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5-day German rail pass

Hi - I am planning a trip for my family of 5 (3 adults 2 children - 7 & 11 y/o) to Germany, Austria and Czech Republic.

Our itinerary is as below:
1. arrive at Frankfurt (1 night)
2. Go to Munich (3 nights)
3. go to Salzburg (3 nights)
4. Go to Vienna (4 nights)
5. Go to Prague (3 nights)

I am planning to travel by train.
1. Any suggestions on what's the least expensive option? I am trying to decide between 5-day German pass with extension for Austria and Czech costing about $2,100 (2nd class) versus point to point tickets (e.g. Right now I am getting Frankfurt to Munich tickets for all 5 on ICE train 1st class for EUR 189).
2. Also request guidance on any other factor to consider (such as restrictions , or anything else).
Thank you!

Posted by
5610 posts

You might change it up as follows:

Frankfurt - Prague - Munich - Salzburg - Vienna

DB sells those discounted fares you've already found for Frankfurt-Munich for Frankfurt - Prague (I see fares of €68-88 for the whole family) and Prague - Munich (€58 for some journeys) also. That covers the first 2 legs. Then you can use a Bayern ticket (€27, daypass on direct regional train) for the 3rd leg - Munich - Salzburg. Check the Austrian railways site for Salzburg - Vienna (or possibly buy Munich - Vienna tickets at DB - depends on your date but prices are as low as €58 for the whole family!! - and just forfeit the Munich-Salzburg part of that ticket.)

Add those fares up and you'll pay less than €250 for everything if you can snag them for your dates.

Posted by
18384 posts

I think the fares Russ is talking about are probably discounted Savings Fares, which are only available in 2nd class. But that's fine. You really don't need 1st class on German trains, and you can realize big savings with 2nd class.

My first trip to Europe was paid for by the company, and I traveled only in 1st class. My next trip was on my own dime, and I found a rail pass that was 2nd class at a very favorable rate. I found 2nd class very acceptable; in fact, I couldn't tell the difference. My third trip was again company paid, but I used 2nd class anyway. Since then (10) trips, I have only traveled 2nd class.

Posted by
16883 posts

To clarify some railpass options, with approximate prices:
4-country Select Saverpass 1st class: $500 per adult and half-price for kids = $1500
4-Country European East pass 2nd class: $240 per adult and half-price for kids + Frankfurt-Munich Discount ticket at $250 for the family = $970.
You're not traveling far enough to make the most of the passes available, so Russ's suggestions are more on track. We agree that second class is fine.

P.S. Unfortunately, there is no longer a 3-country pass available that covers your destinations.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks Russ & Lee. Appreciate your quick response and suggestions.
Unfortunately we are tied to the starting and ending sequence of our itinerary as we fly into Frankfurt and depart from Prague.
But the lower fares that you mentioned for the point to point tickets made me search again on the DB Bahn site and this time I used the "Saver Fare Finder" option from the home page. I found an afternoon train (14:54 from Frankfurt) to Munich (arrive 18:18) for only EUR 69 for all 5 of us! Also thanks for providing the color around 2nd class. I will use that!

Posted by
18384 posts

"Prague - Munich (€58 for some journeys)"

I think 58€ would be for 2 adults (children under 15 are free with a Savings Fare ticket) but the OP said there were 3 adults and 2 children. The lowest Savings Fare I see for their party is 87€. That is using the express Bahn IC bus. If they are willing to spend another hour, there are a number of direct regional trains between Munich and Prague. A Bayern-Böhmen ticket would be 44€ for a party of 5 and cover travel between Munich and Pilsen. Czech Rail tickets between Pilsen and Prague are about 3,50€/adult (not sure about children), so no more than 62€.

I don't think that the German Rail Pass Extension would get anything on Priyac's itinerary. Munich to Salzburg is covered by the German Rail Pass anyway. I don't think Salzburg to Vienna is covered by the extension. The description of the extension only says it's valid in Austria for the EC from Munich to Innsbruck via Kufstein. And Vienna to Prague would certainly not be covered for the direct route. If you use Russ's itinerary, then Munich to Prague would be covered as would Prague to Salzburg, if you took a route that went through Germany (eg, Prague to Munich (or Nürnberg) by bus, Munich to Salzburg by train).

Posted by
18384 posts

OK, since you won't be going from Munich to Prague before Austria, you can get Munich to Vienna by Rail Jet (RJ) via Salzburg or by Regional Express (RE) to Plattling, then ICE from Plattling to Vienna. The RailJet connection is faster, but the Plattling connection is probably less expensive with a Savings Fare ticket.

Go first to Vienna, then Salzburg.

For Vienna to Salzburg, go to Austrian Rail, www.oebb.at. You can get similar advance purchase tickets to what you can get on German Rail.

For Salzburg to Prague, you can use the 44€ Bayern-Böhmen ticket mentioned above from Salzburg to Pilsen, Czech Rail tickets from Pilsen to Prague for 100 Kc (3,53€) per adult).

Posted by
5610 posts

priyac - The fares I gave you were incorrectly based on 2 adults as Lee has pointed out - needed that 2nd cup of Joe this morning, I guess.

Posted by
18384 posts

Or, if you want to do Munich to Salzburg to Vienna to Prague, you can book a Savings Fare ticket from Vienna to Bayerisch Eisenstein (on the German-Czech border for as low as 117€ for the five of you. Bayerisch Eisenstein is right on the border and shares a station building with Czech Rail. The WBA regional train takes you as far as the border where you can buy your tickets to Prague (about 10€-11€ per adult) from Czech Rail.

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Lee - just curious why did you suggest that we do Vienna and then Salzburg? Do the train fares work out better? What train fare specifically would that be - Munich to Vienna vs Salzburg to Vienna; OR; Salzburg to Prague vs Vienna to Prague?

I had drawn up the itinerary solely based on what location came first geographically! Maybe your suggestion is more efficient or more economical.

I am now thinking perhaps we should rent a car when we leave Munich to go to Salzburg, and then return it either when leaving Salzburg or use it to reach Vienna, and return the car when arriving at Vienna. I am thinking - having a car would offer us better flexibility to explore the Bavarian countryside when we drive to Salzburg. Also we can make day trip to Halstatt.

Thanks everyone for all your help and expert advise!

Posted by
4698 posts

Salzburg to Vienna is 19 Euro per adult booked in advance from oebb.at; alternatively, travel this route with Westbahn buying tickets on the date of travel for 25 Euro per adult and 1 Euro per child.

Vienna to Prague is 29 Euro per adult when booked in advance from oebb.at.

Beware of car rental drop off fees if picking up a car in one country and leaving it in another.

Getting to Hallstatt is not hard with public transport and you can use the Einfach-Raus ticket for your group (google it).

Rail passes are never good value, as you are probably realizing. $2100 is absolutely ridiculous. Second class is perfectly fine.

Posted by
18384 posts

"... why did you suggest that we do Vienna and then Salzburg?"

A lot of time I am writing "off the top of my head". I knew that Salzburg to Prague could be booked directly on the Bahn website, but that Vienna to Prague (through Germany) could not be booked on the Bahn website. I then looked up Vienna to Bayerisch Eisenstein, which can be booked on the Bahn website, and I know the train stops there and you can buy the tickets the rest of the way to Prague. That was a possibility, although not necessarily the least expensive one. I left Vienna to Prague directly to others more familiar with the Austrian Rail website. (Note, until a few years ago, you could not book connections outside of Austria on the Austrian Rail website.)

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks Emily - yes - I am just buying point-to-point tickets!

Thanks Lee!

I amm all set with all the information - thank you all!