But isn't international train travel a total pain in the neck? Not at all. From London's St Pancras International, you can whizz through the Channel Tunnel and be in Brussels in 1h 48m. Or Paris Gare du Nord station in just an hour more. From these large hubs, jump on a high-speed ICE or Thalys train service directly to Frankfurt or Cologne. Watch the German countryside speed by as you kick back and relax with a drink and a snack, connected to the WiFi and with the freedom to get up and walk around whenever you wish.
London to Cologne
Cologne is the natural arrival point in Germany when travelling from London. London to Cologne trains can take as little as 4h 11m with a change in Brussels. If you're not stopping to explore the city, there are regular onward services to other German destinations. Your journey from London whisks you through the Channel Tunnel, then through the French and Belgian countryside before a quick change in Brussels. Then onward through the historic cities of Leuven, Liege and Aachen, before terminating in Cologne.
Cologne is Germany's fourth largest city and home to a million people. You'll certainly not be short of things to see and do. The cathedral is perhaps the city's most iconic sight, there are two guided tours per day in English. Feeling energetic? Then tackle the 533 steps up the South tower to be rewarded with panoramic views across the city and the river Rhine. Recharge your batteries after the climb with a visit to the ultra-modern Chocolate Museum, for a journey through the history of cocoa and the world's favourite sweet treat. There is, of course, a great museum shop to tempt you with individual chocolates, pastries and other gifts.
London to Frankfurt
Trains from London to Frankfurt take as little as 5h 24m, with a change in Brussels. Eurostar services run from London to Brussels on average nine times per day. If you're pushing the boat out, treat yourself to first class travel with roomy seats, complimentary champagne, and a celebrity chef-designed meal as a way of starting your break in style. You won't want to leave the train in Brussels. Hop on one of the high-speed ICE trains in Brussels, which will whizz you directly into Frankfurt, Germany's financial and business centre.
Frankfurt isn't all about business and banking though. If you're into museums, then Museum Embankment has 12 separate museums to choose from. Visit one, see them all, the choice is yours. Or why not get a different perspective on the city from the observation deck of the Main Tower skyscraper? Away from the hustle and bustle of the business district, an altogether quieter spot is the Palmengarten, the city's famous botanical gardens. It's the perfect space for a relaxing stroll on a warm afternoon, browsing the collections of exotic palms and orchids.
London to Berlin
It's not as hard as you might think to catch a train from London to Berlin. The journey can be done in as little as 9h 29m, and you'll see a lot more of Europe than you would in an airplane. These longer journeys lend themselves perfectly to a sleeper service. The best option for a sleeper train from London to Germany is to catch a Eurostar to Paris, then the Russian Railways service to Moscow. Depart from Paris East station just before 19:00, sleep in a comfortable bunk overnight as your train trundles through the German countryside, and arrive in Berlin in time for breakfast the following morning.
After your hearty Berlin breakfast of coffee, pancakes or eggs, check out the rest of this historic city. A natural starting point for many is Checkpoint Charlie, the symbol of Berlin as a divided city. When you're in the area, take the time to see one of the largest preserved sections of Berlin Wall at the Topography of Terror exhibition. Another hidden gem nearby is the Trabi Museum, with everything you ever wanted to know about East Germany's famous little car. One of the most popular spots in Berlin is the roof terrace of the Reichstag parliament building. Entry is free, but you'll have to reserve your space in advance. Book a table in the restaurant for a meal with one of the best views in the city, if not in Germany.
London to Munich
As with other routes from the United Kingdom to Germany, trains from London to Munich start with a Eurostar service through the Channel Tunnel, then change in Brussels for a train to Dusseldorf main station. It's a long way south to Munich, so sleeper trains are definitely the best option on this route. The OBB Nightjet service is just what you're looking for. Board the train towards Vienna in Düsseldorf just before 21:00, and arrive in Munich refreshed after a night snoozing in your couchette bunk. Travelling across continents has never been so easy.
A short stroll from Munich's main station brings you to the city's main square, Marienplatz. It's the perfect place to relax with a coffee and get your bearings, but don't miss the chiming of the Glockenspiel clock in the large town hall tower – it plays three times a day at 11:00, 12:00 and 17:00. On a sunny day, there's no better place to spend the afternoon than the elegant English Garden, 900 acres of shady ponds, paths and mature trees. Pretend you're a local – grab a pretzel, a large glass of beer, and just sit and watch the world go by. One of the most popular day trips from the city is to the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle. Catch a train to Füssen station, then a local bus on to the castle.
London to Stuttgart
Feel the stress of everyday life just melt away as you catch a train from London to Stuttgart. This southern German city was officially named as the least stressed-out place in the world in a recent survey due to its quality of life and plethora of green, open spaces. The fastest journey from London takes 6h 30m, with just one change in Paris. This is one of the most scenic routes to Germany. Trains whizz through Eastern France, past the Champagne region vineyards, farms and nature reserves. And because you're safely installed in the train, you're not worrying about keeping your eyes on the road either.
Stuttgart is the centre of the German car building industry, and both Porsche and Mercedes-Benz have impressive visitor centres in the city. Even if you're not particularly into cars, the Mercedes-Benz museum in particular is worth a visit as it showcases German history alongside the parallel story of car making. Back in town, take an evening walk through the Schlossplatz to see the ornate fountains lit up against the backdrop of the former Royal Palace. If visiting in winter, join thousands of visitors at Stuttgart's famous Christmas market. It's the perfect place to pick up handmade wooden toys, freshly baked gingerbread and kitsch little Christmas decorations too.
It's our job to make your climate-friendly Germany rail adventure as straightforward as possible. We can help you root out the best fares, give you various options for connections and help with booking compartments on sleeper trains for longer journeys. And once you've selected the perfect tickets for you, all that remains is for you to say "Auf wiedersehen", as you speed your way through the Channel Tunnel to discover Germany.