Tegel International is currently the biggest airport in Berlin, but compared to airports in other European capitals, it isn’t too overwhelming. Tegel Airport is not far from the center of Berlin, and this guide should have all the information you need to get there and back, and give you some ideas of what to in the airport itself.
The main concourse at Tegel Airport. Image NervousEnergy via Flickr
Since World War I, Tegel Airport has gone through a number of renovations, giving it its peculiar hexagon shape today. Most international flights leave from the main terminal building, Terminal A, while Terminal C serves Air Berlin almost exclusively, and Terminal D handles other budget airlines. There are five terminals in all, although calling them ‘terminals’ is a bit excessive – they are really just different areas of the same building.
There are plans underway to open a new airport, the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which will replace the two airports in Berlin today. The construction of the new airport is something of a running joke in Berlin, and the airport is currently expected to open in 2015, three years after the original opening date was announced. Let’s wait and see what happens!
There are a number of services within Tegel Airport, before you get on your flight. Most of them are centered in ‘Boulevard Tegel’ in Terminal A. You can find numerous cafes and restaurants, lounges, currency exchange, a pharmacy and even a hairdresser. If you’re on your way in to Berlin, you can make use of the travel agencies set up along the boulevard, the tourist information near Gate 1, or the car hire in Terminal D.
Getting to Berlin from Tegel Airport
Inside Tegel Airport. Image egevad, per, via Flickr
Getting from Tegel to the center of Berlin is fairly simple. There are two express buses going to main hubs of the east and west: Bus X9 to the Zoologischer Garten in City West, and Bus TXL to Alexanderplatz in the East. In practice, it’s easier to get to Alexanderplatz by taking the X9 bus to Hauptbahnhof and changing to the S-Bahn train. You don’t have to pay for a new ticket, and this makes the journey only half an hour, instead of 45 minutes on the ‘express’ bus. The journey to Zoologischer Garten is about 20 minutes long. If you want to start saving money straight away, you can buy your multiday passes, group tickets or Welcome Cards in the airport, at the tickets desk in the center of the main terminal building (near the information center), or at the ticket machines outside Terminal A.
Coming back to the airport at the end of your trip, you can take the same route in reverse. Don’t take the train to Tegel Station – this stops in a nearby village with no easy way of getting to the airport. You can take the U-Bahn to Jakob-Kaiser-Platz and then catch the X9 bus, or take the S-Bahn to Beusselstrasse, and pick up the TXL bus.