Germany's capital and largest city, Berlin, is one of the most-visited destinations in all of Europe. Famous for its eclectic culture and rich history, it's hard not to fall in love with Berlin, especially if you're visiting in the summer when the locals flock to nearby parks and the "beach bars" to make the most of the sunny weather.
Frankfurt has the busiest airport in Germany, so it's common for travelers to start here before traveling 342 miles northeast to Berlin. You could take another quick flight to cut down the travel time, but the train takes about the same amount of time, costs less, and is a much more scenic ride. To truly take in the scenery, renting a car is the best option and gives visitors the most freedom in exploring all that Germany has to offer, while the bus is the longest and most roundabout way between the two cities.
|Train||4 hours||from $10||Traveling on a budget|
|Bus||7 hours||from $20||When the train sells out|
|Flight||1 hour, 10 minutes||from $70||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Car||5 hours||342 miles (550 kilometers)||Exploring the local area|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Frankfurt to Berlin?
Flixbus is a German coach company that is practically synonymous with budget travel around Europe. Well-known for their über-affordable—albeit sluggish—buses that traverse the continent, inside Germany travelers can take advantage of riding with Flixtrain. These low-cost trains are much faster than buses and much cheaper than riding on Deutsche Bahn, Germany's national rail system. Tickets on Flixtrain start at around 10 euros for a one-way ticket from Frankfurt to Berlin, or just over $10. Seats on a Deutsche Bahn train start at 18 euros, or about $20. Tickets for each train must be purchased from their respective company.
Deutsche Bahn trains leave all throughout the day with up to four trains per hour, and most of them depart from Frankfurt Hbf and arrive at Berlin Hbf. Flixtrain, on the other hand, only offers one or two trains each day, and they always depart from Frankfurt Süd station and arrive at Berlin Hbf. Both companies offer direct trains that take about four hours to complete the journey.
Tip: If you are using a Eurail Pass to travel around Europe by train, you can only use it for Deutsche Bahn trains, not Flixtrain.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Frankfurt to Berlin?
German airline Lufthansa flies direct from Frankfurt to Berlin several times per day with a total flight time of only one hour and 10 minutes. Even though it's a quick journey, travelers also have to factor in all of the time it takes to get to and from the airport, check in for the flight, pass through security, and wait at the gate. Once you take all of the extra steps into account, flying is really only slightly faster than taking the train—if at all. One-way flights start at 66 euros, or about $70.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
You won't want a car while you're in Berlin or Frankfurt, but if you want to make pitstops along the route then renting a car is the ideal way to travel. The route is about 340 miles and takes anywhere from five to eight hours depending on traffic, which can be harrowing around Frankfurt and Berlin. Germany doesn't use toll roads despite having high-quality and well-maintained highways, called Autobahn, so you don't need to worry about toll passes or carrying extra cash.
Drivers should brush up on Autobahn rules before driving in Germany. For example, there is no official speed limit on the highway but passing cars in the right lane is not allowed and strictly enforced.
Is There a Bus That Goes From Frankfurt to Berlin?
The German bus company Flixbus operates many direct buses between Frankfurt and Berlin, although the journey takes at least seven hours and sometimes up to 13 hours. Coach travel is usually the transport of choice for travelers on a budget, but these buses start at 18 euros—around $20—or double the price of the low-cost train. Unless the Flixtrain is completely sold out, you'll be much more comfortable and save money by taking the train.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Berlin?
The warm weather and influx of tourists during the summer months mean that trains along this popular travel route are more likely to sell out in June, July, and August. You should always make train reservations as early as possible to get the best deals, but if you're traveling in the summer, it pays to be extra prudent and buy tickets as soon as they become available (usually 12 weeks before the travel date). Travel in the shoulder season, such as May or September, is usually a great time for enjoying comfortable weather in Germany while scoring the best deals for trains and flights.
What's the Most Scenic Route to Berlin?
You could easily drive from Frankfurt to Berlin in one day, but if speed is your goal then you're better off taking the train or a flight. Travelers who want to enjoy the journey and take in the German scenery can best do so by renting a car, ideally breaking up the trip into at least two days. You'll drive right through Leipzig, one of Germany's largest cities, but nearby Weimar may be a more interesting pitstop. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Weimar is a picturesque town with lots of history and surrounded by nature, a perfect place to get a taste of German culture outside of the major cities.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
Lufthansa Airlines flies direct from Frankfurt to Berlin-Tegel Airport (TXL), which is the closest and best-connected airport to Berlin's city center. An express bus from the airport shuttles passengers to the central train station, Berlin Hbf, in just 25 minutes and from there it's easy to reach the rest of the city via Berlin public transit on the U-Bahn or S-Bahn trains.
What Is There to Do in Berlin?
In Berlin, you can spend the day touring historical sites and gawking at architecture before heading out for a night in a local biergarten or one of the city's many underground nightclubs. The city blends the old with the new and the traditional with the subversive, offering something exciting for all types of visitors. The city's best museums are concentrated in a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Museuminsel, or Museum Island, and you would need days to see them all. The remaining parts of the Berlin Wall are a visceral reminder of the city's recent past, with the longest stretch separating two of Berlin's trendiest neighborhoods, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg.