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

Hamburg to Berlin by train

How to take the rail journey from Hamburg to Berlin

There isn't a high speed line between Hamburg and the German capital, but the 'classic railway' has been re-engineered to enable the ICE trains to travel at up to 230 km/h; which is the highest speed in Europe achieved for a sustained length of time on a line that hasn't been specifically constructed for high-speed.



Option 1: taking the ICE, IC or EC trains

Travel Information

Departing from Hamburg:

Most of these trains commence their journeys at Hamburg-Altona station and then call at Hamburg-Dammtor before they arrive at Hamburg Hbf.

So it can be a good idea to look up the starting point of your journey and then book tickets from the most convenient station; only Hamburg Hbf has connections with the U-Bahn (subway).

Final Destinations:

  • Munchen (ICE trains)
  • Prag (the EC trains)
  • Berlin (the IC train)

Arriving in Berlin:

All trains also call at: Berlin-Spandau

If your final destination in West Berlin it's likely that your best option is to leave these trains at Berlin-Spandau and make onward connections by S-Bahn or Regio trains to Zoologischer Garten station; the Regio trains will be faster.

ICE trains:
1 or 2 x trains per hour

EC trains:
4 x trains per day

IC trains:
1 x train per day


Book early and save: Yes

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

Finding tickets:

The ticket prices for this route tend to depend on the time of day that you want to travel, rather than the type of train.

So the ICE trains are not automatically more expensive, despite being faster than the other trains.

On the DB booking site look for journeys that have:

  • 0 in the Chg. column

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


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.

Save A Train from €17.90

Save A Train Guide

Happy rail from €1790

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.

Omio from €17.90 approx (in £s)

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.

On this journey

Good to Know

The Hamburg to Berlin journey by train has been transformed for the better in recent years as the service used to be shared by ICE trains and IC trains; because it isn't a high-speed route, but the IC trains have now been replaced by additional ICE departures, virtually all of which are non-stop from Hamburg Hbf to Berlin-Spandau and therefore take around 1hr 45mins to travel from city center to city center.

Until 12:51 (typically), there are also four EC trains, departing every two hours, which are Czech trains heading to Prag/Prague.

There is one IC train remaining on the route as direct train service has been provided between Westerland and Berlin, and this train usually departs from Hamburg Hbf at 17:51

Option 2: taking the Flixtrains

Travel Information

Final Destination: Berlin Hbf or Leipzig

In contrast to the other rail services on the Hamburg to Berlin route, the Flix trains only depart from the main station in Hamburg.

Arrival in Berlin:

In addition to the central station Berlin HBf, some of these Flix trains also arrive at Berlin-Charlottenburg which is located in West Berlin.

  • Friday = 3 x trains
  • Saturday = 1 x train
  • Sunday = 3 x trains

The timetable


Online bookings usually open: up to 3 months ahead

Something to be aware of when booking tickets for journeys by FlixTrain is that Flix is predominantly a bus operator, so the train travel options for booking tickets are listed alongside the bus travel options; also some of the info around ticket exchanges and FAQs in general can point at the FlixBus website.
To make a it easier to hone in on a train journey it can be a good idea to look up the timetables to check the departure times which suit and then keep these times in mind looking for your rail ticket(s).

Much of the general advice around booking and using rail tickets in Germany doesn't apply to journeys by FlixTrain.
Tickets booked with DB, the German national rail operator, can't be used on FlixTrains, as Flix has used its own terms and conditions and set its own policies for how its tickets can be booked and used.

What are particularly different from DB is the reservation / seat selection on FlixTrain and how tickets can be exchanged (how tickets can be exchanged on FlixTrain also applies to FlixBus).

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Flix *

On this journey

Good to Know

The first departure of the day on Friday to Sunday is slower than the other departures by around 40 mins.

Final Destination: Hamburg-Altona or Kiel

All trains also call at: Berlin-Spandau; Hamburg-Harburg

Some trains also call at: Berlin-Sudkreuz; Hamburg-Damtor

At Berlin Hbf the train should depart from the lower level (tief) platforms/gleis.

Check the location of your final destination in Hamburg before booking.

The trains from Berlin also serve three other stations in Hamburg other than Hamburg Hbf, so one of these other stations may suit you better.

Take the stress out of your journey Everything planned to your specification, so sit back and relax… Try Concierge

Please support ShowMeTheJourney

Help keep us advertising and paywall free!


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.

See if there’s a unique journey guide for your trip, featuring info on the trains, tickets & stations.
Leaving From
Going To

This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.