Berlin is one of the major European capitals and as such is served by flights from all over the world. Berlin's air traffic is handled by two airports: Tegel and Schönefeld.
1. The best transfers between Berlin's airports and the city centre
Both airports are well connected to the city centre and there are several ways to get there. I'll explain them all so that you can choose the one that best suits your trip:
- Private transfer by van from Tegel to your hotel
- Private transfer by van from your hotel to Tegel airport
- Private transfer from Tegel airport to your hotel
- Private transfer from your hotel to Tegel airport
- Shared transfer from Schönefeld Airport to your hotel in Berlin
2. Private van transfer from Tegel airport to your hotel in Berlin
When I talk about a private van transfer from Tegel airport, I don't mean a bus full of people, but a comfortable, air-conditioned van or transfer that you will share exclusively with your group (maximum seven travellers) and that will transfer you from door to door.
Advantages of the shared transfer
This is an ideal option to get directly to your hotel and save the money you would spend on a group trip in several taxis. The approximate total cost of this service is around 45 euros and the time it will take you to get to your hotel in the centre of Berlin will be around 35 minutes. You will have plenty of space for your luggage, but if you are carrying several suitcases or any bulky objects it is best to let the company know in advance so that they can take this into account.
With this option you will not have to worry about public transport timetables, with the ease of having enough space for your luggage and, above all, with the speed and comfort of a transfer to the door of your hotel.
How it works
When you confirm your booking, you will need to provide your flight details for your arrival in Berlin so that the company can organise your pick-up. The driver will be waiting for you at the terminal and will drop you off at the door of your hotel.
The private transfer van back to Tegel Airport
If you would like to use this private van transfer service from your hotel to Tegel at the end of your trip in the German capital, you can book it in the same way: you will need to give your flight details so that they can arrange to pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport in plenty of time for you to arrive safely.
3. Private transfer by car from Tegel to your hotel
This is a door-to-door service with all the same features as the shared transfer, but with the difference that the transfer will be in a private car from Tegel to your hotel. You will also have all the boot space available for your luggage, the cost will be 36 euros and it will take about 35 minutes to get to your hotel in the centre of Berlin.
How it works
The booking method for both options is the same: simply book online with your flight details and hotel address and a professional driver will be waiting for you at Tegel Airport in Berlin with a name badge, taking into account any delays to your flight and the time it will take you to get to the departures terminal.
Getting from your hotel in Berlin to Tegel Airport by private transport
The services are the same as on the outward journey: a private car for you and your companions with a professional driver will pick you up at the hotel of your choice. Again, you will have enough space for your luggage, WIFI connection during the journey and door-to-door transfer.
When booking online (you can do this either before your trip to make sure it is ready or during your trip up to the day before your flight departure), as well as the address of your hotel or accommodation in the centre of Berlin, you must provide your flight details so that the driver can pick you up in time for you to arrive at the airport on time (you will be informed of the pick-up time via email).
4. Other options from Tegel to the city centre
Although Tegel airport receives a lot of air traffic, it has no metro or train connection, so the way to get to the centre of Berlin from Tegel by public transport is by bus. There are two different bus lines that will take you directly to the city centre for around 3 euros; depending on where your accommodation is located in Berlin (the city centre is quite large), one or the other will be more convenient.
If your hotel or accommodation is near Alexanderplatz, the bus line that suits you best is JetExpressBus TXL. If you will be staying closer to Zoologischer Garten during your trip to Berlin, it is best to choose the JetExpressBus X9 bus line to get from Tegel airport to your hotel. These same lines are available in reverse to return to the airport at the end of your journey with the main departures being Alexanderplatz and Zoologischer Garten.
These bus lines are specifically designed to transport travellers from the airport, so you will have room for your luggage as long as you carry no more than one or two pieces of luggage. Once you arrive at Berlin airport, the bus departure area is easy to find with signs.
Finally, you should know that bus lines 128 and 109 are also connected to Tegel airport, so you can check the route if you are staying far from the centre of Berlin.
If you have not pre-booked a transfer to your hotel and you arrive outside the bus schedule, you can always take a taxi to your hotel. A taxi ride to the centre of Berlin will cost approximately 35 euros and will take you an average of 20 minutes. You will find the taxi queue signposted around the arrivals terminal.
This option is convenient, but not the cheapest, so if you want to get directly to your hotel, I recommend that you consider booking a private shuttle in advance, whose driver will also wait for you on arrival without having to queue.
Ana's Traveller Tip
If you are going by bus from Tegel airport to your hotel, check which of the two lines is best for you depending on the area of the city centre where you are staying.
5. Shared Transfer from Schönefeld to Berlin
Schönefeld Airport is the furthest airport from the centre of Berlin, so transfers tend to be more expensive and longer. However, you can find an affordable shared transfer and get a private driver to pick you up at the arrivals terminal and take you to the door of your hotel.
There are plenty of options, but I recommend hiring a shared transfer in a shared van with a maximum of eight seats for around 60 euros, which is quite good considering the distance from Schönefeld airport to the city centre is more than 20km.
You will share the van with a maximum of seven other travellers, you will have enough space for your luggage (remember to let us know by email when you make your booking if you have special or extra luggage), WIFI connection during the journey, air conditioning, WIFI, bottled water and a driver who will understand you in English.
How it works
- You book online by specifying your flight number and hotel address.
- A professional driver will meet you at the airport with a name badge, taking into account possible flight delays.
- He will take you to your hotel in approximately 35 minutes.
6. Other transport options from Schönefeld to the city centre
Schönefeld Airport is also connected to the centre of Berlin by public transport. You have two options: the train and the bus; I'll explain both, but I'll warn you that, generally speaking, the train is more convenient and faster.
The Airport Express train
This service has three different lines (depending on the area of the centre you are going to, one or the other will be more convenient): the RE 7, the RB 14 and the RB 22. The first two have a frequency of 30 minutes and the last one of one hour, and all of them run from 4.30 am to 00.30 pm.
The ticket costs around 3.40 euros and the journey takes between 20 and 40 minutes depending on which stop in the city centre you choose. Some of the main stops are: Zoologischer Garten, Hauptbahnhof, Friedrichstrasse, Alexanderplatz, Berlin Ostbahnhof and Karlhorst.
These are a kind of suburban train and there are two lines that pass through the airport, the S9 and the S45. Although the S9 stops in the city centre, these lines will suit you if your accommodation is further afield as both, for the same price, have many more stops than the Airport Express and take considerably longer (around an hour).
The bus is the same price as the train, about 3.40 euros, but it doesn't take you directly to the city centre. You'll probably have to change between several lines and it will take you more than an hour to get to the centre of Berlin.
The lines are 163, 164 and 171, and the night buses are N7 and N60. The latter can be a good option if you're arriving at Schönefeld Airport outside train times and don't want to hire private transport, but remember to check the route and connections to your accommodation.
Taxis are, of course, also available at Schönefeld Airport and are easy to spot on arrival thanks to the taxi signs. However, if you're going to use them, be prepared with your wallet, as the average fare to the centre of Berlin is 50 euros. However, it will take you about 40 minutes to get to your hotel.
Taxis can be a good option if you haven't booked a private transfer in advance or if you have any problems with the train or bus, otherwise I recommend you try to avoid them.
Ana's Traveller Tip
If you arrive at Schönefeld, choose the Airport Express train or a door-to-door transfer; taxis are very expensive and other public transport takes a long time to get to the centre.
7. Some interesting activities in Berlin
Once you've organised your arrival at the hotel, it's time to start planning your trip. If you don't quite know what you want to do when you get there, I recommend you consider taking a guided tour or an excursion to discover the city and its surroundings. I've made a selection of the best ones here: Best Tours and Day Trips from Berlin.
Taking a tour of the city by tourist bus is also not a bad option if you don't have much time or if you prefer to opt for the most comfortable option when it comes to getting from one place to another. Here's everything you need to know about Berlin Hop on Hop off Bus Tours.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to get to Berlin from the airport?
It depends on which airport you are flying into. If you fly into Tegel airport, it will take approximately 14 minutes to reach the city centre by taxi or transfer, and 20 minutes if you take a bus. If, on the other hand, your plane lands at Schönefeld, it will take about 30 minutes by taxi and around 50 minutes by bus to reach Berlin.
Which Berlin airport should I choose?
In short, Tegel airport is more expensive, but it is a bit closer to the city, so if you want to make the most of your time in the city you should choose this airport. Otherwise, choose the airport that offers the best prices as the city is quite accessible from both airports.
How early should I be at Berlin airport before my flight?
Tegel airport's official recommendation is to arrive two hours before your flight departs, which also works if you're flying from Schönefeld. Although, truth be told, security at both airports doesn't take too long, so being 90 minutes early should also suffice.