A lot of people in Germany take advantage of the many public transportation options available here, such as trams, buses, and trains. The reasons for this are many and include traffic jams, high gasoline prices and parking fees, and – most importantly – a strong commitment to protecting the environment. The Freiburg – Southern Upper Rhine region has a very well-developed public transportation network (ÖPNV) that can get you to wherever you need to go. Buses and trams stop multiple times an hour during the day at the many stops available in each city. You can buy tickets at ticket machines located at the stops, directly from the driver, or at the ticket machines inside the buses or trams. You can also purchase tickets directly from one of the ticket office locations run by the respective transportation company. A weekly, monthly, or yearly pass is worth the investment if you plan on using public transportation regularly. The longer the time period, the more money you save! Children often qualify for reduced prices. Certain groups such as students, people with disabilities, and seniors also pay reduced prices upon presentation of a valid ID. Never ride without a ticket; they are regularly checked and you could be slapped with a fine for not having a valid ticket.
The region is home to the following transportation networks:
RVF (only availabel in German) - Regio-Verkehrsverbund Freiburg, responsible for the Freiburg, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, and Emmendingen districts
TGO (only availabel in German) - Tarifverbund Ortenau GmbH, responsible for the entire Ortenau district
VAG (only availabel in German) - Freiburger Verkehrs AG, responsible for the city of Freiburg
Many people in Germany use their bike as a daily means of transportation. A dense network of bike paths is available and, because the sidewalks are for foot traffic only, the roads are also usually equipped with separate bike lanes and traffic lights. The use of a helmet is optional for adults, but every bike must have a functioning light and bell. You should always lock your bike securely to avoid theft. Remember: bike riders must adhere to the rules of the road. You can be stopped by the police and any infraction will be handled just as if you were driving a car.
Cars drive on the right side of the road in Germany. The speed limit is 50 km/h in cities, while some city zones impose a speed limit of 30 km/h. You can usually drive 100 km/h on country roads. Unless otherwise signposted, there is no general speed limit on the highway. However, 130 km/h is the recommended cruising speed. Special speed limits do apply to especially busy or dangerous sections of highway. When driving in Germany, you must have your driver’s license and vehicle registration with you at all times and be able to present them should you be stopped by the police.
Tip: Especially in cities, it’s a good idea to use public transportation or ride a bike due to heavy traffic, parking fees, and lack of parking spaces.
Is my driver’s license valid in Germany?
Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway: get in and start driving! That’s how easy it is for you to drive in Germany. Why? Because your driver’s license is recognized here to the same extent as in your home country. You are not required to have it reissued in Germany. It’s a bit more complicated for citizens from all other countries: you can only drive in Germany for up to 6 months with your current driver’s license. This grace period begins on the first day you register in Germany. At the end of these six months, you will need a German driver's license to legally drive a car. Whether or not you have to first pass a test to receive your new license depends on which country issued your driver’s license.
Register, inspect, and insure your car
All cars in Germany must be registered. The registration can be done at the nearest DMV (Department of Moto Vehicles). Please bring your vehicle registration papers (proof that you own the car) and car insurance policy with you. The DMV will then determine your annual car tax based on fuel, engine performance, and pollutant class. If you’ve imported your car from abroad, please contact the registration office as to which additional papers you may need.
In addition to registration, each car in Germany must also pass a general inspection. This means a professional must confirm that your car is mechanically safe and complies with official standards. Once your car has passed the test, you’ll get a sticker to put on your license plate. Many different service providers, such as local authorized mechanics, are able to do the inspection for you. The inspection must be repeated at regular intervals. You will have to pay for both the inspection and registration of your car. You are also required to have liability insurance for your car; comprehensive policies that also cover self-incurred damages are voluntary.
Further information regarding cars and the rules of the road is available in the ADAC Traffic Guide (only availabel in German)
In contrast to many other countries, it is common to walk in Germany, whether you’re on your way to work, going shopping, or simply as a leisure activity. There are sidewalks almost everywhere, as well as pedestrian traffic lights and bridges for crossing busy roads.
It is not common practice to wave a taxi down on the road; however, you can find taxi stands practically everywhere or order one by phone. Taxi prices consist of a base fee and a set price per kilometer.
Trains are a great option for getting to other cities within Germany or even throughout Europe. As a formerly state-run company, the Deutsche Bahn is the main provider of railway services in Germany. It owns the country’s entire railway network and rents a few of these lines to regional competitors. You can buy tickets at the Deutsche Bahn ticket machines in the train stations or online at their official website. Trains are considered a fast and comfortable means of transportation in Germany, with long-distance trains traveling up to 300 km/h on some routes Deutsche Bahn.
Long-distance buses are an alternative to the train. You will usually pay less money for a bus ticket than for a train ticket, but you must also prepare yourself for less comfort, e.g. having to switch buses numerous times. Some cities also offer international long-distance buses Search bus lines
Ride sharing opportunities
Another option is to take advantage of ride share opportunities, or “Mitfahrgelegenheiten”, in which individuals agree to give you a ride in their private car to a mutually agreed upon destination. There are various online platforms available for finding and offering ride shares.