Berlin Tempelhof (THF) Former Terminal Tour

Berlin Tempelhof Airport (THF) Tour

17.50 EUR


4.8/5 Pros

  • Fascinating tour through Berlin and aviation history
  • Great two hour overview of THF history
  • Very good guide Cons

  • A lot of stairs...

The history of Berlin nowadays is also a story of two airports which have been closed down in the meantime. While the seize of operation of locally beloved Berlin-Tegel (TXL) in 2020 is part of the rather recent history, the last flights to and from Berlin-Tempelhof (THF) have been on 30th October 2008. The memories about this airport, the special architecture and the fact that the runways and airfield is nowadays an important recreational area of the German capital still keeps it a very special place. I made a guided tour through the terminal building and the facilities and share my thoughts with you.


Berlin Tempelhof Airport (THF) Tours – Location & Admission

Tempelhof is also the name of the borough in which former Berlin-Tempelhof Airport (THF) is located. It is just a rather short public transport ride South of key Berlin attractions like the Potsdamer Platz or the Governmental District. The easiest way to get there is by subway. Line U6 takes you to Platz der Luftbrücke (“Airbridge Square”), which is right at the former terminal building.

All guided tours kick off at the visitor center Check-In. Visiting this place only is free. It is open from 10:00 to 17:00 daily, apart from Tuesdays. There a huge variety of tours. I took the two hours Mythos Tempelhof tour in German, which is typically offered once on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, twice on Fridays and thrice on the weekend. You should reserve a slot beforehand, the admission fee is 17.50 EUR. For the same price, there are also English tours daily (but Tuesdays), which are equivalent apart from the language. Typically, there is one tour on weekdays and two on the weekend.


Berlin Tempelhof (THF) Airport Tours – The Tour

The first motorized flight at Tempelhof is already dated as of 1909. The first part of the construction work of the building as you can still see it today, however, has been completed in 1927. At that time, it was the first airport in the world, which you can directly reach by subway. During the Nazi times, the vast terminal building and other facilities have been built. The total length of the terminal building is 1.2 kilometers. Thus, it is still one of the longest buildings in Europe. The building as well as the area, the Tempelhofer Feld are nowadays protected. Several attempts to use the former runway area for other purposes like for a new residential area, did not succeed.

One of the key reasons why the tour through Tempelhof is so fascinating, apart from that it illustrates the story of Berlin so well, is its amazing conservation status. One of the first stops of the tour takes you to the former check-in hall. f you think about that it is designed in the early 1940’s, it is still extremely modern and has almost been revolutionary at the time of opening. The key facilities are well-preserved, you can somehow still feel how operations took place.

Of course, there haven’t been jet bridges at these times- Passengers walked up and down stair in order to get to and from the planes. The parking positions next to the terminal still hold some pieces of aviation history. The DC-3, which you see in the pictures below, is nowadays turned into a bar. If that area feels familiar to you – car racing Formula E, for example, regularly uses the Tempelhofer Feld for their events.

Walking Through The Facilities

The next stage of the tour has been the hangars. The largest ones might be well-known to you, they are easily able even to hold sports events. For example, an ATP and WTA tennis tournament was hosted by Berlin-Tempelhof terminal right after Covid-19 restrictions were partially lifted. The sheer size of the halls, but also the very future-looking architecture is really interesting. From there we headed into the management buildings and office rooms. The building is still used by many companies, e.g. in logistics and trade. You do go up to the very highest part of the building, which requires climbing quite a lot of stairs. Again, the architects have been very visionary. For example, there are often separated staircases for people walking up or down.

When you reach the upper floors, you also run into former military facilities, including former casinos and even a sports hall, which has formerly been used by US military. There is even a historic bowling alley in the building. Later, you also run into the bunkers and protected areas of the former airport terminal – you can really feel the impact of the Cold War in there. In this area, there are also a lot of pictures and additional explanations, which nicely illustrate the history of Tempelhof Airport (THF).

Below, there are some impressions from Tempelhofer Feld, the former runway area of the airport. They have been taken after the tour.


Berlin Tempelhof (THF) Airport Tours – Services

Apart from being able to book tours (if available), there are some basic services at the visitor center. Close to it, there are also public toilets.


Berlin Tempelhof (THF) Airport Tours – My View

The guided tour through the terminal buildings of Berlin Tempelhof (THF) is amazing. It is interesting for history buffs as well as for architecture or aviation freaks. The guide was really good and gave a lot of information. You should be prepared to climb a lot of stairs, though, especially in the second part of the tour.


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