Berlin Tegel “Otto Lilienthal” Airport (TXL) is one of the two international airports of Berlin. It is located in Tegel, around 5 miles (8 km) northwest from central Berlin.
The other main airport in Berlin is Schönefeld, which we wrote a separate guide for in our how to get from Schönefeld airport to central Berlin. Note that from around 2020(ish!) the new Brandenburg airport will finally open, and as a result Tegel may close, but we wait to see…
The two most common ways to get from Berlin Tegel airport to downtown Berlin is either via express bus or taxi. We set this out below in detail based on our personal experience visiting the city on many occasions.
Pro-tip: get The Berlin Transport card!
First off, if you're going to be spending several days in Berlin and using the public transport system (Metro/bus/train), we highly recommend investing in the Berlin Welcome Card, which gives you unlimited travel for a set period of time depending on which you choose – 48 hours, 72 hours or 4/5/6 days.
The Berlin Welcome card also means you skip the long queues for metro tickets, which can sometimes be huge. It also saves you stress if you don't know any German. The other reason we love the Berlin Welcome Card is that it gives you up to 50% off most of the tourist attractions in Berlin.
Find out more about the Berlin WelcomeCard here, or click on the image:
The Jet Express bus
The Jet Express bus is the cheapest and one of the quickest ways to reach downtown Berlin from Tegel airport. There are several express bus options you can take from Hegel airport, depending on where exactly in Berlin you want to get to:
- Jet Express Bus TXL to Alexanderplatz (City East): journey takes around 45 minutes and costs 1 metro ticket – €2.80 one way. Or 30 minutes if you get off at Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) for the S-Bahn. For the TXL bus timetable click here.
- Jet Express Bus X9 to Zoologischer Garten (City West): journey time takes around 20 minutes and also costs 1 metro ticket – €2.80 one way. For the X9 bus timetable click here.
The buses run from around 4am to midnight every 6-10 minutes.
With regards to bus tickets, note that Tegel airport is in Zone B. So you'll need to get a ticket valid for zones AB to get you from Tegel airport to central Berlin. The Berlin Welcome Card includes buses so you won't have to worry about buying a ticket at the airport.
However, if you do not have the Berlin Welcome card, you can buy your ticket at the airport information desk at Tegel airport, or at the ticket machines outside Terminal A. Metro tickets in Berlin are valid for a maximum of 2 hours and in this period you can travel with any number of changes (bus, metro or train). When you validate your ticket, the stamp will show the time so you can calculate your 2 hours from there.
REMEMBER: always validate your transport ticket in the little stamp machines before boarding your train. This is one of the quirks of taking the metro in Berlin. No one tells you this and if you don't, you risk paying a fine if a ticket inspector catches you!
Taxi from Tegel airport to Berlin city centre
When we took a taxi from Tegel airport to Alexanderplatz, it cost us €32 and took around 25 minutes. It can take a bit longer if there's traffic.
The taxi ranks at Tegel Airport are located in the inner ring of Terminal A by Gates 6–9, and also outside of Terminals C and E. We highly recommend going to the taxi desks and avoiding unofficial taxi drivers who approach you in the terminal as they are likely to rip you off. If you want to avoid waiting for a taxi or if you arrive in the middle of the night, we recommend booking a private transfer like this one:
If you're staying longer in Germany, it maybe worth considering a car rental. Tegel airport has most of the big car rental names located on the lower floor near Terminal E and also at car park P2. Arriving
Car rentals include Avis Budget, Alamo, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt and many more. Make sure you shop around before booking renting a car online. We recommend Expedia to compare car rental as it always gives the cheapest prices for any given dates.
Advice for LGBTQ travellers to Berlin
This is one very gay friendly place in the world! Berlin is renowned for having some of the best gay parties in Europe, least of all the notorious and super-exclusive Berghain gay club! As an LGBTQ traveller, you'll have no problems in Berlin: public displays of affection by same-sex couples are common and all hotels are accustomed to gay travellers. Find out more in our gay guide to Berlin and read our interview with local boy Marcel about gay life in Germany.
Happy travels are safe travels
We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, an activity or your insurance, we’ll earn a small commission. There is never an extra cost to you for using these links and it helps us keep the site going.