Tube & lightrail
Tube and lightrail are the perfect means to get around on Friday and Saturday night. Intervals are short, mostly 15 minutes, and service is reliable.
Reality check: Unless there’s one of these railway building sites that never seem to really go away (U1, we’re looking at you), it works very well. Generally, Berlin public transport is decent and safe also at night time. We only recommend increased attention due to pickpockets and potentially aggressive persons on the U8 between Kottbusser Tor and Hermannstr. and at the respective stops on this part of the line.
- Recommended routing and online ticket app: VBB app (only tickets are not available on Windows Phone though). If you somehow gain motivation from staring at a 30 seconds “We love you” start-up splash screen while the tube arrives and leaves, you can also download the BVG app that in our opinion is rather partial to it’s own services when calculating routes. Online tickets are not available for windows phone with the BVG app either.
On weekday nights from Sun – Thu night busses replace the tube between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. They are named Nx according to the tube line they drive for. Stations are roughly the same. Everything Alexanderplatz moves over to Hackescher Markt. Some night busses are scheduled every 15 minutes (N1, for example) but most only leave every 30 minutes. Metro busses and trams named Mx going all night complement the schedule.
Reality Check: It works but it takes a looooong time compared to the tube. Connections don’t always work as expected and then you have to wait another 30 minutes for the next bus. Consider bus departure delays or advances given by any of the apps rough estimates.
Availability: Where there’s a tube, there’s also a nightbus. Metro busses and trams cover additional routes across town.
Berlin cab drivers have a reputation for being rude and for driving like maniacs. While we find that many drivers are chatty or even flirty rather than rude, the latter is often true. Bring some nerve and and a robust stomach in particular when you board one of the many environment-friendly electric cabs — they have wicked acceleration/deceleration. Like taxi drivers all over the world Berlin cabbies will cheat you into longer routes if you don’t know your way around Berlin. Tip: At night there’s usually no good reason to take the city motorway anywhere as city traffic is low. Do ask for the shortest (not the ‘fastest’) route.
Reality Check: If you order one by phone — no worries, they usually arrive within minutes. You can also order a van if you need to transport a bike or up to seven people. If you hail one on a weekday night especially in Wedding or Prenzlauer Berg, be patient. Berlin taxi drivers are quite picky on weekday nights past 2 a.m.. Some just pass you by although the light is on. Some tell you that they’re too tired to drive ‘the long way’ to the next district. Some plain refuse to go to areas that their Uber or Mytaxi app tells them to have low customer turnaround. By the way, Mytaxi… we have much better experience with drivers booked with the normal phone service than with Mytaxi app orders.
Availability at milongas: Claerchens and Roter Salon have dedicated taxi space in front of the venue and around the corner respectively. Opposite Nou there is a hotel also with a few cabs waiting at most times.
- Recommended phone and app service: Taxi Berlin available on the phone at 030 – 202020 (in German) and 030 – 202021 – 220 (English). Or use the Berlin Taxi app.
Drivenow takes good care of tango dancers who enjoy a regular nightlife but don’t drink very much. Take a mini or BMW, drive somewhere, leave it. The cars are a pleasure to drive. In summer they offer lots of convertibles too for driving under the city night sky. Their fleet also includes many environment-friendly electric i3 cars. Customer services are quick to respond, friendly, and grant you a lot of goodwill in case you make reservation mistakes. Of course, your account from other cities works in Berlin too. If you haven’t got one, have a friend invite you and save 20 bucks on the registration fee.
Reality check: Kreuzberg, Wedding, and Prenzlauer Berg areas are generally well equipped with cars but you will find only few cars in Berlin downtown during weekday nights. That’s because people don’t live and sleep there and move most cars to the outer districts at the end of their workday+pub beer (that’s usually around 11 p.m.). Don’t rely on just finding one at 3 a.m. in front of Claerchens — in all likelihood you won’t. Fortunately, extended reservation and parking are free from midnight to 6 a.m. on weekday nights (Sun-Thu). This means you can find one with your app at midnight and reserve it for the next few hours for free. Or you bring one from your starting point, put it into parking mode, and it stays booked for you for free from midnight on. Don’t do this though on Fri or Sat unless you’re willing to pay a lot.
- Find out more at Drivenow Berlin and if you need an invitation for the reduced registration fee, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Additional app: free2move offer a handy umbrella app that allows you to book cars from almost all available car and bike sharer. It’s free as in beer 😀
Same as with Drivenow except that they don’t have free parking/extended reservation at weekday nights. Their smarts are less expensive than drivenow cars. The rest is pretty much the same except there are no package or flat rates. Their customer service is said to be rather unforgiving if you make booking mistakes.
- Find out more at Car2Go Berlin
Some festival website stated that Berlin was a cyclist-friendly city a while ago. We don’t quite agree. Yes, there are cycle ways all over the town but they often happen to be blocked by taxis or parking cars. Also beware of the tram rails cyclists have to pass frequently: You can get caught in them all too easily. That said, Berlin has bike sharing services like Nextbike or Lidl bike that work just like Drivenow or Car2go: take it, ride it, leave it.