A city once devastated by war and separated by an infamous wall, Berlin has grown to become a beautiful, vibrant and accessible tourist destination
Berlin is a modern city that despite a turbulent past has become a wonderfully accessible destination with plenty of rich history and contemporary pizzazz.
Much of the city was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt anew, while sometimes salvaging portions of pre-existing buildings. The cosmopolitan capital works diligently to make the city accessible and was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Access City Award, an annual competition conducted amongst European Union cities.
Two airports serve Berlin — Tegel, the main international airport, and the smaller Schönefeld (berlin-airport.de).
Wheelchair users need to inform their airline 48 hours in advance that assistance is needed. When our plane landed at Tegel, passengers exited on a staircase while we were loaded onto a wheelchair transport truck that drove us to the terminal.
An airport employee escorted us through security and assisted us with our luggage. The quick, efficient process is especially beneficial for people who are trying to push a wheelchair and carry luggage.
Visitors arriving or departing the city by train will likely use the main railroad station — Hauptbahnhof located in the Government District. Considered to be the largest and most modern railway station in Europe, public tours of the facility are conducted twice a week.
The station is also a massive shopping center with retail stores, restaurants, a pharmacy and a grocery store. We purchased sandwiches, fruit and water before boarding a six-hour ride to Munich.
When booking train tickets, coordinate with the Mobility Service Centre to arrange assistance on the platform. Contact the Centre by phone, fax or email at least 48 hours prior to traveling (bahn.de).
There are no wheelchair-accessible taxis in Berlin. Fortunately, the public transportation is excellent. Almost all of the buses have a ramp. An affordable and accessible way to see many of Berlin’s sights is to ride lines 100 and 200, which travel between the Bahnhof Zoo and Alexanderplatz. Be sure to buy a ticket before boarding.
Another option is to purchase the Berlin Welcome Card, which provides holders with free public transportation and discounts at major attractions (berlin-welcomecard.de/en).
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