportation network called the U-Bahn, which stands for Untergrundbahn, meaning underground railway. 

These rapid transit systems predominantly operate beneath the city, emerging above ground as they approach the outskirts. The lines are well-ordered and designated with a U followed by a numerical identifier. Commuters can rely on frequent service intervals, with trains arriving every 5 to 15 minutes.

There are four U-Bahnen (urban metro networks) in Germany:

  • Berlin
  • Hamburg
  • Munich
  • Nuremberg

S-Bahn (suburban commuter rail)

S-Bahn (suburban commuter rail)

The S-Bahn is a commuter rail network that operates within the city center and extends to the suburbs and neighboring towns. 

In major cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt-Mainz-Wiesbaden, Stuttgart, Cologne-Düsseldorf-Ruhr District, Nuremberg, Dresden, Leipzig-Halle, Mannheim-Heidelberg-Karlsruhe, Magdeburg, and Rostock, express trains efficiently connect the city center with the outskirts. 

In the largest cities, the S-Bahn system closely resembles a metro system, offering frequent service every 20-30 minutes. The train makes multiple stops in and around the city center before continuing its journey into the suburbs.

Weekday service differs from weekends, with reduced frequency, especially on Sundays and holidays.


In Germany, bus stops are identifiable by the capital letter H. The number of bus systems operating within a city tends to rise with its size.

 Berlin, being a large city, has multiple bus systems operating concurrently, including a night bus service. Conversely, smaller towns typically operate under the GermanRail system for their bus transportation needs.

Straßenbahn/Trambahn (streetcar/tram)

Streetcars, also known as trams, are a common mode of above-ground transportation in many cities, particularly in the eastern regions of Germany. 

In larger cities, the streetcar network may even have underground sections in the central areas, strategically avoiding densely populated areas.

 Interestingly, streetcars are often referred to as the “tube” by locals, emphasizing their significance in urban transportation.

Stadtbahn (light rail)

Germany has a transportation system known as Stadtbahn, or light rail, which is similar to the U-Bahn but primarily operates above ground in suburban areas. It offers a faster service compared to the streetcar system, Trambahn, as it has its own dedicated route.

Stadtbahn translates to ‘city railway’. Stadtbahn trains run at a frequency of approximately every 10-20 minutes. The Stadtbahn stations are marked with the same “U” symbol as U-Bahn stations, but they are clearly labeled as Stadtbahn below the symbol to avoid confusion.

Ticket (Fahrkarte)

Tickets for public transport in Germany are available in various options, including single-use passes, daily passes, weekly passes, and monthly passes. These tickets grant passengers access to all modes of public transportation within the city, including S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, trams, and ferries.

To purchase tickets, one can use the multilingual ticket machines located on the platforms of S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations, which is convenient for expatriates. Alternatively, when boarding buses, passengers can pay the fare directly to the bus driver in the traditional manner. In trams, tickets can be obtained from ticket machines inside the trains.

It is crucial to validate tickets before starting the journey. This can be done by stamping the ticket at the yellow or red validation machines on the platforms. In buses or trams, the ticket is manually validated by the responsible personnel. Failure to validate a ticket can result in a fine of approximately 40 Euros during ticket inspections.

Pets in Public Transportation

Pets and public transportation

Traveling with a dog is permitted under certain conditions. Dogs must be leashed and wear a muzzle (mouth mask). Small dogs that can be held, approximately the size of a cat, do not require a ticket. However, for larger dogs, a ticket fee of 1.5 euros is typically required.

Public Transportation Apps

In Germany, several convenient apps are available to facilitate the use of public transportation. These apps serve different purposes such as route planning and ticketing. Here are some notable examples:

– Citymapper: This app is available in multiple German cities, including Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, and Hamburg. It can be accessed on Android, iOS, and web browsers.

– FAIRTIQ: An alternative ticketing app that collaborates with local transportation authorities in cities such as Aschaffenburg, Flensburg, Göttingen, Halle, Lörrach, Mittelthuringen, and Oberelbe. FAIRTIQ is available for Android and iOS.

– Google Maps: Widely used, Google Maps offers integrated timetables and route planning for public transportation across most of Germany. It can be accessed on Android, iOS, and web browsers.

– Öffi: This comprehensive app covers nearly all local and regional transportation networks in Germany and is available exclusively for Android.

RMVGo: RMVgo is the smart and personal companion for all residents and visitors of the Rhine-Main region in terms of mobility.

Additionally, many local transportation authorities and companies have their own dedicated apps. 

Examples include BVG for Berlin, VRS for Cologne and Bonn, DVB for Dresden, RMV for Frankfurt am Main, HVV for Hamburg, MVV for Munich, VGN for Nuremberg, VRN for Rhein-Neckar, and VRR for Rhein-Ruhr. 

For train passengers, Deutsche Bahn, the national railway company, offers the DB Navigator app. It allows users to search for itineraries, book tickets, and check train compositions.

In Germany, ex-pats can significantly benefit from utilizing the excellent public transportation system. With extensive coverage, frequent services, and efficient connections, it offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to navigate cities. 

Public transportation grants access to a variety of modes, including trains, trams, buses, and subways, ensuring convenient travel options. 

Expats can avoid the hassle of driving, parking, and the high costs associated with taxis. Embracing public transportation facilitates exploration, integration, and a deeper understanding of the local culture and lifestyle.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on public transportation in Germany. We hope it has provided valuable insights and helpful information for ex-pats navigating the country’s transportation system. 

Stay tuned for our upcoming content. We appreciate your readership and look forward to serving you with more valuable content in the future.