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Germany By Train

Germany is filled with interesting destinations, like the dynamic capital Berlin, the enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle or major cities like Cologne, Hamburg or Munich. You can also explore the dense forests, mountainous regions, river valleys or sea coast. In short – Germany has it all.

Domestic connections in Germany

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

In Germany it's not mandatory to have a seat reservation on the ICE trains. However, we recommend you to buy a seat reservation, especially if you're traveling in a group. This way you can not be asked to leave a seat, which might happen if you don't have a reservation. We'll explain you more about reservations in Germany a bit further down on this page.


View approximate train travel times between Germany's key cities with high-speed ICE trains.


From / To ICE high-speed train

Berlin - Munich


Berlin - Frankfurt

4hr 10min

Berlin - Hamburg

1hr 45min

Berlin - Cologne

4hr 30min

Hamburg - Frankfurt


Hamburg - Cologne


Hamburg - Munich


Frankfurt - Munich

3hr 35min

Frankfurt - Cologne

1hr 15min

Munich - Cologne

4hr 35min

Train types in Germany

There are a number of train types in Germany ready to transport you both day and night. The German train network is operated by Deutsche Bahn. Use the Eurail train timetable to check times for trains in Germany.

Regional and intercity trains in Germany

The main rail network in Germany is made up of the following regional trains and intercity trains:

  • Regional Express trains connect regional destinations with larger cities. It makes frequent stops and connects with high-speed ICE trains.

  • Regional bahn trains link all local towns. These trains are slower than Regional Express trains.

  • InterRegional trains connect Germany’s regions.

  • S-Bahn (suburban trains) is a network of trains that operate within most big cities, including Berlin and Munich.

  • InterCity trains operate domestically and internationally between key cities. They are slower than the high-speed ICE trains as they make more stops.


Your Eurail pass is also valid on various private railway companies in Germany. Find out which ones in this PDF or on this page.

On the Eurail timetable regional trains appear as 'RE', 'RB', 'IR' and 'IC'. Reservations are not required for regional and intercity trains.

High-speed trains in Germany

International high-speed trains in Germany

These high-speed trains operate to and from Germany:

  • RailJet connects Munich to Vienna, Salzburg (Austria), Prague (Czech Republic) and Budapest (Hungary)

  • Thalys links Cologne to Paris (France) and Brussels (Belgium)

  • TGV connects Munich to Paris (France)

  • ICE connects Frankfurt to Paris (France) and Hamburg to Copenhagen (Denmark)


Domestic high-speed trains in Germany

These high-speed trains operate within Germany:

  • ICE (InterCity Express) is the most popular train in Germany, connecting key cities. These high-speed trains travel at speeds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h).


ICE trains include an on-board restaurant. Snacks and drinks can also be served to your seat.  In 1st class there may be extras, like newspapers, power sockets, audio channels and video screens.

On the Eurail timetable RailJet trains are shown as 'RJ', ICE trains simply as 'ICE', Thalys as 'THA' and TGV as 'TGV'. Reservations are compulsory for Thalys and TGV trains. The international ICE route Frankfurt to Paris also has a compulsory reservation. For RailJet and ICE, reservations are optional but we recommend making reservations during weekends and busy periods.

Night trains in Germany

The following night trains connect Germany with other European countries:

  • ÖBB Nightjet (EN)
    Connects Germany to key cities in Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Key routes include:
    Munich - Salzburg - Florence - Rome
    Hamburg – Berlin - Basel - Zürich
    Hamburg - Hanover - Vienna
    Düsseldorf - Cologne - Frankfurt - Vienna

  • EuroNight Berlin Night Express
    Berlin – Malmö

  • EuroNight 420/421
    Cologne – Frankfurt – Vienna

  • EuroNight Kálmán Imre
    Munich – Salzburg – Vienna – Budapest

  • EuroNight Metropol
    Berlin – Prague – Bratislava – Budapest
    Berlin – Prague – Vienna

  • EuroNight Lisinski
    Munich – Ljubljana – Zagreb


Domestic night trains in Germany

  • ÖBB Nightjet connects several German cities by night

  • Hamburg - Berlin - Munich

  • Düsseldorf - Cologne - Frankfurt/Munich

ÖBB Nightjet trains appear on the Eurail timetable as "EN", same as the EuroNight trains. On these trains you're required to book seats or sleeping accommodation in advance.

Scenic train routes in Germany

There are 2 scenic train routes that run in Germany:


Train stations of bordering countries

With a Eurail pass valid in Germany you can travel to the following train stations of countries that border Germany:

  • Basel (Switzerland)

  • Salzburg (Austria)

International connections to and from Germany

We suggest the following routes to travel between Germany and other European countries:

  • Austria – Germany
    Travel by day from Munich to Innsbruck (1hr 50min) on EuroCity (EC) trains or to Vienna (4hr 15min) on Austrian RailJet trains.

  • Belgium – Germany
    Travel by day to Brussels from Frankfurt (3hr 15min) with ICE trains.

  • Czech Republic – Germany
    Travel with EuroCity (EC) trains from Berlin to Prague (4hr 40min), or the DB Express Bus from Nuremberg or Munich (3hr 35min).

  • France – Germany
    Travel by ICE from Frankfurt to Paris (4hr), by TGV from Munich (6hr) to Paris. 

  • Italy – Germany
    Travel from Munich to Venice (9hr) or Rome (12hr) on the ÖBB Nightjet night train, or travel by day on EuroCity (EC) between Munich and Venice.

  • Netherlands – Germany
    Go by day from Frankfurt (4hr) or Düsseldorf (2hr 10min) with an ICE train.

  • Poland – Germany
    Get to Warsaw (5hr 35min) from Berlin with the Berlin-Warsaw Express.

  • Switzerland – Germany
    Go by night with ÖBB Nightjet to Zurich from Hamburg (11hr 50min) via Berlin. There are various ICE and InterCity (IC) trains crossing the Swiss border into Germany.
  • Denmark – Germany
    Travel by ICE and IC to Copenhagen (4hr 45min) or Aarhus (4hr 30min) from Hamburg.


International ferry connections to and from Germany

You can also travel to and from Germany by ferry. Get a discount on specific routes with a Eurail pass.

  • Finland – Germany
    Sail with Finnlines from Rostock or Travemünde to Helsinki (Finland). Get a 30% discount with Eurail passes.

  • Poland – Germany
    Sail from Rostock to Gdynia with Finnlines and get 30% off with Eurail passes.

  • Sweden – Germany
    Travel from Travemünde to Malmö (Sweden) with Finnlines. Get a 20% discount with Eurail passes.

Reservations for trains in Germany

What trains require reservations?

Germany’s regional (RE, RB, IR) trains do not require reservations. Reservations are optional for InterCity (IC), EuroCity (EC) and ICE trains, but at busy times we recommend making a reservation in order to guarantee yourself a seat. Reservations are required for all night trains; prices depend on the type of seat or sleeping accommodation you choose. All the trains listed above are included in Eurail passes (where Germany is a chosen country), you only need to make reservations for those trains mentioned. For international trains, the Eurail pass must be valid in all countries the train runs through.


Please note that the number of seats available for Eurail pass holders is limited on the ICE Paris-Frankfurt train. We advise you to reserve this train as far in advance as possible especially during peak season (May-September).


How to make reservations for German trains

You can make reservations for domestic and international high-speed trains and night trains:

  • Through our Reservation Service.

  • Through the Rail Planner App

  • At a ticket desk or self-service machine at local train stations.

  • Online through the DB website.
    Please note that you can only make reservations for domestic trains and international night trains departing or arriving in Germany.

  • By phone through the Deutsche Bahn call center.
    Phone number: +49 1806 996 633
    Opening hours: 24/7

    When you call, you'll hear a German menu. Select extension "9" for an English menu, then "1" for train information and bookings. This call center does not charge a booking fee. Delivery costs are €3.50 to every country.

    You can also pick up your reservations at larger German train stations. Just take the order number you received on the phone, to a ticket window or a 'self-service' machine in the station.


Find out more about reservations

Reservations for Thalys trains can no longer be made through the Deutsche Bahn website. You can instead make a reservation via a call center, a DB agency or at the ticket desks at German train stations. Find out how to make your Thalys reservations.

Rail passes for Germany

A Eurail Pass lets you explore everything there is to see in Germany's dynamic cities and fairytale villages. Speed from edgy Berlin to cultural Cologne, visit the port of Hamburg and lively Munich, and travel through the magical scenery of the Black Forest, all using just one rail pass. 

rail pass options for germany

Germany is not available as a Eurail One Country Pass.

If you only want to travel in Germany, check out the German Rail Pass.

Global Pass


Be free to visit Germany along with the other 32 Eurail countries.

Standard prices from € 185

Pass benefits for Germany

Get around with the S-Bahn

Eurail pass holders can travel for free on the S-Bahn (suburban metro railways) networks that DB operates in major German cities. The S-Bahn can be recognized by its logo (a white S on a green background).


Ferry buses to and from Germany

Free bus travel (reservation only) is an extra benefit of the Eurail Germany rail passes. Travel from Germany to Italy, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and many more countries.

See all pass benefits in Germany

Places to visit in Germany

    Interior of the Reichstag Berlin
Interior of the Reichstag Berlin

All sides of life in Berlin

Be prepared to see and do it all in Berlin. Learn about the city’s dark past, and celebrate its colorful rebirth. City tours allow you to walk, cycle, sail, ride or fly through Berlin and take in the culture, art, architecture and history that make this city famous. See the remains of the infamous Berlin Wall, and ride Europe’s fastest elevator to the panoramic observation deck in Potsdamer Platz.

Your Eurail pass is also valid on the S-bahn rapid transit system. Take the S-Bahn to Bahnhof Potsdamer Platz for the panoramic observation deck.

    View of Cologne
View of Cologne

Art, architecture and athletes in Cologne

One of the oldest towns in all of Germany, Cologne (Köln) was established in 50 A.D. Nevertheless, it’s still young at heart. Construction on the famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) began in 1248, and attracts 6 million visitors a year. On the modern side, Cologne is the leading media city in all of Germany. From the 900-year-old Town Hall to the Chocolate Museum, Cologne is not to be missed.

The famous Cologne Cathedral is less than a 10-minute walk from station Köln Hauptbahnhof.

    View of Frankfurt
View of Frankfurt

Delightful contradictions in Frankfurt

Although it is known as one of the financial and business centers of Germany, Frankfurt has no shortage of historical, artistic and architectural offerings to please even the most curious of travelers. Home to many trade shows, events and exhibitions, Frankfurt also offers quiet harbors, historical landmarks and cultural wonders. Not to mention beautiful natural surroundings.

The S-bahn will take you to the Hauptwache stop, in the middle of the great shopping area in Frankfurt: the Galeria Kaufhof shopping center.

    Town Hall, Munich
Town Hall, Munich

Memorable and majestic Munich

Ancient Bavaria blends with modern convenience in Munich (München), a lovely, ancient city on the Isar River. Although more than 70% of the city was destroyed during World War II, it has been carefully and lovingly restored to recapture its old-world appeal. Shopping, museums, nature and nightlife come together in one gloriously appealing city.

The S-bahn will conveniently drop you at Marienplatz City Center, where you can enjoy shopping, food and nightlife in one simple location.

    The old Speicherstadt in Hamburg
The old Speicherstadt in Hamburg

Port pleasures in Hamburg

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany, and its largest port city. Its position on the river Elbe connected northern Europe and Scandinavia with the world. A medieval city with modern features, this prosperous region’s skyline is dotted with church steeples, including St. Michel’s tower. Take a stroll through the old Speicherstadt, enjoy the food and shopping, and then dance the night away at the wide variety of nightclubs.

If you take the S-bahn to Stadthausbrücke, St. Michel’s is less than a 10-minute walk away.

    Black Forest scenery
Black Forest scenery

The Black Forest

Deep in the southwest corner of Germany lies the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), an enormous natural reserve that stretches more than 125 miles (200 km) long and 37 miles (60 km) wide. It’s home to lakes, rivers, nature hikes and an amusement park. Nature lovers shouldn’t miss it. Don't forget to pay a visit to Freiburg, a quaint town filled with hidden lanes and streams, sometimes called the 'capital' of the Black Forest.

From Freiburg, the towns and villages in the southern part of the Black Forest can be explored by bus and tram services.

Top attrations in Germany

More about Germany


Quick facts

  • Capital: Berlin

  • Population: 81.1 million

  • Language: German

  • Currency: Euro (EUR)

  • Dialing code: +49

German hub stations

Germany's main hub stations are Berlin Hbf, Köln Hbf (Cologne), München Hbf (Munich) and Frankfurt Hbf. At these train stations, it's possible to connect to trains to Germany's main cities and many international destinations.


Station facilities

Stations in Germany usually have excellent facilities, often including:

  • Luggage lockers

  • Foreign exchange desks

  • Restaurants and cafés

  • Tourist information offices

  • ATM cash machines

  • Elevators and escalators

  • Access for disabled passengers

Spelling of city names

On German train timetables and at train stations in Germany, you'll usually find the local spelling of German cities and stations.

Here is the local spelling of some popular German cities:

  • Hannover = Hanover

  • Cologne = Köln

  • Munich = München

  • Nuremberg = Nürnberg