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Make the Most of Germany’s Rail System

by Sarah E. Vrba

Nov 21, 2014

© Manwolste | Dreamstime


Germany’s rail system is famous for its clean cars and timely performance. The efficient system can make your trip to Germany not only much more efficient but also scenic and enjoyable. Make your trip even smoother and more affordable with a few smart moves.


Make an itinerary
Decide if you want to purchase a EuroRail pass or pay by the trip. Generally, a full rail pass for seven days of travel within the month costs about $300–400. If you are only planning on taking a couple of train trips — such as Frankfurt to Berlin or Stuttgart to Munich — you can opt to buy the tickets as you travel.


Take the slow way
Slow-train travel can save you a ton of money, especially if you are traveling in a group of four or five people and have some time. On the weekend, a group of up to five travelers can take the regional trains, which make frequent stops, for a total of €40 for all-day travel. On weekdays, you can get a similar deal on trains departing after 9 a.m.


Consider taking first class
Sometimes you can purchase first-class seats for a small fee, depending on the route you plan to take. The first-class seats offer more space, comfortable cushions and fewer passengers — and sometimes even free WiFi.


Hop on the train the day you plan to travel
Most passes can be bought at the station on the day you plan to depart. No need to book days in advance since most trains depart at least every couple of hours and fares are relatively stable. InterCity Express (ICE) trains travel at about 186 mph and get you to your destination in a matter of hours. If you need a special compartment for baby or handicapped compartments, then book in advance for a small fee of $7.


Take the CityNightLine (CNL)
These trains offer clean sleeper compartments if you are trying to pack in as much sightseeing as possible between winks.



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