The public transport system in Germany is one of the most efficient in Europe. There are metro (U-bahn), city trains (S-bahn), buses and trams. If you use public transport, it is more profitable to purchase a ticket for a month for 40 EUR. Single tickets (2 EUR) are valid for all types of transport within two hours after purchase without limiting the number of transfers. A Kurzstreckentarif ticket (one – 1.5 EUR, four tickets – 4.5 EUR) entitles you to travel six stops on the bus or three on the subway or suburban train. For 7.5 EUR you can buy a ticket for one day, a group ticket for one day (travel of two adults and three children) – 12 EUR, for a week – 20 EUR. Welcome Card, on which one adult and three children can travel on all modes of transport, as well as visit museums, theaters and excursions for free or with a 50% discount, costs 8 EUR and is valid for one day (and its version costing 15 EUR is valid for two days). All tickets can be purchased at special vending machines at metro and suburban train stations. Tickets must be punched in the red machines located on the platforms. There are subways in big cities. It starts at 4 am and ends between midnight and 1 am. The interval of trains is longer than in Moscow, about 5-8 minutes. Long-distance (DB) and commuter (Regionalbahn) train timetables in Germany are combined into a single system, which makes it easy to plan trips around the country. Train timetables posted at German train stations detail the times of arrival (Ankunft) at each station and departure (Abfahrt) from it.
Despite the frequent traffic jams during peak hours, buses in Germany run on schedule. Only entrance is allowed through the front door, the fare is paid by the driver. You can buy a ticket from him for only one trip. If the ticket has already been purchased, for example, in the subway, it must be shown to the driver. Taxis are widely available, prices vary according to a complex system of calculation. On average, a trip costs from 7 EUR, and for trips less than 2 km or shorter than 5 minutes there is a special tariff. One kilometer costs an average of 1 EUR plus 1.5 EUR for turning on the meter. You can hire a taxi on the street or parking lot, as well as call by phone.
According to Business Carriers, metro inspectors are common, and ticketless fines are high. According to unofficial information, ticketless travel may well become the basis for blacklisting foreigners who are undesirable for entry into Germany. Therefore, it’s better not to ride a “hare” (and if you still took a chance and got caught by the controller, apologize and pay a fine). In some cities there are preferential rates for taxis at night for women. Metro employees also call taxis for passengers after 20:00.
You can rent a car in most cities of the country. Prices depend on the model of the car. Some firms offer weekly pay and do not take into account the kilometers traveled. To rent a car, a Russian tourist must be at least 21 years old, have a credit card and present an international driver’s license. In any city in Germany, you can rent a bike (in addition to the rental fee, a deposit is taken). Most German highways are equipped with cycle paths, so it is quite safe to move around the country on two wheels. The bicycle is especially convenient in small towns and resort centers.
The driver and passengers in the front and rear seats must wear seat belts. In case of violation of this rule, the fine is paid by the one who did not buckle up.
In Germany, you can park on the street, or you can – in the so-called parkhouses. For the disabled and women, they have seats closer to the exit, in a more convenient area.
Consular Section in Hamburg: (040) 229-5301, 229-7727
Consular Section in Leipzig: (0341) 564-9545, 582-2404
Consular Section in Munich: (089) 59-2528, 550-3828
Ambulance: (030) 85-0055
Information desk in Russian Infoexpert: (190) 87-2250
Codes of some cities: Berlin – 30, Munich – 89, Frankfurt – 69, Dusseldorf – 211, Bremen – 421, Bonn – 228, Cologne – 221
Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 13:00 (sometimes until 14:00 or 15:00), on Thursday – until 17:00 or 18:00 with an hour break for lunch. Bank branches at airports and major railway stations are open from 6:30 to 22:30, including on weekends. Currency exchange is possible in banks and specialized exchange offices, as well as in hotels and at the main post office (in large cities they work daily and around the clock). Credit cards are accepted in almost all major stores, gas stations, restaurants, cafes and hotels. You can withdraw cash from the card at ATMs (Geldautomat), which in most cases are located in separate booths, where they enter one at a time. From Monday to Friday, department stores open between 9:00 and 10:00 and close at 18:00 or 20:00. There is a so-called long Thursday, when all major supermarkets are open until 20:00. On Saturdays, shops are open until 16:00, and during the four weeks before Christmas, usually until 18:00. Grocery stores can open at 7:00. Most large stores and quite a few medium-sized ones have a tax-free system, which gives tourists the opportunity to return value-added tax (up to 10% of the purchase price) when leaving the country.
Tipping is approximately 10% of the total order.