Buy tickets for trains in Germany

Germany by train.  There's no check-in, walk into the station, glance at the indicator board to find your train & hop on, any time before departure...

Buy German train tickets online direct from DB at

Buy train tickets for Germany direct from DB

Buy direct from Deutsche Bahn with no booking fee.

Tip: Register when prompted so you can log in and check or re-print your tickets at any time.


Book your hotels at


Inter-city train tickets from €12.90

Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) high-speed IC and ICE trains are easily the best way to travel between major town & cities all over Germany, in comfort at ground level.  DB's ICE trains travel at up to 186 mph from city centre to city centre, and if you pre-book direct with the operator you can find some really cheap fares.

Train travel within Germany

small bullet point  How to buy tickets online

small bullet point  How to buy tickets by phone

small bullet point  DB's discount card:  Bahncard25, Bahncard 50

small bullet point  Deutschlandticket - €49 for a month on regional trains

small bullet point  Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket: €46 for 1 day regional travel

small bullet point  Lander tickets: Unlimited train travel in one region

small bullet point  Bayern Ticket:  €29 for 1 day unlimited travel in Bavaria

small bullet point  Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket: discontinued

small bullet point  Railpasses for Germany

small bullet point  Maps of the German rail network

small bullet point  What are German trains like?  ICE, IC, R/RB/RE, sleepers

small bullet point  Travel tips: Luggage, food & drink, lounges...

small bullet point  How to visit Neuschwanstein Castle

small bullet point  How to visit the Harz steam railway & Brocken

small bullet point  How to visit Obersalzberg & Eagle's Nest

small bullet point  Escape to Colditz by train

small bullet point  Useful country information: currency, dial code...

small bullet point  Recommended guidebooks

small bullet point  Travel insurance, mobile data, VPN & other tips

small bullet point  Hotels convenient for arrival by train

International trains to & from Germany

small bullet point  Trains from the UK to Germany

small bullet point  Trains to Germany from other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Berlin to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Hamburg to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Cologne & Düsseldorf to other cities

small bullet point  Trains from Frankfurt to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Munich to other European cities

small bullet point  Munich to Prague by train not bus

small bullet point  Berlin to Prague by train

small bullet point  Berlin-Warsaw Express trains

Station guides

small bullet point  Berlin Hbf station guide

small bullet point  Cologne Hbf station guide

small bullet point  Hamburg Hbf station guide

small bullet point  Munich Hbf station guide

General train travel information

small bullet point  General European train travel information

small bullet point  Train seat numbering plans

small bullet point  Luggage on trains   

small bullet point  Luggage lockers at stations

small bullet point  Eurail passes &  Interrail passes

small bullet point  Taking bikes   Taking dogs

Useful country information

Train operator in Germany:

DB (Deutsche Bahn), see for train times, fares & online tickets within Germany.

All-Europe train times   Berlin S-bahn information    Berlin U-bahn information   Motorail - taking your car




Beginner's guide to European railpasses     Buy a rail pass online

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:




£1 = approx 1.15 euros  Check current exchange rates

Tourist information:   City tours    Recommended guidebooks

Hotels & accommodation:

Hotels in Germany convenient for arrival by train    Tours to Germany

Page last updated:

7 February 2024

How to check train times & buy tickets

Do you need to book in advance?

When does booking open?

Flexpreis or Sparpreis?

Only one passenger name is needed

Tips for using

Competing lo-cost operator:  Flixtrain

Buy tickets by phone in the UK

Custom-made tours of Germany by train

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DB's discount card:  Bahncard

What are Bahncards?

Types of Bahncard

Check prices & buy a Bahncard

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Special regional tickets

These one-day unlimited travel passes are well worth knowing about, even though they're not valid on fast long-distance trains, only on slower regional trains.  If you want a railpass valid on all trains, including high-speed and long-distance ones, see the German Rail Pass section below.

Deutschland ticket


Lander tickets

Bayern ticket

Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket Discontinued

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Railpasses for Germany

Interrail Germany pass:  Click to check prices & buy online

German Rail pass

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Maps of the German rail network

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What are German trains like?

InterCity Express (ICE)

InterCity Express high-speed trains, usually known as ICE, are German Railways' front-rank trains, travelling at up to 200 km/h (186 mph, ICE3), 280 km/h (175 mph, ICE1 & ICE2) or 250 km/h (155 mph, ICE4).  They have 1st & 2nd class, a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  More about ICE trains.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M at Brussels Midi.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.


1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

InterCity trains (IC)

InterCity trains travel at up to 200 km/h (125 mph), usually using a locomotive and conventional carriages.  Some InterCity trains cross borders into neighbouring countries and these may be classified EuroCity (EC) rather than InterCity.  Power sockets at all seats, and usually some sort of refreshment service.  More about IC trains.

Amsterdam to Berlin train, at Amsterdam

A German Intercity train at Amsterdam Centraal.

2nd class seats on an Amsterdam to Berlin train

2nd class seating on an Intercity train.  Larger photo.

Regional trains

Regional trains are shown as R, RB, RE and so on, where RE is a faster regional express.  Some are operated by Deutsche Bahn (DB, German Railways), others are outsourced to private operators such as Abellio, Metronom, Erixx, but still run as part of the national network with tickets sold by DB at  They come in many different shapes and sizes, some single-deck, some double-deck.  No  catering, so bring your own food & drink.  No seat reservation necessary or possible, you sit where you like.

Seats on double-deck regional train   Double-deck regional train

Seats on a double-deck regional train.


DB Regio double-deck regional train at Hamburg.

German regional train   Seats on a German regional train

DB Regio regional train on a rural route.


2nd class seats on a rural DB Regio train.

Sleeper trains

There are several German domestic routes where a sleeper is an option.  These are now run by ÖBB (Austrian Railways) and branded Nightjet:

Düsseldorf, Cologne, Koblenz < > Munich, see the Nightjet page.

Hamburg, Hannover < > Munich, see the Nightjet New Generation page.

Seat numbering plans: Click here

There are several types of ICE, for plans of the seating layout on IC, ICE and various other types of train in Germany see the Train seat map page

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Travel tips

  Train composition display on station platform in Germany

Train formation poster or Wagenstandsanzeiger, on a German station platform, showing where along the platform each car of a train will stop, so you can be waiting in the right place when your train comes in!

Places not served by the main rail network

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Take a good guidebook.  For independent travel, the best guidebook is either the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.  Both guidebooks provide an excellent level of practical information and historical and cultural background.  You won't regret buying one!

Buy in the UK from

Or buy in the USA from

Rough Guide to Germany - buy online at


Lonely Planet Germany - buy online at


Click to buy - Lonely Planet Western Europe

Or buy the Lonely Planets from the Lonely Planet website, with shipping worldwide.    Alternatively, you can download just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF format from the Lonely Planet Website, from around £2.99 or US$4.95 a chapter.

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Tours of Germany by train

Railbookers logoRailbookers,

If you want to tour Germany by train, with all your train reservations and hotels sorted for you, contact rail travel specialists Railbookers and they'll create the best rail holiday for you, hassle-free.  They take good care of their clients and get a lot of repeat business.  They have offices in the UK, USA & Australia.

UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600,

US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

Canadian flag  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

New Zealand flag  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

Tailor Made Raill logoTailor Made Rail,

Tailor Made Rail can arrange tours of Germany by train based on your own requirements, they welcome complex itineraries.  As it's a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens on one part of the trip, for example, a national strike.  They're TTA-protected - like ATOL, but not only for agencies that sell air travel.

Call their dedicated seat61 phone line 020 3778 1461 and quote seat 61 when booking.  From outside the UK call +44 20 3778 1461.  Lines open 09:00-17:30 Monday-Friday.  Their website is

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Recommended hotels

Here are my suggested hotels conveniently located for arrival by train in key German cities, all with good or great reviews.  You are unlikely to be disappointed by any hotel scoring over 8.0 out of 10 on

In Berlin

In Cologne

In Frankfurt

In Hamburg

In Munich

Find hotels at for hotels

I generally use for hotels for 3 reasons:

(1) It keeps all my hotel bookings together in one place;

(2) I've come to trust's review scores;

(3) usually offers a clearly-marked Free cancellation option.

Free cancellation means you can secure hotels risk-free even before trains open for booking, and if necessary change those bookings if your plans evolve.

If I'm only staying a night or two, I look for a hotel near the station to make arrival & departure easy.  You can enter the station name (e.g. Berlin Hbf) as search location.  If staying longer, I look for a hotel close to the sights, entering the name of a city attraction as the search location, then using map view.

I then look for a hotel with a review score of 8.0 or over, any hotel scoring over that won't disappoint.

AirBnB: began in 2008 when two designers who had space to share hosted three travellers looking for a place to stay.  AirBnB is a platform which connects hosts with guests, so you can now book a room in people's homes, or an apartment, flat or house which people want to rent out.  It can be nicer than a hostel, cheaper than many hotels.

Backpacker hostels:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

Travel insurance & other tips


Staysure travel insurance


Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with myself.  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA. logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card! is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.


Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.


Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.


Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from or Buy from

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!

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