A guide to public transport in Berlin

We have just returned from a fantastic city break in Berlin and found the transport system to be really great value, easy to use and efficient.

Here is our guide to the transport system:

The public transport system is administered by BVG and consists of the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (railway), Trams and Buses. Berlin is split into three fare zones A, B and C. AB tickets cover most city trips but if you are travelling from Schonefeld Airport into the city you will need an ABC ticket. We flew with Easyjet and landed at Schonefeld Airport.

Buying Tickets:

Tickets can be purchased at multilingual ticket machines on the platforms of S and U-Bahn stations. In buses, fares are paid to the bus driver, in trams at machines inside the trains. In larger stations the S-Bahn and BVG provide ticket counters.

A day ticket (Tageskarte) allows travelling during the whole day for as many trips as desired and includes travel for up to three children aged six to fourteen. The ticket is valid from the day of its validation until 3 a.m. the following day and costs 7 Euros in tariff zone AB and 7.70 Euros in tariff zone ABC. If you are doing more than two trips a day then a day ticket tend to be better value than single tickets.

Singles tickets are available from 2.80 to 3.40 Euros.

Validation of Tickets:

Don’t be caught out and think once you have bought your ticket you are OK to travel. Before your journey starts tickets must be validated by stamping them at the yellow or red boxes on the platforms (see picture below). Even if you have bought a ticket if you haven’t stamped it then it is not valid. Anyone caught without a ticket will be issued with a 60 Euro fine and they will not make any exceptions for tourists!

Berlin Welcome Card:

Tourists can purchase the Berlin Welcome Card which is valid for public transport and also gives you discount to lots of tourist attractions. We bought the 72 hour ticket from the Tourist Information desk at the airport which cost 32 Euros for ABC zones. The great thing about the multi day travelcard is that you only validate it once before you first use it to activate it and then you just need to make sure you are carrying it for the rest of your trips in case there is a ticket inspection. This makes travel very easy as we were jumping on and off trains a few times a day.

How to get from the airport into the city:

From the airport take RB14 or RE7 Regional Express trains which cost 3.30 Euros one way. They run approximately every 30 minutes from 5am to 11pm and stop at Karlshorst, Ostbahmhof, Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstrabe. It is about a 10 minute walk from the arrivals terminal to the station which is really well signposted. Once in the station if you haven’t bought a Welcome Card from tourist information then there are loads of self serve ticket machines with validation machines next to them. If you purchased a welcome card then just remember to validate it before getting on the train. Once you have your ticket and have validated it just follow the signs to Berlin City, again very well signposted. When we were there it was the very last platform, although this could obviously change.

TOP TIP

Our top tip is to download the BVG app before you travel. The app has network maps for the trains, trams and buses, trip planner and schedules. We found it invaluable in knowing which was the quickest route to get from A to B and which platform to head to at the station.

Gotcha Birthday for Finn

Three years ago today Finn our rescue ‘collie’ came into our lives.

It had been a few months since we lost our Border Collie Merlot and after searching for a while at the rehoming centres we found Finn.

He was rescued by Many Tears and was in a foster home in Swansea. We had filled out the forms and passed the home check so all we had to do now was go and see him. We went prepared in the campervan with a crate to bring him home. I think the chances of coming away without him were zero, although officially it was just a viewing. The charity had called him Jethro and he was handed over to them with the rest of his litter by a farmer. He was listed as a welsh collie which is stretching the truth. Some part of him is collie but there is definitely a bit of a mixture with we think maybe whippet and Jack Russell as well.

Three years later and we couldn’t imagine life without him (apart from when he has rolled in something disgusting). He has travelled with us across ten countries with hopefully many more adventures to come.

Happy Birthday Finn

 

Waiting to blow out his candle on his homemade mince and carrot cake with peanut butter and cream cheese frosting

North Coast 500 Whisky Distilleries with tours

When we toured the Highlands of Scotland following the North Coast 500 we decided to do a tour of the Glenmorangie Distillery as it is one of Andy’s favourite whiskies but there are many other options for the connoisseur. We travelled the route East to West which means that the distilleries were all at the beginning of our trip as they are all on the East Coast.

Below is a summary of the distilleries as you will come across them heading northwards on the East Coast from Inverness. Most of the tours need booking in advance so best to plan ahead. If you are driving you can usually get a sample to take away, remember the drink drive limits are very strict in Scotland (lower than the rest of the UK) so one drink could put you over the limit.

Glen Ord is one of the oldest distilleries and can be found on the edge of the Black Isle in the village of Muir of Ord 15 miles west of Inverness. They do a range of tours ranging from £3 to £100. Their best known whisky is The Singleton of Glen Ord. flavour.

The Dalmore was founded in 1839 and is situated on the banks of the Cromarty Firth, 20 miles north of Inverness. Every bottle of The Dalmore has the royal stag’s antlers on it which feature in the crest of the Clan Mackenzie, who have owned this distillery for over a century. The distillery is currently closed to visitors but will reopen for summer 2019.

Glenmorangie Distillery, established in 1843 means ‘valley of tranquillity’ in Scots Gaelic and is located on the shores of Dornoch Firth. The distillery has the tallest stills in Scotland, which ensure that only the lightest vapours can rise high enough to be condensed, resulting in a fresh and pure spirit. Tours start at £8, which is the basic tour we did and I would highly recommend.

Balblair first barrels were produced in 1790 making it one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. Unlike other distilleries Balblair is the only one to exclusively release vintage bottling, this means that the whisky is labelled with the year it was laid down, rather than by its age, and is seen to hold the essence of that year in the bottle. There are two main tours priced at £10 and £25.

Clynelish based near Brora, Sutherland is about one hour north of Inverness right on the route of the NC500. it was founded in 1819 by the Marquis of Stafford. Today there are three tours available ranging from £12 to £70.

The Old Pulteney Distillery is the furthest north in the town of Wick. The distillery was built in 1826 before Wick was connected to the road network, so its whisky was exported around the world by boat. The Old Pulteney Single Malt is often called the Maritime Whisky as Wick was also famous as the herring capital of Europe. There are two tours available priced at £10 and £25.

Norway Motorhome Service Points

When we travelled through Norway we were very pleased to find an abundance of free service points. All of the points allow you to empty your black waste (from your chemical toilet) and grey water (water you have used for washing) as well as refilling with fresh drinking water.

We used this online database to find service points. Just click on the area you are in on the right hand side and it will give you the location of the service points. If you are travelling into the colder months, especially further north we did find that some of the service points had the fresh water supply switched off.

We do not drink the water straight from our tank but use 2L refillable drinking bottles that we fill directly from the tap or hose. We try and not buy any bottled water so we do out bit on cutting back on single use plastic.

One other tip for travellers who are touring in van conversions is that the water tanks tend to be smaller than the larger coach built motorhomes so you do need to fill up more frequently. If you are free camping, which we tend to do a lot we also have an additional 25L water canister in our boot that we also keep topped up.

Keep your eye out for these signs when looking for a service point

Birdlip, Witcombe, Cotswold Way Loop

This dog friendly walk takes in a lovely stretch of the Cotswold Way with a mix of woodland and open fields.

The walk starts and finishes at The Royal George pub which is dog friendly in the bar area. Walking out the back of the car park there are many different paths that you can take to head towards Birdlip woods peak.

From Birdlip woods head through open fields to the top of Green Lane. There follows some road walking to the bottom of Green Lane. Turn left to follow the Old Cirencester Road past the Beefeater Twelve Bells pub (dogs only allowed in the garden). After about half a mile there is a signposted left turn towards Witcombe Roman Villa. Take this left and follow the path up past the villa and into the woods where you turn left to pick the Cotswolds Way back up towards Birdlip.

I mapped this walk using Mapometer and you can view the route by clicking here.

Finn in the middle of the snowdrops in Birdlip Woods

Walk Summary

  • Length 5.64 miles
  • Moderate difficulty
  • Ascent 915ft
  • Dog friendly
  • Refreshments at The Royal George at Birdlip and The Twelve Bells at Witcombe