Germany by train
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Germany by train
Discover Germany by train. High speed ICE-services connect cities like Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich. Frequent local trains run along scenic routes to medieval cities like Heidelberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Taking the train is a great way to travel to and in Germany.
Travel by train through Germany. Book a rail pass for various days or a single ticket. For Germanyyou can book the Interrail One Country Pass and Eurail One Country Pass. When travelling on a Interrail or Eurail Pass you can make your reservations on Happyrail.com as well. Simply fill in your departure and destination station to book the reservation. For single tickets you can click here to contact us.
Deutsche Bahn is the name of the German railways. The HQ is based in Frankfurt and the company is noted at the stock market.
The high speed train of the Deutsche Bahn is the ICE International, one of the most convenient trains in Europe which runs between all major cities in Germany. The ICE also has connections to all major cities in neighboring countries.
How to book cheap Sparpreis tickets to and in Germany
Domestic fares start at only €19. These Sparpreis-tickets are subject to availability and prices get higher as more tickets are being sold. Sales for domestic journeys start 6 months before journey date.
You will be likely to find the cheapest tickets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The cheap tickets on fast ICE-services will get sold as first, sometimes a slower Intercity-connection might be cheaper.
Seat reservation is included in first class fares, for second class journeys a reservation can be purchased for €4,50 extra. Reservation is not compulsory, but is strongly recommended on busy travel dates around the weekend and holidays.
Insider tip: Take the regional train and travel cheap: When cheap tickets for long distance trains (ICE, Intercity) are sold out it might be cheaper to stick to regional and local trains (IRE, RE, RB and S-Bahn).
Deutsche Bahn offers cheap tickets for small groups from 1 up to 5 persons. During weekdays the "Quer-Durchs-Land-Ticket" is valid from 09.00 in the morning and costs €44 for the first person, the 2nd until the 5th person pay only €8 p.p.
During weekends the '"Schönes Wochenende Ticket" is offered for €40 for the first person and €4 p.p. extra for the 2nd until the 5th person. When you're travelling within a federal state (like Bavaria or North Rhine-Westphalia) a "Länderticket" is valid within the boundries of that state and valid on Mondays-Fridays from 09.00 and all day in weekends.
The price depends on the largeness of the state. Taking the regional train might take two or three times more travel time and involves more changes, but is also a great way to discover the countryside of Germany.
International train tickets
Cheap international tickets are sold as "Sparpreis Europa". Fares start at €19 for short journeys like Amsterdam-Cologne or Dresden-Prague. Longer journeys start at €39 (Paris-Frankfurt or Brussels-Berlin) and €69 for long distance journeys (London-Hamburg or Cologne-Stockholm).
Seat reservation is included in all first class journeys and by travelling from Sweden, Poland, France and London in second class.
Seat reservation in second class can be purchased for only €4,50 by travelling from Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
The "Sparpreis Europa" is available for journeys from/to Germany to Denmark, some destinations in Sweden (Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö), Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland, some destinations in Italy (Rome, Venice, Florence), some destinations in France (Strasbourg, Paris), Belgium, London and the Netherlands.
International train tickets
How to travel by train to Germany
Due to the central location in Western Europe many train connections exist from the main European cities to Germany. Frequent and comfortable trains run to the main German cities.
Travel from Denmark to Germany from €29 or from Sweden to Germany from €39
The Danish capital Copenhagen is connected with Hamburg with 3 to 5 daily ICE and EuroCity-trains.
> Trains from Germany to Denmark and Sweden
Travel from Slovakia, Budapest and the Czech Republic to Germany from €19
The main route from Germany to Prague runs along the Elbe river from Dresden to Prague, continuing to Bratislava and Budapest.
> Trains from Germany to Prague and beyond
Travel from Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia to Germany from €19
The Hungarian capital Budapest and the Austrian capital Vienna are connected every 2 hours with Munich by high-speed Railjet trains, also calling in Linz and Salzburg.
> Trains from Germany to Austria and Hungary
Travel from Switzerland and Italy to Germany from €19
Italy is connected by direct Eurocity-trains to Munich.
> Trains from Germany to Italy
Trains to Switzerland
Switzerland has the best train connections to Germany. Two ICE and EuroCity-trains per hour operate from Basel to Freiburg and Frankfurt.
> Trains from Germany to Switzerland
Travel from France, Belgium and London to Germany from €19
From Paris and Strasbourg 4 TGV-trains run to Karlsruhe and Stutgart, with one service continuing to Munich.
> Trains from Germany to France
> Trains from Germany to Paris
Travel from the Netherlands to Germany from €19
Seven daily ICE-trains operate from Amsterdam and Utrecht to Cologne and Frankfurt. An Intercity service runs every 2-hours from Amsterdam to Hannover and Berlin.
> Trains from Germany to The Netherlands
Domestic train tickets
How to travel by train within Germany
The most important cities in Germany (Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt) are connected by ICE high speed services every hour or even every 30 minutes with speeds up to 330 kph.
The Intercity-network runs every hour or every 2 hours with speeds up to 200 kph to medium sized cities and the important holiday destinations.
Special ICE Sprinter services provide non-stop services between the most important cities during peak hours.
Many trains consist of different parts which split up to serve different destinations (Berlin-Hamm-Cologne/Düsseldorf and Munich-Hannover-Hamburg/Bremen).
Some connections are provided by cross-platform changes between two trains, especially on stations like Würzburg, Mannheim and Duisburg. When one of the trains is delayed by a few minutes the connecting train will wait for the transferring passengers.
Most regional trains (IRE, RE, RB) run every hour on important lines or every 2 hours on less important lines.
The S-Bahn provides a metro-style service within the surroundings of many big cities including Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. Most S-Bahn services run every 20 minutes or more frequent.
Many regional and local train services are run by private companies like Metronom, ALEX or Eurobahn. DB-tickets (including Interrail and the Schönes Wochenende Ticket) are accepted on the vast majority of these services.
Hamburg Köln Express operates a daily train from Hamburg via Cologne to Frankfurt, DB regional tickets are accepted on this service but without garantuee for transportation.
Trains in Germany
ICE (InterCity Express):
High speed services between the large cities in Germany and abroad with speeds up to 330 kph. First, second class and dining car available. Bikes are not taken on ICE-services. Austrian Railjet and French TGV-services are classified as ICE within Germany.
Services between the medium sized cities in Germany and abroad with speeds up to 200 kph. First and second class available. The most important services convey a Bistro-coach with a limited number of drinks and meals, otherwise a catering trolley is available. Bikes are taken with a compulsory reservation.
Fast regional services between the cities. Deutsche Bahn operates a special IRE-train between Hamburg and Berlin to compete with the long distance buses. First and second class available, trolley service on some routes. Bikes are taken, on some routes only with reservation.
RE (Regional Express)/RB (RegionalBahn):
Regional trains on main and secondary routes. First and second class available, bikes are taken without reservation. RE-services are semi-fast services wich call at the important stations only, RB-services call at all stations.
S-Bahn trains provide suburban services in and around the big cities in Germany. Most trains provide second class only, bikes are taken without reservation.
Rhine Railway Cologne-Koblenz-Mainz:
This old main route runs along the banks of the Rhine river which winds his way trough a wonderful valley along the famous Loreley rock.
You travel along pittoresque villages and vineyards while ships wind their way up and down the river. For the best views sit left when travelling southbound and sit right when travelling nortbound a long-distance service (InterCity/EuroCity).
Note that most ICE-services from Cologne to Frankfurt take the high speed which opened in 2002 and isn't scenic at all. When your train calls in Koblenz Hbf you are sure that your train is running on the Rhine Route.
Moselle Railway Koblenz-Trier-Luxembourg:
The line along the Moselle is the little brother of the Rhine Railway, between Koblenz and Bullay views are best on the left side travelling towards Trier and on the right side travelling towards Koblenz.
Regional trains run every hour from Koblenz via Trier to Luxembourg.
Black Forest Railway Offenburg-Donaueschingen:
This line start in Offenburg in the Rhine Valley and winds his way up into the Black Forest. At Triberg the line uses somes loops to climb and in Hornberg the train passes the Reichenbach-viaduct.
Aussenfernbahn and Karwendelbahn Munich-Garmisch-Reutte/Innsbruck:
This local line connects Munich and Innsbruck via the winter sport resort of Garmisch Partenkirchen and winds its way trough the impressive Karwendel Alps. The trunk route from Garmisch to Reutte and Kempten runs along the remote Aussenfern-region and goes into Austria and back.
Travel by steam train in Germany: In the former Easter Germany there are some still some railways which are steam-operated, not as museum railway but as actual public transport.
The "Bädierbahn (Bading Railway) Molli" operates every hour between Kühlungsborn and the Baltic Sea coast town Bad Doberan.
The "Rasesender (Raging) Roland" operates on the famous tourist island Rügen. The biggest steam railway network is provided by the Harzer Schmalspur Bahnen (Harz Narrow Gauge Railway) in the Harz mountains southwest of Berlin.
Take the steam train up from Wenigerode to the Brocken-summit, which was a spionage outpost during the Cold War. Steam trains also run to Nordhausen and allong the Selketal-Valley. DB-tickets aren't accepted on these steam services, but tickets are for sale locally.
Hotels near stations
Recommended hotels near train stations in Germany
Berlin: Intercity Hotel Berlin Hbf
Comfortable hotel next to the new main station of Berlin. Public transport in Berlin is included when staying in this hotel.
Hamburg: Intercity Hotel Hamburg Hbf
Comfortable hotel next to the main station of Hamburg. Public transport in Hamburg is included when staying in this hotel.
Munich: Intercity Hotel München Hbf
Comfortable hotel in the main station of Munich. Public transport in Munich is included when staying in this hotel.
Dresden: Intercity Hotel Dresden.
Comfortable hotel next to the main station of Dresden. Public transport in Dresden is included when staying in this hotel.
Cologne: Hotel Classic Harmonie
Nice hotel 5 minutes away from Cologne Main Station and the famous Cathedral.