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6 and more unusual things to do at the abandoned Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

The first time I was in Berlin, a friend insisted I go to Tempelhof. In my head, I thought, “Why the heck should I go visit an abandoned airport?” Little did I know of the many things you can do and see there! Here are six or more things you can do at Tempelhof that are not just dull historical facts. 

white sign over building

But before, let me summarize its turbulent history, as it’s always important to know the background to understand why things are the way they are now.

Tempelhof Airport was built in the 1920s and became one of the first commercial airports in the world. It was designed to symbolize Germany’s ambition and grandeur, with its iconic sweeping and curved facade terminal. The airport played a crucial role in World War II, specifically serving the Berlin Airlift and supporting West Berlin during the Soviet blockade of 1948-1949. It continued to serve the country, but after the Cold War, commercial operations at Tempelhof Airport started declining, and in 2008, all commercial flights were officially stopped.

From this moment, the purpose of the airport became a strong reason for debate as people and the government were discussing its fate.

three people biking

Finally, two years later, in 2010, the airport reopened as a public park under the name Tempelhofer Feld (yay! We always need more green in cities), becoming one of the biggest city parks in the world. The previous airport runway now offers a vast recreational area for Berliners and tourists. At the same time, the terminal building has been preserved and now hosts a museum, serving as a reminder of the past tumultuous times.

skyline of a building

Tempelohofer Feld is now one of Berliners’ favorite places to hang out: for the sporty types, you can walk, cycle, run, or skate the runways; for the less sporty types, you can enjoy a picnic or play music or any other activity while chilling on its grass. The park is also a cultural hub, and throughout the year, many events are happening, like the VELOBerlin 2024 (The Bicycle Festival). I’ve always thought these would be the rare moments you can actually go INTO the building. But that’s not true.

berlin tempelhof sign

There are different guided tours in and around the abandoned airport Tempelhof:

  • Public tours
  • Photography tours
  • Group tours
  • Special tours

Every day, there are different times for the various tours. You can get tickets here.

You won’t see every corner of the 300.000 square meter abandoned airport Tempelhof big building, but that would be impossible on a 2 hours tour. Fun fact: If you went for lunch each day in a different room at the airport, it would take you around three years to get in every room. Crazy, right?

I really enjoyed walking up and down stairs and floors where you can see from the layer of dust that no one has been here for a long time. My highlight was the view from the roof.

hall of an abandoned building

So, you know why I really love Tempelhofer Feld? Because it shows how, no matter what your past and history, you always have a chance to change and turn negatives into positives. I admire how Berlines was able to adapt and give a new purpose to Tempelhof, making it a symbol of the city’s resilience and creativity and allowing visitors (tourists and not) to reflect on its history while admiring the beautiful park.

sign of restaurant and a clock on a grey wall
ceiling of an abandoned building
staircase of an abandoned building
white toiletten sign
black roof of a building

Visiting Tempelhofer Feld makes a great trip for anyone who knows Berlin or has visited the city already. If you haven’t done that, I recommend starting with Berlin’s most iconic sightseeing tour, as there are plenty of interesting things to visit and do in the city.