All platforms/tracks in Berlin's main station have lift access

Frankfurt to Berlin by train

Comparatively frequent smart ICE trains provide an easy link between two of Germany's most iconic cities

When looking up a journey by train from Frankfurt (Main) to Berlin, it can be worth looking out for the 'Sprinter' (S) services, they live up to their name by being faster than the regular services, but they are not automatically more expensive.

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Routes

Option 1: taking the faster 'Sprinter' services

Travel Information

On the usual timetable these trains are typically scheduled to depart in every alternate hour (the odd hours) between 07:02 and 19:02, but if those timings won't suit, there are other trains available between Frankfurt (Main) and Berlin.

Arriving in Berlin:

Final Destination: Berlin Hbf

Berlin Hbf is shown as 'Berlin Hbf (tief) on the DB online timetable and this indicates that these trains will arrive at the lowest level in the station.

All trains also call at: Berlin Südkreuz

Berlin Hbf is the main station in the city so take care not to leave the train at Südkreuz if you want to head to the main station in Berlin.

Check the location of your final destination in Berlin, as Berlin-Sudkreuz station is connected by local S-Bahn trains to the eastern and western edges of the city centre, and it now also has a direct connection by S-Bahn local trains, from the upper level of the station, on line S45 to Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

Direct S-Bahn trains on lines S2 and S25 and S26 head north into the city centre and call at locations not served by the ICE trains including Anhalter and Brandenburger Tor and Postdamer Platz and FriedrichstraBe stations - amongst others.

Check your connections in Berlin on this public transport map.

Mon - Fri = 7 x trains per day
Saturday = 5 x trains
Sunday = 6 x trains

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings usually open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

Finding tikcets:

There are two alternative services of ICE trains from Frankfurt (Main) to Berlin Hbf, the more frequent standard ICE services and these faster ICE-S/ICE-Sprinter services.
What makes these trains stand out on the DB website is that these trains have an 'S' beside the ICE in the train details column.

Use the earlier/later buttons to search for the cheapest ticket prices.

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

Reservations:

Book 1st class ticket journey tickets on DB Bahn and your seat reservation is included - but they're optional when booking 2nd class tickets, or if you will be travelling with a 1st or 2nd class rail pass.

Opting to reserve is particularly recommended if you will be travelling at business hours and/or during the day on Fridays and Sundays.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB from €17.90

DB Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.
Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Two types of ticket have recently been made available;

  1. Cheaper 'Young' tickets which can only be booked by those aged 15-26 on the travel date.
  2. Flexi Plus tickets, which are now the most expensive type of ticket, but they're the only type of 2nd class tickets which DO include a seat reservation.
Omio from €17.90

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Happy rail from €17.90

Happy rail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

Save A Train from €17.90

Save A Train Guide

Trainline from €19.90

Trainline Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed (partial journey)

These trains spend around 30mins travelling at more than 280 km/h on the high speed between Erfurt and Halle, but they don't divert off of the direct route in order to call at Leipzig.

Option 2: taking the more frequent regular services

Travel Information

Arriving in Berlin:

Though what can matter is the location of your final destination in the city.

Whether the train travels via Erfurt or via Kassel, it will call at Berlin Hbf, the city's main station; the trains via Erfurt will arrive at the lower level (tief), while those via Kassel will arrive at the upper level.

However, the route that the trains takes to Berlin does make a difference to the other stations in the city that that the ICE trains will call at; and leaving the train at Berlin Hbf may not be your best option.

(1) The trains via Kassel:

if you’re heading to West Berlin the best option is usually to leave this train at Berlin-Spandau.

You can then connect there into S-Bahn (local) or Regio trains on to Zoologischer Garten (Berlin-Zoo) station, which is the main station in West Berlin.
Zoologischer Garten station also has trains from Berlin Hbf, but you'll end up travelling back the way, that the train from Frankfurt (Main), will have just come from.

(2) The trains via Erfurt and Leipzig:

Also call at Berlin-Sudkreuz station for connections to multiple stations not served by the ICE trains including Brandenberg Airport, Brandenberger Tor, Potsdamer Platz and FriedrichstraBe.

1 x train per hour

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

Finding tickets:

In some hours there is a faster train service designated ICE S (ICE Sprinter), but despite their speed, they are not always more expensive than these regular trains, they're easier to spot on the DB (German Railways) website as it uses an 'S' symbol.

When making an online booking, check that you’re looking at booking info for the direct trains; and don't be overly concerned about which route the train will be taking.
The trains via both Kassel and Erfurt will be combined together in the search results.

More important is that you look for journeys that have:

  • 0 in the Chg. column
  • ICE in the Products column (some of the trains via Erfurt are faster ICE-S services)

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

Reservations:

Book 1st class ticket journey tickets on DB Bahn and your seat reservation is included - but they're optional when booking 2nd class tickets, or if you will be travelling with a 1st or 2nd class rail pass.

Opting to reserve is particularly recommended if you will be travelling at business hours and/or during the day on Fridays and Sundays.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB Bahn from €17.90

DB Bahn Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.

Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Omio from €17.90

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Save A Train from €17.90

Save A Train Guide

Happy rail from €17.90

Happy rail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

Trainline from €19.90

Trainline Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed (partial journey)

Good to Know

These regular ICE trains from Frankfurt (Main) to Berlin now take two different routes; on both of which some of the departures will be by the new ICE 4 trains.
(1) via Erfurt and Leipzig; the alternative faster, but less frequent, 'ICE-Sprinter' services take the route via Erfurt, but these regular ICE services are slower because they divert off that route via Erfurt in order to call at Leipzig, where they reverse direction..
(2) or via Kassel
Though it usually doesn't particularly matter which route the train you board happens to be following, if you opt to these regular ICE trains.

**From Apr 1st to December 9th:
Due to maintenance works on the high-speed route between Frankfurt and Kassel the timetable is being altered during this period of time, which will add around 45mins to the journey time of the trains which travel on this route.

Journey description:

Now that the high speed line between Erfurt and Halle has opened, the ICE trains from Frankfurt (Main) to Berlin now take two different routes:
(1) via Erfurt OR
(2) via Kassel.

via Kassel

This is a journey of four distinct phases:

  1. From Frankfurt to Fulda on to the train will travel on a conventional railway
  2. Between Fulda and Hildeshein the train will make use of Germany's first high speed line; this is the part of the journey with a wow factor as the train will travel across dozens of viaducts and bridges, which occur as flashes between numerous tunnels
  3. Then between 10 minutes after departure from Braunschweig until Berlin-Spandau the train will be on a high speed line across dull farmland.
  4. One of the highlights of the journey comes right at the end of the trip when the train travels on a viaduct across Berlin with great views over the city centre.

via Erfurt

These trains follow the route above to Fulda and then take a twisty, but scenic route to Erfurt.
But then after departure from Erfurt they will travel at up to 290 km/h on Germany's newest high speed line for around 40 minutes, but the remainder of the journey on to Berlin is back on conventional tracks.

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This second version of ShowMeTheJourney is exciting and new, so we are genuinely thrilled that you are here and reading this, but we also need your help.

We’re striving not to let anything get in the way of providing the most useful service possible, hence a facility has been set up with DonorBox which can be used to support the running costs and make improvements.

Instead of advertising or paywalls, your financial support will make a positive difference to delivering an enhanced service, as there’s a lot of ideas which we want to make happen.

So if you have found the info provided here to be useful, please consider saying thank you.

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