Home Infos & Tips Train Travel in Germany: Tickets, Trains, and More…

Train Travel in Germany: Tickets, Trains, and More…

A Quick Overview

Where can I buy train tickets in Germany?

You can buy train tickets in Germany online through the Deutsche Bahn website or app, or in-person at a train station. Find out more…

How can I buy train tickets ahead of time in Germany?

There are several options available – you can buy train tickets ahead of time in Germany by booking online through the Deutsche Bahn website or app, or by purchasing tickets in-person at a train station.

Can I change or cancel my train ticket in Germany?

It depends on the type of ticket you have. It’s a good idea to check the terms and conditions of your ticket before purchasing to see what options are available. More on it here…

Germany is a beautiful country with a well-developed railway system that connects various cities and towns across the country, and with the right train tickets in Germany you can travel between the cities and towns just like any local does.

Trains are a popular choice for both locals and tourists to travel around the country. With a dense network of tracks and trains that run frequently, it’s easy to get from one city to another by train in Germany.

However, it can be difficult to get a grasp of the various tickets and fares to travel by train in Germany. In this blog post, we will guide you on how to book Deutsche Bahn tickets for your German train travel, as well as provide helpful tips on navigating train stations in Germany.

Types of Trains

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German Rail – The Deutsche Bahn (DB) is the most important railway company in Germany
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The German rail network is very reliable and efficient, and the Deutsche Bahn (DB) is the national railway company that operates most of the trains in Germany.

The following are the different types of trains in Germany:

  • Intercity Express (ICE) – These are high-speed trains that operate on long-distance routes. They are the fastest and most comfortable trains in Germany, with speeds of up to 320 km/h. ICE trains have first and second-class seats, and they offer amenities such as onboard Wi-Fi, food and drink service, and power outlets. ICE trains are often used by business travelers and tourists looking for a faster and more comfortable way to travel between cities.
  • InterCity (IC) – These are also long-distance trains that operate on medium to long-distance routes. IC trains have first and second-class seats, and they offer amenities such as food and drink service and power outlets. While IC trains are not as fast as ICE trains, they still provide a comfortable and convenient way to travel between cities.
  • Regional Express (RE) – These are fast regional trains that operate on medium-distance routes. RE trains have first and second-class seats, and they stop at major train stations. They are often used by commuters and travelers looking to travel between cities within the same region.

A Brief History of the DB

The history of railways in Germany dates back to the early 19th century when the first steam-powered railway was built between Nuremberg and Fürth in Bavaria in 1835.

In 1920, the Deutsche Reichsbahn was founded as the national railway company of Germany.

After the war, the Deutsche Reichsbahn was divided into two companies: the Deutsche Bundesbahn in West Germany and the Deutsche Reichsbahn in East Germany.

In 1994, the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn were merged to form the Deutsche Bahn (DB). The DB is now the largest railway company in Germany, operating a vast network of trains and stations throughout the country.

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  • Regionalbahn (RB) – These are slower regional trains that operate on short to medium-distance routes. RB trains have second-class seats only, and they stop at all train stations. RB trains are often used by commuters and travelers looking to travel between smaller towns and cities within the same region.
  • S-Bahn – These are commuter trains that operate within major cities and their surrounding suburbs. They are similar to the subway or metro systems in other countries, but they also serve areas outside the city center. S-Bahn trains have second-class seats only, and they are often used by commuters traveling to and from work.
  • U-Bahn – These are rapid transit trains that operate within major cities. They are similar to the subway or metro systems in other countries, and they serve the city center and surrounding areas. U-Bahn trains are often used by commuters and tourists looking to travel within the city quickly and conveniently.

However, these are by far not all types of trains you can and will find in Germany. There are a few other types of trains in Germany, like the City Night Line (CNL), the Erixx, the Metronom, and others that are local and typical for the according region where you find them in.

Buying Train Tickets in Germany

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Deutsche Bahn tickets can be bought at every station in Germany
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There are several options for buying Deutsche Bahn tickets in Germany, including:

  • Online: You can purchase train tickets in Germany online through the Deutsche Bahn website or app. This is a convenient and reliable option as you can book your tickets in advance and avoid long lines at train stations.
  • Train Stations: You can also buy train tickets at train stations in Germany. Simply go to the ticket counter or ticket machine, select your travel destination, and choose your preferred class and fare. Payment can be made using cash, credit or debit card, or EC card.
  • Travel Agencies: There are travel agencies in Germany that also sell train tickets. This can be a convenient option if you are already booking other travel arrangements through a travel agent. However, you may be charged a service fee for this option.

It’s important to note that ticket prices for the German rail can vary depending on the type of train, class, and fare type you choose. It’s also advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability and avoid last-minute price hikes. Additionally, Deutsche Bahn offers various discount options, including the Bahncard, which can save you up to 50% off regular fares.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying Tickets Online

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Train Station in Germany – If you forgot to buy your ticket online, you can do it right at the station

Booking Deutsche Bahn tickets is easy and can be done through various channels. When booking online, you can either use the Deutsche Bahn website or a third-party booking platform. However, it’s important to note that using the Deutsche Bahn website is the most convenient and reliable option.

Fun Fact: Germany’s Bahncard, a discount card for train travel, was introduced in 1992 and has since become a popular option for frequent train travelers, offering discounts of up to 50%.

To book a ticket online, follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Go to the Deutsche Bahn website and select your preferred language.
  • Step 2: Enter your departure and destination stations, travel dates, and number of passengers.
  • Step 3: Choose your preferred train, class, and fare type.
  • Step 4: Enter your personal details and payment information.
  • Step 5: Review your booking and confirm it.

Once you have booked your Deutsche Bahn ticket, you will receive a confirmation email with your ticket details. You can either print your ticket or save it on your mobile device and present it at the train station.

Types of Tickets

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Deutsche Bahn offers various types of tickets, including:

  • Flexpreis Ticket: This is a flexible ticket that allows you to travel on any train on your chosen route, regardless of the time of day. However, it is more expensive than other ticket types.
  • Sparpreis Ticket: This is a discounted ticket that is only valid for a specific train and time. The earlier you book, the cheaper the ticket.
  • Super Sparpreis Ticket: This is the cheapest ticket type, but it is only available for a limited number of seats on specific trains. It is also non-refundable and non-exchangeable.
  • Bahncard: This is a discount card that offers up to 50% off regular fares. There are three types of Bahncard: Bahncard 25, Bahncard 50, and Bahncard 100.

Change and Cancellation

Train Station in Germany – German Trains are perhaps the most convenient way of travelling in Germany

Fun Fact: The ICE 3, a high-speed train operated by the DB, holds the world record for the fastest scheduled train journey, reaching speeds of 368 km/h.

It is possible to change or cancel your train ticket in Germany, but the conditions and fees vary depending on the type of ticket you purchased.

If you have a Flexpreis ticket, you can change or cancel your ticket up until the day before departure, without incurring any fees. However, if you cancel on the day of departure or after the train has left, you will not be entitled to a refund.

If you have a Sparpreis or Super Sparpreis ticket, the conditions for changing or canceling are more restrictive. With a Sparpreis ticket, you can only change your ticket once, and it must be done at least one day before departure. There is also a fee of 10 euros for changing your ticket. If you cancel your ticket, you will be charged a fee of 19 euros. With a Super Sparpreis ticket, changes or cancellations are not permitted. These tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.

German Train – Tickets for the U-Bahn in Germany are usually non-refundable and non-exchangable

To change or cancel your train ticket in Germany, you can do so online through the Deutsche Bahn website or app, or in-person at a train station. If you booked through a third-party platform, you will need to contact them directly to make changes or cancellations.

When changing your ticket, you will need to provide your original booking information and select a new travel date and time. If there is a price difference between your original and new ticket, you will need to pay the difference or receive a refund if the new ticket is cheaper.

It’s important to note that if you have a Bahncard, you can receive a discount on ticket changes or cancellations. Bahncard 25 holders receive a 25% discount, Bahncard 50 holders receive a 50% discount, and Bahncard 100 holders receive a 100% discount on ticket changes or cancellations.

Fun Fact: Germany’s rail network is one of the most extensive in Europe, covering over 33,000 kilometers of track and connecting nearly every major city in the country. Furthermore, Germany’s train stations are known for their unique architecture and design, with some of the most notable examples including the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Uelzen Hauptbahnhof and the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof.

Plan ahead

Train travel is a great way to discover Germany. You can reach all the major cities within a short time, and explore the area using the close-distance trains. However, you might want to pay attention. It’s generally cheaper to book tickets in advance, especially if you book online. It’s also a good idea to book your tickets as soon as possible if you’re traveling during peak periods. On holidays or during special events, trains can get very busy and tickets may sell out. Overall, it’s best to plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance to ensure a smooth and stress-free train trip in Germany.

Train tickets in Germany – FAQ

How do I buy a train ticket in Germany?

You can buy train tickets in Germany at the station, either at a counter or from a ticket machine, or online through the DB website or app. You can also purchase tickets through travel agencies or online ticketing platforms.

Are there discounts available for train travel in Germany?

Yes, there are several options for discounts on train travel in Germany. There are also discounts available for children, students, and seniors.

Do I need to make a seat reservation on all trains in Germany?

No, seat reservations are not required, but rather recommended. They can be made at the station or online and are generally recommended, especially if you’re traveling during peak times or on a long-distance journey.

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