Airport ✈️

Berlin has two major airports, with convenient transportation to and from the city.

Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) - Located 8km northwest of the city, this is the main airport in Berlin and your likely port of entry. Tegel’s hexagonal design has terminals shooting from the center in all directions. However, it is easy to navigate and walking is minimal. The airport offers, shops, restaurants and a tourist office. The airport has 4 terminals, A, B, C and D.

  • A taxi 🚕 from Tegel to Alexanderplatz in the heart of Berlin takes 30-45 minutes depending on traffic and costs around €32 (approx $36).
  • The most inexpensive way to reach the city center is to take the TXL Express bus 🚌, which runs every 6 to 10 minutes. The ride is about 40 minutes for a €2.80 (approx $3.20) fare.

Berlin Schoenefeld Airport (SXF) - Berlin’s second international airport is located 18 km southeast of city center, catering to charter flights and mostly low-budget airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair.

  • The airport express train 🚆 is the fastest way to central Berlin, from the Flughaten Berlin-Schoenefeld station, a 10-minute walk from the terminal. It runs every 30 minutes and costs €3.30 (approx $3.80) each way.
  • The S-Bahn train 🚆 runs to this airport. It’s not as convenient as the express, but costs the same, and does run non-stop on the weekends if your flight lands late at night.
  • If you are looking to get to East or West Berlin, take the S9 or S45 bus 🚌. The bus stations are located outside in the arrivals area, and are marked by a “H.” A one-way bus ticket is €2.80 (approx $3.20).

Getting around 🚕

Berlin has an efficient and well-connected transportation system.

The U-Bahn (subway) and S-Bahn (light rail) - The U-Bahn is the most efficient method of getting around Berlin, while the S-Bahn covers longer journeys. Don’t forget to stamp your ticket using the stamp machine next to the ticket machine before getting onboard the train.

View U-Bahn & S-Bahn map

Night Travel - The U-Bahn runs every 15 minutes, even all night long on Friday, Saturday and public holidays. From Sunday to Thursday, the N1 and N2 night buses run along U-Bahn routes from 12.30am to 4am at 30-minute intervals. Metro Buses and Metro Trams also run nightly every 30 minutes.

Bicycle - Berlin is a cycle friendly city making this a pleasant mode of transport. Bikes can be rented for around €12 (approx $13.50) a day, or a number of inexpensive bike sharing schemes such as Mobike, Deezer nextbike and LIDL Bike in the city.

Prices for public transportation are based on three zones – A, B and C. The city is in zones A and B, while the outlying areas are zone C. Tickets are available from vending machines at stations and on trams, from bus drivers and BVG sales offices. Prices are about €2.80 (approx $3.20) one-way and €7 (approx $8) for a day pass. Pro tip: If taking more than two trips in a day, get a day pass. Tickets are valid for all forms of public transport. Children under 6 travel free and children aged 6-14 get a reduced rate.

Weather ⛅️

Jan-Mar - Winters are cold with temperatures hovering around freezing. Expect highs of around 3°C (37°F) in January although winds from the east may make things feel even colder. Snow does happen occasionally but is not expected. February is the driest month.

Apr-Jun - Pleasant and mild weather with temperatures generally in the 4°C - 14°C (39-57°F) range. Rainfall is spread pretty evenly throughout the year so its safe to assume rain at some point during your visit.

Jul-Sep - July and August are the hottest months with average high temperatures at 23°C (73°F). Summer is also peak season as Berlin buzzes with locals and tourists enjoying the city. It can get a bit humid in this area of the world though nighttime temperatures tend to be cool.

Oct-Dec - Autumn is the most comfortable time of year weather wise, with cooler temperatures averaging 13°C (55°F). By December it feels very wintery, the days are shorter and temperatures struggle beyond 0°C (32°F).

View current weather forecast

Power 🔌

The standard voltage is 230V/50Hz. Germany use Type F plugs which are two round pins, the same as used across mainland Europe so if you are travelling from the U.S. or outside of mainland Europe you will need a Type F plug adapter.

Currency 💵

Germany use the Euro (EUR) in partnership with 18 other European countries. The best place to exchange your currency for the Euro is to use one of the major banks or an ATM (Geldautomat).

  • Coins are available in 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2 denominations.
  • Banknotes are available in €5, €10, €20, €50 and €100 denominations.

View current exchange rate

Average costs 🍔

  • 3* hotel room 🏨 = Start around €70+ (approx $80+)
  • Average meal 🍝 = €5 - €9 (approx $5-$10)
  • Bottled Water 💧 = €2 (approx $2.30)
  • Coffee ☕️ = €3 (approx $3.40)
  • Pint of beer 🍺 = €3.50 (approx $4)
  • Cocktail 🍸 = €6 - €10 (approx $7-$12)

Tipping 🤑

  • Tipping is customary in Berlin. Typically in a restaurant, the service is included in the bill. A 10% tip is fine. If you want to leave a little something for good service, tell the wait staff how much you want to tip before they hand you the check so they can include it in the bill.
  • For places such as a coffee shop or café, simply round your bill up to the next even amount (if your bill is €4.30, round it to €5.) Simply say “stimmt so” meaning ‘keep the change.’ It is not unusual to see tip jars at the counter, so you may throw in a bit of cash that way. Same with bars.
  • For taxis, baggage handlers, tour guides, always give them at least a Euro or two for their trouble. In hair salons, tipping 10% is customary.

Language & phrases 🗣

A true cosmopolitan melting pot, many different languages can be heard in Berlin, and English is widely used and understood. However, German is still the main language here. As with any major European city, the locals will really appreciate the effort you make to use the native language. Here are a few useful phrases:

  • Good Day/Good Evening = Guten Tag/Guten Abend (gooh-ten tahk/gooh-ten ahh-bent)
  • Hello = Hallo (ha-llo)
  • Goodbye = Auf Wiedersehen (ouf-vee–der-zey-en)
  • Bye = Tschüss (choos)
  • Yes/No = Ja/Nein (ya/nine)
  • Excuse me = Entschuldigung (ent-shool-dee-goong)
  • Please/You’re welcome = Bitte (bitter)
  • Thank you = Danke (danka)
  • Where are the bathrooms? = Wo sind die Toiletten? (vo zint dee toy-let-en)
  • Where do I find…? = Wo finde ich…? (vo fin-de ik)
  • Another beer please = Noch ein Bier bitte (nok ayn beer bitter)

Famous for 🏙

East Side Gallery - When the Berlin wall came down in 1989, large chunks of it were left, and local artists have made their mark in a very inspiring way. Many of them expressed themselves by painting sections of the remaining wall with images of hope and violence. Today, the East Side Gallery is free and one of the best outdoor exhibits in Berlin.

Brandenburg Gate - A symbol of division during the cold war, it is now a national symbol of peace and unity. It was here in 1987 that President Reagan issued his stern plea to end the cold war by saying “Mr. Gorbachov – tear down this wall."

Checkpoint Charlie - The famous gateway between East and West Berlin. The reconstruction of the former communist checkpoint is complete with fake soldiers, but there is a nearby museum, the Rainer Hildebrandt, that is a great way to get the history of the area. It is small, so try and visit during the week for fewer crowds.

Reichstag – As the seat of German Parliament, this is one of Berlin’s most historic sites. It’s free To visit and you can climb the glass dome for a spectacular view of the city.

Museum Island – One island, five famous museums, and a great way to spend a couple of days. Museumsinsel is an outstanding ensemble of 5 world-renowned museums and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Local tips 💡

  • Take public transportation whenever possible (the U-Bahn and S-Bahn are efficient).
  • Rent a bike. This is a very bike-friendly town, and if you are able, is a great way to get around in tandem with public transportation.
  • Conquer Berlin in sections. The city is massive and spread out. When planning your sightseeing, a good idea is to spend each day in one smaller area, otherwise you’ll be spending a large chuck of your day just getting from place to place.
  • Eat cheap. There are so many inexpensive yet delicious options. From kebabs to currywurst to pizza slices – the street food is very good and reasonably priced.
  • As with any large city, keep your wallet close at hand to avoid pick pocketers, especially on the U-Bahn.
  • Germans are a very direct people, more so than in other parts of the world. Do not be offended by lots of direct eye contact or yelling on the streets, it’s normal.

Useful links 🔗

Bon voyage 👋

Email me this city travel guide ✈️

Enter your email or your travel partners email to get this handy city guide sent straight to your inbox.