Bahnhof is the German word for train station. Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) is the main station or the central station, but there are several other stations in the city where you can catch both long distance and regional trains. It is worth looking at these to see if there is an easier place to leave from compared to where you’re staying in Berlin. So which train station in Berlin should you use? Here’s a look at the different train stations in Berlin.
Where to stay near Berlin Central Station
Do you have an early morning train? If so, you might want to spend the night in a hotel near the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. This will make it easier to get to your train in the morning without the stress of coming from a longer distance.
Hotels near Berlin train station (Hauptbahnhof)
Choosing the right train station
Check your train schedules carefully to make sure you know what stops your train makes. Look at the map to see which train station is actually closer to where you’re staying, and run the route to a few different stations to see which one is the easiest to get to. Remember that “easiest” might mean fewer switches even if it takes a few minutes longer.
Some train stations are easier to navigate because they’re smaller. It might be worth going to a secondary train station if it means less stress and less time to switch from Berlin public transportation to your train.
The disadvantage of the secondary train stations is that some of them have fewer options for purchasing food. But you can always plan ahead if you know you’ll want something to eat on the train.
No matter what, give yourself plenty of time to make your train. You never know when there might be a problem with the Ubahn or Sbahn that delays you. And if you’re using one of the bigger train stations, you could get confused and get lost. The trains usually don’t stop for more than a couple of minutes unless maybe you’re at the starting point of the route.
Berlin Hauptbahnhof – Berlin’s main train station
The Hauptbahnhof is an enormous station with multiple layers of both transport and shops. The top layer has tracks for some long distance trains, some regional trains, and S-Bahn lines 3, 5, 7, 9, and 75.
At the very bottom of the station, also labeled Hauptbahnhof (Tief) in some apps and the Bahn website, are a number of tracks for long distance and regional trains. Check which track you need as you navigate downward on the escalators.
One level above the lower tracks, you can find the hallway to the U5. This is the end station for the U5 line. At street level, you can connect to trams and buses.
On the rest of the floors are various small shops, a grocery store, and restaurants. Berlin Hauptbahnhof definitely has the most selection if it’s important to you to be able to get food right before hopping on your train.
The Hauptbahnhof is likely the default place to come and go from, but there are other options depending on your train.
The Berlin central station wasn’t opened until 2006. Before this there were two main stations, with Ostbahnhof being one of them. It’s name means East Station, and appropriately it’s in the East. It is a stop for the main S-Bahn lines that cut through the city east-to-west as well as some regional and long distance trains. If you’re going east, for example to Poland, or sometimes south, your train might go through Ostbahnhof.
The Ostbahnhof station is also only a few blocks from the East Side Gallery. It has a small grocery store in the basement, a range of food at the street level, and an Intercity Hotel attached to the station. It isn’t as well connected as some stations, but worth looking at if you are staying in Friedrichshain.
The other old main station, this one serving the West, is at Zoo. Zoo Station lent it’s name to a U2 song, and does indeed have a stop on both the U2 and U9 underground lines. Like Ostbahnhof, it has the east-west S-Bahn lines and a stop for some regional trains. Long distance trains don’t stop here. A handful of buses stop out front.
As the name suggests, this is also the stop to get out if you are going to Berlin’s Zoological Garten. Kurfürstendamm shopping street and much of Charlottenburg are easily reached from this station.
Südkreuz (South Cross) sits on the S-Bahn Ring around Berlin, and this is where the north-south S-Bahns (S1, S2, and S25) cross it. Both regional and long distance trains often stop at this station. If you are heading toward the south, so Liepzig, Dresden, or even all the way to Prague, check if your train stops here.
The tracks are on the ground level, with a concourse level above, linked by escalators. The long concourse level up top is where you catch the Ring S-Bahns in either direction. There are a few bakeries and an info booth here. There are more food options on the bottom level at either end of the long station down a set of stairs, including a grocery store.
Südkreuz is convenient if your hotel is on the southern side of the city near the Ring. There are no U-Bahn connections, but some long-distance bus routes do stop here. It is a simpler station to navigate than Hauptbahnhof.
Opposite of Südkreuz at the northern side of where the Ring meets the north-south S-Bahn lines, lies Gesundbrunnen. Although here are both long distance and regional trains that stop here as well as the U8, this is less of a major station than those mentioned above. Some northbound or eastbound regional trains stop at Gesundbrunnen.
There are not many food options in the station either. There is a mall outside the station if you have the time and are around during the week or on Sunday.
Ostkreuz is on the eastern side of the Ring where the east-west S-Bahn lines pass through (all except S9). There are no long distance trains here, but some regional trains have a stop here. Check out Ostkreuz if you are staying nearby and are looking for a train heading east out of the city.
Food options in the station are limited to a few bakery options and some fast food. However, if you have the time, there are a lot of restaurants just outside the station inside the ring.
Alex is one of the largest public transport hubs in the city with U2, U8, and U5, all of the east-west S-Bahns, and many trams and buses at street level. It also has a pair of tracks for regional trains.
Many fast food chains and bakeries are represented here as well, plus a few other non-food shops. If you want to grab a snack or a quick meal before a train, you should be able to find something passable here.
Simply traveling around the city while sightseeing, you are likely to go through and transfer at Alexanderplatz several times. It can be a confusing station at first, but follow the signs, and you’ll find your way.
Away from the center to the west at the end of the U7, S3, and S9 lies the district of Spandau. It has a Zitadel (Citadel), a cute old town, and a train station that gets long distance trains as well as regional trains. If you are heading to or from Hamburg, the train is likely to stop here.
Be aware that even though it is labeled Berlin-Spandau, it isn’t very close to the center. Chances are, Spandau is not your most convenient train station.
Beyond the Ring to the east is Lichtenberg. The U5 has a stop here as well some of the east-west S-Bahn lines. Some of the regional trains toward Poland will make an additional stop here. It is worth mentioning as an option, but depending on the exact train, Ostkreuz, Ostbahnhof, or Hauptbahnhof might be better choices closer to town.
Friedrichsstrasse is a stop on the east-west set of S-Bahn trains as well as the north-south set. It also has a stop on the U6 and is reasonable walking distance from Unter den Linden. So it is a centrally located station for Mitte, and while the long distance trains pass through here, they do not stop. Regional trains do however stop here. It can be a convenient station if you are staying nearby and are looking for a train for certain day trips from Berlin.
Food choices are above average for a U-Bahn station, but not as extensive as the larger stations. There are some more food options and other shops in the streets around the station as this is actually a good shopping area.
So which train station in Berlin should you use?
There is no one answer to this question. Which train station you choose depends on where you’re staying and where you’re going, among other things.
When using the Deutsche Bahn website to look at train routes, start by simply typing in Berlin as your starting point. It will default to Berlin Hbf, unless the destination you’re going to does not have a route through the Hauptbahnhof. This is rare but does happen occasionally.
Then you can look at the information provided, including the list of stops the train makes along your route, and you can determine if there are other Berlin train stations that might work better for you.
As an alternative, if you know you’re staying near a station that isn’t Hauptbahnhof, simply put that station in as your starting point and see what it returns. You can even put in the closest Ubahn or Sbahn station as your starting point and see where it tells you to switch to get to the train you need.
Traveling by bus?
The train system in Germany is extensive. But if you’re traveling on a budget, it’s not always the cheapest option.
FlixBus is a great alternative for traveling to and from Berlin and around Germany. Their buses are pretty comfortable, and they have routes all over the country that will usually save you money compared to the train, though you should always check to be sure.
Sometimes FlixBus doesn’t take much longer than the train, but sometimes it’s much longer. Then you have to weigh your time vs your money.
FlixBus also has a train service, called FlixTrain, which serves several routes to and from Berlin. The FlixBus site will show you when there are train routes. For example, the bus from Berlin to Hamburg takes a lot longer than the train, so the FlixBus site shows you there are faster train options available.
Where are Berlin’s bus stations?
Berlin has a central bus station labeled as the ZOB (which stands for Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof Berlin in German) where most bus routes go. But it’s rather far west in the city and not so conveniently located. The closest transport stations are S Messe Nord on the Ring and U Kaiserdamm on the U2. Chances are this is not close to where you’re staying in Berlin.
FlixBus has a handful of other stops in Berlin, but not all of them have every route. But when you search for a bus, or even FlixTrain, it’ll show you which stations you can use.
Other bus stations where you might be able to get FlixBus are:
- S Treptower Park
- Berlin Zoo
- Pankow Heinersdorf
- BER Airport terminal 1/2
- BER Airport terminal 5
Plus there are a handful of train stations where FlixTrain stops:
- Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Book a tour for your trip to Berlin
Berlin Travel Resources
I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this information Berlin’s train stations helps. But there are lots more tips on the site!
Check out this long list of the best things to do in Berlin. It’s full of activities, attractions, and more. If you’re staying in Berlin for several days, there are lots of fantastic day trips from Berlin. Also, if you love castles, here are some castles in and near Berlin.
Here’s what you should know before coming to Berlin. From practical tips to quirky facts about the city, it’s all in there.
Read this helpful packing list for Berlin so you know what to bring and what to wear.
You’re probably going to be using public transport to get around Berlin. Read this handy guide to Berlin’s public transport system and how to get around Berlin.
Visiting Berlin? Don’t forget travel insurance!
It’s always a good idea to travel to Berlin with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here is reasonably safe, but you never know when something could happen. You need to be covered in case you have an accident or become a victim to theft.
We recommend World Nomads insurance for travel. Travel insurance helps you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.