Buy ICE tickets

from €18.90 at

Buy ICE train tickets from DB

Buy direct from Deutsche Bahn with fares from €18.90 upwards, no booking fees, on ICE & IC trains you can usually pick specific seats from a seating plan, and in most cases you simply print your own ticket. 

Definitely register when prompted, so you can log in & check or re-print tickets at any time.

What is an ICE?

ICE - InterCity Express - is the brand name for Deutsche Bahn's (German Railways) premier high-speed trains.  There are various types, some of which can run at up to 300 km/h (186 mph) on Germany's high speed lines and up to 230km/h (130 mph) on upgraded conventional lines.  The ICE is arguably Europe's most comfortable, civilised & impressive high-speed train, with a very high-spec interior including free WiFi, power sockets at all seats, and a restaurant car.

small bullet point  ICE1 & ICE2

small bullet point  ICE3

small bullet point  ICE4

small bullet point  ICE-L & ICE-T

small bullet point  Travel tips:  WiFi, catering, choosing a seat...

small bullet point  See this month's bistro-restaurant car menu

Which ICE operates which route?

Paris-Germany ICEs are always ICE3, usually the latest class 407 type.

Brussels-Germany ICEs are always ICE3 of the international ICE3M type.

Amsterdam-Düsseldorf-Frankfurt ICEs are ICE3 of the international ICE3M type.

Vienna-Germany ICEs are always ICE-T, of the 7-car type.

Switzerland-Germany ICEs are ICE1 & ICE-T, but ICE4 is taking over most services.

Cologne-Hannover-Berlin ICEs are all ICE2.  Hamburg-Berlin is a mix of ICE1 and ICE4.

Tip:  To find out which type of ICE operates a specific train, look up the train at and click for details to see the train number.  Then look up that train number at

ICE 1 & ICE 2

ICE1 & ICE 2 run at up to 280 km/h (174 mph) when using the new high-speed lines.  They have the most impressive interiors of all the ICEs.  ICE1 runs routes into Switzerland, but is being replaced by ICE4.  ICE2 operates the Cologne-Ruhr-Hannover-Berlin ICE service.  Virtual tour ICE1.  Virtual tour ICE2.  Seat map ICE1.   Seat map ICE2.

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

ICE1 or ICE2, 2nd class.  Larger photo.


An ICE1 at Berlin Hbf.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2 at Berlin Hbf.


ICE1 or ICE2 1st class seats.  Larger photo.

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

ICE1 restaurant car.  Larger photoSample menu.


ICE1 bar car.  Larger photo Sample menu.

Food on ICE   Meal in ICE restaurant car

Food on board an ICE, served on proper crockery with metal cutlery.  No airline plastic here.

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ICE3s can run at up to 300 km/h (186mph), in fact, up to 320 km/h (199 mph) on high-speed lines in France.  They come in 4 variants:

ICE3 class 403 operates various other German domestic routes including Cologne-Munich, see class 403 seat map

ICE3M class 406 is equipped for the Brussels-Cologne-Frankfurt & Amsterdam-Cologne-Frankfurt international routes.  They are notorious for software problems especially when switching to Belgian electricity, and will be progressively replaced by the newer more reliable ICE3neo class 408 between June 2024 and December 2025.  Virtual tour ICE3M See ICE3M class 406 seat map.

ICE3 class 407 is a close cousin of Eurostar's e320, they operate Frankfurt-Paris, see class 407 seat map

ICE3neo class 408 is now entering service on various routes in Germany.  Unlike other ICE3 trains, ICE3neo has 8 spaces for bikes in the 2nd class end car.  They will take over all Brussels-Cologne-Frankfurt & Amsterdam-Cologne-Frankfurt services by December 2025.

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.

1st class 6-seat compartment on ICE3M train   Cafe-bar on ICE3M train

Compartments:  ICE3s are almost entirely open-plan 'saloon' seating.  But ICE3Ms have two 6-seat & one 4-seat 1st class compartments, two 6-seat & one 5-seat 2nd class compartments.


Cafe-bar counter on an ICE3M, with small standing area.  On ICE3Ms there's a second  larger standing area on the other side of the bar.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I highly recommend the Erdinger Weissbier.  Sample menu.


Restaurant:  This is the 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

ICE3 train at Brussels   ICE3 seats behind cab

Boarding an ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt at Brussels Midi.


Viewing seats on ICE3 classes 403 & 406 (class 407 doesn't have a viewing area).  1st class at one end of the train, 2nd class at the other end.  The glass can be electronically frosted, Dutch & Belgian drivers tend to leave it frosted.

Video guide:  ICE3

This is an ICE3M class 406, as used between Brussels/Amsterdam and Frankfurt.  For a video of a Paris-Frankfurt journey by ICE3 class 407, see here.

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This addition to the ICE family can only travel at 230 km/h, 250 km/h or 265 km/h depending on the type.  They run on various German domestic routes including Hamburg-Cologne-Frankfurt-Munich, and they've taken over many Hamburg-Switzerland & Berlin-Switzerland services from ICE1.  One key difference from previous ICEs is that ICE4 carries bikes, with 8 bike spaces.  ICE4s have a similar interior to the other ICEs, most with a restaurant car.  ICE4 is a nice train, but it appears to be a cut-price version when you compare it to the glitzy ICE1/2/3.  See the video, Berlin to Munich by ICE4.

ICE4 at Munich Hbf

An ICE4 at Munich Hbf.  Click on the interior images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.


Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.


2nd class seats on an ICE4.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Lunch and an Erdinger in the restaurant car.


An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.


The first ICE-L trainsets are due to enter service in late 2024, replacing Intercity trains on the Amsterdam-Berlin route.  The L stands for Low-Floor, as unlike all other ICEs these trains are composed of a locomotive pulling or pushing little articulated carriages built by the Spanish Talgo company.  Each ICE-L car is half the length of a conventional ICE car and articulated to its neighbour with just two wheels under each articulation, rather than a conventional 4-wheel bogie.  Like other ICEs, they will have 1ast & 2nd class, power sockets, WiFi and a restaurant car.  Unlike most other ICEs, they will have spaces for bikes.


ICE-T can run at up to 230 km/h (143 mph).  Fitted with a tilting body so it can corner faster on conventional routes, the ICE-T is similar in appearance and interior to ICE3, but with a slightly blunter nose.  Some ICE-Ts have 7 cars and feature a restaurant car, other ICE-Ts have 5 cars with a smaller bistro car.  Seating is similar to ICE3.  You'll find ICE-T on routes such as Vienna-Nuremberg-Frankfurt (7-car version) and the direct Vienna-Berlin ICE is also an ICE-T 7-car.  7-car ICE-T trains now have spaces for 3 bikes.  Virtual tour ICE-T.  ICE-T 7-car seat map ICE-T 5-car seat map.

An ICE train at Vienna Hbf

An ICE-T from Vienna, arrived in Frankfurt.

ICE-T restaurant car   ICE-T restaurant car meal

Restaurant car on a Vienna-Frankfurt ICE-T.  Take a seat at any table and the waiter will take your order.  At the other end of the car is a counter where you can buy snacks, drinks & food to take back to your seat.  In 1st class, staff take you food & drink orders and serve you at your seat, you don't need to visit the restaurant.

ICE-T restaurant car   ICE-T restaurant car meal

Most seats are open plan, similar to ICE3.  However, an unusual feature of the ICE-T is these two 1st class 4-seat semi-compartments in one of the cars, ideal for families, small groups or a business meeting on the rails.  Opposite these semi-compartments are a couple of tables-for-two, my favourite configuration.

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

As with ICE3, you can see into the cab.


Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna.

ICE-T train at Vienna Hbf

An ICE-T train boarding in Vienna.

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Travel tips

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See this month's bistro & restaurant menu

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