LPNMR'09: Getting to Potsdam
Urgent Information !!!
Due to another incident, S-Bahn service within Berlin has again drastically degraded this week. This is particularly relevant for travels from Tegel airport or Schönefeld airport to Potsdam. The following default routes from Berlin's airports to Potsdam are still intact:
From Tegel airport
- Go by Bus X9 (alternatively, Bus 109) to Zoologischer Garten (terminal stop)
- From Zoologischer Garten, take Regional Express RE1 (or one of the additionally provided trains currently operating between Berlin and Potsdam) to Berlin Wannsee or Potsdam Hauptbahnhof
- S-Bahn S1 operates between Berlin Wannsee and Potsdam Hauptbahnhof every 20 minutes to take you to Babelsberg or Griebnitzsee
From Schönefeld airportFinally, you can query for the available connections from Berlin's airports here:
- Either go by Regional Express RE7 to Berlin Wannsee or go by Regional Train RB14 to Zoologischer Garten
- Start from Item 2 above for information on how to proceed from Zoologischer Garten, or Item 3 from Berlin Wannsee
Getting to Potsdam is easy, given that Potsdam is located directly south-west to Berlin, the capital city of Germany. If you plan to come by car, please consider the information at the end of the page. To find your own route with public transport facilities, look at the BVG City Map.
Below, we provide information on how to reach Potsdam by plane, train, or car. We also describe in detail the public transport facilities available in Potsdam and Berlin, and provide some information on what can be expected when going by taxi.
Coming by Plane
To get to Potsdam by plane, one needs to take a flight to Berlin. There are two major airports in Berlin: Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Berlin Schönefeld (SFX). Their shared official website can be found here.
Berlin Tegel (TXL)
Tegel airport is located north-west of Berlin's city center. It is served by public buses that connect it to major railways. From Tegel airport, it usually takes about one hour or even less to get to Potsdam. Particular public transport information for Tegel can be found here. Please find further information about public transport facilities below.
Berlin Schönefeld (SFX)
Schönefeld airport is located in the south-east of Berlin and further afar from Potsdam than Tegel airport. Thus getting to Potsdam takes a bit longer, but it is not more difficult, given that Schönefeld airport is served by public buses, metro, and trains. Particular public transport information for Schönefeld can be found here. Please find further information about public transport facilities below.
Coming by Train
Provided that your final destination is in Potsdam and that your train goes to station Potsdam Hauptbahnhof directly, this is where to go. Otherwise, you need to take a train to Berlin, where trains usually stop at a number of stations. The major stations relatively close to Potsdam are Zoologischer Garten (served by some trains) and Berlin Hauptbahnhof (served by almost all trains). Station Zoologischer Garten is a bit closer to Potsdam than Berlin Hauptbahnhof and thus preferable. However, from any train station in Berlin, it is possible to get on to Potsdam in reasonable time, that is, in about one hour or less. Further information about public transport facilities is provided directly below.
Getting around Potsdam and Berlin (by Public Transport)
The usual way to get around German cities is by public transport. The following website, for instance, explains the essentials valid for cities like Potsdam and Berlin: Getting Around Germany (Urban Public Transport). The major public transport providers' websites for Berlin and the federal state of Brandenburg, whose capital city is Potsdam, are:
The query features of both websites usually give similar results including precise and up-to-date connection information, accounting also for any temporal unavailabilities.
Potsdam and Berlin (along with their surrounding areas) each have three fare zones:
- Potsdam/Berlin A: center of Potsdam/Berlin
- Potsdam/Berlin B: greater center of Potsdam/Berlin
- Potsdam/Berlin C: surrounding area of Potsdam/Berlin
For both Potsdam and Berlin, tickets can be purchased either for two connected zones (Potsdam/Berlin AB/BC) or for all three zones (Potsdam/Berlin ABC). While Potsdam tickets are cheaper, Berlin's fare zones cover much larger areas than those of Potsdam. In particular, Berlin's C zone includes all three Potsdam zones! For a trip from one of the Berlin airports to Potsdam or a trip from Potsdam to Berlin's touristic spots, you certainly need a Berlin ABC ticket. For shorter trips, please consider the information given in maps (see below) to find out about the fare zones touched. Information on prices for all kinds of Potsdam and Berlin public transport tickets can be found here.
Means of Transport
Potsdam and Berlin are served by the following means of transport:
Trains operate between Potsdam and Berlin as well as within Potsdam and Berlin. On larger distances, trains are faster than the other means of transport because there are fewer stops. Potsdam and Berlin public transport tickets are valid for regional trains (the names of regional train lines start with an R) within their fare zones.
The S-Bahn is a metro system that operates between Potsdam and Berlin as well as within Berlin. Usually, S-Bahn trains are more frequent than (regional) trains. Due to urgent maintenance work on many S-Bahn trains, unfortunately, S-Bahn service is currently reduced quite drastically. How this situation evolves till September is not yet foreseeable, so please check connection availability with some public transport provider's website (see above) shortly before starting your travel. Potsdam and Berlin public transport tickets are valid for S-Bahn within their fare zones; the whole S-Bahn network is covered by Berlin ABC tickets.
The U-Bahn is a second metro system that operates within Berlin. Under standard conditions (without cut down S-Bahn service), the frequency and speed of U-Bahn and S-Bahn is the same, and it is only the lines that differ. Berlin public transport tickets are valid for U-Bahn within their fare zones; the whole U-Bahn network is covered by Berlin AB (and Berlin ABC) tickets.
Trams operate within Potsdam and within (mainly the east of) Berlin. Trams are as frequent as S-Bahn and U-Bahn but travel a bit slower. Their main purpose is to connect to areas not reached by major railways. Potsdam and Berlin public transport tickets are valid for trams within their fare zones; the whole tram network of Potsdam and Berlin is covered by Berlin ABC tickets.
Buses operate mainly within Potsdam and within Berlin. Their frequency and speed is comparable to trams. Potsdam and Berlin public transport tickets are valid for buses within their fare zones; the whole bus network of Potsdam and Berlin is covered by Berlin ABC tickets.
As described above, Potsdam and Berlin public transport tickets are largely independent of the means of transport used, and it is only the fare zones and period of validity that matter. As regards zones, Berlin ABC covers all of Berlin and surrounding areas, including Potsdam. Basic single-trip tickets are valid for two hours within their fare zones (which is sufficient time to reach any destination in Potsdam or Berlin), and they admit changing means of transport on the way. Bus drivers and train attendants sell tickets to passengers, where train attendants should be looked for immediately after entering a train. For tickets bought elsewhere (from ticket shops at airports and major stations or from ticket machines on platforms and in trams), validity starts at the time a ticket is stamped. For this purpose, there are (either red or yellow) ticket stampers on train, S-Bahn, and U-Bahn platforms as well as in trams. Please make sure to carry a valid (stamped!) ticket before entering a public means of transport or to buy one immediately after entering (not possible in S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains!). With the exception of buses, which must be entered through the front door presenting a valid ticket to or purchasing one from the driver, possession of a valid ticked is not checked automatically. However, there are infrequent yet constant passenger controls, and being caught not carrying a valid ticket is expensive! To avoid any trouble with buying and validating tickets, we recommend using either
- a 7-day-ticket (Berlin ABC), valid for 7 days (from stamping!),
- a CityTourCard Berlin (Berlin ABC), which is valid for up to 5 days (from stamping!) and "gives you the opportunity to obtain reduced prices for more than 50 tourist attractions", or
- a BerlinWelcomeCard (Berlin ABC), also valid for up to 5 days (from stamping!) and including some discounts.
For the conference site, located in less than 5 minutes walking distance from S-Bahn station Griebnitzsee (part of Potsdam's B zone and of Berlin's C zone), the Venue page describes the nearby area. Information on how to reach the conference site from the location of your stay is provided at the Accommodation page. For online maps of Potsdam and Berlin, you can look up
Regarding public transport lines and fare zones, the following public transport maps provide all relevant information:
- train map for Berlin and the surrounding federal state of Brandenburg [PDF],
- Berlin's S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines [PDF], and
- Potsdam's bus and tram lines [PDF].
Finally, we repeat our recommendation to check one of the major public transport providers' websites to find about available connections:
Going by Taxi
Certainly, the most convenient way to get around is by taxi, but in Germany it is also very expensive! For instance, about 70-100 Euros have to be expected for a ride from one of the Berlin airports to Potsdam. So make sure to ask the driver about the approximate cost before entering a taxi, in case there are other alternatives (public transport). Note that the minimum price already for very short rides is about 4 Euros. However, taxi drivers do not like short rides if they are the first in the queue at a taxi stand, and so they may become grumpy if a short ride is requested. Nonetheless, it's the obligation of every taxi driver to carry passengers, even if the distance is short. The exact price for a taxi ride longer than 2 kilometers is calculated by taximeter from distance and time. It's very unlikely that a taxi driver cheats on you (by taking an extra-long route), even if you don't speak German. One reason is the taximeter and the other that going by taxi already is expensive. Taxis wait for passengers at airports and virtually all train, S-Bahn, and U-Bahn stations. You can identify a taxi stand by a sign saying "TAXI". If there is a queue, one usually approaches the first free taxi in it. Taxis can be recognized by their yellow color and a "TAXI" sign on top. If the sign of a passing by taxi is lighted, it means that the taxi is currently unoccupied. In that case, you can give a wave to the driver (make sure that you are recognized) to stop and pick you up.
Taxis are also round-the-clock available on short call. You can order a taxi by phone without any extra cost (except for the call that may be chargeable). The phone numbers for Potsdam and Berlin, respectively, are:
- Potsdam: +49331292929
- Berlin: +498000261026
Before you call them, be sure to have an address, a station, or some other point of interest (sight, restaurant, or alike) close to your point of departure ready to tell them where to pick you up.
Coming by Car
Below you see a Google map of the conference site. You can use it as route planner. If you have a navigation system, please enter into the system "Prof.-Dr.-Helmert-Str." (not the official address "August-Bebel-Str.")! At the end of the Prof.-Dr.-Helmert-Str., you see our institute on the right-hand side.
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