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Trains in Germany

 

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

The German railways are run by Deutsche Bahn. You can check train times on the Interrail train timetable or on the DB website.

 

Map with main train connections in Germany
Map with main train connections in Germany

Regional and intercity trains in Germany

S-Bahn

  • Suburban trains that run within most major cities.

  • No reservations required.


Regional Express (RE)

  • Connections between regional towns and larger cities. Frequent stops.

  • No reservations required.


Regional Bahn (RB)

  • Connections across all local towns. Slower than Regional Express trains.

  • No reservations required.


InterRegional (IR)

  • Connections between Germany’s regions.

  • No reservations required.


InterCity (IC)

  • Domestic and international connections between major cities. Frequent stops.

  • No reservations required.

Domestic high-speed trains in Germany

InterCity Express (ICE)

  • Connects major cities and travels at speeds of up to 320 km/h (200 mph).

  • Includes an on-board restaurant.

  • 1st class may have extra benefits, like newspapers and power sockets.

  • Reservations optional (but recommended during busy periods).

 

International high-speed trains in Germany

ICE

  • Connects Frankfurt to Paris (France).

  • Reservations are compulsory for this route.


RailJet

  • Connects Munich to Vienna, Salzburg (Austria) and Budapest (Hungary).

  • Reservations are mostly optional, and compulsory when travelling to Hungary.


TGV

  • Connects Munich to Paris (France).

  • Reservations are compulsory.


Thalys

  • Connects Cologne to Paris (France) and Brussels (Belgium).

  • Reservations are compulsory.

 

Domestic night trains in Germany

ÖBB Nightjet (EN)

  • Connects Berlin – Hamburg - Munich and Cologne - Frankfurt - Munich by night.

 

International night trains in Germany

 

Night train Routes
Berlin Night Express
  • Berlin - Malmö


Read more about the Berlin Night Express
ÖBB Nightjet (NJ and EN)

 

  • Munich - Salzburg - Florence - Rome
  • Munich - Vienna - Budapest
  • Munich - Florence - Rome
  • Munich - Verona - Milano
  • Munich - Udine - Venice
  • Munich - Ljubljana - Zagreb 
  • Munich - Opatija - Rijeka
  • Hamburg - Basel - Zürich
  • Hamburg - Linz - Vienna
  • Hamburg - Munich - Innsbruck
  • Düsseldorf - Linz - Vienna
  • Düsseldorf - Cologne - Innsbruck

 

Read more about the ÖBB Nightjet

EuroNight Hans Albers
  • Hamburg – Nuremberg – Vienna


Read more about the EuroNight Hans Albers
EuroNight Kálmán Imre
  • Munich – Salzburg – Vienna – Budapest


Read more about the EuroNight Kálmán Imre
EuroNight Lisinski
  • Munich – Ljubljana – Zagreb


Read more about the EuroNight Lisinski
EuroNight Metropol
  • Berlin – Prague – Bratislava – Budapest

  • Berlin – Prague – Vienna


Read more about the EuroNight Metropol

 

Scenic train routes in Germany

Black Forest Line

  • Offenburg to Konstanz, through the Black Forest and small villages.


Rhine Valley Line

  • Koblenz to Mainz, through the German wine country.'

 

 

 

 

Private railway companies in Germany 

Your Interrail Pass can also be used on a several private railway companies in Germany.

Popular Connections in Germany

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

Route ICE
Berlin to Cologne 4.5 hours
Berlin to Frankfurt 4 hours
Berlin to Hamburg 2 hours
Berlin to Munich 6 hours
Frankfurt to Cologne 1 hour
Frankfurt to Munich 3.5 hours
Hamburg to Cologne 4 hours
Hamburg to Frankfurt 4 hours
Hamburg to Munich 6 hours
Munich to Cologne 4.5 hours
Route Which train? Travel time Reservations
Berlin to Amsterdam (Netherlands) Intercity 6:20 Optional
Berlin to Prague (Czech Republic) EuroCity 4:30 Optional
Berlin to Warsaw (Poland) Berlin-Warsaw Express 5:45 Required
Berlin to Zurich (Switzerland) ÖBB Nightjet 10:00 (overnight) Required
Dresden to Wroclaw (Poland) trilex regional train 4:00 Not required
Düsseldorf / Frankfurt to Amsterdam (Netherlands) ICE 2:15 / 3:55 Optional
Frankfurt to Brussels (Belgium) ICE 3:05 Optional
Frankfurt to Paris (France) TGV / ICE 3:50 Required
Hamburg to Zurich (Switzerland) ICE / ÖBB Nightjet 7:35 / 10:55 (overnight) Optional / Required
Hamburg to Aarhus (Denmark) IC train 4:26 Required from June 7th until August 31st
Hamburg to Copenhagen (Denmark) ICE  4:44 Required from March 30th until September 29th
Munich to Innsbruck (Austria) EuroCityBrenner 1:45 Required
Munich to Paris (France) TGV 6:10 Required
Munich to Rome (Italy) ÖBB Nightjet 11:30 (overnight) Required
Munich to Venice (Italy) EuroCityBrenner / ÖBB Nightjet 6:20 / 9:00 (overnight) Required
Munich to Vienna (Austria) RailJet 4:10 Optional
Nuremberg to Prague (Czech Republic) DB Express Bus 3:40 Required

Reservations for trains in Germany

Which trains in Germany require reservations?

  • No reservations: Regional (RE, RB, IR).

  • Optional (but recommended during busy periods): InterCity (IC) / ICE / EuroCity (EC).

  • Required: All night trains.


Do you plan on booking international trains? Your Interrail Pass needs to be valid in each country that the train goes through. Exceptions are routes from Germany to the train stations of Basel (Switzerland) and Salzburg (Austria) - an Interrail Pass valid in Germany will cover these trips.

 

The ICE Paris-Frankfurt train has a limited amount of seats for Interrail Pass Holders. Our advice is to book this train well in advance, especially if you plan to travel in high season (May to September).

 

How can I make reservations for high-speed and night trains in Germany?

  • Online through the Reservation Service.

  • Online via the Rail Planner App.

  • In person at ticket desks or self-service machines in German railway stations.

  • By phone through the Deutsche Bahn call center

Go to the DB contact page. There are phone numbers for English, French, Danish, Italian, Dutch, or German speaking customer service representatives. 

 

For more information about reservations in Germany:

Reservations for Thalys trains cannot be made through the Deutsche Bahn website. You can instead make them via the call center, a DB agency or at the ticket desks at German train stations. Find out how to make your Thalys reservations.
 
Get your Pass 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 € 166

 

View Germany Passes 

Interrail Global Pass

 
  • Travel by train in up to 33 countries in Europe including Germany.

  • Discounts available for youth, seniors and families.

  • Prices from € 185

 

View Global Passes 

 
Tips and tricks in Germany

The main German 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

Spelling of names in Germany

Sometimes the German spelling of cities is different to what you're used to. You'll 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

Ferry travel and other discounts

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

 

See all Interrail benefits in Germany

 
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