In Germany there are many means of transportation to travel from one city to another. However when travelling inexpensively, there are a few things to keep in mind and to look out for, in order to find the best and cheapest option for your travel.

Remember to book as soon as possible for the best prices, as they are likely to increase later.

Overview of transportation methods in Germany

Mean of transportationOffersPrice rangeTimeCharacteristics/
Services
Train



Proceed to offer
Saver Fares
(2nd Class)
For short distances:
Varies


For distances
up to 250km:
19,90 €

Travels across Germany:
29,90 €
Fairly short, especially over short or moderate distances Comfortable
Access to many, even remote destinations
Practical for trips to neighboring cities
Easy to access

Transfers may occur often
Only cheap when taking the saver fares offers
Bus



Proceed to offer




Regular fares

Interflix
(Includes 5 cities all over Europe)


Regular fares
Dependent on distance, however cheapest options can usually be found to all destinations from as low as 5€-30€


99€


Similar to Flixbus
May take longer than other options, especially the further the destination lies





“ “
Very cheap
Many destinations
Easy to use
Onboard wifi

Transfers may occur often
Lengthy journey due to many stops
Not very comfortable
Airplane/Flights








Proceed to offer

Regular faresCheap prices can range from 25€-45€

Very important to book early
Takes far less time for longer distances across Germany Very short, direct flight
Sometimes even cheaper than competitors

Only available to bigger cities with an airport
Takes longer on short trips due to security control, etc.
Carpool



Proceed to offer

Regular faresDependent on distances
4€-35€

Booking normally starts a few days before as rides are put up fairly short notice before departure
Shorter than taking the bus

Fairly short, especially over short or moderate distances
No transfers necessary
Wide variety of destinations
Meet new people

Booking available normally only a few days to a week before the trip
No official standards of travelling as the trips are offered by private people
Car Rentals





Proceed to offer
Regular fares

Discounts frequently take place
Per day:
40€ - 60€

Also dependent of your age and the car you would like to drive
Fairly short, especially over short or moderate distances

Shorter than taking the bus

Dependent of the speed you're driving at
No need for transfers
Drive anywhere you want to at any time
Independent of others
Easy to use after arriving at the airport

Not as cheap
Not always easy to find a parking space

Train

In Germany almost all train connections are managed by the “Deutsche Bahn”, due to an old regulation which granted it full monopoly over the past years. Although it was known as a rather expensive way of travel, recently it has become fairly cheap due to its saver fares. This has enabled the train to become a economical option even for students.

It is fairly fast in comparison to the other means of transportation. In addition, it is seen as the most comfortable and relaxing choice, as seats are wide and the scenery can be quite stunning.

Bus

The bus industry has seen a recent upswing in the country, which first allowed for very cheap travel in the nation itself. The market is nearly completely dominated by “Flixbus”, which has been able to buy out nearly all its direct competitors. However, “Eurolines” also provides some routes through the country, and like its competitor, also many destinations all over Europe.

Striking with low prices, it lacks in comfortable seating as these are stacked closely together to allow for as many passengers as possible. Nevertheless, it provides free wifi on board, allowing for entertainment during the driving time.

Although being very cheap, it is important to know, while planning your bus journey, that delays are fairly common due to traffic jams and should be taken into account.

Flights

There are many low budget airlines in Europe, which are perfect for long travels. Due to the vast amount of airlines, a search engine is very helpful, as it compares all possible airlines for you and finds the cheapest offers.

While not being a viable option for very short travels, they are by far the quickest way on longer journeys and also the easiest way to your final destination when arriving at a transfer airport like Frankfurt or Munich.

Booking early is especially important with flights, as prices normally tend to rocket weeks before departure. Also keep in mind that not every city has a big airport that allows commercial airlines to land there, which many leave you to resort to flying into bigger neighboring cities.

Car Rentals

The German highway called the “Autobahn” was the first of its kind and is famous all over the globe, as it is the only modern highway with no speed limits on some of its parts.

Rent a car and experience this thrill yourself or simply enjoy the ride along the beautiful scenery. Choosing this method of transportation, you are sure to have a fast ride and can also make the travel to your destination an attraction itself as you are able to drive down the Autobahn on your own.

This option is especially useful when arriving at the airport with a lot of luggage or simply for the quickest and easiest way to your destination. It minimizes stress as rental cars are always directly available at the airport and therefore there is no need for further complicating logistics after arrival.

Validity of driving license:

  • International Driving Permit helpful for people not from the EU
  • Otherwise driving license valid for first six months when taking up residence in Germany
  • Driving Permits received in the EU should have no problem

Always carry the license and/or permit with you when driving.

We suggest looking at the official regulations (in English) from the government for further and detailed information:

http://www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/EN/Articles/LA/validity-foreign-driving-licences-in-germany.html?nn=188334

Carpooling

Only here are you able to meet new people on the way and learn about local residents from themselves. Usually the people are very open and happy about getting to know new people. If you prefer company on your way to your destination, compared to silence and also enjoy seeing some of the landscapes that pass by over the highway, this is definitely the way to go. This is especially for people who like to get into contact with new people and have fun on the way.

Carpools are widely available to almost every bigger city; however, offers most of the time do not become available until a week or a few days before, which makes reliable planning rather difficult.

Hitchhiking

Of course, you are also able to hitchhike in Germany! It is perfectly legal to stop at service stations or smaller roads to ask people for a ride; however, it is illegal to do so on the highway itself (which are always indicated by a blue sign). On highway entrance ramps please always make sure to be standing before one of these signs.

This method of transportation is probably the most adventurous. It compares a lot to carpooling, with the deficit of not seeing the people you’re travelling with beforehand and that you can never be certain to find a ride to your final destination.

This is a good method to meet new people and gain new experiences; but since you are travelling at your own risk, always be careful and wary with whom to travel with and at what time.

Written by Sean Dietrich