5 non-German towns and cities to visit with your 49-euro ticket
May is here, and so is the long-awaited 49-euro ticket. If you’d like to make the most of all the public holidays (Feiertage) this month has to offer and feel a bit more inspired than a day trip to Schloss Neuschwanstein, here’s an overview of which non-German cities you can get to, all with your trusted 49-euro ticket.
Travelling outside Germany with the 49-euro ticket
Since May 1, 2023 the 49-euro Deutschlandticket has been valid on all regional trains and public transport across the federal republic. While this means that long-distance ICE or IC trains are out of the question, with a bit of patience one can get pretty far with the 49-euro ticket.
This includes crossing the borders into some of Germany’s eight neighbouring countries. Because national train tariff borders aren’t normally located on the actual border between two countries, in some cases, the German national tariff still applies to stations on the other side of a neighbouring border.
Provided there is regional transport for these connections, the 49-euro ticket can be used to hop these borders. From Tønder to Salzburg, here’s how to really make the most of your monthly ticket.
Let’s start from the top. Beginning its journey in Niebüll, Schleswig-Holstein, the RB66 travels across the border into Denmark and through to Tønder, a quaint Danish town which hosts its self-named festival each summer - a staple in the folk fan calendar.
And if you want to make a truly life-changing trip with the 49-euro ticket, bear in mind that since the 1960s, the Danish border town has been a favourite for European elopers. Denmark’s easy-going laws around marriage mean that many couples choose to seal the deal Scandi-style in order to avoid arduous German bureaucracy.
Venlo, The Netherlands
With the RE13 it takes just six minutes to cross the border from Germany and arrive in Venlo, a tiny city in the Netherlands which has played its part in the world’s grand history. During the Second World War, the municipality became well-known for the Venlo incident, during which two British spies were kidnapped by the German SS, and used by the Nazis to link Great Britain to an assassination attempt on Hitler.
Because they all lie near the border, many of the abroad spots reachable with the 49-euro ticket have their own specific tales to tell about WWI and WWII international relations. But if you’re looking to switch off during your spring or summertime trip, a visit to the river Meuse followed by a cold beer in the Cafe de Klep beer garden can provide it.
Via Koblenz and Trier with the RE11, travellers can end their journey in one of Europe's bitesized countries, Luxembourg. This one comes with an added bonus, one that fans of the gone-but-not-forgotten 9-euro ticket will be sure to love: all public transport in Luxembourg is free to residents and tourists alike. This policy, implemented in 2020, means that you can see all of this tiny country for next to nothing.
But if your arrival in Luxembourg sees you desperate to step off a sweaty train, little Luxembourg is known for something else special, being one of the only countries that it is possible to walk across relatively easily. Walking across southern Luxembourg from Wormeldange to the Belgian town of Aubange would set you back just under 12 hours, including a mid-way pitstop for lunch in Luxembourg city, the country’s capital.
Just across the River Rhine, Strasbourg is the perfect trip for Francophiles living in Germany, a mash-up of both countries that will leave German learners disorientated after hearing too much Alsatian. With its route beginning in the German city of Offenburg, the RB25 can take you from the nigh indistinguishable regional specialities of Flammkuchen to tarte flambée in just over half an hour.
Now this addition to the list may technically be cheating. Since the Strasbourgers don't actually allow the 49-euro ticket to cross over into their territory, it will be necessary to spend a few extra euros. Alight at the last stop in Germany, Kehl, and change to the tram at the stop outside Bahnhof Kehl, after a few stops on this transnational tram you will be in the centre of the Alsatian city. A walkable size with lots to see, Strasbourg is great for a weekend trip from the federal republic. The city’s Notre Dame is an impressive size, towering over the old town, and the Upper Rhine Valley coursing through provides some tree-shaded picnic spots by the water.
In terms of city trips outside Germany, this is about as much as you can squeeze out of the 49-euro ticket. About two hours from Munich with the Bavarian RE5 you can be in the centre of Salzburg, a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.
Surrounded by the Alps, Salzburg is best known for being the birthplace of the often mischievous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1756. Much of the city’s tourism industry is centred around this point, with Mozartkugel pistachio and marzipan chocolates taking centre stage in many tourist shops and attractions. Now plug in your headphones, stick on the 1782 Wolfie hit Leck mich im Arsch (Lick My Ass) and go for a picturesque wander!
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