Exploring Tempelhof, Berlin’s Iconic Abandoned Airport

Ever wondered what secrets lie behind the historic façades of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport? Join us on a captivating journey through a storied past as we explore Tempelhof and into the spirited heart of Berlin, uncovering a world of adventure that awaits beyond.
A group of people by the grass fields of Tempelhof Airport

Echoes of the Past: Exploring Tempelhof’s Legacy

Tempelhof Airport, a jewel in Berlin’s historical and architectural crown, encapsulates the spirit of a city perpetually on the brink of evolution. Born in the early 20th century, this landmark transcends its original purpose, evolving from an aviation hub into a symbol of endurance and innovation.

Tempelhof has played pivotal roles throughout its existence — from a lifeline during the Berlin Airlift to its current incarnation as a sprawling urban oasis. Each corner of its vast expanse whispers tales of yesteryears, inviting travelers to meander through its open spaces and repurposed structures. Today, as we explore Tempelhof, we’ll find how it stands not merely as a testament to architectural ingenuity but as an energetic communal hub. It perfectly echoes Berlin’s tumultuous journey through history. Its transformation is a narrative of resilience, a chronicle of a city and its people’s ability to adapt and reimagine.

For those who tread its paths, Tempelhof offers a profound connection to Berlin’s past, present, and endless possibilities of its future, making it an essential chapter in exploring Tempelhof’s ever-changing metropolis.

From Runways to Ruins: The Transformation of Tempelhof

The metamorphosis of Tempelhof Airport from a bustling beacon of air travel to its cessation in 2008 epitomizes a narrative rich with change, emblematic of the shifting paradigms in politics, technology, and societal expectations. Once a pivotal aviation hub, its closure marked the end of an era, driven by a confluence of debates and decisions that underscore the complex interplay of historical, technological, and social forces. Since its closure, Tempelhof has become a case study in the life cycle of urban infrastructures, reflecting broader themes of change, memory, and the reimagining of spaces to meet evolving community needs. This exploration into Tempelhof’s past serves as a poignant reminder of the constant evolution of cities and the enduring impact of historical sites on our collective identity and urban landscape.

An open-air concert at Tempelhof’s grounds

A New Chapter: Tempelhof’s Cultural Renaissance

From its historical ashes, Tempelhof has risen like a phoenix in the heart of Berlin, marking a new era of cultural and recreational vibrancy. This iconic landmark, once a symbol of aviation history, has been transformed into a pulsating community space where the energy of Berlin’s dynamic spirit is palpable.

Today, Tempelhof stands as a testament to innovative urban regeneration, hosting an eclectic mix of events, markets, and festivals that draw locals and visitors alike. Its vast open spaces, where planes once took flight, now facilitate gatherings that celebrate diversity, creativity, and community. From open-air concerts to organic food markets and cultural festivals, exploring Tempelhof presents a unique blend of activities that cater to a wide range of interests, making it a quintessential part of Berlin’s cultural landscape.

This transformation showcases the city’s ability to repurpose and reimagine its historical sites. It also provides a vivid platform for cultural exchange and communal engagement, inviting people to connect with the city and each other in new and meaningful ways. Tempelhof’s cultural renaissance is a beacon of urban innovation, embodying the essence of Berlin’s forward-thinking approach to community and space.

Beyond the Tarmac: Neighboring Gems Near Berlin

Make the most of your European visit by exploring beyond Tempelhof’s historic expanse. Neighboring towns open a treasure chest of nearby wonders, each city a unique jewel in the crown of Berlin’s surroundings. Perfect for day trips, these destinations promise adventures that blend historical intrigue with natural beauty, inviting travelers to delve deeper into the heart of Germany.


Known for Sanssouci Palace and its sprawling gardens, Potsdam offers a glimpse into the lavish lifestyles of of Prussian kings against an architectural marvel.


A UNESCO biosphere reserve, Spreewald enchants with its waterway labyrinths, inviting visitors to glide through tranquil canals on traditional punts surrounded by lush greenery.


Rebuilt from the ashes of WWII, Dresden mesmerizes with a baroque skyline, including the magnificent Frauenkirche and world-class museums, showcasing resilience and rebirth.


A city that harmonizes history with a vibrant cultural scene, Leipzig boasts the St. Thomas Church, historic coffeehouses, and a lively arts scene, captivating those seeking heritage and innovation.


As the cradle of the Reformation, Wittenberg’s historical streets, including the landmark Schlosskirche where Martin Luther posted his Theses, ignite a journey through centuries of religious and cultural shifts.

Each city, with its distinct character, invites exploration and discovery, promising enriching experiences that extend well beyond Berlin’s borders.

A male tourist by the Berlin Wall

Berlin Unveiled: Must-Visit Attractions and Insider Tips

Since you’re already in The City of Freedom, consider exploring more of what it has to offer. Beyond the historic Tempelhof, Berlin is a city brimming with experiences that captivate the soul and ignite the imagination. Discover the essence of this enchanting metropolis with our guide to the top must-visit attractions, each offering a unique glimpse into Berlin’s rich tapestry of culture, history, and innovation.

Brandenburg Gate

The neoclassical marvel of the Brandenburg Gate, an iconic symbol of unity and peace, is a must-see. Visit at dusk for a breathtaking view as the lights illuminate its grandeur.

The Berlin Wall Memorial and East Side Gallery

Explore the poignant stretches of the Berlin Wall, a vivid display where art and history merge to symbolize resistance and freedom.

Museum Island

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this ensemble of museums houses treasures of ancient civilizations and art. Allocate a whole day to wander through history.


Known as Berlin’s “green lung,”  Tiergarten is perfect for leisurely strolls, picnics, and boat rides on picturesque lakes.

Reichstag Building

The seat of the German parliament offers guided tours and a visit to its glass dome for panoramic views of the city. Booking in advance is recommended.

Truly a city where every corner tells a story, Berlin beckons with its blend of historical landmarks and verdant retreats. You won’t even have to worry about where to stay as accommodations abound in the area, from homey vacation rentals to luxury hotels. Embrace these experiences for an unforgettable journey through the heart of Germany’s capital.

Reflect on Exploring Tempelhof’s Timeless Appeal with This City Knows

Tempelhof Airport symbolizes Berlin’s ever-evolving spirit, serving not only as a historical landmark but also as a testament to the city’s capacity for reinvention and community building. This iconic site bridges the past and the future, showcasing Berlin’s resilience and its continuous narrative of change. Tempelhof’s transformation from an aviation hub to a cultural gathering place reflects its enduring significance, inviting locals and visitors alike to explore its open spaces and engage with its rich history.

As Mark Twain aptly stated, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” underscoring the need for exploration and understanding. In the spirit of exploration and connection that Tempelhof embodies, we at This City Knows encourage you to start on your journey of discovery. Let us guide you through the world’s cities, uncovering the stories and experiences that unite us all.Start planning your Tempelhof adventure with This City Knows and find inspiration in every corner of the globe.

Felicity Knowles
Author: Felicity Knowles

Visit the world’s best cities with This City Knows—where urban tales and city travel guides are curated from every metropolitan hidden gem, cityscape, and skyline! With our mantra "Know Before You Go," we’ve dedicated our platform to the uber curious and adventurous. Drawing from well-traveled lives and a collective, insatiable appetite to uncover the best-kept secrets of global cities, our team of seasoned travelers and local experts generously share their treasured experiences and insights with those who want to know everything about each city (and that’s even before they board a plane). That’s because our urban trekkers are not just experts in charting maps. We are also enthusiasts in weaving narratives that bring each city's culture, cuisine, and character to life. It only follows that we work tirelessly to make every This City Knows guide and resource essential “pre-visit reads” for travelers worldwide. Join us on journeys that discover the soul of the world's most sought-after cities. We assure your travels become so much more than just places to visit, eventually morphing into experiences and memories you’ll collect and cherish for a lifetime. Let’s discover the world together— because This City Knows, and so should you!