Getting around in Germany

by Andrea Segura - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Willkommen in Deutschland!

As you are planning your bicycle trip and beyond, you will certainly wonder how to best get around. We’re here to help and have put together some general information and tips for you. You will find tour-specific travel information in the online itinerary specific to your tour. Note that any fares and timing mentioned are estimates.

We also recommend Rome2Rio, which is an excellent route and travel planning resource.

Berlin

Airport Berlin Schönefeld (SXF)

It is mostly used by charter and low cost airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, UP and Norwegian Air Shuttle. But also major carriers Aeroflot and TAP Portugal go there. Schönefeld Airport is about 18 km from the city center and well-connected by public transportation.

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To and From the Berlin Schönefeld Airport

  • S-Bahn: The commuter rail (S-Bahn) lines S9 and S45 run every 10 minutes and connect to the inner city via Ostkreuz and Südkreuz.
  • Regional Railway: Also referred to as the Airport Express. Lines RE7 and RE14 run twice every hour between Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) and Schönefeld Airport. Travel time is 30 minutes.
  • Taxi: A trip from the Schönefeld Airport to Berlin Mitte (Alexanderplatz) or Charlottenburg (Kurfürstendamm) costs about 45 Euros (status 2017)

Berlin

Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL)

It is served by major airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France/ KLM, British Airways, Iberia, Quatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Continental Airlines and Hainan Airlines. Airberlin uses Tegel airport as its Oneworld alliance hub. Tegel Airport is about 4 km from the city center and well-connected by public transportation.

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To and From the Berlin Tegel Airport

  • Bus: Buses and express buses are operated by BVG (Berlin Transport Services) and leave frequently outside Terminals A and B. Tickets can be purchased either directly from the driver, the ticket machines outside the terminal building or at the ticket counter located at the exit of Terminal A/ B or on the bus. If you do not buy your ticket on the bus, make sure you validate your ticket when getting on.
  • Taxi: A taxi from Tegel Airport to Mitte (Alexanderplatz) costs about 30 Euro (status 2017)

Frankfurt

Frankfurt International Airport (FRA)

The Frankfurt International Airport is connected by train, bus, and a special direct AIRail Service.

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To and From the Airport

To and From the Airport

  • By AIRail: Frankfurt airport has two railway stations. The long-distance AIRail station offers service to and from Bonn, Cologne, and Stuttgart, directly to the airport, right next to Terminal 1. Trains arrive at and depart from platforms 4 to 7, and they will even check your baggage when you board the train (for certain airlines).
  • By Train: There is a local railway station for S-Bahn regional and local trains at Terminal 1, Level 1. Trains arrive at and depart from platforms 1 to 3.
  • By Shuttle: Lufthansa offers an airport bus from Frankfurt to Strasburg, and airport shuttles to various other destinations. These are easy options since they leave directly from the Frankfurt airport. Web: www.lufthansa-airportbus.com
  • By Bus: Buses arrive at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, and travel to various destinations around Frankfurt. Check the airport website for a list of destinations and schedules.

Nuremberg / Nürnberg

Nuremberg International Airport (NUE)

Nuremberg is a smaller airport, and most international flights connect through either Frankfurt or Munich.

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To and From the Airport

  • By Train: The U2 subway line directly connects Nuremberg Airport with the central train station in just 12 minutes.
  • By Bus: The airport is conveniently reached using the Nuremberg bus service. The bus stop is located in front of Terminal 1 at the departure level, and buses leave every 10 minutes. Check the airport website for destinations and schedules.
  • By Taxi or Shuttle Service: A taxi to downtown Nuremberg takes just 15 minutes and costs around 16 Euros (status 2017). Check the airport website for a list of shuttle services also available from the airport. Taxi Center. Tel: +49-91-11-94-10

Hamburg

Hamburg Airport (HAM)

The Hamburg Airport is well-connected by international flights. Check the airport’s website for carriers. It’s about 8 km from the city center and well connected by commuter rail to downtown Hamburg.

To and From the Airport

  • S-Bahn: The commuter rail (S-Bahn) line S1 connects the airport with the central railway station (Hamburg Hauptbahnhof). The journey takes 25 minutes and trains run every 10 minutes.
  • Taxi: A taxi to downtown costs about 25 to 30 Euros (status 2017)

Munich

Munich International Airport-Flughafen München (MUC)

The Munich International Airport is very well-connected by international flights. Check their website for carriers. It is also well-connected by bus and train to downtown Munich.

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To and From the Airport

  • By Airport Shuttle: Lufthansa offers direct service from the Munich airport to various destinations in Germany. Check their website for destinations and schedules on Lufthansa Airport Shuttle. Web: www.lufthansa-airportbus.com
  • By Shuttle Bus: Autobus Oberbayern Shuttles operate conveniently every 20 minutes from terminals 1 and 2 and the Central Area of the airport, and proceed directly to both the subway station Nordfriedhof in the Schwabing quarter and the Munich Main Station (München Hauptbahnhof). Check the website for schedules and more information.
  • By S-Bahn: After leaving customs, follow the green and white S sign for the S- Bahn urban rapid railway system, which takes you downtown to connect with other means of transportation (e.g. the metro (U-Bahn). There are two S-Bahn lines to the Munich main train station and city center: S-1 takes 45 minutes and S-8 takes 41 minutes. Check the website for a complete map of the metro. Munich public transport authority.
  • By Train: While the S-Bahn takes you to downtown Munich, it is connected to the long-distance train system as well, which allows you to travel to other destinations in Germany. After taking the S-Bahn S-1 or S-8 from the airport to downtown Munich (Munich main train station: München Hbf), the train system can take you to your destination outside of Munich. Check the schedules and prices online: Deutsche Bahn AG – the German Railway.

Train Transportation Information

The word “Hauptbahnhof” means “central station”, and is abbreviated as “Hbf”. This is typically the best-connected station in the town or city. The word “Flughafen” means “airport” and usually trains will connect from the airport station to the main Hbf station.

German Train System

Germany is very well-connected by trains (Bahn), and the German train system has a comprehensive website to help you plan your travels around Germany. You will even find international connections and schedules.

Major Train Stations:

  • Frankfurt: Frankfurt (Main) Hbf
  • Munich: München Hbf
  • Nuremberg: Nürnberg Hbf
  • Stuttgart: Stuttgart Hbf
  • Berlin: Berlin Hbf.

Types of Trains

  • Intercity-Express (ICE)
  • Intercity/Eurocity (IC/EC)
  • Interregional (IR)
  • Interregional-Express (IRE)
  • Regional-Express (RE)
  • Regionalbahn (RB)
  • Night trains (NZ, EN, D-Zug, UEX, CNL)
  • International trains: Thalys, Eurostar
  • Local public transport: urban rapid transit (S-Bahn), underground (U-Bahn)

Which train should I take?

Depending on your destination, you have many options. Typically, longer distances between major cities are the ICE trains, which may even offer a first class department and include on-train food services. All stops are serviced on the Regionalbahn (RB) train, and oftentimes you may take one of these to reach a smaller town. When researching your train travel online, click on the abbreviation in the “Products” column for a complete description of the types of trains offered for your preferred route.

Traveling by Train with your Bike: It is a good idea to check on the German Train Systems website www.bahn.de to see if your train allows bikes, and if so, how many. On some trains, a bike reservation may be required due to limited space.

Other Types of Transportation in Germany

  • Taxis: Taxis can easily be found outside airports and train stations. It is good practice to ask for an approximate fare before the ride and pay meter start. Keep in mind that the cost may vary depending on traffic in the city. You can round up to add a tip.
  • Rental Car: If you decide to rent a car, we suggest arranging this from the U.S. – it’s cheaper. Be sure to find out the exact address of the location to pick up your rental car, (preferably at your arrival airport). It’s best to make these arrangements in advance, and if you wish to go through a German company, we suggest Sixt Car Rental.
  • Bus: Germany has an extensive domestic bus network although most travelers stick with the more convenient rail network unless they want to get to smaller towns, particularly in the Bavarian Alps and along the Romantic Road. International buses are a popular alternative to the train with services to destinations throughout both eastern and western Europe. Central bus stations (Busbahnhof) are usually located near the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) in most big towns and cities. However, some smaller bus companies, such as those serving eastern European destinations, operate from their own terminals.

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