Trains in Germany

Regional train in Frankfurt

Travel around Germany by train with an Interrail 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.

Train types in Germany
Reservations for trains in Germany
Domestic connections in Germany
International connections to and from Germany
Germany rail passes
Train stations in Germany
Pass benefits in Germany
Spelling of cities in Germany
Example train route in Germany

Map with main train connections in Germany

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 Interrail 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 Interrail pass is also valid on various private railway companies in Germany (PDF file).

 

On the Interrail 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) 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 travellers 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 Interrail 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 and TGV trains. The international ICE route Frankfurt to Paris also has a compulsory reservation. For RailJet, ICE and ICE Sprinter, 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 Interrail 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 Interrail pass valid in Germany you can travel to the following train stations of countries that border Germany:

  • Basel (Switzerland)

  • Salzburg (Austria)

Reservations for trains in Germany

 

Which trains in Germany require reservations?

  • No reservations: Regional (RE, RB, IR) / InterCity (IC) / EuroCity (EC).

  • Optional (but recommended during busy periods): ICE and ICE Sprinter

  • Required: All night trains.

For international trains, the Interrail Pass must be valid in all countries the train runs through.

 

Please note that the number of seats available for Interrail 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 can I make reservations for trains in Germany?

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:

Domestic connections in Germany

 
Map with popular domestic routes in Germany

Compare train travel times for popular routes in Germany. We'll show you the travel times for high-speed ICE trains and extra fast ICE Sprinter trains in Germany:
 

Route ICE ICE Sprinter
Berlin to Munich 6 hours -
Berlin to Frankfurt 4 hours 3.5 hours
Berlin to Hamburg 2 hours -
Berlin to Cologne 4.5 hours -
Hamburg to Frankfurt 4 hours 3.5 hours
Hamburg to Cologne 4 hours 3.5 hours
Hamburg to Munich 6 hours -
Frankfurt to Munich 3.5 hours -
Frankfurt to Cologne 1 hour -
Munich to Cologne 4.5 hours -

International train connections to and from Germany

 
Country Cities Which train? Travel time Reservations
Austria Innsbruck to Munich Vienna to Munich EuroCityBrenner
RailJet
1:45
4:10
None
Optional
Belgium Brussels to Frankfurt ICE 3:05 Optional
Czech Republic Prague to Berlin
Prague to Nuremberg
EuroCity
DB Express Bus
4:30
3:40
Optional
Required
France Paris to Frankfurt
Paris to Munich
TGV / ICE
TGV
3:50
6:10
Required
Italy Venice to Munich EuroCityBrenner
City Night Line
6:20
9:00 (overnight)
Required
  Rome to Munich City Night Line 11:30 (overnight) Required
Netherlands Amsterdam to Berlin
Amsterdam to Frankfurt
Amsterdam to Düsseldorf
Intercity
ICE
ICE
6:20
3:55
2:15
Optional
Poland Warsaw to Berlin Berlin-Warsaw Express 5:45 Required
Switzerland Zurich to Berlin City Night Line 11:40 (overnight) Required
  Zurich to Hamburg ICE / City Night Line 7:35 / 10:55 (overnight) Optional / Required

Germany rail passes

 

Interrail Pass options for Germany

 

Interrail Germany Pass

  • Explore all of Germany by rail.

  • Youth discounts, as well as family and senior discounts.

  • Benefits include FREE travel on the S-Bahn metro in major cities and 50% off ferries to Finland and Sweden.

  • Prices from € 154

 

View Germany Passes

 

Interrail Global Pass

  • Travel by train in up to 30 countries in Europe including Germany.

  • Discounts available for youth, seniors and families.

  • Prices from € 200

 

View Global Passes

Train leaving a tunnel near the river Moselle in Germany

Train stations in Germany

 
Berlin Main Station Germany

German main train stations

The main stations in Germany are very well connected to local and international cities. These stations are:

  • Berlin Hbf

  • Köln Hbf (Cologne)

  • München Hbf (Munich)

  • Frankfurt Hbf

 

German train stations are often well-maintained and have modern facilities:

  • Lockers

  • Cash machines and a foreign exchange desk

  • Restaurants and cafés

  • Restrooms

  • Tourist information offices

  • Elevators, escalators, and access for disabled passengers

Pass benefits for Germany

 
Ferry travel, Germany

Ferry travel in Germany

Free and discounted ferry travel is an extra benefit of the Interrail Germany Pass. Get discounted ferry travel between Germany and:

  • Denmark

  • Finland

  • Poland

  • Sweden

 

Bus travel in Germany

Interrail pass holders can also travel for free (pay only a reservation) on these international bus routes:

  • Munich – Prague (Czech Republic)

  • Nuremberg – Prague

Spelling of cities in Germany

 
Rüdesheim Station Germany

Sometimes the German spelling of cities is different to what you are used to. You might see the local spelling when you arrive at the train stations or when you look up routes on the timetable.
 

Good to know:

  • Köln = Cologne

  • München = Munich

  • Nürnberg = Nuremberg

Example train route in Germany

 

Map with example route in Germany Route

Berlin > Hamburg > Cologne > Frankfurt > Munich > Füssen

 

  1. Berlin: Check out the eclectic underground scene and the remains of the Berlin Wall.

  2. Hamburg: Filled with a rich maritime history thanks to its thriving port.

  3. Cologne: Don't miss the cathedral next to the train station.

  4. Frankfurt: Germany's financial capital.

  5. Munich: In the heart of Bavaria, it's home to the country's beloved Oktoberfest.

  6. Füssen: The location of the spectacular Neuschwanstein Castle.

 

Pass suggestion

 

View Interrail Austria Passes

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