Transportation


Frankfurt’s airport is the busiest in the country , followed by the airport serving Munich. Together they connect Germany to the rest of the world. Once in the country, you can travel by plane, train, bus or rental, depending on your budget and travel style.

Arriving and Departing Germany

When flying into Germany, travelers typically use Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA), which is a major base for Lufthansa. Those flying from Europe have plenty other airport choices, including: Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne.

Arriving and Departing Munich

Munich Airport (MUC) is a hub for Lufthansa, Air Berlin, Augsburg Airways and Air Dolomiti. The airport serves as entry point for those flying here for Oktoberfest and also as gateway for those heading to the Alps.

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Arriving and Departing Berlin

Berlin is served by two airports: Berlin Tegel “Otto Lilienthal” Airport (TXL) and Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF). Both handle a lot of flight to/from Europe and are well served by low-cost carriers. Connections to the rest of the world are limited, though.

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Arriving and Departing Hamburg

Hamburg is also served by two airports: Airport Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel (HAM ) and Airport Lübeck-Blankensee (LBC). However, the latter handles only some low cost flights operated by low cost carriers. Hamburg Airport handles plenty of flights to/from Europe, as well as some limited connections to Africa, Asia , Middle East and North America.

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Getting around Germany

Germany is not a small country so will need to use some form of local transportation to get around. You’ll need to get from the airport to the city center and to the hotel (or hostel) of your choice and you’ll also need to find your way to the sights, as well as from one city to another.

From the Airport to the City Center

In Frankfurt, you can take the S-Bahn (fast commuter trains), bus or taxi to get from the airport to the city center.

In Munich, you can also catch the S-Bahn (S1 and S8 lines). The single is €10. If there’s more than one person traveling, the partner ticket is €19.80 and can be used by up to 5 persons.

In Berlin , catch a bus from Tegel to the city center. Alternatively you can catch a bus to Jakob-Kaiser Platz , which is on the U-Bahn line U7 and connects to the city center. From Schönefeld, catch the S-Bahn or the regional train into the city center.

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In Hamburg , catch the S-Bahn S1 from Hamburg Airport or the bus (especially at night). From Lübeck-Blankensee, catch a bus to Hamburg’s main bus station.

From One City to Another

Driving in Germany

Driving in Germany is a delight. The roads are well maintained and the scenery is lovely. If you own a diver’s license issued by a European Union member country, you can use it in Germany without any problems. The speed limit is 50 kmph in built up areas and 10 kmph elsewhere.

It takes about 5 ½ h to drive from Berlin to Frankfurt, 6 h to drive from Berlin to Munich and 3 h to drive from Berlin to Hamburg.

>>read about Renting a car in Germany

Train travel in Germany

Germany has a very developed rail network, with fast and reliable connections. Book the ticket in advance and you won’t pay too much for the journeys. Almost all long distance trains are operated by Deutsche Bahn . All major cities are linked by InterCity Express and InterCity trains , which can do up to 330 kmph.

The EuroCity trains connect Germany’s cities to other cities in Europe and are similar to the InterCity trains.

There are also domestic trains, separated into: InterRegioExpress, Regional-Express, Regional-Bahn (stops everywhere) and S-Bahn (commuter network for cities).

Bus travel in Germany

There are some long distance bus lines in Germany, most originating from Berlin.

Flying in Germany

Domestic flights are mostly used by businessmen because in many cases the train proves to be the cheaper and the faster alternative. Consider that trains leave you in the city centers and you won’t need to spend more time traveling to/from the airport. And don’t forget that most low-cost carries fly to airport located really far for the city center. Still, there are quite a lot of German low cost carriers fighting over clients so you might be able to find good bargains.

Walking and Cycling in the Cities

Cycling is an excellent way to explore Berlin. There are many cycling paths through the city. Frankfurt is another bike-friendly city and there are plenty bike lines to use. Munich offers 200 km of bike trails for those who want to visit the city on two wheels. Hamburg is also very bike-friendly and many hotels offer bike-rental services.

Deutsche Bahn has a car rental easy-to-use system which is available in the cities from April to December.

Public Transportation

Berlin is a huge city and you can use the bus, tram, train and underground services to get around. Standard tickets (€2.30) are valid for two hours within the appropriate zone.

In Frankfurt, you can use the Underground, tram and bus to get around. Fares are also based on zones. The central part of the city is a single zone and the one-day adult pass is €6.20. To get to the airport, you’ll pay €8.

In Munich, you can use the Tram (streetcar), buses, S-Bahn (suburban trains) and U-Bahn (underground trains). The fares are based on zone and there is only one ticket system. A single trip in a single zone is €2.50. The ticket to the airport is €10 one way. Day tickets range from €5.60 (inner district) to €11 (entire network).

In Hamburg, you can use the bus, train (underground and over ground) or ferry (which goes along the Elbe river). You can purchase the tickets directly from the buses.

Photo credits: Frankfurt Airport ; Berlin train station ; bike lane