8 best routes to travel across Germany with your 9-euro ticket
Germany’s long-awaited nine-euro monthly public transport ticket is set to launch from June 1 this year, giving German residents the opportunity to travel easily across the country amid the current cost of living crisis.
The discounted ticket is set to last for just three months, making this summer the time to explore Germany on public transport. We can't guarantee the weather will be good, but here are some of the best routes to take around Germany in the coming months, using regional transport only.
Dresden to Bad Schandau, Saxony
In the beautiful state of Saxony lies the city of Dresden, once the most populous city of East Germany. Not only is the city steeped in interesting history, but it is also relatively well-connected, allowing you to travel there via train from most other large German cities.
From Dresden, one of the best routes travellers can take is the S-Bahn to Bad Schandau, taking just 44 minutes. On the way, passengers are greeted with great views of the Elbe sandstone mountains and the river. From Bad Schandau, day-trippers can extend their trip with a hike to the Schrammsteine mountains, some of the most beautiful German peaks outside the Alps.
Hanse Express, Hamburg & Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
From Hamburg, the Hanse Express train takes travellers across Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and showcases the beauty of the Elbe River, en route to the German port city of Rostock. The trip takes approximately two hours, and can even be extended so you can visit one of Germany’s most beautiful islands - Rügen.
Rügen is known for its stunning beaches and dramatic coast and is a popular holiday resort within Germany. This route is therefore perfect for those based in Hamburg seeking a weekend away. The Hanse Express runs once every two hours and travellers to Rügen simply need to change trains at Rostock to continue the journey onwards.
Super Lines, Brandenburg
For train lovers, the Super Lines in Brandenburg are a real treat. Consisting of several lines totalling almost 400 kilometres in length, these trains can be a great way to relax and enjoy taking in the scenery.
Travellers living in Berlin will find this line of particular interest, since there are many routes starting around the region, travelling all the way out to places such as Wismar - home to Wismar zoo, an attraction popular with families - and Lübbenau in the Spreewald.
Between Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate lies the Lahntalbahn, a historic section of railway which was opened between 1858 and 1863. The railway tracks run alongside the Lahn river and the route is a particularly good route for cyclists, since passengers can disembark and join the Lahntalradweg pretty easily.
These days, most of the line’s trains run from Koblenz and Gießen - changing at Wetzlar station in Hesse to join the Dill line for Gießen. Over the years, there have been many proposals to modernise the line, such as adding it to high-speed rail networks or electrifying the entire route, but many of these failed. Nevertheless, an upgrade to part of the line relating to signalling in Rhineland-Palatinate was made in 2015, but much of the route exists as it did in 1858.
Koblenz - Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate
For Rhineland-Palatinate itself, there are several great railway options - the key one being the route between Koblenz and Trier. The Moselle Valley, which hosts the line, is also home to some of Germany’s best vineyards and wine producers.
Travellers can stop off on the way to Trier at Bullay, which has its own wine railway - the Moselle Wine Railway, heading to Traben-Trarbach. Though the journey is only 13 kilometres, travellers can explore the vineyards and try some local German wine for a little break on the way.
Technically, the Vogtland stretches over three German federal states, but it is home to the famous Thuringia Trail in the state of Thuringia, near the Czech border. The Elstertalbahn travels across the Vogtland and the 400-kilometre Thuringia trail, making the Elstertalbahn route ideal for long hikes or bike rides.
Along the route, travellers can see some of the country’s most beautiful sights and attractions, including castles, monuments and churches. The route even passes by the Elster Valley Bridge, the second largest brick-made bridge in the world, made from around 12 million bricks.
Freilassing to Berchtesgaden, Bavaria
Naturally, some of the most beautiful train routes in Germany lie in Bavaria. This federal state is known for its stunning alpine landscape and great traditional German food. The line from Freilassing to Berchtesgaden passes through glorious countryside and winds around some of the best national parks the country has to offer.
Another great route in this region is the Mittenwaldbahn which carves through the Karwendel Mountains, giving passengers stunning views and a nice break from the city. For city-dwellers, the line from Munich to Füssen is also a great option, with the option to explore the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle, located just a short hike from Füssen.
High Rhine Railway, Baden-Württemberg
While this route actually starts in Switzerland, there are plenty of German stations where you can pick up the train. Beginning at the Badischer Bahnhof in Basel, Switzerland, the High Rhine Railway route travels alongside the river, giving travellers a pleasant ride past waterfalls in Schaffhausen, Lake Constance and the Alps.
From Lake Constance you can also pick up the Black Forest route, the Schwarzwaldbahn. Heading from Karlsruhe to Lake Constance and back again, this 150 year-old railway line was created to avoid tunnelling through the mountains, ensuring that all passengers have spectacular views of the unforgettable landscape of Baden-Württemberg.
While the nine-euro ticket is still yet to be introduced, there are some ticket conditions that we know about already. For example, the tickets are only valid for local public transport networks, so they are not valid for long-distance trains such as IC or ICE trains. EC trains run by Deutsche Bahn, as well as FlixTrains and FlixBuses, are also not covered.
As well as this, the tickets are only available for the months of June, July and August, but will each be valid for an entire month. Cyclists should be aware that the nine-euro ticket does not include the price of bringing your bike on board. Happy travels!