Fast and efficient German trains take you to just about any city or town in Germany you can think of...and many more. Here's a map showing the major routes of the German rail system; there are many smaller train lines.
Germany Rail Map
Guide to German Trains
Typical Journey Times Via German Trains
- Munich-Berlin: 6:13
- Cologne-Munich 4:30
- Hamburg-Berlin: 1:43
- Dusseldorf-Frankfurt: 1:35
In general, rail passes can save you money when you travel long distances in a day. Short day trips with a return to a big city are relatively inexpensive in Germany, especially on weekends, so you don't want to use up a rail pass day on a short trip. A trip from Berlin to nearby Leipzig on the high speed ICE train takes just over an hour and costs $35 to $60, depending upon time of day and the speed of the train you select. Keep this in mind when deciding between tickets purchased either on line or in the station when you're in Germany.
- German Rail Pass -- Three days of continuous travel; choice of 1st or 2nd class.
Classes of Trains in Germany
Besides the high speed ICE trains there are Intercity (IC) trains and Eurocity (EC) trains plying the regional routes and ingernational routes at maximum speeds of 200km per hour, just slightly slower then the Intercity Express (ICE) trains. You can book tickets for these trains 90 days in advance.
Germany’s regional (RE, RB, IR) trains do not require reservations.
Travel on weekends is usually quite a bit cheaper than during the weekdays. Off-peak trains are cheaper than morning and evening trains taking people to work or to meetings in other cities.
Germany's main hub stations are Berlin Hbf, Köln Hbf (Cologne), München Hbf (Munich) and Frankfurt Hbf. HBF stands for Hauptbahnhof, the central train station in a city or town in Germany.
You can travel internationally at night on the ÖBB Nightjet, sleeping in a Sleeper car, Couchette coach, or just in a seat.
You can book individual tickets online on the DB website.
To compare the price of tickets and the duration of any European trip on a plane, bus, or train, see the Omio box below.