Country info: Germany (Deutschland)
Rail companies: DB (Deutsche Bahn)
German Rail Network Map
Train travel in Germany: train types, tickets, fares, discounts & other useful info
National Train Service:
Train types in Germany: Suburban (S-Bahn), Regional (Regionalbahn, Regional-Express, InterRegioExpress), Schnellzug, InterCity, High-Speed trains (InterCityExpress/InterCityExpress-Sprinter, TGV & RailJet), EuroCity/EuroNight & CityNightLine (CNL)
- Suburban (marked as S-Bahn on DB website) - local trains serving suburban areas of big German cities, no seat reservation required
- Regional (marked as RE, RB, IRE on DB website) – regional service, no seat reservation required
- Schnellzug/Durchgangszug (marked as D on DB website) - fast trains, no seat reservation required
- InterCity (marked as IC on DB website) – fast connection between major German cities, usually every hour or two, seat reservation can be made, but not required
- InterCityExpress (marked as ICE on DB website) – high-speed train serving national and international connection, seat reservation can be made, but not required
- InterCityExpress-Sprinter (marked as ICE-S on DB website) – high-speed service with compulsory seat reservation (11 euro), minimal number of intermediate stops & slightly higher route speed
- TGV/Thalys/RailJet (marked as TGV, THA, RJ on DB website) - high-speed international trains connecting Germany with France, Belgium, Austria & Hungary, on journeys within Germany seat reservation can be made, but not required
- EuroCity/EuroNight (marked EC/EN on DB website) – international daytime & overnight trains, seat reservation can be made, but not required (unless using couchette/sleeper)
- CityNightLine (marked as CNL on DB website) - international overnight service, seat reservation is compulsory
Discounts, special offers & ways to save money for passengers traveling by train in Germany:
- Best options for passengers wanting to pay less - purchase their German train tickets in advance, because for domestic (within Germany, either direct or with change) trips German Railways (DB) offer special discounted tickets called Sparpreis (=Saver Fare). Sparpreis tickets in 2nd class start from only 19 euro (<250 km journeys) or from 29 euro (>250 km), however remember that since it is tickets sold at discounted rates Sparpreis tickets are limited in number per each departure, so try to buy your tickets as soon as possible, because earlier you purchase train ticket--> better fare you get. DB starts ticket sale 92 days in advance. Sparpreis tickets can be refunded/exhchanged for 15 euro fee. For the overnight journeys DB also offers similar deal - SparNight
- In cases when passengers can't purchase tickets in advance or it is already late to buy cheap discounted Sparpreis/SparNight tickets - no reason worry, it's absolutely not a situation to overpay for full fare standard tickets. Why so? Because on many ocassions passengers can legally trick DB and instead of domestic tickes use discounted international tickets (so called 'Europa-Spezial') for travels within Germany. Thing is that domestic discounted tickets (Sparpreis) usually get sold out much faster than international ones. For example passenger needs to travel from Berlin to Munich, but all the cheap 29-39 EUR Sparpreis tickets are not availble? That is the situation when you might try looking for international ticket Berlin-Salzburg (via Munich) with 'Europa-Spezial' offer. Sounds strange that passenger buys ticket till the station coming later than he or she needs, but if such legit trick gives you better price, really works & saves money? Then what is left is simply get off train earlier in Munich and be happy with money saved
- For regular users of DB services it is possible to consider purchase of DB BahnCards (BahnCard 25 & BahnCard 50). Rail cards work in very simple way - passengers purchase fixed price BahnCard and enjoy 25% or 50% discount on all the full fare tickets for the whole year. BahnCard 25 costs just 60 euro (2nd class) or 122 euro (1st class), while BahnCard 50 is 255 euro (2nd class) or 515 euro (1st class) + children, students under 27 and senior citizens over 60 pay only half the price for their BahnCard 50
- One of the best deals for people traveling by train in Germany is so called Happy Weekend Ticket (Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket), which is a special group pass valid for up to 5 passengers travelling together on Saturdays or Sundays between 0:00am (midnight) until 3am of the following day. Unlimited journeys will cost only 44 euro (if you buy 'Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket' online or via DB ticket machine) or 46 euro (when bought at DB ticket counter). Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket valid for unlimited journeys in 2nd class on all the DB local services, meaning all the S-Bahn, RB, IRE, RE trains (not valid on ICE, IC, EC, CNL trains) and on most city transport networks (please check locally)
- Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket is another group pass valid for up to 5 persons travelling together on weekdays (Monday till Friday) between 9am until 3am following day for only 44 euro for one person or +8 euro per every other passeger, so Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket for 2 passengers will cost 52 euro, for 3 - 60 euro etc. Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket is basically is like Happy Weekend Ticket, but for week days, it is valid for unlimited journeys in 2nd class on all the DB local services, meaning all the S-Bahn, RB, IRE, RE trains (not valid on ICE, IC, EC, CNL trains) and on most city transport networks (please check locally)
- Another good deal in order to cut your travel expenses in Germany is to use Länder-Tickets (= day passes for different German regions). Länder-Tickets are valid from Monday to Friday for one day of passenger's choice from 9am until 3am of the following day (or on holidays & weekends for the whole day). Some tickets can also be used for night time travel (valid from 7pm until 6am the next morning). 'Länder-Tickets' can be either Single(=one passenger) or for a group (up to 5 passengers), Länder-Tickets is only valid in 2nd class & can be used on all the DB local services (meaning all the S-Bahn, RB, IRE, RE trains (not valid on ICE, IC, EC, CNL trains) and also on most city transport networks (please check locally)
Lander-Tickets (Regional Pass) in various German regions (map of the federal states and online shop - www.bahn.de):
- Baden-Württemberg-Ticket: 23 euro for one passenger and +4 euro for each next passenger (2 people=27 euro, 3=31 euro etc.), Baden-Wurttemberg Ticket is valid for the entire transport system of the Verkehrsverbünde Baden-Württemberg (with some exceptions). Also available Baden-Württemberg-Ticket Single 1st class (31 euro & +12 euro supplement per additional passenger) and Baden-Württemberg-Ticket Night valid from 6pm until 6am the next day (20 euro & +4 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions). For travelers to Switzerland it's good to know that Baden-Württemberg-Ticket is also valid till Swiss Basel, so passengers can easily save also on cross-border fare
- Bayern-Ticket (Bavaria-Ticket): 23 euro for one passenger & +4 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (2 passengers=27 euro, 3=31 euro etc.), Bavaria Ticket can be used on the entire transport system in Bavaria, Münchner Verkehrsbund (MVV), Verkehrsverbund Nürnberg (VGN), Augsburger Verkehrs- und Tarifverbundes (AVV) and many others. Bavaria Ticket for the 1st class is 34,5 euro & +15,5 euro for each additional companion. Also DB offers Bayern-Ticket Nacht (Bavaria-Night-Ticket), which is valid Monday to Thursday from 6pm until 6am the next day, while Friday, Saturday and on Bavarian public holiday's eve from 6pm until 7am (23 euro & 2 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions). For travelers to Austria it's good to know that Bavaria Ticket is valid till Austrian Salzburg, so passengers can easily save also on cross-border fare
- Brandenburg-Berlin-Ticket: 29 euro, valid on all the local trains (Regional-Express, Regionalbahn, S-Bahn Berlin) and the transport systems in Brandenburg and Berlin. Also available Brandenburg-Berlin-Ticket Night, which is valid Monday to Sunday from 6pm until 6am the next day, if you book online for only 22 euro.
- Bremen, Niedersachsen-Ticket (Lower-Saxony-Ticket): 22 euro for one passenger & +4 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (2 passengers=26 euro, 3=30 euro etc.), Lower-Saxony Ticket can be used on the entire transport system of Lower Saxony & Bremen
- Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein-Ticket: 27 euro for one passenger & +3 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (2 passengers=30 euro, 3=33 euro etc.). Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein-Ticket can be used on the entire transport system of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV) zone A and B.
- Hessenticket (Hesse-Ticket) - 31 euro, valid on all the local trains (InterRegio-Express, Regional-Express, Regionalbahn, S-Bahn) and the transport systems in Hesse (NVV, RMV and VRN/URN).
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern-Ticket (Mecklenburg-West-Pommerania-Ticket): 22 euro for one passenger & +4 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (2 passengers=26 euro, 3=30 euro etc.), Mecklenburg-West-Pommerania-Ticket can be used on the entire transport system of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Hamburg.
- SchönerTagTicket Nordrhein-Westfalen (Nice-day-ticket North Rhine-Westphalia): 39,5 euro, valid on all the local trains (Interregio-Express, Regional-Express, Regionalbahn, S-Bahn) and the transport systems in North Rhine-Westphalia. Also available SchönerTagTicket Nordrhein-Westfalen Single (Nice-day-ticket North Rhine-Westphalia) Single – 28,5 euro
- Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket (Rhineland-Palatinate-Ticket)/Saarland Ticket: 23 euro for one passenger & +4 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (2 passengers=27 euro, 3=31 euro etc.), Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket (Rhineland-Palatinate-Ticket) & Saarland Ticket can be used on the entire transport system of Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland. Also available Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket night and Saarland-Ticket Night for 20 euro & +4 euro for each next passenger
- Sachsen-Ticket (Saxony-Ticket): 22 euro for one passenger & +4 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (2 passengers=26 euro, 3=30 euro etc.), Saxony-Ticket can be used on the entire transport system in Sachsen.
- Sachsen-Anhalt-Ticket (Saxony-Anhalt-Ticket): 22 euro for one passenger & +4 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (2 passengers=26 euro, 3=30 euro etc.), Saxony-Anhalt-Ticket can be used on the entire transport system in Sachsen-Anhalt.
- Thüringen-Ticket (Thuringia-Ticket): 22 euro for one passenger & +4 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (2 passengers=26 euro, 3=30 euro etc.), Thuringia-Ticket can be used on the entire transport system in Thüringen.
* All the above fares for Lander-Tickets given for the tickets bought either online or via DB ticket machines, same tickets bought from DB counter will cost +2 euro (service fee)
Deutsche Bahn (DB) also offers German Rail Pass (valid for all the trains, including ICE):
International Train Service:
a) Regular discounts
TEE PreiseSystem (international tickets betwen Austria, Germany and Switzerland)
b) Special offers (SparSchiene)
Ticket offers with limited number of tickets per each departure (purchase in advance required):
- Europa-Spezial (Europe Special): one way discounted tickets from Germany to Belgium, Netherlands, France, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Czech Republic (start from only 19 euro on short cross-border routes & from 29/39 euro on long-distance routes); from Germany to Denmark (from 29 euro on trips starting from Hamburg or closer & 39 euro on long-distance routes); from Germany to Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden (from 39 euro)
- London-Spezial (London-Germany-Special): one way discounted tickets from Germany to London (UK) via Brussels (& vice versa) from 59 euro in 2nd class or 109 euro in 1st class
Similar to CityStar offer that can be purchased from DB to Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
German Railways (DB) as well offer a number of local cross-border tickets:
For travels from Bavaria to Czech Republic it is possible to use Bavaria-Bohemia Ticket (Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket) - special regional pass which combines regular Bavaria-Ticket and pass for Western Czech Republic (valid all the way till Plzen/Cesky Budejovice/Decin etc. & for IRE, RE, RB, S-Bahn & ALX trains). Bavaria-Bohemia Ticket for one passenger cost 26 euro & +4,5 euro supplement per any additional passenger (up to 4 travel companions), meaning 2 passenger=30,5 euro, 3=35 euro etc.
For travels from Saxony to Czech Republic it is possible to use Saxony-Bohemia Ticket (Sachsen-Böhmen-Ticket), it combines regular Saxony-Ticket and pass for neighboring territories of Czech Republic (all the way to Plzen/Cesky Budejovice/Decin etc. & for for IRE, RE, RB, S-Bahn & VBG trains). Saxony-Bohemia Ticket for one passenger cost 25 euro & +4,5 euro supplement per any additional passenger (up to 4 travel companions), meaning 2 passenger=39,5 euro, 3=34 euro etc.
For travels from eastern parts of Germany to Poland (<120 km) DB & PKP offer special cross-border return Regio-Spezial Polen tickets, valid for all the S-Bahn, RE, RB trains & 2nd class only on IRE and D trains
For travels from Germany to Austria & Switzerland around lake Constance (Bodensee) offered special ticket - EUREGIO Bodensee, allows daily use of public transport (including ferries Friedrichshafen - Romanshorn & Konstanz - Meersburg) in the selected zones (Zone 1 is eastern part of the lake, Zone 2 central & Zone 3 western part of lake Constance) in Germany (regional trains only) Switzerland and Austria. EUREGIO Bodensee for adult passenger is 18 euro for one zone, 24 euro for two zones & 31 euro for all 3 zones. For small groups (1 or 2 adults with up to 4 children) - 36, 45 and 58 euro respectively
For travels from Saarland to Luxembourg & France during weekend passenger can enjoy special Saar-Lor-Lux-Ticket, which is valid on Saturdays and Sundays from midnight to 3am next day & can be used on entire networks of Saarlarnd in Germany, Lorraine in France and whole network in Luxembourg. Saar-Lor-Lux-Ticket for one passenger cost 24 euro & +10 euro supplement per person for up to 4 further travel companions (meaning that 2 passengers=34 euro, 3=44 euro etc.)
How to Buy Train Tickets in Germany:
National (domestic) and many international tickets (including offers like Europa Spezial) can be purchased online via DB website - www.bahn.de
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