It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be able to bring your car or bicycle from abroad, so we’ve taken a close look at Germany’s public transport system to help you move around your new city.
Once you arrive in Germany, it’s time to explore your new city! But how do you get around town when you’re new to the city? What’s the fastest way to get to the university? Whether you’ve just moved into a new city or are commuting frequently from another German city, it’s good to orient yourself with the local public transport system.
Let’s start with some tips you can use both before you select your new home in Germany and when you get to the city.
- Google maps is your friend: There is one clever trick that makes finding your way around your new place a lot easier. When using the Google Maps app or website, you can use questions to quickly orient yourself based on an address or your current location. For example, you can look for “public transport near me”, and Google will show you all nearby stops! Additionally, you can also use this to scout the area when deciding whether to book your new home by using queries like “grocery stores near me” or “schools near me”. Now you know which facilities are nearby or perhaps too far away for your liking!
- Download the local transportation app: To plan your trip from door to door using the public transport system in Frankfurt, you can use the official “Deutsch Bahn App”, making planning your travels easy in other German cities as well! This way, you always know which line, platform, or stop you’re going to need to get to your destination quickly!
- Live close to the S-Bahn line: Whether you want to get to work quickly or make sure you get home safely after a night in the town, the S-Bahn will get you where you need to go. Most S-lines keep running until late in the night, though they will depart less frequently outside of rush hours. So make sure to check the timetables using the apps mentioned earlier. Living close to one of these stations means you could live in a more affordable area, without compromising your time to commute!
- Train frequency: On weekdays, the trains on the S-Bahn lines depart once every 10-15 minutes during rush hours. The wait-time increases slowly, up to every 30 min in the quiet hours. Going out to party on the weekend? No worries, the S-bahn has an excellent night service on the weekend with hourly trains that keep going deep into the night!
- Subway (the U-Bahn): In big cities an excellent alternative to the train system is the big cities’s equally sprawling underground metro network. Find one of the almost 90 U-bahn stations, hop on a metro and pop up again, close to your destination! If you’ve ever lived in a metropolitan area, you know exactly how the metro is the beating heart of a city’s transportation system.They say all roads lead to eventually lead to Rome, but in Germany, all metro lines eventually take you back to the city centre! So, there’s very little risk of actually getting lost as you can always get back to a station that connections to multiple (or even all) lines.
- Busses: Where the trains and metro system are great for medium- to long range travel, the city also has a bus network for those shorter trips. Walking from a train or metro station can still mean quite a distance, so when you need to get close to specific location in a hurry, the bus is there for you. Also, busses are a great way to get around in a pinch as you can still buy a ticket with the driver. Great if you’re minding your own business around town and suddenly the weather takes a turn for the worse! Bus frequency: Most buslines have a waiting time up to 25 minutes, with the more important lines departing more frequently. These arterial lines are also often still active in the night! So, if you don’t feel like waiting for the metro or train lines, you can always catch a bus for a dreamy ride through night-time Frankfurt.
So, now you know what options you have to get around in big cities in Germany. Let’s summarise:
- For longer trips between towns or districts: The S-bahn train line is your friend!
- For medium- to long trips across your city- if you live in a big city: The U-bahn metro line is a great option to move around the metropolitan quickly.
- Bad weather, or need to get close to a specific location? Hop on one of the many buses!
Couple this with a monthly or annual ticket for the lines you travel most and you’re all set to get around in Germany, even as an expat fresh from the airport!