In the United States, it's easy and convenient to call a cab or an uber to get to dinner with friends, but in Germany, an even better system exists. Public transportation is safe and reliable in Freiburg.
Taxis: Just like in the United States, taxis are very common and run all day and night. Taxi Freiburg charges a flat fee of 7 euros per trip, but beware, many taxi drivers don't speak English, so be sure to have a written copy of your address if you don't speak German. Uber is not common in Germany, and although it works in Munich and sometimes in Frankfurt, be prepared to use an old fashioned taxi service as your public car option. IES Abroad recommends Taxi Freiburg and provides you with their number upon arrival on your emergency contact sheet. Taxis are relatively expensive, though, so I recommend only using them as a last resort if you've missed the final tram and don't want to walk home.
Trains and Trams: My personal favorite mode of transportation in and around Freiburg would be the tram system. On my first day, IES Abroad offered us to buy RegioKarte, or a regional ticket for one month at a student discount. After that first month, we can buy a semester-long pass. The RegioKarte allows me to access any city tram, train, or bus and the ability to travel anywhere in the RVF region of Germany. This is great for getting to class, to grocery stores, or to friends' apartments. Google Maps works with the tram system as well, as it will tell you exactly which trams to get on and how many stops to ride it. The VAG Mobile App is probably the most valuable app when navigating trams, as it tells you when the next one is coming no matter where in the city you are, which is definitely much more enjoyable than having to go check the sign outside when it's raining. It's important to know when the trams are coming because they wait for no one, even if you are looking the driver in the eyes and knocking on the glass!
Additionally, on weekends, holidays, and any day after 14:00, I can travel anywhere in the five regions of TGO, VSB, WTV, RVL, and of course RVF, which are known as the Fanta5. This means I can even travel to the Basel Airport with this pass rather than pay for a two-hour train ticket to the Frankfurt Airport for traveling. That in itself pays for the ticket. Remember to never travel without a ticket, however, for they have random checks where they ask for your ticket and if you don't have it on you, you will be fined 60 Euros.
Cycling: Public transportation isn't the only way to get around. As the sunniest city in Germany, it's no surprise that the area is so bicyclist friendly. I still remember my first trip past the library where I saw around 100 bikes chained in front. A couple of my friends bought or rented bikes in Freiburg, and they said, either way, it wasn't very expensive. Starting in April there are also flea markets on Saturdays where if you go early enough there's a chance of buying a bike for a lower price.
Walking: Freiburg is a really well-designed city, which makes walking a cheap and safe way to get around, however, it is always recommended to travel with a group if you're walking at night. In Freiburg, every main street is well lit at night and the sidewalks are much wider than in American cities. Depending on where you live, walking might be your favorite way of getting to class. For me, I lived quite far from the city center, but still walked home some afternoons when it was especially nice out. Be careful when walking, however, as many streets have small canals known as Bächle. Legend has it, if a foreigner accidentally stumbles into these shallow canals they'll marry a local Freiburger!
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<p>Originally from rural Pennsylvania, I'm currently a third-year at Emory University studying Environmental Sciences and minoring in Sustainability. I'm really excited to spend a semester in Germany's sunniest and most sustainable city! Hiking and camping have always been passions of mine, so I'm ready to go explore Europe!</p>