Fly to Berlin, the historic East German capital that has flourished into an artistic and trendy powerhouse.
Berlin Schoenefeld Airport (SXF)
Originally an airport to service the army in World War II, Berlin Schoenefeld Airport is the smaller of the two airports that service Berlin, but this is a very well equipped transit hub. There are ATMs and currency exchange services, tourist information desks, travel agencies, a health insurance company, a postal service, a plethora of restaurants, as well as retailers offering everything from fashion, to cosmetics, reading materials and travel accessories.
Airlines to Berlin
There are no direct flights to the Berlin Schoenefeld Airport from Australia. However, there are plenty of airlines that fly there from the European Continent, as well as partnership airlines that will fly the entire route. This will generally result in one or more stopovers in international hubs like Dubai (DXB), Amsterdam (AMS) and Bangkok (BKK).
The airline carriers that operate along this route are Qantas, Pegasus Airlines, AirAsia, Thai Airways, Jetstar, KLM, Aeroflot, Korean Air, China Southern and British Airways.
Getting into Berlin
You can find the taxi rank directly outside Terminal A. The airport is 18km from the city centre and a taxi to downtown Berlin is expensive. Expect the journey to cost approximately 40-45EUR ($60-68).
By public transport
The public transport in Berlin is excellent, and there a variety of ways you can get into the city from SXF. The S-Bahn trains run every ten minutes and connect to the main train lines of the city. There is also the Airport Express, which can run you directly into the centre of town in 30 minutes. A one-way ticket into the city is 3.30EUR ($5) and will cover the S-Bahn, the Airport Express, plus the underground, buses and trams. You can purchase this at ticket machines within the airport.
If you are planning to rent a car for the duration of your stay, it is easy to do so at SXF. There is a car rental centre in front of Terminal A that has representatives from all the major car hire brands.
What can you do in Berlin?
Berlin is a fascinating city, not least because of its controversial and fraught past. It is truly a place of contrasts, and a wonderful way to get to grips with the German personality, from its Neoclassical days, through to the World Wars, the Soviet split and the slick, contemporary nation it has become.
Start with the old: see the UNESCO listed Museum Island, which houses galleries and museums displaying everything from the crown jewels to famed 19th century paintings. Wander to the iconic Brandenburg Gate where leaders across the world have stood beneath. Or visit the Charlottenburg Palace and Estate, a royal residence for hundreds of years.
Then skip to the new: visit the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie, the site of great separation in Germany as the east was parted from the west. Explore a section of the once 160km-long wall, in particular the East Side Gallery, an artistic memorial of officially sanctioned graffiti. Then be moved by the stories in the Jewish Gallery that charts the culture’s experience during WWII but also documents the history and migration of the Jewish people in Europe.
Then leave the buildings and museums behind for a bit and visit Grunewald Forest, a natural sanctuary of trees, lakes, and wandering wildlife that makes for a wonderful day out if you are looking to unwind.
When should you go?
Summer (June-August) is the busiest time in the city as the weather is warm, with average temperatures ranging from 22-27°C. However, it might be worth looking into going in the autumn season (September-November) when the city is still running as many festivals as it does in the summer, though it is slightly less busy and cooler, starting at around 14°C and sinking to around 4°C the closer it gets to winter. If you don’t like the cold, winter is best avoided, though if you can pack enough layers, the festive season is wonderful in this city.
What do you need to know?
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Visas: Nationals of the European Union do not need a visa to Germany, and many other nationalities will be issued a visa on arrival. You can check the restrictions on travel to Germany on the official government siteto see if you need to apply for a visa in advance of your trip.
Please note all information is current as of December 2015.
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