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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. 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.

Airlines that fly to Berlin's Tegel Airport include Austrian Airlines, airBaltic, Air France, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia, easyJet, Eurowings, Finnair, KLM, and Lufthansa, among others.

Airlines that fly to Berlin's Schönefeld include easyJet, Jet2, Norwegian and Ryanair.

Flight times

From London - 1 hours 50 minutes

From New York - 8 hours

From Los Angeles - 12 hours 40 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: +49 180 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: 0180 222 2222, in Germany); ACE (tel: 0711 530 343536, 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 (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.

Most 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 30 770 195 000), and at the ZOB Reisebüro (Masurenallee 4-6, tel: +49 30 301 0380; www.zob-reisebuero.de).

Time to city

From Hamburg - 3 hours 15 minutes; Dresden - 2 hours 20 minutes; Frankfurt am Main - 5 hours 30 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 Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Erfurt and Halle. An expanding web of high-speed trains also serves destinations across 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 as well as a few mainline services. Some mainline services also stop at Bahnhof Berlin-Spandau, Wannsee and Zoologischer Garten.

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.

Journey times

From Amsterdam - 6 hours 30 minutes; Cologne - 4 hours 40 minutes; Hamburg - 1 hour 40 minutes; Hanover - 2 hours; Frankfurt am Main - 4 hours 10 minutes.

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels

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Ritz-Carlton Berlin

Expect the full whistles and bells of an international five-star chain hotel at this sumptuous 300-room property on Potsdamer Platz. Notable features include four restaurants and bars, among them the Tea Lounge, known for its ceremonial afternoon teas. Underground parking is another perk.

Ostel

The prices vary enormously here at this retro showcase for the garish/fabulous interior design of the former East Germany. Part hotel and part museum, this is definitely one of Berlin's more idiosyncratic places to stay; prepare for lots of brown and orange. It's also a stone's throw from techno temple Berghain and the adjacent attractions of hipster Friedrichshain.

Hüttenpalast

Based in a one-time vacuum cleaner factory, this wonderfully eccentric "hut palace" offers colourful accommodation in a range of indoor vintage caravans and repurposed huts. Standard rooms are on offer too – they give more space but they're not nearly so much fun. The backyard has been transformed into a wild garden.

Das Stue

Billed as Berlin's first luxury boutique hotel, the none-more-cool Das Stue sits on the southwestern fringe of the Tiergarten park. It's full of grand design touches, while the rooms themselves are modern with hardwood floors. The hotel also plays home to a spa and, in Cinco by Paco Pérez, a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin

Hotel Adlon Kempinski is one of Berlin's great historical hotels, and a magnet over the decades for the rich and famous (including Michael Jackson, who notoriously dangled his baby over one of the balconies in 2002). It's located close to the Brandenburg Gate, and retains the luxurious feel of Europe's golden age.

Soho House Berlin

Part of the Soho House empire, this private club and boutique hotel is based in Mitte, east Berlin's achingly hip heart. The 40 bedrooms vary enormously in price and layout, but all include vintage furniture and quirky features such as record players. Bring your swimmers for the glamorous rooftop pool.