At press time Berlin still had two airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, and the opening of what will become Berlin’s major new international airport, Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport (BBI), was officially rescheduled to open in 2014 after many delays—but insider’s say the new airport will not be ready until 2018. When it opens, most international flights will arrive at the new BBI, 20km (12 miles) from the city center. The new airport will have a rail station under the main terminal, so you can reach the center of Berlin in 20 minutes. For current information on BBI and the two airports currently serving Berlin, go to www.berlin-airport.de.
Tegel (TXL) airport, 8km (5 miles) northwest of the center, currently serves European and long-haul destinations. Buses 128, X9, 109, and the Jet Express TXL depart for Berlin from stops outside the terminal every 10 or 20 minutes from 6am to 11pm. The journey takes between 15 and 40 minutes; tickets cost 2.60€ and can be purchased at the BVG kiosk close to the airport exit or from the ticket machines at the bus station. Validate your ticket by stamping it in the machine on the bus. A taxi ride costs approximately 35€; taxis depart from ranks outside the terminal.
Schönefeld (SFX) airport, 18km (11 miles) southeast of the center, connects with destinations across Europe, Asia, and Africa, and is served by low-cost airlines like easyJet, Ryanair, and Germanwings. A regular S-Bahn service (S45 and S9) departs from the airport and takes about 45 minutes to reach central Berlin. Alternatively take the Airport Express train, departing every half-hour from 4:30am to 11pm and taking about 30 minutes to reach Hauptbahnhof (Berlin’s main train station), stopping en route at Ostbahnhof, Alexanderplatz, and Friedrichstrasse. Tickets for either service cost 3.20€ and can be purchased from the machines on the platforms. Expect to pay around 40€ for the 45-minute taxi journey into town.
You can reach Berlin by train from everywhere in Europe. All long-distance high-speed trains now arrive at and depart from the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), Europa Platz 1 (tel. 0800-15-07-090 for train schedules; www.hbf-berlin.de), Europe’s newest and largest train station. Unless you arrive by a local, regional train, you’ll be pulling into this new, user-friendly terminal. On the main floor there’s a BERLIN infostore, the name given to Berlin’s tourist information centers. Whether you’re staying in western or eastern Berlin, getting to your hotel from the Hauptbahnhof couldn’t be easier. The entrance to the S-Bahn (elevated train) is on the second floor of the station; the entrance to the U-Bahn (subway or underground train) is on the first floor, and there are buses right outside.
Four Autobahn (freeway) routes enter Berlin from western Germany; three enter from the east. The drive from Frankfurt or Munich takes about 8 hours, depending on traffic. After you’re in Berlin, however, a car is a nuisance. Unless you know this huge city well, getting around by public transportation is far easier than by car
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.