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Train vs Plane Question

We are grandparents traveling with our 14 year old grandson this July. We are going from Stuttgart to Berlin. Trying to decide to either fly or take a train. The train would be fun expierence I think but it is over 6 hours since we would leave from the airport due to returning our rental car verses a 2 hour flight. Flying these days is not so easy. Any advice would be appreciated. At this time we do not plan to rent a car in Berlin.

Thanks

Posted by
7205 posts

Is there a reason you can't drop your rental car in Berlin instead of Stuttgart??

Posted by
1490 posts

Normally I vote against flying within Germany - especially for environmental reasons but Stuttgart - Berlin is a rare example which can make sense to save 2-3 hours traveling.

If you want to be grandparents living a good example take the train and talk about #FridayforFuture.

And it really does not make sense to rent a car in Berlin except you want to travel to very far away places in Brandenburg state.

Posted by
914 posts

Has your grandson ever traveled by train? I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to experience a different mode—one that he doesn’t get to experience back in the U.S. (or at least not as often or as efficiently).

I work in the transportation industry, and it’s also a way to expose a young person to the variety of types of travel out there! :)

Posted by
61 posts

The reason we do not drop the car in Berlin is because we do not want to drive!

Posted by
7205 posts

You don’t want to drive? So then why do you have a rental car? Why not just use the trains for your entire trip? I personally hate rental cars.

Posted by
3017 posts

I would vote for the train, if possible. It's a very European thing to do!

Many rental car companies have offices in/around the main train station (Hauptbahnhof, abbreviated Hbf)). I usually use Hertz. It has 4 offices in Stuttgart, including one at the airport and one at the Hbf.

Posted by
2907 posts

I much prefer to relax on a train and view the countryside. Plus it is more environmentally friendly. To me the train continues my vacation, but flying removes me from my vacation for the entire period involved with the flying process.

Posted by
1878 posts

Flying can be a false economy in terms of time. Sure it's a two hour flight but there is also the before and after of flight. Of course the airport is really close to Berlin so you might only take an hour to get to your hotel. Flights are also way more likely to get delayed too. A six hour train ride is sort of in that in between area where it could go either way. I am with Wray that a flight is an intrusion on the vacation and airport dynamics just mess up my state of relaxation.

Posted by
31464 posts

Christine,

On that route, my suggestion would definitely be the train. As someone else mentioned, the flight time is not the only factor. You'll also have to allow for travel to and from airports, check-in, security, waiting, boarding & deplaning, etc. You'll also have to contend with very cramped seating, possibly expensive baggage charges and limitations, etc. You should ideally be at the airport about 90 minutes prior to the flight, so there's 3 hours gone already.

OTOH, there are some direct (no changes) trains from Stuttgart to Berlin, with a travel time of 5H:38M. Those will take you from downtown-to-downtown, and you'll be able to relax and enjoy the trip rather than enduring the usual exhausting airport "dog & pony show". In the same situation I would absolutely be taking the train.

Posted by
268 posts

Starting from the city centre, I would probably take the train... But getting from the airport to the centre first will take quite some time as well. Where will you be coming from? Can you perhaps change the rental car booking to a more convenient drop-off location (by which I do not mean Berlin, but somewhere closer to a major train station than Stuttgart airport)?

Posted by
2982 posts

As probably the only person in this thread who has traveled from Stuttgart to Berlin multiple times in multiple ways, I'm going to say train it (assuming money isn't an object).

It's a pleasant train ride on a nice, fast modern ICE train. It's long enough that you can really settle in with a book, board games, bring a picnic on board or enjoy dining in the dining car.

I do normally fly to Berlin due to cost, though. But you're not saving any time, really. It's about 25 minutes to the Stuttgart airport from downtown Stuttgart, and longer from Berlin's airport into the city proper. Although Stuttgart's airport is small and almost never has a security wait, I'm assuming you'll need to check luggage (which also increases the cost of the plane tickets) so door-to-door at most you'll save an hour by flying.

Posted by
268 posts

It's about 25 minutes to the Stuttgart airport from downtown Stuttgart,

But that's the point: The OP is starting from Stuttgart airport and would need that time to get to the main train station.

and longer from Berlin's airport into the city proper.

From Tegel? Can be done in 25 minutes as well.

Posted by
3303 posts

Does cost come into play? Eurowings has NUMEROUS flights to Berlin - Tegel from Stuttgart.

I picked a Wednesday in July and see the fares are anywhere from €18.99 to €69.99 with most at €29.99 for the 75 minute flight. There are a whopping 10 flights that day.

Will the train be that inexpensive for that 6 hour trip? With the rise of discount intra-European carriers in the last 10-20 years, to say that taking the train is the "European thing to do" no longer seems to be the case universally.

You are already at the airport; I would recommend flying Eurowings to Stuttgart whose parent company is Lufthansa.

Posted by
537 posts

Can you return the car the night before you leave for Berlin and then train or cab back to your hotel in Stuttgart? Then get a fresh start to the train in am to Berlin. We have done that with airport rentals .

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks everyone for the all the input. I was leaning towards the train for all the reasons stated. We are from the West Coast of California so I believe the train will be a great expierence. I haven't rented the car so will look into the option of turning it in at the train station in Stuttgart. It looks like no car is needed in Berlin and we are flying to The Netherlands for the last leg of our trip so the train is a good choice. I haven't been to Berlin since 1986!! Lots of changes to explore.

Posted by
12875 posts

In late June of 2011 our grandson aged 10 was with us in France. He first went to England from SFO, whereas I went to Germany. On the designated day a week or so later, we four rendezvoused in Paris to take the 5 hour TGV ride to Perpignan, then we had to change for Collioure. Flying was not an option.

Kids will do fine taking the train, especially the ICE

Posted by
2982 posts

Ooh I'd manage to forget all about Flixibus. trains. And my husband has some 4 day weekends coming up.

From Tegel? Can be done in 25 minutes as well.

Sure, but no one actually stays right at the Berlin HBF and Berlin is so spread out so you are going to have a longer journey, probably, from airport to your destination than in Stuttgart, where most tourists stay in our relatively compact Mitte.

Posted by
12875 posts

@ Christine...If you decide to stay at Berlin Hbf, the bus for Tegel leaves from the Invalidenstrasse exit. Several bus lines stop there, eg, to Berlin Ostbahnhof

Several hotels are located at Berlin Hbf, one of them is Motel One, the Meininger Hotel is the closest , 2 mins to your right as you exit.