Until the new Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport is ready in late 2011, Berlin is served by two airports: Tegel (TXL) and Schönefeld (SXF). Information in English on both airports (including live departures and arrivals) can be found at www.berlin-airport.de. Despite campaigns to save it, Tempelhof airport closed down at the end of October 2008. Tegel airport is scheduled to close in 2011 when Berlin-Brandenburg-International gets going. There is as yet no official name for the new airport, which will be just south of the existing Schönefeld airport. Willy Brandt, Marlene Dietrich and Albert Einstein are contenders for the honour. Note: most of Berlin's hotels are in Mitte, the revived centre of the united city, or in the area served by Bahnhof Zoo (Zoo Station), pivotal point of the west end.
Flughafen Tegel (TXL)
Airport information (12 cents per minute) 0180 5000 186/www.berlin-airport.de. Open 4am-midnight daily.
Most scheduled flights use the compact Tegel airport, just 8km (5 miles) north-west of Mitte. The ring-shaped terminal contains tourist information, exchange facilities, shops, restaurants, bars and car rental desks. It's one of Europe's easiest airports. A cab can drop you right by the check-in desk and departure gate.
Flughafen Schönefeld (SXF)
Airport information 0180 5000 186/www.berlin-airport.de. Open 24hrs daily.
The former airport of East Berlin is 18km (11 miles) south-east of the city centre. It's small, currently working with only one runway, and much of the traffic is to Eastern Europe and the Middle and Far East. But budget airlines from the UK and Ireland also use it – EasyJet flies in from Belfast, Bristol, Gatwick, Glasgow, Liverpool and Luton; Ryanair from Dublin, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Stansted and Shannon. The usual foreign exchange, shops, snack bars and car hire facilities can be found here, though none in abundance.
From outside Germany dial the international access code (usually 00), then 49 for Germany, then the number (omitting any initial zero).
All operators speak English.
Air Berlin 0180 573 7800/www.airberlin.com.
Air France 0180 583 0830/www.airfrance.com.
Alitalia 0180 507 4747/www.alitalia.com.
British Airways 0180 526 6522/www.britishairways.com.
EasyJet 0180 365 4321/www.easyjet.com.
German Wings 0180 595 5855/www.germanwings.com.
Iberia 0180 544 2900/www.iberia.com.
KLM 0180 521 4201/www.klm.de.
Lufthansa 01803 803 803/www.lufthansa.de.
Ryanair 0190 170 100/www.ryanair.com.
Flughafen Tegel (TXL)
Buses 109 and X9 (the express version) run via Luisenplatz and the urfürstendamm to Zoologischer Garten (also known as Zoo Station, Bahnof Zoo or just Zoo) in Western Berlin. Tickets cost €2.10 (and can also be used on U-Bahn and S-Bahn services). Buses run every five to 15 minutes, and take 30-40 minutes to reach Zoo. At Zoo there are rail and tourist information offices, and you can connect to anywhere in the city (same tickets are valid).
You can take bus 109 to Jacob-Kaiser-Platz U-Bahn (U7), or bus 128 to Kurt-Schumacher-Platz U-Bahn (U6), and proceed on the underground from there. One ticket can be used for the combined journey (€2.10).
The JetExpressBusTXL is the direct link to Berlin Hauptbahnhof and Mitte. It runs from Tegel to Alexanderplatz with useful stops at Beusselstrasse S-Bahn (connects with the Ringbahn), Berlin Hauptbahnhof (regional and inter-city train services as well as the S-Bahn), Unter den Linden S-Bahn (north and south trains on the S1 and S2 lines). It costs €2.10, runs every 10 or 20 minutes between 4.30am-12.30am (5.30am-12.30am at weekends), and takes 30-40 minutes.
A taxi to anywhere central will cost around €20-€25, and takes 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic and precise destination.
Flughafen Schönefeld (SXF)
Train is the best means of reaching the city centre. S-Bahn Flughafen Schönefeld is a five-minute walk from the terminal (a free S-Bahn shuttle bus runs every ten minutes between 6am-10pm from outside the terminal; at other times, bus 171 also runs to the station). From here, the Airport Express train runs to Mitte (25 minutes to Alexanderplatz), Berlin Hauptbahnhof (30 minutes) and Zoo (35 minutes) every half hour from 5am-11.30pm.
You can also take S-Bahn line S9, which runs into the centre every 20 minutes (40 minutes to Alexanderplatz, 50 minutes to Zoo) stopping at all stations along the way. The S45 line from Schönefeld connects with the Ringbahn, also running every 20 minutes.
Bus X7, every 10 or 20 minutes from 4.30am-8pm runs non-stop from the airport to Rudow U-Bahn (U7), from where you can connect with the underground. When it's not running, bus 171 takes the same route.
Tickets from the airport to the city cost €2.80, and can be used on any combination of bus, U-Bahn, S-Bahn and tram. There are ticket machines at the airport and at the station.
A taxi to Zoo or Mitte is pricey (€30-€35), and takes around 45 minutes.
The new Berlin Hauptbahnhof, opened in 2006, is the central point of arrival for all long-distance trains, with the exceptions of night trains from Moscow, Warsaw and Kiev, which start and end at Berlin Lichtenberg (S5, S7, S75).
Hauptbahnhof is inconveniently located in a no-man's land north of the government quarter, and is linked to the rest of the city by S-Bahn (S5, S7, S9, S75), but not yet by U-Bahn. The line U55, which will run two stops to Unter den Linden (connecting there with the S-Bahn lines S1, S2, S25), is supposed to open sometime in mid 2009. Eventually the line will extend to connect to the U5 at Alexanderplatz, but work on the second stage has not begun. For now, Berlin has two airports and one central station, none of which connect to its underground system.
The multi-level Hauptbahnhof is huge, with all the facilities you'd expect of a thoroughly modern main station, including left-luggage, currency exchange, tourist information counters, two pharmacies, assorted chain stores, and no fewer than 19 food and drink outlets. Its twin towers and arched central axis also make an impressive dent on the city skyline.
On their way in and out of town, inter-city trains now also stop at Nordkreuz (formerly Gesundbrunnen), Südkreuz (formerly Papestrasse) and Spandau, depending on their destinations.
Zentraler Omnibus Bahnhof (ZOB)
Masurenallee 4-6, Charlottenburg (Information 301 0380/www.zob-reisebuero.de). Open 6am-9pm Mon-Fri; 6am-3pm Sat, Sun.
Buses arrive in Western Berlin at the Central Bus Station, opposite the Funkturm and the ICC (International Congress Centrum). From here, U-Bahn line U2 runs into the centre. There's also a left luggage office. East Berlin has no bus station.
While every effort and care has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this guide, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. Before you go out of your way, we strongly advise you to phone ahead and check the particulars.
Getting around Berlin
Fast facts A-Z
When to go to Berlin