My adult kids will be in Germany to experience the Christmas markets, will be traveling by train from Munich to Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Wurzburg to Leipzig to Dresden. Then from Dresden to Prague. Would it be best to purchase individual tickets or purchase a rail pass? Any thoughts.
I am assuming this is all on separate days?
Go to the DB (German Railways) site to get times and prices: https://www.bahn.de/p_en/view/index.shtml
For log distance trains, the earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets. But, once you have booked and paid, your ticket is only valid on the train you have chosen (same rules as air fares). You can get "print-at-home" tickets so you have them in your hand before you leave home.
You can then cost it up and compare with buying a pass or passes.
Lots more info on the "Man in Seat 61" site. Start at this page: http://seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Munich.htm
If the Munich - Rothenburg - Würzburg trip is same day: Bayernticket (23 E + 5 E each additional passenger), else: Nürnberg - Rothenburg: VGN Tagesticket Plus (18,70 for family), Rothenburg - Würzburg: Bayernticket. Würzburg - Leipzig etc.: discounted long distance tickets (»Sparpreis«, bound to a specific date & train), book as soon as possible (92 days out) at www.bahn.com.
Munich to Rothenburg to Wuerzburg can be done using Bayern Tickets. 23 EUR for the first traveler and 5 EUR for each additional traveler up to 5 travelers. Travel on regional trains after 9 am Monday to Friday, all day on weekends.
Wuerzburg to Leipzig can be done with a Quer durchs Land ticket for 44 EUR for the first traveler and 8 EUR for each additional traveler up to 5 travelers. Same restrictions as the Bayern Ticket. This will take 4 hours and 2 train changes. Much more expensive ICE train takes 3 hours and 1 train change. Weekends have the Schoenes Wochende Ticket, similar deal.
Leipzig to Dresden is a Sachsen Ticket. Same deal as the Bayern Ticket.
Dresden to Prague can be done on the Eurocity train is 35 EUR per person walk-up fare, or 28 EUR for 2 bought nonrefundable up to 92 days in advance.
So I think a rail pass will cost a lot more.
Probably single tickets... and FYI I have been watching this too since we are going then, and the tickets for XMas dates are to open up on 10/18 (so I will check the night of 10/17) - I want to snag the cheap fares! :)
Just wish to clarify... The regional day passes mentioned above and in the list below do NOT require pre-purchase. They are available at station ticket machines on the day of travel.
Valid within a certain region:
Bayern Ticket (basically within Bavaria; after 9 am on weekdays or anytime on Sa or Su)
VGN Tagesticket Plus (for 2 adults w/ or without kids within the VGN transit zone; no hours restriction; valid any single day, but Su is a bonus/freebie day if you purchased for Sa use.)
Valid throughout Germany:
Schoenes Wochenende Ticket (also "Happy Weekend Ticket", no hours restriction, Sa and Su only.
Quer durchs Land Ticket ( after 9 am, weekdays only)
While most of these CAN be purchased in advance, they are valid only for a specific date and are not refundable if you change your travel plans for whatever reason. I wouldn't pre-purchase, as a rule.
Actually, the single fare from Rothenburg o. d. T. to Wuerzburg is 13.60 EUR, so unless the adult children are 3 in number or more, single tickets will work.
While most of these CAN be purchased in advance, they are valid only
for a specific date and are not refundable if you change your travel
plans for whatever reason. I wouldn't pre-purchase, as a rule.
What Russ is saying is that if you purchase them in advance, then you are locked into that date. But there is no cost penalty for purchasing them on the day of travel, minutes before getting on the train, so that is what you should do. Just get to the Bahnhof a few minutes early, so you have time to get them from the automat.
The only case where I would purchase one in advance, is if I were coming into Bavaria from another German Land or another country and wanted to have one in hand when I crossed the border. Here you can probably purchase the Bayern-Ticket from the conductor on the train, maybe for a higher bordpreis, but why push it, particularly if you are sure of the travel day. In the case of a Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket, which becomes valid for travel into German from Pilsen, C.R., I'm not sure you could buy it on the train in the C.R.
The only case where I would purchase one in advance, is if I were coming into Bavaria from another German Land or another country and wanted to have one in hand when I crossed the border. Here you can probably purchase the Bayern-Ticket from the conductor on the train
No, Bayern tickets are not availabe on the train. I'd suggest, provided you have internet access with your cellphone (there is no WLAN on regional trains!), to use the DB app ("DB navigator") in that case.
If you can commit to a specific train, you may still be able to get a cheap advance ticket for Wuerzburg-Leipzig by ICE on www.bahn.com which will be much faster than a QdL ticket and possibly even cheaper. Try booking NOW.
If choosing the regional-train day tickets suggested above, the travelers have to remember to stick with regional trains and buses, but not IC and ICE trains. If not enough choices come up in a simple connection search through DB, then you can go back to the start page and choose "Only local transport."
When comparing pass and ticket prices, then ages, number of travelers, and duration of travel all matter. The German Twin Pass specials for winter travel are currently about $200 per person for either 7 consecutive days or for 7 travel days within one month. Just a bit higher if you have an odd number of travelers but one can get the Youth rate.
When comparing pass and ticket prices, then ages, number of travelers, and duration of travel all matter. The German Twin Pass specials for winter travel are currently about $200 per person for either 7 consecutive days or for 7 travel days within one month.
Ok, lets compare:
400 E for a twin pass against 200 E for individual tickets (prices for two in mid December):
München - Rothenburg 28.00 (Bayernticket; no ICE alternative)
Rothenburg - Würzburg 28.00 (dto.)
Würzburg - Leipzig 58.00 (discounted ICE ticket, train specific)
Leipzig - Dresden 28.00 (Sachsenticket; RE ride 24 just min. longer than ICE)
Dresden - Praha 58.00 (discounted ICE ticket, train specific)
This makes three travel days with flexible Laendertickets and two days with
train specific ICE tickets. 200 E more (plus the fare for the Czech section of the Dresden - Praha trip) seems quite a price for a bit of flexibility on two days.
Wuerzburg-Leipzig can also be done using all regional trains after 9 am Mon-Fri with a Quer-durchs-Land for 52 EUR. This does not need advance purchase, just buy day of travel. It takes 4 hours and 2 changes, vs 3 hours and 1 change with the ICE trains. If travel takes place on Saturday or Sunday, it uses a Schoenes Wochende ticket for 44 EUR and not restricted to after 9 am.
And book 90 days out for the ICE connection it can be done for 48 EUR based on the current pricing as the winter schedule is now bookable.