= Bus and Tram
about on Berlin's excellent public transport system is a
breeze. Berlin Transport
has an excellent web site with loads of useful
information. There are three very useful maps that it's
worth printing and taking with you; firstly, the
U-Bahn and S-Bahn networks, secondly the tram
system and thirdly the 24 hour network.
The latter is a composite map showing all forms of
transport that run throughout the night.
Do be aware that all public transport, even buses, runs precisely to timetable - it's very impressive!
There are four main forms of public transport, as follows:
fabulous Android app that's been invaluable to us when
travelling around and outside Berlin. It's called Öffi,
and you can download it free of charge - see full details
here . You just
type in your 'from' and 'to' locations and Öffi will give
you the route. You can even leave out 'from' and let Öffi
work out where you are.
for public transport
good idea to buy whatever tickets you've decided upon at
Schönefeld before leaving the terminal building. Whilst
there are ticket machines at every station they can be a
bit confusing, especially if you're in a hurry, so it's
best to deal with a human!
So, after collecting your luggage you go through automatic doors into the public arrivals area. Turn immediately to your right and not far along is an Information Desk. If there's only two of you I’d suggest buying a Day Ticket for Zones A B and C at €6.80 for each of you for each day you're there. Both Schönefeld and Potsdam are in Zone C, so an ABC ticket means that you can travel anywhere on the Berlin network.
If there are four or more of you then it's better to buy a Small Goup Ticket for each day - this costs €16 per day and covers up to five people. The only problem is that all members of the group have to travel together.
These tickets, (Day or Small Group) cover all forms of transport except the specialist sightseeing buses, meaning that you can travel without further payment by S-Bahn, U-Bahn (Underground) tram and bus, making life really simple. On your first journey with each ticket you have to validate it. You do this by popping a fresh ticket into a machine on the platform/bus/tram to validate it. This stamps the date and time on it and your allowed time runs from that point until the very early hours of the next day
|Getting into Berlin from Schönefeld
Schönefeld airport map
Getting into Berlin from Schönefeld - regional rail
Getting into Berlin from
Map of Tegel
|Our favourite way to get from Schönefeld
airport to central Berlin is by S-Bahn. Schönefeld was
originally in East Germany, not even in East Berlin. The
journey from Schönefeld to Alexanderplatz (Alex to the
locals) takes about 40 minutes as it the train wanders
through the south-eastern suburbs of Berlin heading for
the centre and, although much work has been done to
improve everything you still get a feel for how it must
all have been before the fall of the Wall.
Armed with your tickets you exit the terminal building, turn left and keep walking towards the glass walkway that leads to the S-Bahn station – see the ‘Flughafen Schönefeld’ map.
At the end of the walkway you go down steps and along a subway under the platforms. On reaching the platform validate your ticket(s) for that day in the red machine on the platform. Travel north on the S9 train directly into the city centre. You're now on the main East-West S-Bahn route that passes through the heart of the city, connecting with just about every other S-Bahn or U-bahn route as it goes, or so it seems. Wherever you're staying, East or West, this is probably the best route to take on your way.
An alternative means of reaching the centre, which is also a bit faster, is to use mainline trains. These go fast from Schönefeld into the city centre, stopping on the way only at Karlshorst and Ostbahnhof. The trains are:
The two Berlin airports in Berlin are due to be reduced to one by the closure of Tegel and the opening of a brand new airport next to Schönefeld called Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt. Originally due to open in 2010 its inauguration has been put back many times, and will not now open before November 2020. It makes the initial problems with Heathrow's Terminal 5 look petty.
So, Tegel will remain open pending the inauguration of Berlin Brandenburg. To get into the heart of Berlin you could make it simple by hiring a taxi, but public transport is always to be recommended in this remarkable city. The simplest route is by taking the TXL bus all the way to Unter den Linden and on to Alexanderplatz if necessary. An alternative is to take the X9 bus to Zoologischer Garten where you can switch to the S-Bahn network if this suits you better.
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