Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER), is the city’s new, overdue and over budget, airport.
It replaces both Tegel Airport and Schönefeld Airport, though the latter is now Terminal 5 for BER.
BER is located approximately 30km (19 miles) from Berlin’s centre, and is well serviced by rail, bus, taxi, and shuttles.
Berlin’s transportation network is divided into 3 fare zone, which you could see on the map below.
Zone A is what is considered Berlin Center (inside the Ring Bahn). This is where the majority of the city's top sights are located.
(BER) Airport is located approximately 30 km (19 miles) from Berlin Hauptbahnf (Central Station), and is located in Zone C, so you will need an ABC ticket,
The cost is €3.80 no matter which option you choose from the trains listed in the next section.
While you could queue up to purchase a paper ticket from a vending machine (don't forget to validate the ticket), it likely makes more sense to use an app.
There are several apps available but we recommend using the Jelbi app.
This app combines public transit ticket purchases with a guided directions, likely powered by Google Maps.
And whether you use an app or not, you should consider buying a daily pass or a tourist pass, such as the Berlin Welcome Card.
In addition to unlimited travel on all public transit options in Berlin (other than IC, and ICE trains), you also get steep discounts on attractions, tours, + restaurants.
We have a post that explains the ABC system, the Jelbi app, and explains the pros and cons of travel passes like the Berlin Welcome Card.
NOTE: There are IC (Intercity) and ICE (Intercity Express) trains that connect BER with Berlin centre and cost roughly €12. These are the white, high-speed trains that speed passengers through the country. However, they don’t get you in much faster than some of the trains mentioned below.
RAIL OPTIONS TO BERLIN CENTRE
Thanks to Berlin’s extensive rail system, getting from BER to the centre is easy and extremely affordable.
Expect a ride of 30 - 45 min for most journeys,
There are 5 regional trains from Deutsche Bahn that service the airport (FEX, RE7, RB14, RB10, and RB22), all departing from underneath Terminal 1-2.
These are the red trains that run express routes into and around Berlin, and generally, at least one of these trains stops at the station every 15 minutes.
The FEX (Flughafen Express) train is a dedicated regional train that takes just 33 minutes to reach Hauptbahnhof.
FEX trains have double decker cars with plenty of places to place luggage, and these trains depart 2x per hour, at 15 and 34 minutes past each hour.
They makes just 3 stops. All three are transit hubs for transfers to other trains.
- Ostkreuz (17min)
- Gesundbrunnen (29 min)
- Hauptbahnhof (33 min).
The FEX is a no-brainer if you need to exit at these stations or you are confident that you can handle transfers.
Transfers could take longer than apps like Google Maps suggest you need and you could end up taking longer than if you stuck with some of the other options mentioned below.
RE7 (Regional Express)
The RE7 line is a commuter express line with trains that look similar to the FEX line trains.
However, it isn’t designed solely to handle passengers to and from BER airport, thus, there are no designated areas for luggage-only, though there is space to store bags.
It departs the airport once every hour at 42 past the hour.
Like the FEX train, the RE7 makes stops at major hubs, but it follows a slightly different route and makes 4 stops before reaching Hauptbahnhof.
- Ostkreuz (15 min)
- Ostbahnhof (22 min)
- Alexanderplatz (26 min)
- Friedrichstraße (30 min)
- Hauptbahnhof (32 min)
It’s actually 1 min faster to Hauptbahnhof compared to the FEX train.
One big advantage of this train (and the RB14 below) is that it gives you a direct link to Ostbahnhof, Alexanderplatz and Friedrichstrasse stations. No transfer necessary.
It also continues on to points west of the city centre, such as Berlin Zoologisher Garten, Westkreuz, and ending in the city of Potsdam.
RB14 (Regional Bahn)
The RB14’s route starts at the airport and generally runs once every hour at 59 mins past the hour.
It runs along the same route as the RE7 between the airport and Hauptbahnhof, but it runs just a bit slower.
- Ostkreuz (17 min)
- Ostbahnhof (26 min)
- Alexanderplatz (30 min)
- Friedrichstraße (34 min)
- Hauptbahnhof (36 min)
This train goes on to make stops in the northwest of Berlin, most notably Spandau.
The RB14 also isn’t designed specifically for airport passenger transfers, but like the RE7 it can handle this traffic.
RB22 (Regional Bahn)
The RB22’s route starts just to the southeast of the airport. After stopping at BER, it heads directly west to Potsdam.
It eventually makes its way to Berlin's Friedrichstrasse Station but takes 90 mins to do so.
The S-bahn is Berlin’s express subway system, and there are 2 S-bahn lines that start from the airport (S9 and S45).
For most travelers, the S9 is the most relevant as it runs along a route similar to the RE7 train, ending in Spandau.
Although slower (51 min to Hauptbahnhof), this S-bahn train offers 2 potential advantages.
First, it makes additional stops along the way, including 3 that are likely to be of use for some travelers:
- Treptower Park
- Warschauer Straße
Second, the S-bahn runs basically around the clock, making it possibly your only train option if your plane lands quite late.
The S45 could also be a good choice. It starts at the airport and ends at Sudkreuz, the southern junction of the Ring.
It makes stops in Neukolln and the Tempelhof areas. However, it does not stop at Hauptbahnhof and other major stops in the city centre.
BUS CONNECTIONS AT BERLIN BRANDENBURG AIRPORT
There are no bus options that take you directly from the airport to Berlin city centre.
The options below are more relevant to residents of the area but it is possible that your map app might suggest one of these.
X7 - BER - Rudow
This line connects all terminals to Rudow (15 min), the end station of the U7 subway line.
The U7 does wind around Berlin and has a few stops in the center of the city, but this option takes roughly 1 hour.
This would more likely be your option if you are staying somewhere along the line of the U7 that’s not central.
X71 - BER to U-Alt Mariendorf
This line follows the X1 but continues on past Rudow to the U-bahn station (U6) at Alt Mariendorf (43 min).
There are two other express buses servicing BER. They are named BER1 and BER2. Each has additional costs above the €3.80 standard charge.
The BER1 ends at Stieglitz, the terminus of the U9 and the BER2 heads directly west to Potsdam.
You can learn more about these options here.
TAXIS AND UBERS AT (BER)
Arguably the most convenient option to Berlin’s centre is to take a taxi. This option takes about 50 min.
You can find the taxi stand at Terminal 1 on level E1. Just follow the signs for taxis from inside of the airport. (There is another taxi stand at Terminal 5, which is currently closed)
Taxis are readily available and not too expensive, depending on where you are heading.
The starting rate is €3.90 and then €2.30/km (for the first 7 km), and from thereafter it’s €1.65/km.
Expect to pay between €45 - €55 for most locations in the heart of Berlin.
A fee of €1/piece for large, bulky luggage may apply.
There is also a surcharge of €5/person for groups of 5 or more in larger capacity vehicles.
While many Berliners simply round up the bill to the nearest Euro, for good service, a 10% tip is appreciated.
Officially licenced taxi drivers must accept payment by credit cards, but not all cards are accepted, so be prepared with cash.
If you need car seats or a handicap-accessible taxi, this could be arranged on-site by notifying the dispatcher (APCOA).
You can hire an Uber to and from BER Airport. Pick up locations on dependent on which terminal you are at.
Once you order your Uber, it will tell you where to meet your driver.
The cost of an Uber into Berlin’s centre could be cheaper than a taxi, depending on what type of car you order.
It also depends on when you travel. Unlike taxis, Ubers can be more expensive in rush hour traffic.
You can get a price estimate here.
CAR SHARING OPTIONS
4 car sharing companies offer vehicles at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, We Share, Miles, Share Now, and Sixt Share.
These service allow you to drop off the car either at a designed spot in the city or anywhere there is a legal parking spot.
You’ll need to be a member of one of these services to use them, so this is likely not a good option for many.