Travel by train to Germany, a fascinating country that has borne witness to a plethora of magnificent discoveries, infamous civilisations and a turbulent past. Home to the glorious cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, among others, this global powerhouse has produced some of the most influential minds in modern history. A popular tourist destination for those travelling from around the world, Germany boasts a great variety of popular and well-loved attractions, including Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, The Zwinger in Dresden and The Fernsehturm and Reichstag in the German capital of Berlin.
A transformative city that has enticed and allured throughout its existence, Berlin is a cosmopolitan city with a whole lot to offer. Located on the winding rivers of the Spree and Havel, this captivating capital is known for its rich history, its legendary party scene and its laidback lifestyle. Berlin is also a hotspot for tourist attractions, hosting important monuments like the Brandenburg Gate, a potent symbol for German reunification, The Reichstag, the meeting place of the German parliament, and the Berlin Wall, the remains of the infamous wall that split the country in half between 1961 and 1989. Berlin is extremely well connected to both the rest of Germany and Europe thanks to their excellent railway network. There are several main train stations in Berlin, including Berlin Ostbanhof and Berlin Zoologischer Garten, but the busiest passenger station in the city is Berlin Hauptbanhof, whose name translates into Berlin Central Station.
Located on the River Isar, just north of the Bavarian Alps is Munich or München as the Germans call it, the capital city of the German state of Bavaria. The third largest city in the country, Munich attracts a considerable number of tourists thanks to its popular Oktoberfest celebration and the Hofbräuhaus, one of the most recognised beer halls in the world. Visitors also flock from near and far to witness the grandeur of Neuschwanstein Castle, a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace an hour outside of the city, Nymphenburg Palace, an elegant royal residence, and Marienplatz, a plaza which is considered to be the centre of Munich.
Munich is easily reachable from the rest of Germany and many popular destinations throughout Europe via their impressive train network. The main railway station in Munich is München Hauptbahnhof, located close to the city centre in the Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt borough.
The exciting city of Hamburg is not only the second largest city in Germany but also a major European port, an impressive research hub and a centre for culture and entertainment. Also known as a major domestic and international tourist destination, Hamburg is home to such attractions as the Speicherstadt, the world’s largest warehouse district and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kunsthalle Hamburg, a major art museum, Reeperbahn, one of the best nightlife spots in the city, and the Hamburg Rathaus, the Neo-Renaissance style city hall.
Easy to reach from both German and international destinations, the main railway station in the city of Hamburg is the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof - the busiest station in Germany and the third busiest in all of Europe. Hamburg Hauptbahnhof is situated on the Hamburg Wallring, a semi-circular ring road which runs around the centre of the city.
Travelling around Germany by train is an incredibly easy and efficient way to traverse the country. One of most popular and travelled intercity routes in the country is Berlin to Frankfurt, a journey which takes approximately 4 hours. Passengers can travel from Berlin to Frankfurt by train on services run by Deutsche Bahn. Every day there is an average of 21 trains that run from Berlin to Frankfurt. Berlin Hauptbahnhof is located in the Moabit district and is extremely well connected to the rest of Berlin. Passengers can reach the station via a number of public transportation methods, including tram, bus, U Bahn and S Bahn lines. Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is located to the west of Frankfurt city centre and can easily be reached via S Bahn and U Bahn trains, as well as other methods of public transport.
Another busy route is the journey from Frankfurt to Dresden, where passengers can travel from Frankfurt to Dresden in an average time of 4h 20m. There are approximately 22 trains a day between the cities, all of which are run by Deutsche Bahn. Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is located just west of central Frankfurt and is connected to the rest of the city, as well as the airport, via S Bahn and U Bahn trains. Dresden Hauptbahnhof is situated in the Inner Old Town of the Seevorstadt District, just south of the city centre. Dresden Hbf is easily reachable via the impressive transport system in Dresden, consisting of trams, buses and S Bahn trains.
It’s possible to travel from Cologne to Munich via train in approximately 4h 30m. There are an average of 15 trains between the two cities every day, which are run by Deutsche Bahn. Köln Hauptbahnhof is located next to Cologne Cathedral, right in the centre of Cologne, and is easily accessible via public bus, tram and S Bahn routes. München Hauptbahnhof is situated close to the centre of Munich, found in the borough of Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt. The station is serviced by a variety of public transportation, including bus, tram, U Bahn and S Bahn routes.
Travelling to and from Germany by train is easy and an extremely efficient way to travel. A popular international train route is from Prague to Berlin. Passengers can travel by Eurocity train from Praha hlavní nádraží to Berlin Hauptbahnhof in approximately 4h 31m. There is an average of seven direct trains a day between Berlin and Prague, each of which is a Eurocity service. Praha hlavní nádraží is located just off Wenceslas Square in the district of Vinohrady. The station is easily accessible via metro and bus services from a number of destinations around Prague. The main train station in Berlin is Berlin Hauptbahnhof located in the Moabit district of the city.
Passengers can also catch a train from Brussels to Frankfurt in approximately 3h 46m. There is an average of six direct trains that run between Brussels and Frankfurt on a daily basis, the majority of which are Eurocity trains. These services run between Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof and Bruxelles-Central, the main train station in Brussels, Belgium. Bruxelles-Central is located at the very centre of the city, making it easy and convenient to reach from all areas of Brussels. Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is located just west of the city centre, in the Gallus and Gutleutviertel districts.
Germany as a country has an excellent railway network which connects cities, regions and states with ease. There are a number of different train services available which depend on the length of the journey and the destination, all of which are run by Deutsche Bahn. The most commonly used train types are the InterCity Express, the InterCity Express Sprinter, the InterCity, the Eurocity, the Regional Express, the Regional Bahn, the InterRegional and the S Bahn trains.
For travelling between cities in Germany, there are three major types of trains to consider. The most common of these is the InterCity Express, otherwise known as ICE, which is a type of high-speed train that connects major cities all over the country. Then there’s ICE Sprinters, an even faster class of train that connects the key cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hamburg. Both the ICE and ICE Sprinter services contain an onboard restaurant and drinks and snack service. First Class carriages also have power sockets, video screens and newspapers. There are also InterCity trains but these are slower than the ICE and ICE Sprinter services and they make more stops, while Eurocity trains are the same as InterCity trains but are used to connect German cities to popular European destinations like Prague, Vienna and Copenhagen.
There are also several more train types on the German network, each of which serves a different purpose. Regional Express trains connect regional destinations to larger cities, making frequent stops along the way. Regional Bahn trains are used to connect local towns and are slower than the Regional Express service. InterRegional trains are used when travelling between different regions in Germany. Lastly, there are S Bahn trains, which are the most local type of train that is usually used to link up different areas of a metropolitan area. These are slower than mainline trains but are a quick and easy service to use when getting around town.
When travelling both in Germany and any number of the surrounding countries, passengers can purchase an Interrail Pass or Eurail Pass, of which there are several options depending on how many countries passengers want to visit. The Eurail Pass is available for non-Europeans wanting unlimited travel around Europe, whereas the Interrail Pass is a pass for European residents. There is also a German Rail Pass, which provides discounts on a huge variety of the country’s train services and is available for different customers - Adult, Twin or Youth (aged 12-27).
There are also a number of discounts available when using a BahnCard, a subscription-based card which comes in a variety of options, from 25% discounts to 50% discounts on many of Germany’s train services, as well as a BahnCard 100 which allows frequent travellers to travel ticket free. All three BahnCards - 25, 50 and 100, have different versions for children, youths and senior citizens, as well as First Class or Second Class options and flexible fares or regular discounts.
As far as train tickets go, there are two main types - Flexible fare (also known as Flexpreis) and Saver fare (also known as Sparpreis). The Flexible fare is the standard ticket on German trains and allows travellers to travel on whichever train at whichever time they like, providing a great deal of flexibility. Essentially, only the station of origin and the destination station are chosen upon purchase and the rest is up to the passenger. Saver fare, on the other hand, is cheaper but is only valid on the specific train that is selected. Holders of BahnCards can also receive a discount when purchasing Saver fares. Saver fares also have different options, from different price ranges to group saver fares and Saver fare Europe, which helps to save money when travelling to and from Germany and 16 European countries.
Regardless of the ticket type, passengers are much more likely to find a cheaper train ticket when booking in advance. This can be done easily via the Trainline website by inputting the desired origin station and destination station, as well as the preferred date and time of travel.