Germany by train

Map with main train connections in Germany

Germany is filled with interesting destinations, like the dynamic capital Berlin, the enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle or major cities like Cologne, Hamburg or Munich. You can also explore the dense forests, mountainous regions, river valleys or sea coast. In short – Germany has it all.

Germany in images
Train types in Germany
Domestic connections in Germany
International connections to and from Germany
Reservations for trains in Germany
Rail passes for Germany
Places to visit in Germany
Events in Germany
Benefits in Germany
More about Germany

One Country Pass for Germany
Are you looking for a Eurail Germany Pass? Read more about the German Rail Pass

Germany in images

Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Wuerttemberg

Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Wuerttemberg

Reichstag, Berlin

Reichstag, Berlin

Town Hall, Munich

Town Hall, Munich

View of Lake Constance

View of Lake Constance

Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen

Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen

Train types in Germany

 

There are a number of train types in Germany ready to transport you both day and night. The German train network is operated by Deutsche Bahn. Use the Eurail train timetable to check times for trains in Germany.
 

Regional and intercity trains in Germany Regional Express train, Leipzig, Germany

The main rail network in Germany is made up of the following regional trains and intercity trains:

  • Regional Express trains connect regional destinations with larger cities. It makes frequent stops and connects with high-speed ICE trains.

  • Regional bahn trains link all local towns. These trains are slower than Regional Express trains.

  • InterRegional trains connect Germany’s regions.

  • S-Bahn (suburban trains) is a network of trains that operate within most big cities, including Berlin and Munich.

  • InterCity trains operate domestically and internationally between key cities. They are slower than the high-speed ICE trains as they make more stops.

 

Your Eurail pass is also valid on various private railway companies in Germany.

 

On the Eurail timetable regional trains appear as 'RE', 'RB', 'IR' and 'IC'. Reservations are not required for regional and intercity trains.

High-speed trains in Germany High speed train ICE, Germany

International high-speed trains in Germany

These high-speed trains operate to and from Germany:

  • RailJet connects Munich to Vienna, Salzburg (Austria), Prague (Czech Republic) and Budapest (Hungary)

  • Thalys links Cologne to Paris (France) and Brussels (Belgium)

  • TGV connects Munich to Paris (France)

  • ICE connects Frankfurt to Paris (France)

 

Domestic high-speed trains in Germany

These high-speed trains operate within Germany:

  • ICE (InterCity Express) is the most popular train in Germany, connecting key cities. These high-speed trains travel at speeds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h).

  • ICE Sprinter is the newest brand of extra fast ICE trains, connecting Germany’s main cities: Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne and Düsseldorf, with no stops in between. The ICE Sprinter is aimed at business travelers and runs during the busy periods at the start and end of the working day.

 

ICE and ICE Sprinter trains include an on-board restaurant. Snacks and drinks can also be served to your seat.  In 1st class there may be extras, like newspapers, power sockets, audio channels and video screens.

 

On the Eurail timetable RailJet trains are shown as 'RJ', ICE and ICE Sprinter trains simply as 'ICE', Thalys as 'THA' and TGV as 'TGV'. Reservations are compulsory for Thalys, TGV and ICE Sprinter trains. The international ICE route Frankfurt to Paris also has a compulsory reservation. For RailJet and ICE, reservations are optional but we recommend making reservations during weekends and busy periods.

Night trains in Germany

The following night trains connect Germany with other European countries:

  • City Night Line (CNL)
    Connects Germany to key cities in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland. Key routes include:
    Berlin – Zurich
    Hamburg – Zurich
    Munich – Rome / Venice / Amsterdam

  • EuroNight Berlin Night Express
    Berlin – Malmö

  • EuroNight 420/421
    Cologne – Frankfurt – Vienna

  • EuroNight Hans Albers
    Hamburg –Nuremberg – Vienna

  • EuroNight Kálmán Imre
    Munich – Salzburg – Vienna – Budapest

  • EuroNight Metropol
    Berlin – Prague – Bratislava – Budapest
    Berlin – Prague – Vienna

  • EuroNight Lisinski
    Munich – Ljubljana – Zagreb

 

Domestic night trains in Germany

  • City Night Line (CNL) connects several German cities by night

  • Munich – Berlin / Hamburg

 

City Night Line trains appear on the Eurail timetable as "CNL", and all EuroNight trains appear as "EN". On these trains you're required to book seats or sleeping accommodation in advance.

Scenic train routes in Germany

There are 2 scenic train routes that run in Germany:

 

Train stations of bordering countries

With a Eurail pass valid in Germany you can travel to the following train stations of countries that border Germany:

  • Basel (Switzerland)

  • Salzburg (Austria)

Domestic connections in Germany

 
Map with popular domestic routes in Germany

Map with popular domestic routes in Germany

View approximate train travel times between Germany's key cities with high-speed ICE trains and extra fast high-speed ICE Sprinter trains.

 

From To

ICE high-speed train

ICE sprinter

Berlin

Munich

6hr

-

Berlin

Frankfurt

4hr 10min

3hr 35min

Berlin

Hamburg

1hr 45min

-

Berlin

Cologne

4hr 30min

-

Hamburg

Frankfurt

4hr

3hr 25min

Hamburg

Cologne

4hr

3hr 30min

Hamburg

Munich

6hr

-

Frankfurt

Munich

3hr 35min

-

Frankfurt

Cologne

1hr 15min

-

Munich

Cologne

4hr 35min

-

International connections to and from Germany

 

We suggest the following routes to travel between Germany and other European countries:

  • Austria – Germany
    Travel by day from Munich to Innsbruck (1hr 50min) on EuroCity (EC) trains or to Vienna (4hr 15min) on Austrian RailJet trains.

  • Belgium – Germany
    Travel by day to Brussels from Frankfurt (3hr 15min) with ICE trains.

  • Czech Republic – Germany
    Travel with EuroCity (EC) trains from Berlin to Prague (4hr 40min), or the DB Express Bus from Nuremberg or Munich (3hr 35min).

  • France – Germany
    Travel by ICE from Frankfurt to Paris (4hr), by TGV from Munich (6hr) to Paris. 

  • Italy – Germany
    Travel from Munich to Venice (9hr) or Rome (12hr) on the City Night Line night train, or travel by day on EuroCity (EC) between Munich and Venice.

  • Netherlands – Germany
    Go by night from Berlin to Amsterdam (9hr 30min) with City Night Line or by day from Frankfurt (4hr) or Düsseldorf (2hr 10min) with an ICE train.

  • Poland – Germany
    Get to Warsaw (5hr 35min) from Berlin with the Berlin-Warsaw Express.

  • Switzerland – Germany
    Go by night with City Night Line to Zurich from Berlin (11hr 35min) or Hamburg (11hr 50min). There are various ICE and InterCity (IC) trains crossing the Swiss border into Germany.

 

International ferry connections to and from Germany

You can also travel to and from Germany by ferry. Get a discount on specific routes with a Eurail pass.

  • Finland – Germany
    Sail with Finnlines from Rostock or Travemünde to Helsinki (Finland). Get a 30% discount with Eurail passes.

  • Poland – Germany
    Sail from Rostock to Gdynia with Finnlines and get 30% off with Eurail passes.

  • Sweden – Germany
    Travel from Travemünde to Malmö (Sweden) with Finnlines. Get a 20% discount with Eurail passes.

Reservations for trains in Germany

 

Germany’s regional (RE, RB, IR), InterCity (IC), EuroCity (EC) trains do not require reservations. Reservations are optional for ICE trains, but at busy times we recommend making a reservation in order to guarantee yourself a seat. ICE Sprinter trains have a compulsory reservation. Reservations are also required for all night trains; prices depend on the type of seat or sleeping accommodation you choose. All the trains listed above are included in Eurail passes (where Germany is a chosen country), you only need to make reservations for those trains mentioned. For international trains, the Eurail pass must be valid in all countries the train runs through.

 

Please note that the number of seats available for Eurail pass holders is limited on the ICE Paris-Frankfurt train. We advise you to reserve this train as far in advance as possible especially during peak season (May-September).

 

How to make reservations for German trains

You can make reservations for domestic and international high-speed trains and night trains:

  • At a ticket desk or self-service machine at local train stations.

  • Online through the DB website.
    Please note that you can only make reservations for domestic trains and international night trains departing or arriving in Germany.

  • By phone through the Deutsche Bahn call center.
    Phone number: +49 1806 996 633
    Opening hours: 24/7

    When you call, you'll hear a German menu. Select extension "9" for an English menu, then "1" for train information and bookings. This call center does not charge a booking fee. Delivery costs are €3.50 to every country.

    You can also pick up your reservations at larger German train stations. Just take the order number you received on the phone, to a ticket window or a 'self-service' machine in the station.

 

As from June 9 reservations for Thalys trains can no longer be made through the Deutsche Bahn website, call center or at the ticket desks in German train stations. Find out how to make your Thalys reservations.

Find out more about reservations

Rail passes for Germany

 
Map with example route in Germany

Map with example route in Germany

Eurail passes including Germany let you see all of Germany's great cities like Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt. We offer various Eurail passes that combine Germany with other European countries.

  • Eurail Global Pass starting from USD$ 344 – have the freedom to visit Germany and up to 27 other Eurail countries.

  • Eurail Select Pass starting from USD$ 132– this is a 4 country pass that combines Germany with bordering countries.

 

Germany is not available as a Eurail One Country Pass. However the German Rail Pass gives unlimited train travel throughout Germany.

 

View German Rail Pass details

 

Example train route in Germany

Visit Germany's most popular cities on a single trip with Eurail. You can follow the suggested route below using a Eurail France-Germany Pass - 5 days within 2 months, starting from €250.

 

1. Berlin

Berlin is Germany's eclectic capital, offering an undergound art and culture scene, plus the remains of the Berlin wall, once dividing East and West.

 

2. Hamburg

Hamburg is filled with a rich maritime history thanks to its thriving port, the biggest in Germany.

 

3. Cologne

Cologne is adored for its architecture and history – don't miss Cologne's Cathedral which is next to the train station.

 

4. Frankfurt

Frankfurt is Germany's financial capital and the location of the European Central Bank.

 

5. Munich

Munich is in the heart of Bavaria and is home to the country's beloved 17-day beer festival, Oktoberfest.

 

6. Füssen

Füssen is the location of the spectacular Neuschwanstein Castle, built by King Ludwig II and the inspiration for Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle.

 

For more route ideas for your Eurail trip, check out our European highlights itinerary.

Places to visit in Germany

 
Interior of the Reichstag Berlin
Interior of the Reichstag Berlin

All sides of life in Berlin

Be prepared to see and do it all in Berlin. Learn about the city’s dark past, and celebrate its colorful rebirth. City tours allow you to walk, cycle, sail, ride or fly through Berlin and take in the culture, art, architecture and history that make this city famous. See the remains of the infamous Berlin Wall, and ride Europe’s fastest elevator to the panoramic observation deck in Potsdamer Platz.

Your Eurail pass is also valid on the S-bahn rapid transit system. Take the S-Bahn to Bahnhof Potsdamer Platz for the panoramic observation deck.

View of Cologne
View of Cologne

Art, architecture and athletes in Cologne

One of the oldest towns in all of Germany, Cologne (Köln) was established in 50 A.D. Nevertheless, it’s still young at heart. Construction on the famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) began in 1248, and attracts 6 million visitors a year. On the modern side, Cologne is the leading media city in all of Germany. From the 900-year-old Town Hall to the Chocolate Museum, Cologne is not to be missed.

The famous Cologne Cathedral is less than a 10-minute walk from station Köln Hauptbahnhof.

View of Frankfurt
View of Frankfurt

Delightful contradictions in Frankfurt

Although it is known as one of the financial and business centers of Germany, Frankfurt has no shortage of historical, artistic and architectural offerings to please even the most curious of travelers. Home to many trade shows, events and exhibitions, Frankfurt also offers quiet harbors, historical landmarks and cultural wonders. Not to mention beautiful natural surroundings.

The S-bahn will take you to the Hauptwache stop, in the middle of the great shopping area in Frankfurt: the Galeria Kaufhof shopping center.

Town Hall, Munich
Town Hall, Munich

Memorable and majestic Munich

Ancient Bavaria blends with modern convenience in Munich (München), a lovely, ancient city on the Isar River. Although more than 70% of the city was destroyed during World War II, it has been carefully and lovingly restored to recapture its old-world appeal. Shopping, museums, nature and nightlife come together in one gloriously appealing city.

The S-bahn will conveniently drop you at Marienplatz City Center, where you can enjoy shopping, food and nightlife in one simple location.

The old Speicherstadt in Hamburg
The old Speicherstadt in Hamburg

Port pleasures in Hamburg

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany, and its largest port city. Its position on the river Elbe connected northern Europe and Scandinavia with the world. A medieval city with modern features, this prosperous region’s skyline is dotted with church steeples, including St. Michel’s tower. Take a stroll through the old Speicherstadt, enjoy the food and shopping, and then dance the night away at the wide variety of nightclubs.

If you take the S-bahn to Stadthausbrücke, St. Michel’s is less than a 10-minute walk away.

Black Forest scenery
Black Forest scenery

The Black Forest

Deep in the southwest corner of Germany lies the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), an enormous natural reserve that stretches more than 125 miles (200 km) long and 37 miles (60 km) wide. It’s home to lakes, rivers, nature hikes and an amusement park. Nature lovers shouldn’t miss it. Don't forget to pay a visit to Freiburg, a quaint town filled with hidden lanes and streams, sometimes called the 'capital' of the Black Forest.

From Freiburg, the towns and villages in the southern part of the Black Forest can be explored by bus and tram services.

Events in Germany

 
Rhine in Flames festival, Koblenz
Rhine in Flames festival, Koblenz

Rhine in Flames

May 2 - September 19, 2015

On 5 selected days in spring and summer (beginning in May), the night sky along the Rhine is illuminated with the finest fireworks pyrotechnics have to offer.

Rhine in Flames takes place in Bonn, Rüdesheim – Bingen, Spay – Koblenz, Oberwesel and St. Goarshausen. All these cities can be reached by train.

Museum Embankment Festival, Frankfurt
Museum Embankment Festival, Frankfurt

Museum Embankment Festival

August 28 - August 30, 2015

Every August, 10 museums in Frankfurt hold special events and one-off exhibitions. The festivities stretch for 8 kilometers on both sides of the River Main. Music, food and art stand central.

All festivities can be reached by public transport.

Oktoberfest, Munich
Oktoberfest, Munich

Oktoberfest

September 19 - October 4, 2015

In October, Munich transforms into the beer capital of the world. Nearly 1.6 million gallons (7 million liters) or Germany’s finest brews are served each year. Enjoy your beer in large halls with the locals. And don't miss the traditional food like sauerkraut and wurst (sausages) to fill your stomach.

The beer halls can be reached best by S-Bahn (tram) or U-Bahn (metro).

Jazzfest Berlin
Jazzfest Berlin

Jazzfest Berlin

November 5 - November 8, 2015

Founded in 1964, this popular jazz festival runs for 4 days in November.

The venue is a 3-minute walk from metro station Spichern straße (exit Bundesallee)

Christmas market, Dresden
Christmas market, Dresden

Christmas markets

November 27 - December 24, 2015

Beginning in late November, German city centers transform into atmospheric outdoor Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkt), where you can buy traditional gifts, eat plenty of local dishes, and forget the cold of winter after a few mugs of hot mulled wine (Glühwein). The perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

The Christmas markets can be found within walking distance of main train stations.

Pass benefits for Germany

 

Get around with the S-Bahn

Eurail pass holders can travel for free on the S-Bahn (suburban metro railways) networks that DB operates in major German cities. The S-Bahn can be recognized by its logo (a white S on a green background).

 

Ferry travel in Germany

Free and discounted ferry travel is an extra benefit of Eurail Germany rail passes. Get discounted ferry travel between Germany and:

  • Denmark

  • Finland

  • Poland

  • Sweden


See all pass benefits in Germany

More about Germany

 
Frankfurt train station

Frankfurt train station

Quick facts

  • Capital: Berlin

  • Population: 80 million

  • Language: German

  • Currency: Euro (EUR)

  • Dialing code: +49
     

German hub stations

Germany's main hub stations are Berlin Hbf, Köln Hbf (Cologne), München Hbf (Munich) and Frankfurt Hbf. At these train stations, it's possible to connect to trains to Germany's main cities and many international destinations.

 

Station facilities

Stations in Germany usually have excellent facilities, often including:

  • Luggage lockers

  • Foreign exchange desks

  • Restaurants and cafés

  • Tourist information offices

  • ATM cash machines

  • Elevators and escalators

  • Access for disabled passengers
     

Spelling of city names

On German train timetables and at train stations in Germany, you'll usually find the local spelling of German cities and stations.
 

Here is the local spelling of some popular German cities:

  • Hanover = Hannover

  • Köln = Cologne

  • München = Munich

  • Nürnberg = Nuremberg

Related pages

 
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