Travel by train in Germany
Travel around Germany by train with a Eurail pass and visit the enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle, soak up the lively atmosphere at Oktoberfest and admire areas of outstanding natural beauty like the Black Forest and the Rhine Valley.
Explore top cities Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt by regional, high-speed or night train while enjoying Germany's picturesque scenery on the way.
Find out more: What is Eurail?
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
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 (PDF file).
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
International high-speed trains in Germany
These high-speed trains operate to and from Germany:
- RailJet connects Munich to Vienna, Salzburg (Austria) 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, France, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland. Key routes include:
Berlin – Paris / Zurich
Hamburg – Paris / Zurich
Munich – Paris / 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)
Reservations for German trains
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.
For more information about reservations in Germany:
Rail and ferry connections in Germany
Popular domestic connections 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||Frankfurt||4hr 10min||3hr 35min|
International train 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. Alternatively, go by night with the City Night Line from Berlin (13hr 15min) or Munich (10hr 30min) 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.
- Denmark – Germany
Travel for free on Scandlines Ferries between Puttgarden and Rødby Færge (Denmark).
- 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.
Germany rail passes
Eurail Germany passes 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.
Rail pass options for Germany
- Eurail Global Pass starting from US$591 – have the freedom to visit Germany and up to 23 other Eurail countries.
- Eurail Select Pass starting from US$318 – choose from a 3, 4 or 5 country pass that combines Germany with bordering countries.
- Regional Pass – focus on visiting Germany plus 1 other country. Here are your options:
Eurail Austria-Germany Pass starting from US$322 – visit charming Austrian cities like Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck.
Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass starting from US$278 – explore famous cities like Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg city.
Eurail Denmark-Germany Pass starting from US$235 – get to know Danish cities including Copenhagen and Odense.
Eurail France-Germany Pass starting from US$308 – travel around famed French cities like Paris, Nice and Lyons.
Eurail Germany-Poland Pass starting from US$327 – visit Polish sites in Warsaw, Kraków and Poznań.
Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass starting from US$329 – travel to Switzerland's beautiful sites in Geneva, Zurich and Bern.
Germany is not available as a Eurail One Country Pass. To explore just Germany by rail, check out the German Rail Pass.
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 US$340.
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.
Hamburg is filled with a rich maritime history thanks to its thriving port, the biggest in Germany.
Cologne is adored for its architecture and history – don't miss Cologne's Cathedral which is next to the train station.
Frankfurt is Germany's financial capital and the location of the European Central Bank.
Munich is in the heart of Bavaria and is home to the country's beloved 17-day beer festival, Oktoberfest.
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.
Train stations in Germany
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.
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
Extra benefits in Germany
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:
Bus travel in Germany
Eurail pass holders can also travel for free (pay only a reservation) on these international bus routes:
- Munich – Prague (Czech Republic)
- Nuremberg – Prague
Spelling of German cities
On German train timetables and at trains 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:
- München = Munich
- Nürnberg = Nuremberg
- Köln = Cologne
Train info for bordering countries
Get train information for Germany's bordering countries: