Germany is one of the countries with the best infrastructure in the world. Around 830,000 kilometres of road (including 13,000 kilometres of motorway), 38,500 kilometres of rail and 24 major airports ensure excellent transport links throughout the country.
Germany is often thought of as being a country of car drivers, but most cities boast an extensive public transport network with buses, trams, underground trains and rapid transit systems. In large cities, the underground and rapid transit trains are the quickest and most efficient mode of transport in many cases. And intercity trains run at very frequent intervals, especially between bigger cities. It is hard to imagine a faster or more convenient service, with Berlin and Munich just four to five hours apart by train.
There is also an extensive network of cycle paths, particularly in university cities. Major cities such as Hamburg and Berlin have several hundred kilometres of cycle lanes. In Freiburg, bikes are even now the most popular means of transport. Public bike rental services are also in fashion these days – with bikes available for anyone to use for a small charge in many cities.
Anyone who only needs a car occasionally can take advantage of a wide range of car sharing schemes in almost 700 German cities. Cars are shared between many people, so you can pick one up whenever you actually need it. An interactive city map (only in German) showing where the cars are located can be found on the website of the German CarSharing Association.
Good to know:
- As a rule, you can find timetables and information about connections and ticket prices online. Weekly or monthly passes quickly pay for themselves as an alternative to purchasing individual tickets – or buying a car. Your employer may even offer you a reduced-price "job ticket" for travelling by bus and train.
- City-centre parking spaces are rare and expensive, especially in major cities and urban areas. You can expect traffic jams during rush hours. Normally, it is quicker and cheaper to travel around the city by bus, train or bike.
- Driving licences from any country of the European Economic Area (EEA) are valid in Germany. Those from other countries are valid for only a limited period: citizens of non-EEA countries will need to obtain a German driving licence within six months at the latest.