Germany with a Baby or Toddler

Public transport provides discounts for children under 16, while the under-4s travel free of charge.

Buses and Street Cars – Nearly every town and many rural areas have local bus services and many cities also offer a tourist hop on hop off bus service. These buses are a great option for seeing the sights and are generally stroller accessible.  Where local rail service is offered, buses compliment those services.  In Berlin, you’ll even find double-decker buses which are stroller accessible.  Most medium and large cities also  have a stroller accessible streetcar (tram) system, sometimes fairly extensive.   Trams are especially prevalent in many eastern German cities. Trams usually arrive every 20-30 minutes during off-peak periods and are more regular during busier times.

Light Rail – Some cities, most notably Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Hannover, Cologne, and cities in the Ruhr region, have relatively new light rail systems known as a Stadtbahn.  Generally, these systems function very much like a regular U-Bahn system (subway, see below) and mostly run overground outside of the central city.

Subways & Commuter Trains – Germany’s largest cities have a subway system, or U-Bahn.  For the most part, these systems are located underground, but may run on elevated tracks or at ground level, especially in outlying areas.  Most U-Bahn stations in the larger cities are stroller accessible however you may need to contend with stairs in some stations.

Driving in Germany – To rent a vehicle, you will need your driver’s license and passport. Remember to pre-book a car seat if you are not bringing one and inspect it for damage before setting off. All major car rental companies can provide child seats on request for around €5 a day. Please click here for German car seat rules. Germans drive on the right. In most German cities, there is a good selection of parking facilities including on-street parking as well as off-street parking lots (Parkplatz), above-ground garages (Parkhaus), and underground garages (Tiefgarage).  Most large cities have extensive parking facilities, and parking maps are usually available from the tourist information offices.  Except on the busiest days and during the peak times, you should be able to find a place within a reasonable amount of time.  Costs for parking in Germany are a little expensive so bear this in mind if you are renting a car and check with your hotel in advance as to whether there are parking facilities on site. Gasoline (Benzin) and diesel (Diesel) are readily available throughout Germany, although filling stations (Tankstellen). You should have little problem finding a place to fill your tank when you need to.  Most small towns have at least one station, and there are 24-hour stations located at intervals along the Autobahn and major highways.  Parking on the street is the most common means of parking in Germany.  Unless specifically prohibited by a sign or general regulation, on-street parking is usually permitted everywhere that you see a ‘P’ sign on the side of the road.

Taxis –  German taxis are cream-colored with a black and yellow taxi sign on the roof. You will be able to request a taxi with a car seat from your hotel or book one from most taxi companies. Taxis are exempt from EU rules covering car seats and you may opt to carry your child on your lap. This is highly dangerous in case of an accident and it is always safer to hire a cab with a car seat if possible.

Internal Flights – There are 35 or so commercial passenger airports (Flughafen) in Germany, with Frankfurt and Munich being the two biggest. There are regular flights between Germany’s major cities and budget airlines such as German Wings make this a relatively cheap option for getting around the country.

Trains – Trains in Germany are generally very punctual.  While you may not be able set your watch by the trains anymore, the DB reports that 90% of trains arrive within five minutes of schedule. Group rail tickets  provide good value so keep this in mind when travelling with a family.