Visiting Berlin by car? Wondering where to park your car?
If you travel to Berlin by car, you probably sooner or later ask yourself “Where can I park my car? And how much does it cost?”. On this page I’ll try to give some answers to these questions.
Free Parking in Berlin
If you look at a Berlin map, actually only a relatively small area of the city, the inner city area is not free to park. So if you are looking for a long term parking spot, probably the cheapest (actually free) and easiest option would be to park your car in one of those cost free areas. So first you should get done what you need to get done. Drop those suitcases or the extensive grocery shopping at your apartment – and then leave your car in one of the free parking areas – outside the area, where parking is not free. Trust me – it’s worth to take the extra ride and park outside of the ‘Parkraumbewirtschaftungszone‘.
And the good news is: you probably don’t have to look far for a free parking spot. There should be almost always be some area nearby where you don’t have to pay any parking fee at all. Then you just take the public transport or a taxi back to your place. Often you don’t even need to take neither public transport nor taxi since chances are that the distance would not be too great – so you can also just walk back to your place and maybe discover some of your neighborhood streets on your way.
The Berlin Parking Map Tool
The City of Berlin has released a map tool, pointing out where you would have to pay to park your car – and how much is charged by the hour. It also points out, where you don’t have to pay anything. Depending on the borough, area, or even street the fees go from 1 Euro per hour to 3 Euros per hour. Alternatively you can check this Google Map where basically the same information is provided – probably much easier to navigate.
How to use the Parking Map Tool?
The map tool may first appear to be a bit complicated. The user interface is not really intuitive – but actually the map tool is a very complex application and you could also look for all kind of Berlin related data like unemployment rates and the like. If you just want to see where you’d have to pay, and where the free parking zones are located, all you have to do is enter an address and then navigate the map.
Below are some screenshot. First enter the street (‘Straßenname’), the street number (‘Haus-Nr.’) and the postal code (‘Postleitzahl’) into the fields on the right side of the tool. Then hit enter (‘Weiter’).
On the following screen you’ll see the address you just entered. In the zones marked yellow you’ll have to purchase a parking ticket. The blank areas are free of charge.
Here is the tool:
(click on the image in the middle of the page to open the tool)
If you don’t want to use that tool either because that is too much information, or the Java plug in too slow, you can also find static maps of the main areas of various different Berlin boroughs if you follow the links below:
Here is a map (PDF-download) of all parking zones where you will have to pay – and where it’s free to park:
- Friedrichshain: download map (pdf; 11 MB)
- Prenzlauer Berg: download map (jpg; 1 MB)
- Mitte: information and maps of Mitte’s parking zones – some with parking times and parking fees
It might be worth checking these maps before you actually park your car over a couple of days. Why pay, when you can park for free just a couple streets or blocks away?
They may be a bit hidden, but of course there are also parking garages available in Berlin. Some are underground garages like the one at Alexanderplatz, near Park Inn Hotel – or the one underneath Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg. At Alexanderplatz full-day-tickets are available for 24,- Euro (per 24h). Here is a comprehensive list of public parking garages in Berlin.
Parking your car at a Hotel
Some Berlin Hotels offer reserved parking areas for theirs guests. So if you are planning to stay at a hotel, chances are that there may be an additional option available. And even if you are not staying at a hotel yourself, it may still be worth asking at a hotel near where you are stying if they have parking lots available. Some hotels may actually welcome you and your car or motorcycle, even if you are not their guest otherwise, because for them a rented parking lot is of course better than an empty parking lot.
Berlin Resident parking permits
For Berlin residents there are long term tickets available. If you are actually moving to Berlin you should check this option. A residential parking permit is valid for up to 2 years and will cost you some 20,40 Euros (as of December 2015).
The official prerequisites under which a temporary guest vignette is granted are:
- The Applicant is registered in Berlin – in the parking area he/she applies for
- The Visitor is not registered in Berlin.
As of December 2015 prices for such a temporary long term guest vignettes are as follows:
- up to 3 days 10,20 Euro
- up to 1 week: 13,- Euro
- up to 2 weeks: 15,- Euro
- up to 3 weeks: 20,- Euro
- up to 4 weeks: 25,- Euro
It can take several days or even weeks until the Host / Applicant actually receives the guest vignette. You can find further information about guest vignettes as well as the relevant form from the official Berlin website here:
“Parken verboten!” – where not to park your car
There some spots and areas where you should definitely NOT park your car, unless you want to have it towed away. Parking in a driveway for example may sound tempting, but it’s not a good idea – even though driveways often look like free parking spots. Some driveways may however be not in operation and it’s totally ok to park there.
But if you happen to see the slightest sign (literally) which indicates that it’s not ok to park here, then it’s probably not ok to park here. So you better do not park your car…
- in front of a sign saying “Parken Verboten” or “Einfahrt freihalten” or “Durchfahrt freihalten” or anything with “freihalten” – this just means that this driveway or spot should be kept ‘free’ and it is generally forbidden to park here – for whatever reason.
- in front of a sign saying “Feuerwehrzufahrt” – this means parking here would block a route used by fire fighter in case of an emergency.
- on a handicapped parking / disabled parking space, often marked with a symbol representing a wheel chair.
- too close to a street crossing (not less than 3 meters)
- too close to a driveway (you should not block the driveway)
- on bicycle lanes.
- on the sidewalk.
- on green areas.
“Parken verboten!” vs. “Halten verboten!”
In Germany we distinguish between two different types of ‘parking a car’: shorter ‘stop’ “halten” may still be ok even in spots where parking “Parken” is forbidden. So who is who – what is what? Rule of thumb: if you happen to pack things in or off your car, could be also fellow travellers, then it’s ok to stop for about two minutes.
There are even street signs that indicate zones where you may stop for two minutes – the signs are called “Parkverbot” (parking forbidden) or sometimes “Ladezone” (loading zone). Often these spots are marked by a red circle, blue background, and just one red bar crossing the circle.
If instead the red circle is crossed by two red bars, forming an “X”, then it’s forbidden to either park or stop your car – even if it was only for a minute or two. Those signs – or actually those areas are called “Halteverbot” which indicates that it’s forbidden (“verbot”) to stop (“Halte”) the car in these places. On this page I will go a bit deeper into and will also try to explain, what the above parking sign means in details: How to read German Parking Signs
Berlin Public Parking Fees / Parking Ticket Vending machines
First of all: this is a great opportunity to learn another very german, but quite useless word: “Parkraumbewirtschaftung” – which means something like “economical cultivation of parking lots”. You will notice you are in an area where the parking space is economically cultivated by the armada of signs and ticket vending machines – and those little ‘bills’ stuck behind some cars’ windscreen wipers.
In these areas parking fees vary between 25 cents for 15 minutes (or 1 Euro per hour) up to 1 Euro for 15 minutes (or 4 Euros per hour. In some areas night time parking is free of charge, other areas are ‘harvested’ 24/7.
The ticket vending machines may look a bit complicated – so I put up a separate page that explains the basics of how to use a Berlin parking ticket vending machine.
Moving? Need to reserve a parking zone?
In case you are moving and you need to have some space for the truck in front of your door you can actually reserve a spot in the street. Usually you would have to ask for such a parking zone two weeks in advance – and there is some paper work to be done – and you would also have to borrow the signs from somewhere. But in most cases / for most people this would probably be a bit too complicated.
Instead you can also either ask the moving company – in case you are hiring one. Or you ask a service that can make that reservation and put up the parking signs for you. For a one day reservation for a loading area 20m wide you would probably have to pay something around 75,- to 100,- Euro.
Here’s a German article on the website of the city of Berlin, describing the alternatives: Stressfrei einen Umzug vorbereiten – Halteverbotszonen einrichten
And here are two companies that can arrange such a parking area reservation for you:
…to be continued…
- Berlin by Car
- How to use a Berlin parking ticket vending machine.
- How to read German Parking Signs
- Berlin emission zone – the environmental badge
- Map of Berlin parking zones – a map listing all Berlin parking zones together with their respective parking fees and parking hours (google map)
Got further questions about Car Parking in Berlin?
Please feel free to ask in the comments below – and I’ll try to answer…