Fly to Berlin to travel back in time on Museum Island, stroll through the magnificent Sansoucci gardens in Potsdam, snack on currywurst that can be found on virtually every street corner, or jump headfirst into the city's pulsating underground music scene. Whatever your reason for wanting to visit Germany's capital, you're never more than a cheap flight away from turning your dream trip into reality.
With an efficiency that can only be marveled at, Berlin's public transport system is easy to navigate and gets you from the Cold War's Checkpoint Charlie to Kreuzberg's incredible nightclubs without having to consult endless maps or stop every few minutes for directions. For the best views of the city, nothing beats a trip to the top of the TV tower, otherwise known as Fernsehturm. Besides being historically significant, this is also the highest structure in the entire country. Work up an appetite by touring the city's awe-inspiring Reichstag building, Brandenburg Gate, and Jewish Museum, and then try out some of Berlin's signature dishes like schnitzel and doner kebabs, most of which are widely available at extremely cheap prices.
Formerly served by three airports, the city of Berlin is now in the process of merging its Tegel (TXL), Tempelhof (THF), and Schonefeld (SXF) airports into one main Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which will be an extension of Schonefeld.
While Tempelphof ceased operations in 2008, Tegel is scheduled to close by the end of 2012. At the moment, flights to Berlin continue to land at TXL and SXF and you can fly to either one from Canada on carriers such as Austrian Airlines, British Airways, American Airlines, Delta, United, and Air Canada. Keep in mind that there are frequent changes being made as to which airport each airline flies to so double check to make sure you know where you will be flying in and out of.
Booking cheap flights to Berlin from March to May or between October and November will get you to the city when it is a little less crowded, but the weather will still be warm enough to spend all the time you want outdoors. Summers and the weeks around the Christmas holidays see prices for Berlin flights at their most expensive and booking in advance is essential if this is when you want to travel.
No matter what time of year you visit, be prepared for some amount of rainfall and unless you're here for the Christmas markets, New Year's Eve celebrations, or are travelling on to one of Germany's ski destinations, avoid booking flights to the city in the winter when you will not be able to enjoy Berlin's outdoor attractions at their best.
Details on all the ground transportation options listed below can be found on the website of Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
Arriving at Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL)
TXL is located less than eight kilometres from the city centre and has four terminals, marked A to D.
Bus: Buses on Routes 128 and 109 stop at the airport and you can also use express services on TXL and X9 to get to the city centre. All stops are located outside Terminals A and B and tickets cost about €3 for a one-way trip.
There are no direct train services from the airport, but you can use the bus services to connect to urban rail routes U6 and U7, as well as suburban routes S42/41. The S-Bahn trains loop around the city in opposite directions so double check to make sure you are, quite literally, on the right track.
Hotel Shuttle: If your hotel is providing a complimentary pick-up service from the airport, it is best to inform them in advance about the arrival time of your flight as well as which terminal you will be landing at in order to minimize your waiting time at the airport.
Taxi: Taxi stands are located outside all four terminals at TXL. Fares will cost about €20-25 for travel to destinations in downtown Berlin.
Car Rental: Companies including Avis, Budget, Sixt, and Europcar have booking desks at level P2 of the airport's parking area. Book in advance if you are arriving during the peak season to ensure you get your vehicle of choice.
Other: A few companies offering chauffeured car and limousine services have booking desks at the airport but it is best to book in advance if you'd like to travel with one of these. Pick-up locations at the airport might differ depending on which company you book with and which terminal you arrive at. Be sure to confirm these details with the service provider before you board your flights to Berlin so avoid any confusion at the airport.