Getting from one point to another in Kaliningrad is not that tough as the city is pretty small compared to other cities in Russia. However, public transportation is necessary on some routes. If you don’t speak Russian, you’ll have a hard time for sure. Information on the topic is rare, so you should definitely read our transportation guide before travelling to Kaliningrad.
Usually, transportation guides you can find on traveluxblog provide summed up information about routes, prices and much more. Transportation in Kaliningrad will be a little different in this regard. Even though we had a closer look at the transportation system and got some basic Russian skills, it was more than just tough to understand the bus and trolley bus routes. Taking one of the tram lines is a little bit easier, yet you may be shocked about the condition of the rails.
The tram system in Kaliningrad used to be one of the bigger ones in the early 20th century and grew more and more till World War II. Afterwards, the tram system did not lose importance until the late 20th century. Due to high costs and the bad conditions of many rails, the city decided to stop service on many tram lines. Due to that, there are only two tram lines that are existing till today.
Both are taking the same route in the city center and just differ from each other due to different stops on one end of each line. All other routes (there were 15 some years ago) were shut down during the last years. Yet, tourists may decide to have a ride on the slow (due to the condition of the rails) and mostly old trams – it’s an experience for sure.
The two still existing tram lines in Kaliningrad:
Buses in Kaliningrad. How should one start a section about the mess you’ll recognize when visiting Kaliningrad for the very first time? If you are a tourist or a business traveler, you won’t get anything about the system. There are no information available at the stops, there is nobody who is able to tell you in English what the fare for a bus is. However, at the time we visited the city, the fare was at 12 RUB for trains and buses (0.19 Euro / 0.21 US-Dollar).
This flat rate fare is used on most routes, but not on all. Tickets are usually sold either by a conductor or the driver. There are no machines available for buying tickets. All buses and trolley buses got the destination and the number of the bus line on a display / paper sheet on the front and/or the side of the bus.
Even though taxi drivers in Kaliningrad don’t speak English, the taxi is the best means of transport for tourists. From the airport to the city center there is a flat rate of 500 RUB (~ 8 Euro / 8.5 US-Dollar). All other routes may either be charged via taxi meter or by a negotiated fare.
The minimum charge for every taxi ride is 100 RUB (~ 1.6 Euro / 1.75 US-Dollar). Even though many taxis are very old, taking one usually isn’t that dangerous. Drivers tend to be honest, but especially tourists should be aware to not get ripped off when paying. Basic knowledge of Russian is of huge advantage.
There are no special means of transport in Kaliningrad. However, it’s worth a mention that there are not just normal buses, but also trolley buses and mini buses. Different routes are operated by different kinds of buses. Not all look like official ones and many are very old, but usually they get you from one point to another without any problems.
The city currently plans to renew some rails on the existing tram lines and maybe extend the tram network with new trains. Moreover, there are already some new buses operating on some routes.