First things first. When you get out of a train and enter the main station area, do not, I repeat Do Not sign any kind of petition that is offered to you. I know it talks about helping the disabled of Europe, but it’s absolutely fake. The same piece of paper is used by theft rings around Europe. I have seen it in seven cities so far. Don’t sign it, you’re in serious risk pickpocketing if you do.
Now that that’s clear you can start to navigate public transport to your place of residence while you’re in Berlin. The first line of defense for navigating Berlin is the BVG App. iOS Android Google Maps works, but is not quite as good as BVG Fahrinfo.
A fair understanding of the Schnellbahnnetz is also a good to have. It’s really rather simple as one can see.
This map includes SBahn (City light rail), UBahn (Subway), and RE/RB (Regional trains). The oblong oval shape is a continuous line known as the Ringbahn and is number S41 and S42. The rest of the lines snake through the city’s various Bezirke (Boroughs) until their termini.
The city is divided into three different fare zones: A, B, and C. Tickets are sold for AB, BC, or ABC. Single use extension tickets are also available to add one zone of validity to a ticket for two hours. Single tickets are valid for two hours within their fare zones for one direction of travel and cost EUR 2.70. The ticket must be validated at a machine in the UBahn station, on an SBahn platform, or in a a bus or tram. They are small yellow or red boxes with a slot that the ticket must be inserted into. It is then stamped with a date and station code.
Tickets valid for a longer period of time are also commonly used. There are day, two day, three day, four day, five day, six day, week, and monthly tickets. For tourists, a selection of tickets that include museum entrances and other benefits are available. For longer term visitors there for three weeks or more, month tickets make more fiscal sense. They are known as Monatskarten. One month of an unreduced VBB Umweltskarte which is valid on all BVG forms of transportation costs EUR 81.00 per month for zones AB. If you are a student studying in Berlin on a study abroad program and have a valid Berlin issued photo ID you may be able to use the Monatskarte Azubi/Schüler for EUR 57.00 for zones AB. If at a German university, there should also be an office to purchase semester-long tickets at for further reduced prices. An ID from BVG is required to use the reduced tickets.
Tickets are most commonly purchased from yellow machines at train stations, and single tickets are sold on buses. The machines take cash, EC cards (A unique German kind of charge card), and some debit cards. Many convenience stores also sell tickets. One way to save a small amount of money is to buy four tickets at the same time in a 4-Fahrten-Karte configuration. Each ticket must be individually validated when it is used.
Now you have everything you need to make it to your accommodations without problem.
Next: Berlin: The Basic Tour