Trying to locate public transport services from a foreign airport into the city centre can be the last thing you feel like doing after the long flight to Europe from Australia, so being up to speed with the information you need to know before you leave home can alleviate any stressful moments on arrival.
In my article on getting to and from Europe's major airports (part 1), I covered the public transport options available for London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Milan and now it's the turn of Barcelona, Prague, Stockholm, Berlin, Munich, Athens and Istanbul airports.
RENFE, the national railway service of Spain, operates an express train between Barcelona's El Prat Airport (Aeropuerto) and central Barcelona. Trains leave every 30 minutes between approximately 5am and 11.30pm and stop at three stations in Barcelona - Clot, Passeig de Gracia and Barcelona Sants (Sants Estacio). All these stations are also served by metro trains. Journey time between Barcelona Airport and the city centre is around 25 minutes. A single ticket between the airport and Sants costs €3.80.
Prague's Vaclav Havel Airport isn't directly accessible by train so the Airport Express bus line is the way to go. Depending on which stop you are travelling to/from, the journey time is between 18 and 55 minutes. Buses depart the airport regularly for four different metro stations in Prague. A 24 hour public transport pass costs CZK110 (approx €4).
The Arlanda Express is the fastest way to travel between Stockholm's Arlanda airport and Central Station. With a journey time of just 20 minutes, you'll be in Stockholm in no time at all. The Arlanda Express departs every 15 minutes between 6am and 10.50pm. Adult fares start from SEK260 (about €28) one way. Tickets can be purchased from airport's information desks or grey self-service machines located near the escalators. If you're travelling from Stockholm Central to the airport, you can buy tickets from the staffed ticket offices at the station or the self-service machines.
Tegel is Berlin's major international airport. With no direct link to the metro system, the fastest way to reach central Berlin from Tegel is by the TXL Express Bus X9. The X9 bus departs every five to ten minutes and takes 20 minutes to reach Zoo Station. Fares cost €2.40 one way per adult.
Berlin's Schonefeld Airport is mainly used by low-cost airlines. It's connected to central Berlin by both the S-Bahn metro line and Airport Express trains. The Airport Express connects the airport with Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main station) in 30 minutes, and services operate every half hour. Fares €3.20 one way.
Note: A new airport to replace both Tegel and Schonefeld is currently under construction. The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt is due to open in 2016.
Munich's S-bahn train line whisks commuters from the Airport (Flughafen in German) to central Munich in around 45 minutes. Trains depart on the S1 and S8 lines every 20 minutes. Tickets can be purchased from machines at the station and cost around €10 each way.
A bus service also operates between the airport and city centre. The Lufthansa Airport Bus stops at Terminals 1 and 2 as well as the Airport Center bus terminal. Tickets can be purchased from the driver for the 35 minute trip. Departures every 20 minutes.
The fastest way to reach Syntagma Square in the heart of Athens from the airport is by metro train. The 40 minute trip costs €8 one way (discounts apply if more than one person is travelling together) and trains run every 30 minutes. Tickets should be purchased from the ticket office/desk at the station which is located one level up from the Arrivals Hall.
Alternatively, the X95 Express Bus takes around one hour to reach Sytagmna Square and costs €5. The bus stop is located directly in front of the Arrivals Hall at Athens Airport.
Ataturk Airport is the main international airport serving Istanbul. An express bus service, called Havatas, runs half hourly between 4am and midnight and costs TRY10 (around €3.50) to either Taksim or Aksaray stops.
A metro line (called 'light rail') takes passengers as far as Aksaray station. It's a ten minute walk from outside the Arrivals Hall to the light rail station and the journey time is about 45 minutes. Departures every 15 to 20 minutes. Tokens for the metro cost TRY3 (approx. €1) and can be purchased from the cashiers or the automatic machines.
After negotiating public transport crowds and cramming onto trains and buses with heavy suitcases in the past, these days I prefer to pre-book an airport arrival transfer, but if you're not that way inclined (after all, we're all different), these train and bus options from some of Europe's major airports to the city centre might be just what you're looking for.
Always check the airport website for the most up to date information before you travel, and remember that times and prices are subject to change.
If you've recently travelled from one of the airports mentioned and have more current information, please get in touch and I'll happily update this page for the benefit of other travellers.
Taxi, airport bus or train or private transfer? What's your preferred way of getting to and from Europe's major airports?
Disclosure: This article includes an affiliate link. Should you choose to purchase a transfer via this link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.