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By C H Kwak in Berlin—
Why shell out €12 for a “self-guided” bus tour of Berlin, when you can see the same historic sights (and more) on public transportation—and for a fraction of the cost? BVG, Berlin’s public transit authority, runs an efficient network of trains, buses, trams and ferries all over town. Use them for cheapo-style sightseeing: A 2-hour ticket goes for €2.10, a day pass for €6.10. Hop on, hop off. Enjoy. Here’s how:
By bus #100 and #200:
Veritable BVG institutions, the “tourist” routes served by yellow double decker buses hit all the guidebook-worthy sights. You may have to elbow your way up to the front seats upstairs, but the view’s worth it. Both buses depart every ten minutes from the Zoo station. On #100, you’ll go past the Reichstag, and then cruise by the Brandenburg Gate before heading down the stately Unter den Linden. With the #200, you get to marvel at the Berlin Phiharmonic and then Potsdamerplatz (where you’ll see remnants of the Wall on display). Both routes stop at the Museum Island and Berliner Dom (cathedral) before ending up at the TV tower in Alexanderplatz.
By train (S-3, S-5, S-7):
The overground suburban train lines 3, 5 and 7 offer fantastic views as they travel east to west straight through the heart of Berlin. The 20-minute ride between Savignyplatz and Warschauer Strasse is a good introduction to the city and its changing landscape. Get your camera ready as the train crisscrosses over the Spree and canals where you’ll see some choice architectural jewels like the Bode Museum.
By the M1 tram:
Start from the business district of Friedrichstrasse after a day of shopping. The M1 tram line will take you over the river to the Oranienburger Strasse neighborhood, where bars, restaurants and galleries abound. Resist the urge to stop for a coffee, because two stops later at Rosenthaler Platz, you’ll have even more cafes to choose from. From there, the tram travels uphill to Prenzlauer Berg, which needs no elaboration. Just follow the crowd off the tram and you’ll find yourself in some place very cool.
By the F10 ferry:
For those of you who want to get off the beaten path, take a breather from the city with this 20-minute ferry ride. Every hour, the F10 ferry sails from the cute, well-to-do suburb of Kladow to Wannsee, one of the most beloved lakes in Berlin. It’s a great way to unwind and mingle with the locals, (very) far away from the bustle of the city.