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Rail passes and reservations in Germany & Austria

My wife and I will be traveling this June/July from Vienna to Berlin. I've used and various rail pass websites but I'm still confused. I've priced out point-to-points for the trip and it's about the same price as a saver pass. My plan right now is to go p-p instead of a pass, booking either in advance through Die Bahn or at the station when I get there.

  1. People say to look up schedules on but book elsewhere because it's expensive. Where do I book? At the station?

  2. Can I book any ticket from any station? (e.g., a Rothenburg-Bacharach ticket at the Munich station)

  3. Is it a good idea to visit a ticket window when I arrive (in Vienna) and purchase all of my tickets right then?

  4. What does it mean if a station is not staffed, besides the obvious? I can book tickets easily at a kiosk?

My itinerary: (all day trains, 2nd class)

Vienna > Mauthausen > Salzburg (the day after the Euro 2008 final [football], so I'll probably want to line this one up in advance)

Salzburg > Munich

Munich > Nurnberg

Nurnberg > Rothenberg

Rothenberg > Bacharach

Bacharach > Berlin

Posted by
47 posts

Wow, thanks a lot, Tim! That info is fantastic.

I'm guessing that by being 'limited' to regional trains you mean they are slower and less frequent?

Posted by
12045 posts

When I train, I consider all the options before purchasing my tickets. As an example, there are (35 Euro?) beautiful weekend passes and Bavaria tickets for up to five on local trains in Germany that could offset many point to point charges. They work well if you want to stop at lots of small towns that are only served by the local train (Rhotenburg and Bacharach can only be reached on the locals). You lose some time if you want to get city to city as quickly as possible. Salzburg is included as a German stop. Different trains cost more or less depending on speed.

I travel second class and generally don't get reservations. I have had reserved seats for business travel, but I probably would have been fine without them. You can purchase tickets in advance or buy them when you get to the station. I've done both and don't consider advance purchase to be better. Post football may be a good time to prepurchase and reserve.

Posted by
8700 posts

Point-to-point tickets will be significantly cheaper than a railpass if you book online far enough in advance to take advantage of discount fares on longer routes and if you buy special Laender tickets good for group travel on regional trains.

You won't find any cheaper tickets for train travel in Germany than at For example, the standard 2nd class fare for Bacharach-Berlin is 118€. Booked far enough in advance (up to 90 days allowed) at, you can get a Dauer-Spezial fare as low as 29€. You can get the same fare for Rothenberg-Bacharach.

Buy Bayern tickets (these are Laender tickets for travel in Bavaria) at the Salzburg station for Salzburg-Munich. 27€ total for 2-5 people traveling together, but you must use regional trains. Do the same for Munich-Nuernberg and Nuernberg-Rothenberg.

Buy Einfach-Raus-Tickets for Vienna-Mauthausen-Salzburg when you get to Vienna. 28€ for 2-5 people traveling together. Again, you are limited to regional trains.

Posted by
8700 posts

Regional trains are slower, but they may be even more frequent than fast trains. The limitations with the Bayern ticket and the Einfach-Raus-Ticket are that you will likely have to change trains several times to get from point A to point B and you cannot travel until after 09:00 on weekdays (anytime on weekends).

You can read about the Bayern ticket at and about the Einfach-Raus-Ticket at

Your best timetable site for Austria as well as Germany is Enter your starting point and your arrival point and select "only local transport" from the drop-down menu which is to the right of "means of transport." This will eliminate high-speed trains. After you get summary timetables, click on "Details for all" to see the connecting points.