Travel in Germany

By Car, Train, Bus, or Plane From German City to City

Train in Berlin, Germany

GettyImages / Gavin Hellier


Most travelers in Germany plan on visiting several of the country's top city's and attractions. A few days in Berlin, an overnight trip to Dresden, a visit to Munich or Hamburg, or more.

Transportation in Germany is excellent with everything from short-distance flights to international trains (generally) running smoothly and on-time. It is a national pasttime to complain about all forms of transport, but travelers from many other countries are often impressed with the orderliness of transportation in Germany.

Find out which transportation options are available in Germany and best suit your plans of travel.

Train Travel in Germany

The German railway system is well established and reliable, and you can reach almost every city in Germany by train; not to mention that watching the German landscape stream by your window is a very relaxing and comfortable way of traveling.

The German National Railway is called Deutsche Bahn, or DB for short. The super fast Intercity Express train (ICE - though not pronounced "ice") reaches speeds up to 300 km/h and can make the trip from Berlin to Munich in a speedy 4.5 hours.

The Eurocity (EC) train is another, less expensive option. These serve more locations - meaning more stops - but can still be an excellent way to travel.

Also note that generally the earlier you book train tickets, the cheaper they are. Look for special sales, and reserve a seat on the Deutsche Bahn website (features information in English) or at major train stations at the ticket counter or in vending machines on the platform. Reserve a seat for just a few euros, or upgrade to first class to really travel in style.

Plane Travel in Germany

While most international visitors arrive through Frankfurt's International Airport (others by Munich, Berlin, etc.), traveling by plane is actually one of the worst ways to travel through Germany. You miss the wonderful German landscape and it is often far more expensive than the other options. Also, many flights stop in other countries, making flying inconvenient and longer than necessary.

That said, finding cheap flights is possible. Watch for deals between hubs like Frankfurt, Munich, and Berlin.

Car Travel in Germany

Do you want to rent a car and travel on the world-famous German Autobahn? Of course, you do. And driving can help you get around with a family or travel at your own speed, to small, off-the-path locations as well as the country's best scenic drives.

Driving in Germany is straight-forward, but you need to follow the rules of the road and be aware of common car rental pitfalls. General guidelines for driving in Germany:

  • The legal driving age in Germany is 18, but usually, drivers have to be over 21 to rent a car. Depending on the company, they may pay a premium until the age of 25.
  • Reserve your car in advance (14 days beforehand ideally) for the best deals.
  • German cars usually come with a manual transmission (gear shift). If you prefer an automatic transmission, ask the rental company and most can accommodate you. This may - like so many things - result in an extra charge.

Bus Travel in Germany

Not everyone has the budget for a train or car rental, and buses can be an inexpensive way to see the country.

Bus networks are extensive, extending well beyond Germany's borders. They commonly offer vast discounts with little loss in luxury. Brands like Berlin Linien Bus and Flixbus offer comfortable, environmentally friendly, and wifi-connected coaches.

Sometimes the journey is slightly longer than driving or by train, but the difference is usually slight. Also note that buses are commonly subject to traffic delays on busy travel times like before and after holidays, or heading into the weekend.

Travel from City to City in Germany

Discover the options for specific routes in these full posts on traveling from city to city.

How to Get From Berlin to...

How to Get From Munich to...

How to Get From Frankfurt to...

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