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Germany train ticket help, please

Due to the impending strike across France next week, I just canceled my independent, but well-planned trip to arrive next week in Paris, and am now headed to Germany instead. I am trying to read up about the train system, but with little time to plan, my head is starting to spin over the type of train ticket to purchase. I plan to arrive in Frankfurt, take the train to Berlin and return back to Frankfurt the next week for my return flight home. I may take a day trip to Potsdam, but don't plan to do any other long distance travel. Am I better off just purchasing individual, timed tickets, or is there a saver card I should purchase that would be a better deal? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Posted by
9045 posts

Since you only have 2 long distance train rides, get your tickets now if you can.
For your trip to Potsdam, get your ticket that day as there is no money saved by getting it ahead of time.
If you are arriving in Frankfurt by plane, you only have the problem of arranging your train to Berlin for that day. My usual recommendation is to stay in Frankfurt overnight and get your train ticket to Berlin leaving early the next morning since that is a 4 hour train ride. No one enjoys doing that after a trans-Atlantic flight. That way you get a good nights sleep, rather than arriving in Berlin totally exhausted.

Use the DB website to find your trains.

Posted by
332 posts

Staying your first night in Frankfurt is a good option.

Check with your airline, you may be eligible to add discount Rail & Fly tickets to your booking. If your airline is part of this Deutchebahn program and you plan to go directly to Berlin day of or day after arrival and/or return to Frankfurt the day/night before departure, this discount offer might work for you. Here is a link to a pdf of airlines that participate.

I flew Lufthansa to Frankfurt last fall and was able to add the Rail & Fly option to my airfare booking after the fact.

No need to buy your Berlin to Potsdam tickets in advance.

Posted by
19171 posts

I always advise people not to plan on using a discounted, advance purchase ticket (like Sparpreis) for the day of arrival in Germany after a trans-Atlantic flight. These tickets are train specific and non-refundable on the day of travel, so you stand to lose the price of the ticket if your arrival is significantly delayed. However, that doesn't apply to Rail&Fly, which gives you unlimited access to any train, even long distance trains like the ICE or IC, on your day of arrival and on the following day.

Posted by
11 posts

What about trains from Berlin to Munich? What is the difference in the various lines? I am also trying to find information on a night train from Vienna to Zurich. I appreciate all the help and insight

Posted by
14580 posts

@ jmfin... I'll address the night train you want from Vienna to Zurich. When is this trip going to place? Very doable.

For the night train routes you have a couple of choices but only one would I recommend. The others are not so attractive since they require changing trains at uncomfortable hours, eg, 3AM or so. I always take night trains but , as yet , have never had to change trains , say at 3 AM or so. It's not going to happen. There are ways to avoid that.

I recommend the night connection dep 23:27 , arr 08:20 or 10:34 , if you're going next week or so. This dep is a straight shot. My night train rides are always direct, that is no transferring.

Posted by
19171 posts

What about trains from Berlin to Munich

jmfinohio, according to the Bahn website, the fastest connections from Berlin Hbf to Munich Hbf are ICEs via Erfurt and Nürnberg taking about 4¾ hr.

Posted by
2017 posts

My Berlin to Munich train is about 4.40 hrs long. Since they are all run by DB, finding one shouldn't be a problem.

Unless you sleep a lot on the plane, I don't recommend Night Trains. They seem romantic but the constant rocking, stopping, announcements and horns mean that many people don't get much sleep.