How to Get There
Berlin can easily be reached from all corners of the globe and international flights currently arrive at Berlin’s two operational airports
- Tegel International Airport located in the north-west of the city is the main airport for international carriers and a hub for domestic flights on Lufthansa and Air Berlin
Buses from Tegel International Airport operate to S+U Alexanderplatz, Hauptbahnhof and S+U Zoologischer Garten.
The nearest train stations are Jakob-Kaiser Platz on the U-Bahn line U7, which is 5 minutes from the airport with bus X9/109, Kurt-Schumacher Platz on the U6, 10 minutes from the airport with bus 128, and Beusselstraße S41/S42 (the ring) connected to the airport with an express bus. Tegel International Airport does not have any railway station. Any indication to a Tegel railway station refers to the remote S-Bahn station, even if railway staff at stations in other cities might tell otherwise.
- Schönefeld Airport — formerly serving the capital of the GDR — southeast of Berlin is the base for most low-cost airlines and charter flights in addition to traffic from Eastern Europe.
The airport is served by the S-Bahn and regional trains. The station is a short walk, under a covered well lit walkway opposite terminal A/B. Trains run from here on the S-Bahn into the city until 1:30 am. The S9 runs every 20 minutes and should take approximately 30 min to/from Ostkreuz and 45 minutes to/from Pankow, while the S45 connects to the circle-line (Ringbahn) and also runs every 20 minutes.
There are also less regular but faster regional trains that cost the same and stop at these major train stations too. Though the S-Bahn departs more frequently (S9 or S45), it is a slow service with many stops and if you are travelling late at night can take an hour to get to the middle of Berlin. A quicker and more comfortable option is to travel on the regional trains – but make sure to take an Express Train (RE7 or RB14). The Express trains run to and from central Berlin (Mitte) every half hour from 5am-11.30pm and take approximately 25 min to/from Alexanderplatz; 30 min to/from Berlin Hauptbahnhof and 35 min to/from Zoologischer Garten. Choose the ‘ABC’ single journey ticket (Einzelfahrschein).
For more information regarding timetables, platform numbers and fares, please visit the BVG website:
- Berlin's much-delayed Brandenburg International Airport, next to the current Schönefeld airport is set to open in the first half of 2014, but at a vastly reduced capacity of a mere 10 flights per day.
For further information, please visit: http://www.berlin-airport.de/en/travellers/
Berlin is serviced from over 350 destinations in Europe. Long distance buses arrive at Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof (Central Bus Terminal) in Charlottenburg. From there take the S-Bahn (station Messe Nord) or bus into town.
- Berlin Linienbus serves over 350 destnations in Europe
- Salinea serves Bosnia
- MeinFernbus serves main German cities, including Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Freiburg, etc.
Berlin is served by ICE, InterCity and EuroCity trains by the national German train corporation Deutsche Bahn (DB) which offers connections between Berlin and other German and major European cities. Long-haul trains from Eastern European cities stop both at Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof.
Train travel from Asia is also possible. The direct once-weekly Sibirjak train service connects Russia's Asian cities of Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg as well as Kazakhstan's capital Astana directly with Berlin. Train travel from China requires transfer in Russia (Moscow or Novosibirsk) or in Astana (Kazakhstan). The new building for the central station Hauptbahnhof was opened in May 2006 and together with Südkreuz (southern cross) and Ostbahnhof (eastern station) - plus minor Gesundbrunnen in the north and Spandau in the west - form the backbone of all connections and are connected to either S- or U-Bahn. All trains travel through central station and a second major hub (depending on the destination you travel to or arrive from). Trains in the regional area (Berlin and Brandenburg) mostly use these stations. Regional trains stop at several stations within Berlin.
All main roads and motorways join the Berliner Ring, or the A10, from which you can access the inner city. The city motorway is usually very crowded during rush hour. Berlin requires all cars to have a "Low Emissions" sticker in order to enter the city center (Low Emission Zone, "Umweltzone").
How To Get Around Berlin
You can make use of the excellent bus, tram, train and underground services to get around. Taxi services are also easy to use and a bit less expensive than in many other big Central European cities.
Public Transport Ticketing
Berlin uses a zone system, but you are unlikely to need to go beyond zone A and B, except on trips to Potsdam or to the Schönefeld Airport (SXF). The public transport system (U, S-Bahn, bus, tram, regional rail) uses a common ticket.
Standard tickets (A and B) are valid for any travel within two hours of validation, in a single direction, within the appropriate fare zones. Several options are available for unlimited travel. Check the machines for the actual prices. All tickets are available at vending machines at U- and S-Bahn platforms. English and other European languages are available. Payment is mostly by local bank cards, coins and banknotes.
If you need to get around the city quickly, take the S-Bahn. Especially the Ringbahn that goes all around Berlin in a circle lets you get to other parts of the city really fast.
The Berlin U-Bahn (subway/metro) stations can be seen from far by their big, friendly blue U signs. All U-Bahn stations now have electronic signs that give the time of the next train, and its direction based on sensors along the lines.
The U-Bahn provides a transportation network throughout greater Berlin that is extremely efficient and fast. On weekend (Friday to Sunday), as well as during the Christmas and New Year holidays, all U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines (except line U4) run all night. During the week there is no U-Bahn or S-Bahn service from approximately 1am to 4:30am, but metro trams/buses and special night buses (parallel to the U-Bahn line) run every half an hour from 12:30am to 4:30am.
The trams (Straßenbahn) are mostly found in East Berlin, as in West Berlin the tram lines were removed to facilitate more vehicular traffic. You can buy a ticket on the tram. Two types of tram service are available. Metrotrams frequent more often as well as by night.
Although buses are the slowest form of public transport, the yellow double-decker buses are part of Berlin's transit landscape and they will take you to almost anywhere in Berlin. Besides the normal metro buses, there are also express buses (indicated by an X), but these don't halt at every stop.
Tourist route - busline 100: The most famous bus line, especially for tourists, is bus route 100 or 200, which leaves from Zoo Station ("Berlin Zoologischer Garten") or, if you want to go the other way round, Alexanderplatz and crosses most of historic Berlin. Line 200 takes nearly the same route, but it goes through the modern quarters around Kulturforum (Philharmonie, museums) and Potsdamer Platz.