Germany is one of the most popular countries to visit in Europe. It is beautiful, populous, and has many famous attractions: from castles and medieval oldtowns to green nature, historic places, museums, and modern wonders. We definitely recommend visiting it if you have the chance! But if you are planning a trip, it is essential to know how to get around. Read on to learn about transportation in Germany so you can plan your trip. First, we will cover various ways to get from one city to another and then the transport in the cities themselves.
Domestic flights in Germany
If you come from the US, you might be used to traveling by domestic flights. However, Germany is small compared to the states, even if it is a large country in Europe. Although there are domestic flights, in most cases it is faster to go by train. Why? Because you do not waste time getting to the airports and waiting there.
However, it might be a good deal if you travel from the north to the south or vice versa. It can even be cheaper than trains. Also, you do not have to worry about missing your stop: you just wait for the plane to land.
You could fly Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg, Berlin-Tegel, and Cologne-Bonn. The biggest airlines providing domestic flights in Germany are Lufthansa and Eurowings. Remember to book in advance because it can get pricey otherwise.
Cheapest transportation in Germany: buses
Buses are one of the cheapest ways to travel between cities in Germany. There are also many of them: you should find bus routes between almost all the cities. Of course, there are disadvantages. Buses are not as comfortable as trains, often more cramped and slower. For some people, it is also easy to get carsick.
If you want to save, we recommend FlixBus, which offers very affordable long-distance bus routes. You could get from the north to the south of Germany for as little as $30.
Nice and comfortable trains
The railway system is very well-developed in Germany and one of the favorite ways to travel. Trains are reliable, comfortable, and environmentally friendly. There are many different types of trains: ICE or Intercity Express trains are the fastest and only stop in major cities. InterRegio-Express (IRE) connects more cities. City Night Line (CNL) trains have sleeper cars and couchettes. Learn more here.
Trains stop at the city center, which can be great and very practical. You can book tickets online or buy them from the vending machines and agents at the stations. One con is that traveling by train can be expensive. Also, keep in mind that there are train delays, so if you are transferring trains, have more than 10 minutes in reserve.
Find more information (or check out the routes and prices) on the official page for Germany railways here.
Cars when you want to do everything by yourself
Most travelers choose trains or buses, but cars are also a great way to travel at your own pace. You get to see the sights around, can stop wherever you want, and travel in private: no annoying tourists talking loudly behind your back. Also, Germany has a well-developed road system, with 12,996 kilometers of motorways. There are many petrol stations along the roads, every 50 kilometers or so.
Of course, there are some cons too. You have to worry about fuel, parking and you cannot relax since you must drive. It can get expensive too: gas is quite pricey in Germany.
It is also a good idea to rent a car in Germany. Remember that automatic transmissions are rare there, so you might need to book such a car in advance. You need to be 25 years or older (although some companies offer rentals cars for people 21-24 years old with an additional charge).
If you are planning to rent a car, we recommend reading our tips, so you can have a great car rental experience.
City transportation in Germany
If you plan to visit Germany, you will most likely want to explore the cities. The most common way to get around is to use public transport. And the most common transportation method is the bus. In smaller towns, it might be the only public transportation type.
In the big cities, U-Bahn, which are underground trains, are also popular. They are usually underground but sometimes also run above the ground. There are also S-Bahn lines, which are Suburban trains and can take you to farther places than the U-Bahn. There are various tickets for public transportation: day tickets, week tickets, month tickets, tickets for long and short journeys. In many cities, some apps allow you to choose the right tickets and buy them.
Another great way to explore the cities is by bicycle. It is fun, healthy, and environmentally friendly. There are many bike rental stations in German cities. Learn more about renting bikes and bike types.
You can also rent a car, but it can be difficult and expensive to park. Consider it carefully.
If you want to learn more about any type of transportation in Germany, click here. It is a website dedicated to informing people about all kinds of transportation in Germany.