Travel & Transportation

A round-trip flight from the Twin Cities to Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) costs around $1,200.

Travel Documents

All Americans traveling to Germany are required to hold a United States passport that is valid for at least four months from your arrival date in Germany.

While Americans visiting Germany for under 90 days for tourism or business purposes are not required to hold a visa, all other visitors must obtain a visa before entering the country.

The German Embassy provides additional information about visa requirements and application assistance for American tourists.

Getting Around

germanybus1Bus & Tram

Buses are the most ubiquitous form of public transportation and practically all towns have their own comprehensive network. Buses run at regular intervals, with restricted service in the evenings and at weekends. Some cities operate night buses along the most popular routes to get night owls safely back home.

Occasionally, buses are supplemented by trams, which are usually faster because they travel on their own tracks, largely independent of other traffic. In city centres, they sometimes go underground. Bus and tram drivers normally sell single tickets and day passes only.

Basically, wherever there is a train, take it. Buses are generally much slower and less dependable, but in some rural areas they may be your only option for getting around without your own vehicle. This is especially true of the Harz Mountains, sections of the Bavarian Forest and the Alpine foothills. Separate bus companies operate in the different regions, each with their own tariffs and schedules. The frequency of service varies.

Commuter-geared routes offer limited or no service in the evenings and at weekends. If you depend on buses to get around, always keep this in mind or risk finding yourself stuck in a remote place on a Saturday night. In cities, buses generally converge at the central bus station (Busbahnhof or Zentraler Omnibus Bahnhof/ZOB), which is often close or adjacent to the Hauptbahnhof (central train station). Tickets are sold by the bus companies, which often have offices or kiosks at the bus station, or by the driver on board. Special fare deals, such as day passes, weekly passes or special tourist tickets, are quite common, so make it a habit to ask about them.


From nuns to Lance Armstrong wannabes, Germans love to cycle, be it for errands, commuting, fitness or pleasure. Many cities have dedicated bicycle lanes, which must be used unless obstructed. There’s no helmet law, not even for children, although using one is recommended, for obvious reasons. Bicycles must be equipped with a white light in the front, a red one in the back and yellow reflectors on the wheels and pedals. Bicycling is allowed on all roads and highways but not on the autobahns. Cyclists must follow the same rules of the road as vehicles. Most towns and cities have some sort of bicycle-hire station, which is often at or near the train station. Some outfits also offer repair service or bicycle storage facilities.

Local Transport

Most towns have efficient, frequent and punctual public transportation systems. Bigger cities, such as Berlin and Munich, have comprehensive transportation networks that integrate buses, trams, and U-Bahn (underground) and S-Bahn (suburban) trains. Fares may be determined by zones or time travelled, or sometimes both. Multiticket strips (Streifenkarte) or day passes (Tageskarte) generally offer better value than single-ride tickets. Sometimes tickets must be stamped upon boarding in order to be valid. Fines are levied if you are caught without a valid ticket.