With excellent public transport part of the DNA in Germany, it's not a surprise that all but three of Germany's Top 15 most used airports also have rail stations.
So taking the train to and from a flight is usually the way to go, but only of course, when the international trains aren't an option.
If you will taking S-Bahn or Regio train services to and from airport the best option is to buy tickets from the ticket machines or booking counters, just prior to boarding.
Dedicated 'FEX' Airport Express trains plus Regio trains on lines RE7 and RB14 link Berlin Hbf, the city's main railway station, directly with Berlin-Brandenburg Airport
At the airport all of these services call at the new station which serves Terminals 1 and 2.
Combined these services provide four trains per hour from Berlin Hbf to Brandenburg Airport in a journey time of 31 - 34 minutes.
However, something to watch out for is that at Berlin Hbf the FEX trains will depart from the lowest level (tief) part of the station, but the trains on routes RE7 and RB14 will depart from the upper level platforms/gleis 11 or 12.
The RE7 trains will be heading to a final destination of Wünsdorf-Waldstadt, but the FEX trains and those on lines RB14 will be terminating at the Brandenburg Terminal 1-2 station.
To and from other stations in the city centre
To and from terminal 5
In addition to these faster RE and RB trains, local S-Bahn trains on route S9 now also link Berlin Hbf and Alexanderplatz, FriedrichstraBe and Zoologischer Garten stations to the new Terminal 1 and 2 station.
They depart every 20 mins from the upper level at Berlin hbf, but the journey time from Berlin Hbf is 51 minutes, as they make additional station calls.
However, unlike the FEX, and RE/RB trains, they DO call at the station linked to Terminal 5 at Brandenburg Airport.
So if your flight is leaving from Terminal 5, taking these line/route S9 trains direct is a quicker option than making connections at the Terminal 1-2 station.
These IC trains also call at Berlin Hbf as well as at Gesundbrunnen and Sudkreuz stations, but the tickets for journeys between central Berlin and Brandenburg Airport will be more expensive than taking the other train services; despite the IC trains not having a faster journey time.
But if you book a train journey to Brandenburg Airport on the DB website which requires making a transfer, the connection could be into these IC trains.
From Sudkreuz station in Berlin to Brandenburg Airport
S-Bahn line/route S45 also now calls at both the Terminal 5 and Terminal 1 & 2 stations at Brandenburg Airport, so it provides a direct link to the airport from Berlin Sudkreuz station.
So if you'll be heading to the airport from a train which calls at Berlin Sudkreuz before it calls at Berlin Hbf, the quickest and easiest option will be to make a connection to the airport at Sudkreuz station.
Berlin Sudkreuz has direct trains to/from Erfurt, Halle, Leipzig, Munich and Nuremberg.
From Gesundbrunnen station in Berlin to Brandenburg Airport
Berlin-Gesundbrunnen station is now linked to Brandenburg Airport every 30mins as the FEX train services call there.
So if you'll be heading to the airport on a train which calls at Gesundbrunnen before it calls at Berlin Hbf, make the connection at Gesundbrunnen.
Berlin-Gesundbrunnen has direct trains to/from Angermunde and Stralsund.
When Germany's fastest railway line was opened between Siegburg and Frankfurt, Cologne-Bonn airport was temptingly located just to the north and east of a route that would typically be used by multiple high-speed ICE trains in every hour.
So a loop line serving the airport was constructed along with a very smart station, named Köln-Bonn Flughafen, in the expectation that many of those ICE trains would make a brief detour from their direct routes.
However, this plan proved to be ambitious, hence only up to three ICE trains per day now link the airport to Frankfurt (Main) city centre. They also all depart before 10:50, though two of these trains also continue beyond Frankfurt on a route to Munich, which also calls at Wurzburg and Nuremberg.
In the other direction the three ICE trains all arrive at the airport between 17:45 and 19:40.
To and from Cologne / Köln city centre
The railway which serves the airport may not be served by many ICE trains, but it has been put to good use by local (S-Bahn) and regional (Regio) trains.
There are typically two Regio trains per hour which only make one station call between the Cologne's main railway station and the airport - and that station call is at the city's secondary station, Köln Messe/Deutz.
The journey time to/from the city centre is only 13 minutes.
Wen heading to the airport take trains on route RE6 which terminate at Köln-Bonn Flughafen and trains on route RB26 heading to Koblenz
When going to to the city the RE6 will be heading to Minden and the RB27 will be heading to Monchengladbach.
Three S-Bahn trans per hour also link the city centre with the airport and they also call at Köln-Hansaring station.
To and from Bonn city centre
There are no direct trains between Cologne-Bonn airport and Bonn city centre.
Four trains per hour connect the airport with Siegburg/Bonn station, where transfers are available into tram-trains, on the Bonn Stadtbahn, which link that station with central Bonn.
To and from more distant destinations
Hourly direct trains Regio trains link Cologne-Bonn airport with Aachen, Bielefeld, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Essen, Hamm, Koblenz and Monchengladbach.
Dortmund Airport doesn't have a railway station, but it has two bus services which provide a link with rail services.
The 'Airport Shuttle' bus travels two or three times per hour between the airport and Holzwickede station - tickets for the bus journey are €3 and the journey time is around 6 minutes.
Holzwickede has two trains per hour to/from the city centre hauptbahnhof stations in Dortmund, Hagen, Hamm and Wuppertal along with hourly connections with Dusseldorf, Koln/Cologne, Monchengladbach and Solingen.
The Airport Express bus service links Dortmund Airport with the city's main railway station, Dortmund Hbf, tickets cost €9, but the bus only operates once per hour.
So taking the Airport Shuttle bus and connecting with trains in Holzwickede is cheaper and can be quicker than taking the Express Bus.
Dortmund Hbf has trains, which depart at least hourly, to and from multiple destinations not served by trains at Holzwickede, including Bremen, Essen, Hamburg, Munster and Rheine.
Dresden Airport has a station on the Dresden S-Bahn, local train network.
It is the terminal station on line S2, so when travelling to the airport from the city, take the trains that have Dresden Flughhafen as a final destination.
Trains on lines S2 operate every 30mins during the day and call at the city's main railway station, Dresden Hbf along with other stations with good city centre access; Dresden-Neustadt, Dresden-Mitte and Dresden-Freiburger StraBe.
The journey time between the airport and Dresden Hbf is 20 minutes.
So it's a good idea to check if a station other than Dresden Hbf will give you the easiest access to your final destination in the city.
If you’re heading to or from the inner old town area, Dresden Neustadt station offers easier access than is available at Dresden Hbf.
Tram line 11 (direction Zschernitz) departs from the tram stop immediately in front of Dresden Neustadt station and it’s stop at 'Postplatz' is a 5min walk from the inner old town.
Düsseldorf Airport is served by two railway stations:
Taking the local S-Bahn trains
The only trains which use the Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal station are local S-Bahn trains on route/line S11.
They depart every 20 mins during the day on Monday to Friday and every 30mins at evenings and on weekends.
They link the airport with multiple stops in the city including the main railway station, Düsseldorf Hbf.
The journey time between the airport and Dusseldorf Hbf is only 12 minutes and the transfer to/from the airport can be looked up on the local journey planner.
The first train of the day on the every 20mins schedule departs Dusseldorf Hbf at aroud 05:00, but there are some earlier services.
The final train of the day departs the airport at around 01:20; typically all of the trains will be heading to Bergisch Gladbach and will also be calling in Neuss and Köln - see below.
Taking trains to/from Düsseldorf Flughafen bf
Most of the trains which call at the station are either:
The Regio trains provide these typically available links with Düsseldorf Airport:
The ICE trains which link Düsseldorf with Bielefeld, Hanover and Berlin also call at Düsseldorf Flughafen bf hourly.
However, the majority of the other ICE trains which travel between Dusseldorf and more distant cities, including: Amsterdam, Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart only arrive at and depart from Dusseldorf Hbf.
The quickest connections in and out these trains is by taking the S-Bahn trains to/from the Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal station.
There are two options for travelling to Düsseldorf Flughafen/Airport by DIRECT trains from Köln Hbf:
(1) Taking the Regio trains to Düsseldorf Flughafen station
(2) Taking S-Bahn (local) trains to Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal station; though worth knowing is that these Flughafen stations are in different locations.
By Regio Train:
The Regio trains depart to Dusseldorf Airport depart from the main station in Cologne every 30mins.
They're the services on line RE1 to Hamm or Paderborn and line RE5 to Emmerich.
There is a people mover at Düsseldorf Flughafen station that links it to the airport terminals.
The journey time by these trains from Köln Hbf to Düsseldorf Flughafen station is around 43mins.
By S-Bahn Train:
The S-Bahn trains depart from platform/gleis 11 at Köln Hbf every 20 - 30mins.
Line S11 terminates at Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal station, which is located at the airport.
But the journey time from Köln Hbf = 1hr 23mins.
OR By Changing Trains at Dusseldorf Hbf Station:
Another more expensive option is to take an ICE or IC train from Köln Hbf to Düsseldorf Hbf; there are usually 1 or 2 x trains per hour.
The journey time to Düsseldorf Hbf will be around 25mins.
At Düsseldorf Hbf you can then transfer to the S-Bahn line S11 trains heading to Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal.
Note that tickets valid for the Regio and S-Bahn services can't be used on the ICE trains.
The status of Frankfurt Airport as Germany's primary international gateway is partially why it is blessed with two separate railway stations, both of which are adjacent to Terminal One at the airport.
A free shuttle bus service provides the access between Terminal Two and these stations.
1: Frankfurt Flughafen Regiobahnhof lives up to its name as it used by the local (S-Bahn) and regional (Regio) trains
It can be used for transfers by train between the airport and the city centre, as well as journeys to and from Koblenz, Mainz, Saarbrucken and Wiesbaden.
Though some trains between these four cities and the airport also use the Fernbahnhof station.
2: Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof is used by the long-distance ICE and IC train services which call at the airport.
They typically connect it to the overwhelming majority of other cities in Germany, including Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Erfurt, Freiburg, Hanover, Hamburg, Köln / Cologne, Karlsruhe, Leipzig, Mannheim Munchen / Munich, Nurnberg and Stuttgart.
Note that apart from its rail connection to the city it serves, Munich airport has no direct trains to/from any other city in Germany.
Frankfurt Airport also has international ICE trains to and from Amsterdam, Basel, Bruxelles, Linz and Wien /Vienna.
S-Bahn (commuter) trains on lines S8 and S9 link the city's main railway station Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to the airport,
The trains on lines S8 and S9 will be heading to Weisbaden, though take care because the line S1 trains, which also head to Weisbaden, don't serve the airport.
Less frequent Regio trains (towards Koblenz and Saarbrucken) also connect Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport.
Both the S-Bahn trains and the Regio trains call at the Regionalbahnhof station at the flughafen/airport and of the two stations at the airport, this station is closer to Terminal One
The S-Bahn trains are more frequent, they depart every 15 mins, but in Frankfurt (Main) Hbf they depart from the lower level S-Bahn station; usually from track/gleis 103.
This platform has lift and escalator access from the main concourse.
However, before heading down to the S-Bahn station, check if there is a Regio train to the flughafen about to depart.
If there is, it will not only save the effort of descending to the S-Bahn station, it will also be a slightly quicker journey.
Though the journey time by S-Bahn train is only around 12 mins.
Something to watch out for is that the S-Bahn departures are NOT listed on the main departure boards; they are only shown on the screens above the entrance down to the S-Bahn platforms.
From central Frankfurt to the airport by train:
If you want to head from Frankfurt city centre to the airport by train, there's no need to head to Frankfurt (Main) Hbf in order to catch the train.
The S-Bahn trains to the airport also call at these four other stations in the city centre;
The Regional Bahnhof station used by the local trains, is closer to both the arrivals area of Terminal One and the stop used by the Shuttle bus from Terminal Two, compared to the Fernbahnhof station used by the ICE trains.
So taking the train from this regional station makes for a faster end-to-end city centre transfer.
Two train services head from this station to the centre:
The local S-Bahn trains on lines S8 and S9 heading to Hanau or Offenbach, which typically depart every 15 mins, are the best option for a direct journey to the heart of the city, because they they call at these stations, Hauptwache l Konstablerwache l OstendstraBe l Taunusunlage, which are located along a cross-city tunnel.
There are also less frequent Regio trains, which in common with the S-Bahn trains, go from the airport to the city's main railway station, Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.
If you will be heading to the area around Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, or will be going there to transfer to a taxi or the city's U-Bahn tram system, an advantage of taking the Regio train is that it will arrive on the same level as the main concourse at the station.
In contrast the S-Bahn trains arrive at an underground area of Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.
Germany's fastest high-speed railway line commences at the airport and links it with cities to the north, hence trains on multiple north <> south ICE routes call at the airport.
Plus there are high-speed lines to the east of Frankfurt used by trains which link the airport to cities in eastern Germany.
City connection summaries
This info is taken from the usual timetable, the departure and arrival times at the airport should be confirmed on the DB website, the airport station is Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf.
Note during multiple periods of time in 2023, the ICE services to/from the airport are particularly susceptible to having their usual schedule altered due to improvement projects on the railways in the Frankfurt area.
The frequency refers to direct trains, so additional options will be available if you are prepared to make connections.
Freiburg im Breisgau
Köln / Cologne
München / Munich
From April 1st until December 9th inclusive, much of the high-speed line between Kassel and Fulda is closed for maintenance works, which is causing a re-arrangement of many routes taken by ICE trains.
During this time the trains between Frankfurt Airport and Berlin will be taking a different route, which is actually 20 mins faster and they will also be calling in Erfurt.
Though the trains which travel to and from Hamburg via Hannover will be re-routed away from the airport, so Hannover will temporaily lose its direct rail connection with Frankfurt Airport during this time.
Also Hamburg will only be linked with airport by the trains on the slower route via Koln, so the typical journey time will be around 5hr 5min.
To the trains
Allow a minimum of 15 mins to access the long-distance station from Terminal One arrivals, the main access from the airport is by a a fairly long footbridge which is linked to level 3 of the terminal building.
From Terminal Two allow a minimum of 30 mins, because you will need to take the shuttle bus.
Be aware, particularly when travelling from the airport, that the cheaper type of tickets to travel by the ICE trains, the Super Sparpreis and Sparpreis tickets, are only valid on the specific departure you select when booking.
So they cannot be transferred to a later train in the event of a flight delay, or a slower than usual transition through arrivals.
If you buy this type of ticket and miss the train due to a late flight arrival, or other airport delay, you will have to re-book a completely new ticket.
These trains operate every 10 mins and the journey time between the airport station and Hamburg Hbf is around 25 mins.
Other stations in Hamburg that the trains on line S1 also call at include, Reeperbahn, Jungfernsteig and Landungsbrucken.
Hamburg Hbf is served by Regio trains which depart at least hourly to/from multiple other towns and cities, including, Bremen, Lubeck and Kiel - tickets will cost the same price when booked last minute at the station for journeys by these trains.
From Hamburg Hbf to the airport by train:
S-Bahn trains heading to Hamburg Flughafen/Airport on line S1 - depart from Gleis (platform/track) 3 in Hamburg Hbf.
Something to look out for when travelling TO the airport is that the trains heading to Hamburg Flughafen/Airport station, are joined to trains heading to Poppenbutel or Kornweg stations.
When the train subsequently arrives at Ohlsdorf station, the train is split into two halves, three cars head off for the Flufghafen and the other three head off to Poppenbutel or Kornweg.
So when going to the airport, check that you are in the right part of the train - there are signs on the platform, including on the floor, showing where to board if you're heading to the airport.
Not every train from gleis 3 will be heading to the airport so keep an eye on the departure screens and check the destination info on the trains
Hannover Airport is connected with the city centre by line S5 of the city's local rail S-Bahn system.
Also when events and exhibitions are being staged at the Hannover Fairground, line S8 is activated to provide a direct airport to exhibition halls service.
The only city centre stop on line S5 is at Hannover Hbf, which is the city's conveniently located main railway station.
The trains typically depart every 30 minutes and the journey time is 20 minutes.
Leipzig/Halle Airport straddles the main railway route which links the two cities, so it has a station served by local S-Bahn trains which depart every 30 mins to Halle Hbf and Leipzig Hbf.
The journey time to Halle Hbf is only 9 minutes, while to/from the main railway station in Leipzig, the journey time is 16 minutes.
The trains from the airport to Leipzig will be heading to Zwickau; where connections are available to/from the Czech spa towns of Frantiskovy Lazné and Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad.
At Leipzig Hbf the trains arrive at and depart from the lower level platforms/tracks, because the trains use a tunnel to cross the city, the station Markt is located at the heart of Leipzig.
Long-distance Intercity trains also call at Leipzig/Halle Flughafen station on a route which departs every two hours and provides a direct link with the main railway stations in Magdeburg and Braunschweig.
Though the final train of the day to these cities typically departs before 21:00.
The railway station at München Flughafen is served by two lines of the city's S-Bahn system of local trains plus there are also now hourly Regio trains which link Munich Airport with Landshut (Bay) (connect for Nurnberg) and Regensburg.
Between Munich Airport and the city centre
The trains on the S-Bahn line routes S1 and S8 both operate every twenty minutes and they both use a tunnel which crosses the city centre and has stations named:
The journey time to Marienplatz station is 38 minutes by both line S1 and S8 so when departing the airport, take whichever train will be departing first.
Though when heading to the airport look carefully at the station departure monitors at the city centre stations, because the trains on line S1 will be heading west and the trains on line S8 will be going east.
For journeys by the S-Bahn trains AirportPLUS tickets are available which include onward travel within the city that day, so they are a particularly good option if your start and end point is located by a station on the U-Bahn, which is the metro network within central Munich.
Connections with lines U2 and U3 are available at Marienplatz and Karlsplatz station offers transfers with lines U4 and U5.
When heading to the airport on the S-Bahn trains take care not to leave the train at München Flughafen Besucherpark station.
To and from the city's main railway station
Trains on lines S1 and S8 also both call at the lower level platforms / tracks in München Hbf, the main railway station in the city.
The journey time by line S1 is 46 mins and by line S8 it is 41 minutes, so when heading from the airport take whichever train will be next to depart.
When going to the airport check the departure monitors, the trains on line S1 will be heading west and those on line S8 will be going west.
München Hbf has direct trains to most other cities in Germany though most of these cities, including Nurnberg, Stuttgart, Ulm and Wurzburg also have direct trains to and from Frankfurt Airport.
Making connections at München Ost station
Every 20 mins S-Bahn trains on line S8 connect München Flughafen (airport) with München Ost station in a journey time of 31 mins; trains on line S1 also go to München Ost, but they have a journey time of 55mins so are best avoided.
The trains on the main railway route between München the Austrian border, have to travel in a semi-circle around the southern side of the city in order to access the city's main rail terminal, München Hbf.
Hence it takes around 10 mins for these long-distance trains to make the journey between München Ost and München Hbf.
Therefore for rail journeys between the airport and some destinations south-east of Munich, including Bolzano, Graz, Klagenfurt Innsbruck and Salzburg, the quickest route is to make the transfer at München Ost and not at München Hbf.
The airport in Nuremberg / Nürnberg is served by line U2 of the city's metro system and these trains make multiple stops in the central area including Opernhaus, the closest station on the line to the city centre.
Line U2 also serves the city's main railway station, where connections are avaialble with Regio trains to and from Bamberg, Coburg, Hof and Regensburg.
ICE trains are also available at least hourly to Frankfurt (Main), Fulda, Munich and Wurzburg, there are also fairly frequent ICE trains to and from Erfurt and Berlin.
Stuttgart Airport is linked to the city centre by line S2 of the S-Bahn local rail network.
The trains depart every 15 mins during the day on Monday to Friday and every 30mins on Monday to Friday evenings and at weekends.
The journey time between the airport and the city's main railway station is 28 mins.
The station at the airport is named Stuttgart Flughafen/Messe and the trains heading to the airport will be terminating at Filderstadt.
Connections are available at, the main station, Stuttgart Hbf, with trains to and from Heidelberg, Karlsruhe and Ulm.
Between Stuttgart Airport and the city centre
The trains on line S2 call at a station named Stadtmitte, which is closer to the southern edge of the city centre than Stuttgart Hbf
Though line U6 of the city's light rail network now has a stop, which is a five minute walk from the airport terminal, which offers a frequent connection with two city centre stops at Rathaus and Charlottenplatz.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
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.
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