Berlin is best known for its historical associations as the German capital, internationalism and tolerance, lively nightlife, its many cafés, clubs, and bars, street art, and numerous museums, palaces, and other sites of historic interest. Berlin’s architecture is quite varied. Although badly damaged in the final years of World War II and broken apart during the Cold War, Berlin has reconstructed itself greatly, especially with the reunification push after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
It is now possible to see representatives of many different historic periods in a short time within the city centre, from a few surviving medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz, to the ultra modern glass and steel structures at Potsdamer Platz. Because of its tumultuous history, Berlin remains a city with many distinctive neighbourhoods.
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Bus and S-Bahn combination – Buses from Tegel International Airport operate to S+U Alexanderplatz, Hauptbahnhof (bus TXL), and S+U Zoologischer Garten (buses X9 and 109) for the standard ticket fare . Its takes around 45 minutes to Alexanderplatz – it is much quicker to get off at Hauptbahnhof or Zoologischer Garten and change to the S-Bahn (the bus ticket remains valid for this). (TXL takes less than 10 minutes to get to S-Bahn station Beusselstrasse.)
Caution! Do not take any train to the “Tegel railway (S-Bahn) station”, which is not connected to the airport, but rather to the suburban village called Tegel. It is not possible to walk or to otherwise get easily to the airport from that station. 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.
Now here is the top tip for getting to/ from the airport quickly. A lot of visitors make the mistake of jumping onto the S-Bahn when they arrive. Now it is true that all the guide books advise this because the S-Bahn departs every 10 minutes or so. But it is a slow service that stops all the time and can, if you are travelling late at night, easily take you an hour to get to the middle of Berlin. A far better, quicker and more comfortable option is to use the Regional trains.
Make sure you are taking an Express Train (RE7 or RB14) rather than the S-Bahn (S9 or S45).
These Express trains run to and from central Berlin (Mitte) every half hour from 5am-11.30pm and take approx 25 min to/from Alexanderplatz; 30 min to/from Berlin Hauptbahnhof and 35 min to/from Zoologischer Garten. There are two of these every hour (look for the RE7 or RB14) and, as of the time of writing (2014), they leave the airport station at 25 minutes and 55 minutes past the hour. The trains are big and comfortable and run a far quicker service.
And if you do find yourself on either the S9 or the S45 in error, don’t panic, you’ll make it in the end. The S9 runs every 20 minutes and if all goes smoothly, it will take you approx 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.
The intercontinental flights to Berlin are:
There are numerous direct flight connections between Berlin and major German & European cities. For historical reasons intercontinental direct flights to Berlin were limited. The German flag carrier Lufthansa will mostly fly to its major hub airports Frankfurt and Munich and offer connecting flights to Berlin on a near hourly basis.