This would be my first time in Berlin and want to explore as much as possible during my stay. So, walking is the best idea as I do not have much time constraint.

How is the walking experience in Berlin? Where can I find the rules regarding traffic and pedestrians? Are the directions / road signs all in German?

  • 2
    I'd suggest you do a walking tour when you get there, probably a free one. That'll give you a great into to the city, and experience walking around, plus you'll be able to ask your guide for help with road rules, road signs etc!
    – Gagravarr
    May 11 '15 at 6:32
  • 6
    Regarding traffic rules: As in every country, just do as the locals do. The most surprising thing for foreigners is that Germans actually stop at red lights as pedestrian. Also, directions/road signs are mostly the same and change very, very little in most countries (and directions are of course in German, but they mostly just have a name and Brandenburger Tor simply is Brandenburger Tor, so there is neither a way or a need to translate anything.
    – dirkk
    May 11 '15 at 14:45
  • 2
    "Germans actually stop at red lights as pedestrian" - I must have seen a lot of broken Germans then. :)
    – rvs
    Jan 4 '19 at 12:05
  • @rvs in my experience behavior varies in different places in Germany, as it does in the US where I am from.
    – phoog
    Jan 4 '19 at 17:15
  • @dirkk there is a way to translate Brandenburger Tor, namely Brandenburg Gate, which is the more common name in English (English Wikipedia redirects thus, for example). But your point is well taken: a tourist may want to learn the German names of things, but most of these will be readily recognizable to an English speaker. For Americans, at least, the tendency to more pictographic direction signs may also come as a welcome surprise, but it can also cause confusion because we do not know that a red circle means that something is prohibited; we use a red slash across the face of the sign.
    – phoog
    Jan 4 '19 at 17:21

I don't recall any peculiar rule. You are supposed to walk on the sidewalk and to cross streets only when the pedestrian sign is green (unlike the UK, if that's where you come from). You can receive a small fine for failing to do so. It's not as bad as Amsterdam but do beware of bike lanes and treat them like streets (look right and left before crossing, don't walk or stop on a bicycle lane if you don't have to).

One thing that might be of particular interest to you are the 20 “green walks“ through the city. It's a project to identify and mark major ways across Berlin for bikes and pedestrians using parks, canals and quiet streets to minimise interactions with motorised traffic. Some of them can be used to link key parts of the centre, others provide picturesque walks in outskirts.

The website provides a lot of info in English, coordinates to download and an overview of each walk with Open Street Map. On the ground, these “green walks” are marked with white and blue signs with a number.

The public transit network in Berlin is also quite good and the city is larger, greener and less dense than many European capitals. So even if you are used to walk in cities, the distances might surprise you. Don't hesitate to use public transport as well. Bus line number 100 is notorious as a cheap way to check the main sights for the price of a regular ticket, without paying for a tourist bus/guided tour.

  • 4
    Bus 100 == excellent idea. Also consider day pass and various transit museum card combinations, depending on taste. May 11 '15 at 22:42

This is an old question, but I feel it necessary to add some information that I learned the hard way the first few days here.

On many sidewalks in Berlin, there are two discernible types of stone laid down - on the (usually) larger 'lane' is normal stone or concrete, and on the other 'lane' - usually closer to the street - there will be another type of stone, oftentimes bricks laid in a crosshatch pattern.

The latter - the bricked pathway - is the bike lane. Don't walk on it lest you be yelled at, given stern looks, or worst of all injured.

Coming from a place where bike lanes are in the street as opposed to sidewalks, it took a while to get used to the separation.

Here is an example. Not all instances of bike paths on the sidewalk are as obvious, however - just be mindful.

Diagram of foot traffic and bike traffic on sidewalks

  • Hmm, can you point to some concrete streets where this arrangement is visible on Streetview images? I've spent some time looking aimlessly for examples of it without any luck. Jan 4 '19 at 5:01
  • @HenningMakholm Yep, added an example and a diagram. Jan 4 '19 at 6:18
  • Hmm, I daresay it looks like "most sidewalks" is definitely overselling this phenomenon. Jan 5 '19 at 3:05
  • @HenningMakholm Living in Berlin for about 5 months now, most places have them. Jan 5 '19 at 4:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.