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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Germany > Berlin

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Travel to Berlin

Flying to Berlin

Flights to Berlin are served by two airports at present, both modernised but congested, though there is light at the end of the tunnel – Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI) is currently being constructed on a site south of Schönefeld Airport. The opening date has been repeatedly put back however, so it may be some time before flights actually land there. Tegel Airport will be closed six months after the opening of Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI), which is scheduled to take place in October 2020. Schönefeld Airport will merge with the planned Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI) into one single airport.

In the meantime, British Airways, Eurowings and Air Berlin offer flights to Berlin’s Tegel Airport from the UK, while easyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian fly from the UK to Schönefeld. Air Berlin and United operate direct flights from the USA. Prices remain stable year-round, but it’s far easier to get cheap flights if you avoid flying in the summer months and at weekends throughout the year.

Flight times

From London - 1 hours 50 minutes

From New York - 8 hours

From Los Angeles - 13 hours 15 minutes (including stopover)

From Toronto - 9 hours 40 minutes (including stopover)

From Sydney - 24 hours 15 minutes (including stopover)

Travel by road

Germany is covered by an excellent and extensive system of major roads and motorways. There are no tolls or speed limits on the Autobahnen (motorways) but a maximum of 130kph (81mph) is recommended. Speed limits are 130kph (81mph) or 100kph (62mph) on major and minor roads outside the cities and 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas. Traffic drives on the right and the minimum age for driving is 18 years. Foreign drivers require proof of insurance and their national driving licence. A Green Card is strongly recommended. A country identification sticker is compulsory.

The Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil Club - ADAC (tel: 0180 2 22 22 22, in Germany only; www.adac.de) provides breakdown services throughout Germany. In the Berlin area, Auto Club Europa - ACE (tel: +49 711 530 34 35 36; www.ace.de) can also offer assistance.

Emergency breakdown services

ADAC (tel: 0800 5 10 11 12, in Germany); ACE (tel: 0711 530 33 55 77, in Germany).

Routes

The A 10 is an orbital motorway that encircles Berlin. The A 111 and A 115 connect this to the A100 (which wraps part way around the Western centre) from the north and south, respectively. The main roads leading to Berlin from outside the orbital are the A 24 (Hamburg), A 9 (from Leipzig and Munich), the A 113 (from Dresden), A 12 (from the Polish border) and A 2 (from Hanover, from where the A 7 connects to the A 5 toward Frankfurt am Main in the south).

Coaches

Eurolines (tel: +44 871 781 8177, in the UK; www.eurolines.com) international coach services cover hundreds of destinations across Europe, including a couple of dozen destinations within Germany. IC Bus (www.bahn.de/p/view/angebot/fernbus/index.shtml) also runs national and international services.

Buses on both international and domestic routes arrive at the Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof (ZOB) Messedamm in Charlottenburg, near the International Congress Centre (ICC). Information and tickets are available from the DTG Ticket Center, Messedamm 9 (tel: +49 30 5367 0204), and at the ZOB Reisebüro (Masurenallee 4-6, tel: +49 30 301 0380; www.zob-reisebuero.de).

Time to city

From Hamburg - 3 hours; Dresden - 2 hours 10 minutes; Frankfurt am Main - 5 hours 20 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Berlin benefits from a modern, extensive rail service. Berlin is part of the InterCityExpress (ICE) network, with super-fast trains to Hanover and Frankfurt am Main. ICE trains also go to Hamburg. An expanding web of high-speed trains also serves destinations across Western Europe. Supplements are incurred for travel on ICE, IC and EC trains.

The main railway station is Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Europaplatz 1, linking east/west and north/south lines in the city centre. Gesundbrunnen station to the north provides rail links to the Baltic and to other domestic and international destinations. Ostbahnhof, located in former east Berlin, is together with Berlin Hauptbahnhof and Bahnhof Südkreuz one of the three most important railway stations in Berlin. Bahnhof Lichtenberg, once a major railway station, was transformed into a regional rail station serving the surrounding communities of Berlin. Some mainline services also stop at Bahnhof Berlin-Spandau, to the west, and Bahnhof Südkreuz, in the south.

Operators

Deutsche Bahn (tel: +49 180 699 6633; www.bahn.com), Germany's national rail service provider, operates a comprehensive and efficient rail service, including high-speed InterCityExpress (ICE) trains.

If travelling from the UK, the quickest route to Berlin by train is via Brussels and Cologne.

Journey times

From Amsterdam - 6 hours 20 minutes; Cologne - 4 hours 20 minutes; Hamburg - 1 hour 40 minutes; Hanover - 1 hour 40 minutes; Frankfurt am Main - 4 hours 10 minutes.