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Berlin is a sleek, cosmopolitan city, with numerous historic sights and museums, as well as amazing architecture, shopping, dining and an eclectic music scene. It’s worth a visit at any time of the year, but does experience large swings in temperature from season to season. If you visit between May – September, temperatures are hot, soaring to above 30 degrees Celsius. Many tourists visit Berlin during the summer, which means that hotels are booked early and flights more expensive. During spring, from March – May, temperatures are moderate, with highs ranging from 8 – 19 degrees Celsius. September and October are possibly the best months to visit Berlin, because the summer crowds vanish, but the weather is still quite warm, around 13 – 19 degrees Celsius. November through February can be downright chilly and there’s always a chance of snow, but if you don’t mind single digit temperatures, you can find great deals on hotels and flights. It can get a bit busier during the holiday season, but it’s worth visiting then to see and shop Berlin’s famous Christmas markets.
Direct flights from the UK to Berlin are available from British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Flybe, eurowings, and Jet2. Other airlines flying into Berlin include Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, SWISS, Brussels Airlines, Aer Lingus, Iberia, Austrian Airlines, SAS, Finnair, Norwegian, Vueling, Norwegian Air International, Alitalia, LOT, Luxair, Air Serbia, and Airbaltic.
The Berlin Schönefeld Airport is just to the south of Berlin. Holiday and low-cost-airlines fly to Schönefeld. It’s easy to get to Berlin’s city center from SXF using public transport. A one-way fare is €3.40 EUR and is good for the Airport Express trains, S-Bahn, the underground, buses and trams. You may make as many stops or transfers as you like within a two-hour period, traveling in one direction.
Take either of the Airport Express trains, RE7 or RB14, which travel in 30 minute intervals between Schönefeld Airport and Berlin-Charlottenburg, with stops at Ostbahnhof, Alexanderplatz, Berlin Central Station and Berlin-Zoo. It takes about 15 minutes to get to Ostbahnhof with the Airport Express and 30 minutes to get to Berlin Central Station. The S-Bahn line S45 runs between the train station at Airport Schönefeld and Station Südkreuz. From there take S41 and or S42 to connect to the city center. These trains have many stops, so it takes longer to get to the city center via this route, about 49 minutes.
From Terminal A, the following buses travel to the Berlin city center: 163, 171, X7, N7, and N60.
A ride from Schönefeld to the city center by taxi takes about 25 minutes and costs around €41.00 – €44.00 EUR. You’ll find the taxis just outside of Terminal A.
Tegel Airport is located in Berlin’s northern district Reinickendorf and is slated for closure when the new Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt is finished.
The fastest way to get to the city is by TXL Express Bus, which travels via Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Alexanderplatz in about 37 minutes. Express Bus X9 travels to Zoo Station in about 20 minutes, from which you can reach any destination in Berlin. Both express buses stop right outside the terminal. You can also ride bus 109 to Zoo station in about 30 minutes. An adult one-way fare for any of these is €2.80 EUR.
A taxi ride to Zoo station from Tegel Airport costs around €20.00 EUR, while a taxi to Alexanderplatz runs about €26.00 EUR.
If you prefer to drive and want to rent a car while visiting Berlin, plan early and look for deals on car rentals with momondo.
Berlin boasts grand avenues, pedestrian-only streets, lush parks, beautiful squares, and riverside and canalside promenades. You can and should explore and enjoy it on foot, although it’s much too large to be entirely walkable. It can be complicated traveling between Berlin’s Eastern and Western neighborhoods, but with the completion of the Ringbahn in 2002, East and West Berlin transport systems were knit back together. The various modes of transport run on frequent intervals and you can trust the timetables, which makes getting around Berlin easier.
Berlin is vast, but well serviced by public transportation systems that include buses, the S-Bahn (elevated train) and the U-Bahn (underground train). Between these, you can get anywhere you need to go. Fares are charged by zone, ranging from €2.60 EUR – €3.20 EUR, and tickets are valid for 2 hours from purchase time, for as many transfers as you wish within the zone. You may purchase tickets at various retail outlets as well as at the stations. You can also buy a day pass for a cost of between €6.70 EUR – €7.20 EUR, depending on the number of zones you want. You can further save on transportation and sightseeing with a Berlin WelcomeCard; a 48-hour, 72-hour, or a 5-day pass costs €19.00 EUR, 25.00 EUR, or €32.00 EUR.
You may hail a taxi on the street, or find them outside of hotels and other public venues. Fares are metered, with a minimum charge of €3.20 EUR, plus €1.65 EUR per kilometer. If you’re traveling less than 2 kilometers and flag down the cab, ask for the Kurzstreckentarif (short-route fare.
US citizens traveling to Berlin do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days. A valid passport is required. Foreign nationals traveling from the USA to Berlin must check the Schengen Visa Info website.
Berlin boasts a dizzying mix of old and new, its rich history juxtaposed against the avant-garde, with a bit of a cheeky attitude. Berlin is widely regarded as Europe’s coolest city. Here are a few suggestions for your Berlin itinerary.
Berlin is quite safe, but you should be on guard against pickpockets. Keep your valuables close, especially when traveling on crowded public transport.
Tipping in Berlin – gratuities and VAT are already included in your bill, so it’s not necessary to tip. However, if your service was exemplary, a little extra is always appreciated.