However you arrive in Berlin, it seems like a huge city once you are here… but it has one of the best public
transport systems you'll find anywhere! If you join one of our regular walking tours, we will show you how the
system works; safe and reliable (usually!), it provides great views, for example, of the Reichstag and new
government quarter from the elevated tracks of the "Stadtbahn".
If you arrive on an international train, you will usually be expected to
disembark at the new Hauptbahnhof (Hbf). While this is a wonderful building
in its own right, you will usually have to take a local train (the S-Bahn)
or a taxi to reach your hotel, because the new Hbf is close to the new
government quarter but not to most of the accommodation in the city! If
possible, find out where the train stops in Berlin before it gets to the Hbf
because this may be a better place to disembark for your hotel or hostel.
If you change on to the S-Bahn to reach your destination in central Berlin,
you can usually travel on your existing ticket, ie you do not need to buy a
separate ticket for the S-Bahn.
There are two international airports: Tegel (TXL) and Schonefeld (SXF).
a) Tegel TXL: this is the main airport for British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta, Continental and other larger
airlines, being the old West Berlin airport (and first created to provide valuable extra runway capacity during
the blockade of 1948-49!).
It is very central, but not particularly well integrated into the public transport system: there is no subway
or train station at the airport. If you don't want to take a cab (this will only cost you c. € 16 into
West-Center or c. € 18 to Friedrichstrasse in Mitte in the former East), our advice is to take either the
X9 bus into West-Center, terminating at Zoo Station in only 20 minutes, or the TXL bus to East-Center/Mitte,
stopping on Unter den Linden and Alexanderplatz in 30-35 minutes.
b) Schönefeld SXF: this is favored by the low-cost airlines (EasyJet and Ryannair). It is the international
airport for the former East Berlin and retains its scheduled connections eastwards (you often see an Aeroflot
plane on the tarmac!). Positioned on the edge of the city, it has its own rail station BUT you have to walk a
good 10 minutes to get there from the terminal building!! Hop on the shuttle bus if you want to avoid this walk
(and if you buy a ticket from the bus driver, this will cover your journey into the center of Berlin!).
From Schönefeld train station, express trains (RE) travel twice an hour into the center of Berlin, taking 22
minutes to reach Alexanderplatz and 33 minutes to reach Zoo Station. These times are 20 minutes quicker than
the more frequent S-Bahn trains which also travel into the city center from the airport.