Arriving by train
If you’re coming by train, you will be arriving at either Spandau (West), Hauptbahnhof (Central) or Ostbahnhof (East). Because these large train stations are usually not the final destination, you will probably need to take an S-Bahn (above ground city train) or regional train to arrive at your final destination. If you prefer, you can hire a taxi outside the train station.
Arriving by plane
Berlin currently has two airports which serve the city: Tegel (TXL) and Schönefeld (SXF). Tegel handles the majority of flights especially those coming from outside the EU. Schönefeld is popular with low-cost carriers such as EasyJet, RyanAir and Norwegian. The two Berlin airports are at complete opposite ends of the city and because of this, it’s important for travelers to ensure they know which airport they are flying into/out of.
To & From Schönefeld Airport
Schönefeld lies in southwest Berlin and is well connected to public transportation, being served by both regional and S-Bahn trains. The Schönefeld airport is just inside the “C” zone of the BVG transportation scheme, meaning that you will need to purchase an “ABC” ticket to travel from the city center.
- Regional trains (RE7 or RB14) – These trains leave Schönefeld Airport once an hour, spaced about 30 minutes apart. These trains stop at Zoologischer Garten, Hauptbahnhof, Alexanderplatz, Ostbahnhof, Friedrichstrasse, Charlottenburg, Spandau (RB14 only), Wannsee (RE7 only) and Karlshorst. The regional trains from Schönefeld Airport are the quickest and most comfortable way to reach central Berlin.
- S-Bahn (S9 or S45) – The S-Bahn trains run about every 20 minutes.
- Bus (X7) – The X7 Express Bus from Schönefeld is a bus that goes directly to the Rudow station on the U7 line. The X7 bus takes 7 minutes to arrive at Rudow.
- While the train station is within the airport grounds, it is about 10 minutes walk from the terminal. The walkway is covered and well lit.
- There are no ticket machines on the platforms. Purchase your ticket before heading up the ramp/stairs to the platforms.
- The ticket machines underneath the terminal only accept coins or EC cards (German debit cards). Be sure to have coins ready!
To & From Tegel Airport
Getting to and from Tegel airport is slightly more challenging due to the fact that it is not connected to the rail system. Travelers must use one of the regularly scheduled bus lines or a taxi to get to and from the city. There are four bus lines covering Tegel airport:
- TXL bus to/from Alexanderplatz and also stops at Berlin’s central train station (Hauptbahnhof). Travel times to Alexanderplatz are around 40 minutes and 22 minutes to Hauptbahnhof. Depending on the time of day, these travel times can be increased due to traffic.
- X9 express bus to Zoologischer Garten rail station. This bus line covers 6 stops and takes about 20 minutes. This bus may be ideal if you are staying in the West Berlin.
- 109 to Zoologischer Garten stops in more locations than the X9 bus. This bus takes approximately 28 minutes.
- 128 to Osloer Straße takes about 25 minutes. This bus is unusual for visitors to use unless their destination lies close to that specific route.
Tegel lies in the “B” zone of the BVG’s public transportation scheme which means that purchasing a regular “AB” ticket is sufficient. Travelers can use the BVG website to check which bus works the best for their destination and arrival time.
- All buses to and from Tegel (both express and regular) require a normal AB/BC/ABC ticket.
- All buses operate every 10 minutes (every 20 minutes during the night).
- There are ticket machines near the bus stops at the airport, they take cash and credit cards.
- Be sure to validate your ticket after purchasing it.
- There is no rail connection to Tegel airport! There is a S-Bahn station with the name Tegel in Berlin, but it is not for Airport travelers!