Getting Around - Internal Travel
Internal services are operated by Lufthansa and
several regional airlines. Frankfurt/M is the focal
point of internal air services and all airports in the Federal Republic
of Germany can be reached in an average of 50 minutes’ flying
time. There are several airports in the country which can offinternal
and some other Friesian Islands are served by seasonal
services operated by regional airlines or air taxi services. Connections
by air are run daily from Berlin, Bremen, Cologne/Bonn,
Düsseldorf, Frankfurt/M, Hamburg, Hannover,
Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Westerland/Sylt
(during the summer only). The majority of western airports offer
daily flights to Leipzig and several flights a
week to Dresden.
Regular scheduled boat services operate on most rivers, lakes and
coastal waters, including the Danube, Main, Moselle, Neckar,
Rhine and the Weser, and also on Ammer
See, Chiemsee, Königssee and Lake Constance.
Ferry services are operated on Kiel Fjord and from
Cuxhaven to Helgoland and to the
East and North Friesian Islands as well as to Scandinavian
Besides these scheduled services, special excursions are available
on all navigable waters. The KD German Rhine Line
covers the Rhine, Main and Moselle
rivers, and has comfortable ships which operate daily from April
to late October. Tours with entertainment on board and excursions
are arranged as well as cruises between The Netherlands
and Switzerland and on the Moselle.
In conjunction with the ‘White Fleet’ Dresden,
the KD also organises cabin cruises on the Elbe
between Dresden and Hamburg. The
‘White Fleet’ offers 30 scheduled services
and short trips around Berlin.
Other routes include the rivers Saale and Elbe,
several lakes and the Mecklenburger Lake District.
operates cruises of 7 to 21 days from Bremerhaven, Hamburg
and Kiel in summer.
(Europe’s third-largest inland lake) is served by regular
steamers, pleasure boats and car ferries between the German, Swiss
and Austrian shores.
The Bodensee Pass gives 50 per cent reductions to visitors
throughout the Lake Constance area. This includes
scheduled ferry services offered by the German, Swiss and Austrian
railways as well as some bus, local train and mountain railway routes.
The pass is valid for either 7 or 15 days. Children up to 6 years
of age travel free.
In addition to the pass, there is a Family Ticket
which is available free of charge and allows children between 6
and 16 years of age free travel; unmarried young persons between
16 and 26 years of age pay half price. In both cases they have to
be accompanied by a parent. The Family Ticket is
only valid on boats together with the Bodensee Pass.
Several InterCity and ICE connections
are on offer running every one-two hours on the following routes:
Hamburg–Berlin–Dresden with direct links to Prague.
The ICE-Business-Sprinter runs non-stop on the
Seats on these services have to be booked in advance, yearly ticket
holders can use the Sprinters without surcharge. Generally, reservations
are advised on all services. Children under 6 years of age travel
free of charge, those aged 6 to 11 pay half the fare, young people
aged 12-26 pay 75% of the standard fare. For latest information
leaflets, contact German Rail in the UK.
National Railways (Deutsche Bahn) operates some 32,684
passenger trains each day over a 40,800km (25,500-mile) network
and many international through services.
Work on the 3200km (2000-mile) fast-train network has already started
and should be completed by 2010. The network does not radiate around
the capital as the federal structure provides an integrated system
to serve the many regional centres.
InterCity Express and InterRegio departure
and arrival times are co-ordinated with each other. More than fifty
cities, including Berlin, Erfurt, Dresden and Leipzig,
are served hourly by InterCity trains, and increasingly
by InterCity Express trains, regional centres are
connected every 2 hours (west Germany), or every 2 to 4 hours in
the eastern part of the country, through the InterRegio
system. Details of up-to-date prices, and where tickets can be bought,
are available from German
Rail or the Tourist Office.
and Lufthansa have introduced an innovative project
aimed at replacing internal German flights with more environmentally
friendly rail transport. For travellers using Frankfurt
airport wanting to transfer to or from Stuttgart
or Cologne, train and flight timetables will be
coordinated; one ticket will cover the whole journey and check in/check
out will take place at Stuttgart Station. Boarding
the train with just hand luggage, the travellers can pick up their
luggage at the flight destination or Stuttgart Station. This offer
is currently available for every airport Lufthansa
flies to from Frankfurt (except Tel Aviv).
With a railway network as complex, sophisticated and modern as that
in the western part of the Federal Republic of Germany, it is obviously
impossible to give all the details of the main routes, facilities,
timetables, fares and reductions which are currently available.
The following section gives brief descriptions of the major special
fares and tickets which are currently on offer. Some of these can
only be obtained in Germany. Other new schemes, or modifications
to existing ones, may be introduced in the future.
The introduction of the high-speed InterCity Express,
travelling at 280kph (175mph), reduced travel times between the
major centres immensely. The service is operating hourly only on
some connections at the moment, but this number is increasing, a
supplement is payable.
The extensive InterCity network connects the major
centres at hourly intervals, and ensures swift interchange between
trains. A supplement is charged for first or second class on EuroCity
and InterCity trains.
Smaller towns are linked by the 26 InterRegio lines
at 2 hour intervals. Supplementing the system of these longer-distance
trains are several commuter networks in larger towns and cities.
Facilities and services
Buffet cars with some seating for light refreshments and drinks
are provided on InterRegio (IR) trains. Most EuroCity
and InterCity trains carry a 48-seat restaurant,
offering a menu and drinks throughout the journey. The newer generation
InterCity Express trains combine both of the above-mentioned
facilities, offering a selection of snacks and menu in their restaurant
cars. First-class passengers are provided with ‘at-your-seat’
service. The InterCity Express also provides a
service car with conference compartment, card telephones and fully-equipped
Sleeping cars: Many have showers,
and air conditioning is provided on most of the long-distance overnight
trains. Beds can be booked in advance. Some trains provide couchettes
instead of beds. Sleeping-car attendants serve refreshments. Seat
reservations should be made for all long-distance trains well in
When reserving a seat on EuroCity, InterCity and
InterCity Express trains, specify Grossraumwagen,
which is a carriage with adjustable seats and without compartments,
or Abteilwagen, which is made up of compartments.
Bicycles: At approximately 260 stations
in areas suited for cycle tours, the DB operates a bicycle hire
service (ticket holders have special reduced rates). It is also
possible to carry your bike on the train but you may need to pre-book
a space for it so check prior to travel.
railways: Cable cars, chairlifts or cogwheel railways serve
all popular mountain sites.
The following is a selection of rail passes available on
the German railways. Details may change and travellers are advised
to check with Deutsche
Because of the large range of promotions available at any one time,
it is not possible to list them all so visit
www.bahn.co.uk for the latest information and offers. Some passes
can only be purchased outside Germany (see Note below).
Saverticket: Available for a return journey on
one weekend or within 1 month.
Available for a return journey on a Saturday or within 1 month (not
valid for Friday, Sunday and during peak days).
Available for second-class single or return journeys for regional
and long-distance travel between the ages of 12 and 25. Valid for
up to 2 months, the ticket gives up to 20 % discount on the regular
Happy Weekend Ticket: Available
for up to 5 persons travelling together at a weekend, from Saturday-Monday
(0300 hrs). Valid on all local trains, second-class only.
Euro Domino: These tickets enable holders to make
flexible travel arrangements and are valid in 27 European countries
including the ferry service from Brindisi (Italy)
to Igoumenitsa (Greece). They have to be bought
in the country of residence for which a valid passport or other
form of ID has to be shown. First and second class tickets are available
for travellers over 26 years of age, for passengers under 26, only
second-class is available. The tickets for travellers over 26 years
of age are also valid for any 3, 5 or 8 days within a month (travel
days do not have to be consecutive). They also entitle holders to
a discount of 25 % on rail travel in the country of origin or in
all countries which comply with the system.
Discounted Euro Domino tickets are on offer for persons under 26
years of age. Children between 4 and 11 years get a 50 % discount,
children under 4 travel free. The German variety of the ED-ticket
is valid on the complete network of the Deutshe Bahn, all InterCity
trains, including the InterCity Express, can be used without paying
a supplement. Motorail is exempt. Where seat reservation is required,
a reduced fee is charged, the usual rates apply for couchette and
to all, but for those aged over 26, tickets are approximately 40
% more expensive. Four different tickets are available. Europe is
split into 8 zones (A-H) and the pass is valid for an unlimited
number of train journeys in the zones chosen, which now include
Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and
Serbia and Montenegro.
The Global Pass is valid for one month in all 8
zones (32 countries, including Morocco, Turkey
and the ferry connection Brindisi–Patras). Other tickets cover
just 1 zone (two-seven countries, 15 days validity), 2 zones (six-10
countries, 22 days validity) and 3 zones (nine-15 countries, one
month validity). Reductions of 50% are offered in the country of
residence for travel to the border and back as well as transit journeys.
The Inter-Rail ticket is only available for second-class travel
and does not include the use of certain services such as the X2000
in Sweden, the Pendolino in Italy or the AVE in Spain. Certain other
trains incur supplements.
BahnCard ticket offers half-price rail travel with a choice of first
or second class travel and is valid for 1 year. In addition, there
are reduced versions for married couples, families, senior citizens,
young people and children.
Good Evening Ticket:
Only available in Germany this ticket offers travel on nearly all
routes within Germany for a flat fare between 1900-0300 hrs daily
except Christmas, Easter and other major travelling dates. The ticket
has to be bought at the station of departure.
The German Railway has a fully integrated motorail network, connecting
with the rest of the European motorail network. Trains run mostly
during the summer and at other holiday periods; most have sleeper,
couchette and restaurant/buffet cars, for further details see online
Note: Conditions may apply to some of
these tickets. There are certain discount rail passes that can only
be purchased outside Germany.
The following rail passes can only be purchased through German Rail
offices and travel agencies outside Europe:
(valid for five, 10 or 15 days for either first or second class
German Rail Youthpass (second-class
travel for travellers under 26 years of age); and
Rail Twinpass (for two persons travelling together, first
or second class, for 5, 10 or 15 days).
Traffic drives on the right. The Federal Republic
of Germany is covered by a modern network of motorways (Autobahnen).
There are over 487,000km (303,000 miles) of roads in all, and every
part of the country can be reached by motorists. Use of the network
is free at present, but the introduction of a road toll is being
discussed and charges have been levied on some sight-seeing roads
in Bavaria. Lead-free petrol is obtainable everywhere.
The breakdown service of the German Automobile Association
(ADAC) is available throughout the country, though in the
eastern part of the country, the Auto Club Europa (ACE)
and the Allgemeiner Deutscher Motorsportverband (ADMV)
also provide a service. Help is given free of charge to members
of affiliated motoring organisations, including the AA, and only
parts have to be paid for. Breakdown services, including a helicopter
rescue service, are operated by the ADAC. In the
event of a breakdown, use emergency telephones located along the
motorway. When using these telephones, ask expressly for road service
assistance, (Strassenwachthilfe). In almost all
cases, the number to dial for emergency services is 110,
if in doubt, dial the fire brigade, 112. Although
motorways in eastern Germany are of a reasonable standard, many
secondary roads are still being improved to match West German standards.
Buses serve villages and small towns, especially those without railway
stations. Operated by the Post, German Railways or private firms,
they only tend to run between or to small places and there are few
long-distance services. Europabus/Deutsche Touring
runs services on special scenic routes such as the Romantic Road
(Wiesbaden/Frankfurt to Munich/Füssen) and the Castle Road
(between Mannheim/Heidelberg to Rothenburg and Nuremberg).
Self-drive cars, companies include Avis, Europcar, Hertz
and Six are available at most towns and at over
40 railway stations.
Chauffeur-driven cars are available in all large towns. Rates depend
on the type of car. Some firms offer weekly rates including unlimited
mileage. VAT at 16 per cent is payable on all rental charges. On
request, cars will be supplied at airports, stations and hotels.
Several airlines, including Lufthansa, offer ‘Fly-drive’.
Contact the National Tourist Office for details (see Contact Addresses
Traffic signs are international. Speed limits in
western Germany are 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas and 100kph (62mph)
on all roads outside built-up areas. Motorways (Autobahnen) and
dual carriageways have a recommended speed limit of 130kph (81mph).
Speed limits in eastern Germany vary according to the condition
of the road. Although officially the same as in western Germany,
some motorways and dual carriageways carry varying speed limits
and are signposted.
Children under 12 must travel in a special child seat in the back.
Seat belts must be worn in the front and back. All visitors to Germany
must display vehicle nationality plates. Fines can be imposed for
running out of petrol on a motorway. The warning triangle
and a first-aid box are compulsory. The nationwide alcohol
limit is 0.5 per cent. Disabled drivers should be warned that, although
Germany is well-organised for disabled travellers, an orange badge
as used in the UK will not entitle the disabled motorist to park
freely in Germany.
The Allgemeiner Deutscher
Automobil Club (ADAC) based in Munich and the Automobilclub
von Deutschland (AvD) based in Frankfurt/M have offices at all
major frontier crossings and in the larger towns. They will be able
to assist foreign motorists, particularly those belonging to affiliated
motoring organisations. They also publish maps and guidebooks, which
are available at their offices. German Automobile Association (ADAC)
operates an emergency service to relay radio messages to motorists.
In both winter and summer, there are constant radio reports on the
road conditions and traffic.
Foreign travellers may drive their cars for up to 1 year if in possession
of a national licence or International
Driving Permit and car registration papers. Insurance is
legally required. EU nationals taking their own cars are strongly
advised to obtain a Green Card. Without it, insurance
cover is limited to the minimum legal cover, the Green Card tops
this up to the level of cover provided by the car owner’s
A high standard of public transport services is available in all
towns and cities. All urban areas have highly efficient and well-established
bus services. These are supplemented in a number of larger cities
by underground and suburban railway trains. In many towns, block
tickets for several journeys can be purchased at reduced rates and
unlimited daily travel tickets are available. In many larger cities,
tickets for a local transport journey have to be purchased from
ticket machines before boarding the suburban train (S-Bahn),
underground (U-Bahn), bus or tram. There are numerous
sophisticated vending machines which service all the main boarding
points and a wide range of relevant maps and leaflets is available
to travellers. Although there is often no conductor on trams and
underground trains, inspections are frequent and passengers without
valid tickets will be fined on the spot. Timetables and brochures
are available at all the stations.
The city’s excellent public transport includes an extensive
network of buses, underground
and S-Bahn. In the eastern part of the city, tram
services and the ferries of the Berliner Verkehrs-Betriebe, BVG
(Berlin Public Transport) , in conjunction with east Berlin’s
‘White Fleet’, provide further services.
The underground lines 1 and 9 run a 24-hour service Friday night
to Saturday and Saturday night to Sunday.
The Berlin-Ticket is valid for 24 hours for unlimited
travel on bus, underground, S-Bahn
and the BVG ferries. The special BVG-excursion
coaches are exempt. Holders of the Combined Day-Ticket
enjoy unlimited travel with bus, underground
and S-Bahn, as well as on the complete ferry network
of either organisation. A special Weekly Ticket
with a validity of 7 days can only be obtained at Zoo station. Further
details are available from the information desks and website of
Pedestrians should be aware that it is an offence to cross a road
when the pedestrian crossing lights are red, even if there is no
traffic on the road. On-the-spot fines for offenders are common.
(1): The following chart gives approximate travel times (in hours
and minutes) from Berlin to other major cities and towns in the
Federal Republic of Germany.
|(2): The following chart
gives approximate travel times (in hours and minutes) from Bonn
to other major cities and towns in the Federal Republic of Germany.
|[a]: There is a hydrofoil
service (not daily) between Cologne and Mainz via Koblenz and Bonn
which takes about three hours 30 minutes.
Note: All the above times are average times by the fastest and most
direct route, by motorways in the case of road journeys, and by
the quickest hydrofoil service for the time by river. The slow boat
from Bonn to Cologne, for instance, takes 3 hours.