Berlin Tegel (IATA: TXL) is a funny airport. It’s there where according to Wikipedia, Aviation history dates back to the early 20th century, when the Prussian airship battalion was based there and the area became known as Luftschiffhafen Reinickendorf. After that a lot had happened in the area (for further details refer to your history books) until in the 1960s the current airport took shape. And what a shape it took! Tegel Airport is notable (or funny as I called it) for its hexagonal terminal building around an open square, which makes walking distances as short as 30 m (98 ft) from the aircraft to the terminal exit.
I used to call Berlin Tegel my home airport for about 2 years a decade or so ago and loved it. I also hated it. I hated it for its small size and I loved it for its small size. LateDeparture wrote a couple of times about Berlin Tegel already, but when I recently returned – after years of absence – I couldn’t resist to pull out my notebook and note down some of the new additions since.
What I first noticed was that the airport is now more clearly split into sections of gates, A to D. A is the main, hexagonal terminal, B a side annex used by Lufthansa. The C and D gates are separate buildings to either side of the main complex. So here’s what caught my eyes:
A gates & central area
- Buy some Vienna style bakery delicacies from ‘Erster Wiener’
- Check out the S.Oliver store (Germany’s answer to Esprit – which, by the way, also has a store in the central area)
- Visit the ‘Bon Voyage’ store for books, newspapers, travel accessories, souvenir, toys and small snacks (near gate A15)
- Experience Munich in Berlin by popping to the “Wiesn Grill”. You can’t go wrong with the Weisswurst, Weizenbier and Bretzen deal for €7.90
- Enjoy great views towards the runways from the Tegel Terrace restaurant upstairs on level 3. You find the lifts opposite the Lufthansa check-in area
- Find a last minute book from a good selection of German and English books at the ‘Pocket Shop’
- Try the Marché Bakery for some fresh gourmet sandwiches or sit down at the American diner called – you probably guessed it – Cindy’s
- The ‘Relay’ newsagent next door has a small but selected range of last minute Berlin souvenirs (e.g. try the Berlin Ampelmãnnchen salt and pepper dispensers). It also sells beers by the can.
- The only thing worthwhile mentioning is the ‘die Es-S Bahn’ store on the way from the main building to D. It sells the famous Currywurst, which, if you haven’t already done it on your visit to German’s capital, is a must try. For €2.90 it sure is a no-brainer, even for a cheeky “top-up”.
As you can see there is no shortage of things to see, do and discover despite the smallish size of the airport. You want to be quick with your visit though as the airport is scheduled to close on 3rd June 2012, the day when the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (IATA: BER) is set to become operational.