How to find your way around Berlin

How are houses numbered? How can I locate a flat inside a building? Everything you need to know to find your way around Berlin.


This post was last updated on June 10, 2022
A map of Berlin with a magnifier over the center of the map.

We all have been there:

  • the street where your friend lives is actually a street of the same name but in a different neighborhood and it turns out, a 1-hour walk away.
  • You maybe found the right street but you are on the opposite end and now you have to walk 2 miles to get to the right address.

I think the first thing to consider when it comes to orientation in Berlin is to remember that the city is large and quite spread out. What looks like a short distance on the map can easily become quite a walk. Also better plan your trips with public transport using the BVG website.

Here are some general tips to find your way around Berlin.

General orientation in Berlin

The TV tower or Fernsehturm on Alexanderplatz is the most prominent building in the east and can be considered the east center whereas there is also a center in the west, around the train station Zoologischer Garten and the shopping street Kurfürrstendamm.

I personally find it difficult to navigate the area south of Alexanderplatz and generally recommend using the public transport, most notably the metro (U-Bahn) or the local trains (S-Bahn) to transfer from one area to another as the distances are huge and you might find yourselves walking for one hour along a busy street and concrete blocks with not much to see.

Often areas in themselves are quite walkable: once you are in an interesting part of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain or Prenzlauer Berg you can walk around.

Berlin house numbers and street orientation

House numbers in Berlin follow a consecutive numbering, like the first house in a street is number one, the second on the same street side is number 2 and so on. This is true as long as the houses are on the same side of the street. The houses on the opposite side of the street have the numbers running in the opposite way. This means that the house opposite house number 1 can have house number 100. Streets can be long so make sure to check the exact location of the house number on the map.

Intersections usually indicate the range of house numbers under the street name for the next block, like the next block has the range of house numbers 20 to 30.

Please note that street names are not unique in Berlin. There is an Emser Str. in Neukölln and a street of the same name in Spandau. A Weserstr. exists in Neukölln and in Friedrichshain. Always add the name of the area when searching for street names on maps or look up the postal code for your area first.

How to find a flat in a Berlin building

Flats usually don't have numbers but are located using

  • the floor: 3.OG is the third floor, 2.OG is the second floor, EG is the ground floor and DG is the last floor under the roof.
  • the part of the building: VH or Vorderhaus is the part of the building facing the street, HH or Hinterhaus is the building in the backyard. SF is the building in the backyard on the right or left side.

Orientation in the Berlin public transport

Public transport especially the U and S-Bahn (metro and local trains) is a great way to get to a certain place once you are lost. The indicators in the train stations display the final station of the train so you can look up on a map whether the train is going in the direction of your intended destination.

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