Passport stamps are not Pokemon cards.
April 30, 2011 11:37 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are going to have a five-hour layover in Berlin on Tuesday morning. Would that be enough time to leave the airport and grab breakfast somewhere? And if so, where should we go?

Details: If our flight lands on time at Tegel, we'll be in Berlin between 7 a.m. and noon. We're US-ians, so we'd need to go through customs both exiting and reentering the airport. I really like the idea of leaving the airport for a spell, if only to get an additional passport stamp, and maybe ride on the S-Bahn or U-Bahn. But it would be really great if my boyfriend and I could grab some non-airport food, whether it be a sit-down breakfast, or just coffee and pastries.

So is it doable (and if so, any recommendations as to where to go, and what to eat)? Or is this a terrible, terrible idea?

We're going to have the same situation on the way back, but in Dusseldorf. The boyfriend says that the Dusseldorf airport isn't particularly near the city, so a mad breakfast scramble isn't in order. Please let me know if it would be possible though. (Terrible ideas, I am full of them.)

Bonus question: Have you ever flown Air Berlin? How are they, as an airline, both in terms of safety, and hassle? I know it's a budget airline, but I'm hoping we aren't going to be dealing with a Ryan Air level of suck.
posted by evidenceofabsence to Travel & Transportation around Berlin, Germany (10 answers total)
Yes, enough time, just about. Half an hour to get out of the airport, half an hour into town, maybe. You could try the revolving restaurant atop the TV tower by Alexanderplatz, not sure what time it opens though. Nice view. If that doesn't work out, try Einstein down the road on Unter den Linden; I like their scrambled egg with smoked salmon and onions.
posted by londongeezer at 11:56 AM on April 30, 2011

It's doable, although you'll admittedly be on a tight schedule of the five-hour layover also needs to include transit, security, etc. Your luggage will already be checked in for your next flight, right? If so, then it's only a question of being at your gate around half an hour before the flight, which means getting on the TXL bus about half an hour or 45 mins before that. (i.e., you need to be heading back by 10:45 or 11:00am to catch a plane at noon). In any case, you should look at the trip-planner on the website (there's an option to switch everything to English), to get a better idea of trip times.

BUT…traffic is always a bit of a risk. TXL isn't directly connected to the U-Bahn or S-Bahn, so you'll end up having to take the TXL bus. The bus runs pretty frequently and stops on the Ring (i.e, the S-Bahn ring that goes around the city; the Beusselstraße stop, I think), in front of the main train station (Hauptbahnhof), and Alexanderplatz, along with several other stops. You'll need to check with to make sure the timing will work.

There are generally lots of mid-range brunch places in Charlottenburg, which you could probably reach easily by transferring to local S- and U-bahn lines at either Beusselstr. or the Hauptbahnhof. The area "downtown" around Unter den Linden is rather characterless, but there's a lovely Café called Café Chagall under the S-Bahn line near Friedrichstraße that would also be easy to get to (you would get off at Unter den Linden / Friedrichstr. and then walk up 3-4 blocks to Georgenstraße). Finally, you could be a bit more adventurous and make your way up to the Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn stop and then walk down Kastanien Allee to hit any of the cafés in this post-bohemian hipster area.

My favourite place would probably be Morgenland, but that's waaaaay over in the Kreuzberg/Neukölln area, so I'd stick to Charlottenburg, Mitte, or Prenzlauer Berg.
posted by LMGM at 12:01 PM on April 30, 2011

Forget the bus into town, a cab will be about 20euro and you can have the driver go west to east through the tiergarten, see the Brandenburg gate and drop you off to go at one of the eateries already mentioned.
posted by biffa at 12:05 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Good point, biffa. I'm used to being cash-strapped and cheap in Berlin, so I forget that cabs exist. If you're willing to pay a few Euros for the cab, that'll go faster and you can go directly where you want to go. In that case, I'd say: drive in, go through Tiergarten, pass by Brandenburg gate, and then up to Kastanienallee for brunch somewhere.
posted by LMGM at 12:10 PM on April 30, 2011

Take a cab to Prezlauerberg. Cafe Ostfee has awesome traditional German breakfast (frühstück) for two. You can eat sitting outside and it will be lovely. Oderbergerstrasse 39, Berlin. They open at 8:30. I will be completely jealous of you, BTW. If you want coffee nerd espresso you can get that just down the block at Bonanza Coffee heroes, but the coffee at Ostfee is just fine.

It will take some time, so if you feel like you need serious speed, I wouldn't recommend it. If you get there right as they open you should be fine.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:59 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, you should have Euros, don't expect places to take plastic.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:01 PM on April 30, 2011

If it was me, cab there and back as long as you have boarding passes for the next flight.

Air Berlin: They're fine. Certainly no RyanAir but not Lufthansa. Then again, LH serve the same horrible sandwich every time I fly them in Europe.
posted by wingless_angel at 11:16 PM on April 30, 2011

You've already got fine advice there for Berlin, so let me just add that it's definitely doable in Düsseldorf, too: the airport is 15 minutes from downtown. Take a taxi (€20) to Café Herr Spoerl, Tussmannstr. 70, and then wander around the Hofgarten; or else to Café Muggel, Dominikanerstrasse 4, on the other side of the Rhein, and then have a stroll around and down to the river.

Air Berlin is fine, as already mentioned.
posted by progosk at 2:14 PM on May 1, 2011

Thank you guys so much! Wow. There's no way I would have been able to figure this out otherwise.

I think we're going to try to take a cab out of the airport, but leave time to take the train/bus back (in part because of expenses, and in part because I really like subways). Kastanienalle sounds like a good bet. We'll try to swing by Cafe Ostfree, and see if they're open, but if not, it looks like there are a ton of food options thereabouts. Woot.

Thanks for the reassurance regarding Air Berlin, and the Dusseldorf information as well!

If nothing else, today should be an interesting day to travel.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:08 AM on May 2, 2011

(Is it too weird if I mark all the responses as "best answer"? Because really, they're all pretty spot on.)
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:10 AM on May 2, 2011

« Older What was this 'traditional' pub sport I (think I)...   |   I assume this means I can't end up in someone... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.