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Travel Info & Tips International trains from Germany
An ICE 3 (406) train on a Bruxelles - Frankfurt service

International trains from Germany

Summaries of how to take direct trains to Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and The Netherlands

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As Germany is Europe's largest country, it's not unexpected that it has more international train services than any other, but what may surprise is that the express trains to and from Germany are confined to comparatively few routes.

Therefore most of the international express trains from/to Germany follow just one route per border; and this is the case when travelling by express trains between Germany and Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Poland and The Netherlands.

By train from Germany to Austria (and on to Croatia and Hungary and Italy and Slovenia and Switzerland)

An ICE train heads to Wien from Frankfurt (Main) An ICE train heads to Wien from Frankfurt (Main)

With the two nations sharing a language it's perhaps inevitable that no two European countries have more international long-distance train services between them than Germany and Austria.

the route from Freilassing to Salzburg:

No less than eight different train services make this border crossing, as this is the route taken by trains from Munchen/Munich and beyond to eastern and south-eastern Austria, many of which travel across Austria and continue on to other countries.
So the trains which come this way include:

  • day and night trains to Hungary
  • the day and night trains to Croatia, which also cross Slovenia
  • the night trains from Germany to Italy.

Day trains:

(1) Railjet trains which depart every other hour on the Munchen/Munich Hbf – Salzburg – Linz – St Polten – Wien/Vienna – Gyor – Budapest route.

(2) Daily Railjet trains which share the Munchen - Salzburg - Bad Gastein - Villach - Klagenfurt route with the EC trains.
The morning train connects in Villach with a train on to Zagreb via Ljubljana.

(3) EC trains which take these five routes once per day;

  • Karlsruhe - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg
  • Saarbrucken - Kaiserslautern - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg - Graz
  • Frankfurt (Main) - Heidelberg - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg - Graz
  • Frankfurt (Main) - Heidelberg - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg - Bad Gastein - Villach - Lesce-Bled - Ljubljana - Zagreb; this is the only daytime train from Germany to Slovenia and Croatia.
    Between June 20th and Sept 20th it was possible to make onward connections, which enable a train journey on to both Athens/Athina and Istanbul. but the required trains were suspended at the start of the pandemic and have yet to resume.
  • Munster - Duisburg - Dusseldorf - Koln/Cologne - Bonn - Koblenz - Mainz -- Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen - Salzburg - Bad Gastein - Villach - Klagenfurt
    This train connects in Villach for a train on to Ljubljana
    Between June 20th and Sep 13th that train from Villach usually connects in Ljubljana for a train which travels on to Zagreb and then continues overnight to Beograd, where it arrives at 06:05 and it conveys sleeping cars; though this train on to Beograd was suspended at the start of the pandemic and has yet to resume

These EC trains also call at Munchen Ost after they depart from Munchen Hbf.

(4) Hourly Regio trains, operated by Meridian that link Munchen with Salzburg.

(5) Hourly local trains which shuttle across the border on a Bad Reichenhall - Freilassing – Salzburg route; trains from Berchtesgaden connect into these trains at Freilassing

Night trains:

(6) The Nightjet trains to Italy, which travel on these three routes:

  • Munchen/Munich – Padova/Padua – Vicenza – Verona – Peschiera del Garda – Desenzano del Garda – Brescia – Milano
    The only direct train from Munchen/Munich to Milano.
  • Munchen/Munich – Bologna – Firenze/Florence – Arezzo – Roma
    The only direct train from Germany to Florence/Firenze and Roma.
  • Munchen/Munich – Tarvisio – Udine – Treviso – Venezia/Venice

(7) The Euronight train from Munchen/Munich to Budapest via Wien/Vienna

(8) The overnight train on this route: Munchen/Munich - Villach - Lesce-Bled - Ljubljana - Zagreb
Between June 13th and Sept 20th it's usually possible to make onward connections from this train on to both Athens/Athina and Istanbul.; but these onward connections were suspended at the start of the pandemic and have yet to resume

the route from Rosenheim to Kufstein

The most frequent daytime trains which come this way are the six EC trains per day which take a Munchen/Munich – Kufstein – Worgl – Jenbach - Innsbruck route.
During the day these trains depart Munchen/Munich in the odd hours and they also call at Munchen Ost station after they depart from Munchen Hbf.

Connect in Worgl for St, Johann, Kitzbuhel and Zell am See.
Though on most Saturdays a direct ICE train to these towns departs from Muchen/Munich hbf at 15:20.

Five of those EC trains continue beyond Innsbruck to call at Brennero – Bolzano – Fortezza – Bolzano –Rovigo – Trento – Verona.
Connect in Verona for cities to the west including Brescia, Desenzano for Lake Garda, Milano and Torino/Turin.

On Monday- Friday three of these trains have their journeys extended beyond Verona to Bologna – and at the height of summer, one train continues beyond Bologna to Rimini; there are two trains per day from Munchen/Munich to Bologna at weekends
Connect in Bologna for cities further south including Ancona, Bari, Firenze/Florence, Napoli and Roma.

On Monday to Friday one of these trains continues beyond Verona to call at Vicenza, Padova/Padua and Venezia/Venice; though there are two trains per day on Saturday and Sunday from Munchen/Munich Venezia/Venice.

The Nightjet overnight trains from Amsterdam via Duisburg, Dussedorf and Koln/Cologne and Hamburg to Innsbruck, also come this way.

the route from Passau to Wels:

The ICE trains from Germany to Austria are the daytime express trains which make this border crossing.

They take one of these three routes:

  • Dortmund – Essen – Dusseldorf – Koln/Cologne – Bonn – Koblenz – Mainz – Frankfurt (Main) – Wurzburg – Nurnberg – Regensburg – Passau – Wels – Linz – Wien/Vienna
    (every other hour from Frankfurt, 2 x trains per day from Dortmund via Koln/Cologne)
    Connect in Wien/Vienna for Budapest and Graz
  • Hamburg – Hannover - Kassel – Wurzburg – Nurnberg – Regensburg – Passau – Wels – Linz – Wien/Vienna.
    (1 x train per day)
  • Berlin – Halle - Erfurt – Nurnberg – Regensburg – Passau – Wels – Linz – Wien/Vienna
    (1 x train per day)

In most hours local REX trains also shuttle between Passau and Wels.

The Nightjet overnight train from Dusseldorf via Koln/Cologne and Koblenz to Linz and Vienna/Wien also comes this way.

the route from Lindau to Bregenz:
Travelling by the Bodensee on a train from Germany to Austria

These two charming towns on the shore of the Bodensee are connected by frequent local trains, with at least one of these trains per hour continuing beyond Bregenz to Feldkirch.
A few Railjet trains per day depart Bregenz for Wien/Vienna travelling via St Anton, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Linz, but there are more frequent Railjets on this route from Feldkirch.

Three long distance train services also come this way:

(1) The daily IC train on a Dortmund - Wuppertal - Koln/Cologne - Bonn - Koblenz - Mainz - Mannheim - Stuttgart – Ulm – Lindau – Bregenz – St Anton – Innsbruck route.

(2) Six daily EC trains on the newly improved Munchen/Munchen – Lindau – Bregenz – St Margrethen - St Gallen –Zurich Flughafen/Airport – Zurich route.
Connect in St Margrethen for trains to Chur via Landquart.

(3) A new Railjet service which follows a Frankfurt (Main) - Darmstadt - Heidelberg - Stuttgart - Ulm - Friedrichshafen - Lindau - Bregenz - Landeck - Innsbruck - Salzburg - Linz - Wien/Vienna route.
This train provides a new direct rail connection from multiple German locations to Innsbruck, Linz and Wien/Vienna, but when travelling to Austria from Ulm and destinations to the north, it's possible to save time by making connections in Munchen and Munich.

the route from Mittenwald to Seefeld:

Every other hour a regional REX train departs Garmisch-Parternkirchen for Innsbruck on a journey which travels via Mittenwald and Seefeld.
Up to five of these trains per day commence their journeys in Munchen/Munich; but in the hours when there are no direct trains, the connections in Garmisch-Parternkirchen should be straightforward.

This is a more scenic, but slower route, from Munchen/Munich to Innsbruck, to that which is taken by the EC trains heading to Italy, which travel via Kufstein.

A route through Czechia

A daily Railjet train now travels on a Berlin - Dresden - Praha - Wien/Vienna route.
The other daytime direct train from the German to Austrian capitals travels on the route via Passau and Wels;

A route through Poland and Slovakia:

The Nightjet train from Berlin to Vienna/Wien travels via Frankfurt (Oder) on the German border, Wroclaw in Poland and Ostrava in Czechia.

By train from Germany to Belgium (and Paris)

A Thalys train on route to Paris calls in Liege A Thalys train on route to Paris calls in Liege

The trains from Germany to Belgium take one of two routes.

1: the high speed line:

Two different high speed trains services travel on this line:

  • Up to 6 x ICE trains per day follow this route: Frankfurt (Main) → Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport → Koln/Cologne → Aachen → Liege → Bruxelles-Nord → Bruxelles-Midi.
  • Up to five x Thalys trains per day take a Koln/Cologne → Aachen → Liege → Bruxelles-Midi → Paris Gare du Nord route; most of these trains commence their journeys in Dortmund and also call at Essen and Dusseldorf.
    These are the only direct trains from northern Germany to Paris.

Users of Eurail and InterRail passes should target the ICE trains.

2: the route from Aachen to Welkenraedt:

Hourly local trains operate on a Aachen → Welkenraedt → Verviers →Spa route.
At Verviers connections are available into Belgian IC trains which operate on a Welkenraedt → Verviers → Liege → Lueven → Bruxelles → Gent → Brugge → Ostend route.

By train from Germany to Czechia (and Austria and Hungary)

Trains from Germany to Czechia take multiple routes as there are numerous direct trains from Germany to the spa towns in western Czechia, but all of the express trains between the two countries take the one spectacular route along a valley shared by the River Elbe.

the route from Bad Schandau to Decin

This is the only route taken by long distance express trains from Germany to Czechia; and beyond into Austria and Hungary
Every two hours EC trains take a HamburgBerlin – Dresden – Bad Schandau – Decin – Praha/Prag route; though the daily train which typically continues beyond Praha/Prag to Bratislava -Vac - Budpaest has been suspended until Sept 1st due to works on the line in Czechia.

There is also a daily Railjet train which takes a Berlin - Dresden – Bad Schandau – Decin – Praha/Prag - Wien/Vienna route; the other daytime train from Berlin to Wien/Vienna takes an entirely different route through Nurnberg.

Connections are available in Dresden with trains from Frankfurt (Main), Erfurt and Leipzig.

a route through Poland:

A Nightjet train has restored the overnight direct train service from Berlin to Budapest.
It travels via Wroclaw in Poland and Ostrava in Czechia.
It is currently the only direct train from Germany to Hungary,

the route through Furth im Wald:

7 x trains per day take a Munchen/Munich – Regensburg - Furth im Wald – Praha/Prag route.
Though they are regional and not express trains, so also make stops in some more minor towns.

Germany <> The Czech spa resorts:

Local and regional trains provide rail links on four routes between Germany and the popular spa towns in Bohemia (western Czechia)
If you want to travel between Germany and Frantiskovy Lazné/Franzensbad, Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad and Marianské Lazne/Marienbad by train, connections are often required, but the journeys aren't particularly complicated.

(1) via Schirnding

Cheb is a gateway station when travelling from many destinations in Germany to the Czceh spa towns by train
Cheb has regular trains to the three most popular spa towns, Frantiskovy Lazne, Karlovy Vary and Marianské Lazne; and up to 5 x direct trains per day travel from Nurnberg/Nuremberg to Cheb via Marktredwitz.

In Nurnberg connections are available with ICE trains from multiple destinations across Germany including Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Hannover, Koln/Cologne and Munchen/Munich.

Since the discontinuation of the direct Nurnberg > Praha/Prag trains some years ago, this routing via Nurnberg and Cheb is the main rail route for train journeys between central Germany and the Czech capital.
Cheb also has direct trains to Praha/Prag.

(2) via As

Every two hours local trains travel a Hof – As - Frantiskovy Lazné – Cheb route.
So this route is typically the best option when travelling from eastern Germany to Frantiskovy Lazné/Franzensbad to by train

At Hof connections are available from Regio trains which have travelled from Bamberg, Bayreuth and Dresden; also connect in Dresden when travelling from Berlin or Leipzig.

(3) via Bad Brambach

Four local trains per day take a Plauen – Bad Brambach - Frantiskovy Lazné - Cheb route.
At Plauen connections are available with Regio trains from Dresden via Zwickau and Chemnitz, so if you’ll be heading to Cheb and Frantiskovy Lazné from those German cities AND the timings suit, this is a slightly quicker route than travelling via Hof.

(4) via Potucky

Up to 7 x local trains per day travel from the German border town of Johanngeorgenstad to the Czecch spa town of Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad.
In Johanngeorgenstad connections are available with trains from Zwickau, which is served by trains from Chemnitz and Dresden.

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By train from Germany to Denmark

A train to Kobenhavn awaits departure from Hamburg A train to Kobenhavn awaits departure from Hamburg

The Hamburg > Koebenhavn train service was switched away from the route which travelled through Lubeck and Nykobing a couple of years ago, so trains no longer travel on the ferries from Germany to Denmark.

So the only route taken by trains from Germany and Denmark is the route between Flensburg and Padborg; and four different train services now travel across this border crossing in Jutland:

(1) Three or four or six trains EC trains per day take this route: Hamburg – Padborg - Kolding – Odense - Ringsted – Kobenhavn/Copenhagen.
The increased level of service operates during the summer.
The trains which depart Hamburg before 13:00; except the usual 12:53 departure on Saturdays, have good connections in Kobenhavn H station into trains on to Stockholm.

The trains which depart Hamburg before 15:00 also have easy connections in Kobenhavn H station on to Goteborg/Gothenburg but it isn't possible to reach Oslo from Hamburg by the end of the day.

(2) Two x IC trains per day take this route; Hamburg - Flensburg - Padborg - Fredericiaa - Aarhus

(3) Six x Danish IC trains per day travel between Flensburg and Fredericia; and some of these trains have good connections in Flensburg with Regio trains from Hamburg.
In the peak summer period rail pass users have to pay reservation fees on the direct IC trains from Germany to Denmark.
If the quota of reservations is sold out, or if you want to avoid them when using Eurail and InterRail passes, connections are available in Fredericia to trains on to Aarhus and Kobenhavn.

(4) Swedish rail operator Snälltåget is now operating a direct overnight train from Berlin to Stockholm via Malmo, it calls at Hoje Taastrup in the western suburbs of Kobenhavn just after 06:30 and frequent local trains offer a connection on to central Kobenhavn/Copenhagen.
For its dates of operation check out its website.

When the SJ Night train begins to operate on Hamburg to Stockholm route, it will call at the station at Kobenhavn Lufthavn/airport at the inconvenient time of around 03:45 in the morning.

By train from Germany to France

An ICE train on the Frankfurt to Paris route An ICE train on the Frankfurt to Paris route

Trains from Germany to France take only one of four routes:

the route through Belgium

Up to five x Thalys trains per day take a Koln/Cologne – Aachen – Liege - Bruxelles-Midi – Paris Gare du Nord route; most of these trains commence their journeys in Dortmund and also call at Essen and Dusseldorf.
These are the only direct trains from northern Germany to France.

the route from Saarbrucken to Forbach

Two train services make this border crossing;

(1) Three or four x DB-SNCF high speed services per day which take the Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim – Kaiserslautern – Saarbrucken – Forbach- Paris-Est route.
Though not all of these trains call at Forbach.
Other trains from Frankfurt (Main) to Paris travel via Karlsruhe and Strasbourg; see below.

(2) Local trains which shuttle across the border from Saarbrucken to Forbach.
In Forbach good connections are available from these trains into TER trains on to Metz.
Saarbrucken has trains from Mainz, Koblenz, Kaiserslautern and Trier.

An alternative route from Koblenz and Trier to Metz is available by changing trains in Luxembourg,

Metz has trains to Nancy, Paris and Strasboug.

the route from Kehl to Strasbourg

Five train services make this border crossing

(1) Two* x DB-SNCF services per day services which take this route Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim –Karlsruhe – Strasbourg – Paris Est.
*Only 1 x train per day on Sundays.

(2) Four or five trains per day take this route; Stuttgart - Karlsruhe – Strasbourg – Paris Est.
One of these trains commences its journey in Munchen/Munich and also calls in Augsburg and Ulm.

(3) One DB-SNCF train per day takes this route; Frankfurt (Main) – Mannheim –Karlsruhe – Strasbourg – Mulhouse – Lyon - Avignon – Marseille.
This is the only direct train from central Germany to the south of France.

(4) In most hours local trains per hour travel from Offenburg to Strasbourg.
Rail pass users, looking to avoid the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees on the long-distance trains which come this way, can take trains to Offenburg from other cities including Hamburg, Frankfurt (Main) and Koln/Cologne.

(5) The daily direct train from Freiburg to Paris has now been diverted to take a Freiburg – Offenburg - Strasbourg – Paris Est route.

the route via Bantzenheim:

In most hours during the day local trains depart Mulheim for Neuenburg where connections are available into trains to Mulhouse.
In some hours there are direct trains from Mulheim to Mulhouse.

By train from Germany to Italy

On an EC train from Munich to Italy travelling through Austria On an EC train from Munich to Italy travelling through Austria

The direct trains from Germany to Italy travel through either Austria or Switzerland.

via Austria by day:

There are five EC trains per day which take a Munchen/Munich → Rosemheim → Innsbruck → Brennero → Bolzano → Fortezza → Bolzano → Rovigo → Trento → Verona route.
During the day these trains depart Munchen/Munich in the odd hours and they also call at Munchen Ost station after they depart from Munchen Hbf.
Connect in Verona for cities to the west including Brescia, Desenzano for Lake Garda, Milano and Torino/Turin.

On Monday to Friday three of these trains have their journeys extended beyond Verona to Bologna – and at the height of summer, one train continues beyond Bologna to Rimini; there are two Munchen to Bologna trains on weekends.
Connect in Bologna for cities further south including Ancona, Bari, Firenze/Florence, Napoli and Roma.

On Monday to Friday one of these trains continues beyond Verona to call at Vicenza, Padova/Padua and Venezia/Venice.
There are two direct trains from Munich/Muncen to Venezia/Venice at weekends.
via Austria by night:

The Nightjet trains to Italy, which travel on these three routes:
(1) Munchen/Munich → Villach → Padova/Padua → Vicenza → Verona → Peschiera del Garda → Desenzano del Garda → Brescia – Milano
The only direct train from Munchen/Munich to the resort towns on Lake Garda and Milano.
(2) Munchen/Munich → Villach → Bologna → Firenze/Florence → Arezzo → Roma
This the only direct train from Germany to Florence/Firenze and Roma.
(3) Munchen/Munich → Villach → Tarvisio → Udine → Treviso → Venezia/Venice

via Switzerland:

A daily EC train takes this route Frankfurt (Main) → Mannheim → Kalrsruhe → Baden Baden → Freiburg → Basel → Olten → Luzern → Belinzona → Lugano\ → Chiasso → Como → Milano
This is the only direct train from central Germany to Italy.
This train returns to Germany on a different route via Brig and Visp, so doesn't call at the towns to the south of Basel when heading north.

By train from Germany to Luxembourg

During the day there are hourly Regio trains on this route; Koblenz → Trier → Luxembourg; one of these trains commence its journey in Dusseldorf and also call at Koln/Cologne Hbf (typically departs 14:14) and Bonn.

Straightforward connections are available in Luxembourg into regional French TER trains heading to Nancy via Metz and into TGV trains to Paris.

For a train journey from The Rhine Valley to Paris, travelling via Luxembourg can be a cheaper and faster option than travelling via Koln/Cologne; rail pass users will definitely save money if the come this way

By train from Germany to Poland (and Hungary and Ukraine)

The trains from Germany to Poland primarily follow four routes.

from Frankfurt (Oder) to Rzepin:

This is the main route which connects Germany to Poland, the trains between Berlin and Warszawa come this way.

Three daytime express train services and an overnight train take this border crossing:

(1) Up to five; EC trains per day, which are branded ‘Berlin-Warszawa Express’, take this route: Berlin → Frankfurt (Oder) → Rzepin → Poznan →Warszawa
The usual first train of the day is not available on Sundays, and the usual final train of the day does not depart on Sundays.
The train which typically departs from Berlin at 09:38 connects in Warszawa with the overnight train to Kyiv/Kiev.

(2) One EC train per day which takes this route; Berlin → Frankfurt (Oder) → Rzepin → Poznan → Bydgoszcz → Gdasnk → Sofok → Gydnia.
This train is named the 'Berlin-Gdansk Express and it is usually scheduled to depart from Berlin Hbf at 12:38.

(3) One EC train per day, named 'the Wavel' takes this route; Berlin → Wroclaw → Katowice → Krakow → Przemys; connect for Lviv and Kiev.

In Berlin all of these three EC services commence their journeys at Berlin Hbf, but also call at Berlin Ostbahnhof.

(4) A Nightjet train comes this way and travels through Poland in the middle of the night, on route to Wien/Vienna and Budapest; it is currently the only direct train from Germany to Hungary, as the usual daytime EC service from Berlin to Budapest has been suspended due to work on the railway line in Czechia.
Though this train, which typically departs from Berlin at around 18:45, usually arrives in Wroclaw at around 23:30 and it conveys 2nd class seats.

On Mondays and Saturday evenings the Berlin – Brest – Lubin – Minsk – Smolensk – Moskva/Moscow ‘Talgo’ train also took this route, but this service was suspended at the start of the pandemic and for obvious reasons it hasn't resumed.

to Szczechin

Up to nine trains per day travel from Angermunde to the Polish spa town, Szczechin and up to four of these trains commence their journeys at Berlin-Gesundbrunnen station.
Szczechin has a few direct trains to Gydnia and Gdansk.

from Gorlitz to Zgorzelec:

What had been direct trains from Dresden to Wroclaw now travel no further than the Polish border town, Zgorzelec.
Five trains per day depart from Dresden for Zgorzelec, where they connect with trains on to Wroclaw.
The first three connections of the the day from Dresden, arrive in Wroclaw in time for connections on to Krakow, Poznan and Warszawa.

By train from Germany to Sweden

Swedish rail operator Snälltåget is now operating a direct overnight train from Berlin to Stockholm via Malmo.
For its dates of operation check out its website.

And from September 1st, the Swedish national rail operator SJ, is launching a new nightly service from Hamburg to Stockholm.

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By train from Germany to Switzerland

The view of Schafhaussen Falls is the highlight of a Stuttgart to Zurich journey The view of Schafhaussen Falls is the highlight of a Stuttgart to Zurich journey

The River Rhine and Lake Constance, also known as the Bodensee both provide natural barriers along the German and Swiss border, so there are only TWO routes used by long-distance express trains between Germany and Switzerland.

The trains on the Munchen to Zurich route, travel through Austria because the eastern end of the Bodensee is in Austria.

Though the German national rail operator DB operates services of ICE trains to the German speaking cities of Basel and Zurich, which are as frequent as the ICE services to many of the cities within Germany.

the route to Basel

The station named Basel Bad Bahnhof is in Switzerland, but it's managed as though it is a German station, so train services that only travel from Germany as far as Basel Bad Bahnhof, have been excluded from this summary.
Though one useful route which terminates at Basel bad bf are trains which travel along the north shore of the Bodensee on an Ulm → Friedrichshafen → Radolfzell → Singen → Schaffhausen → Waldshut → Basel route

The train services which do travel on from Basel Bad Banhnhof; and also call at Basel SBB station, include the ICE trains on these three routes:

(1) Berlin → Kassel → Frankfurt (Main) → Mannheim → Kalrsruhe → Baden Baden → Freiburg → Basel → Olten → Bern → Thun → Spiez → Interlaken; 3 or 4 trains per day

(2) Hamburg → Hannover → Kassel → Frankfurt (Main) → Mannheim → Kalrsruhe → Baden Baden → Freiburg → BaselZurich (5 trains per day)
Two or three trains per day travel on beyond Zurich to Chur via Landquart.
Connect in Basel for Bern, Biel, Brig, Delemont, Luzern, Interlaken, Olten, Spiez, Thun and Visp
Connect in Zurich for Bellinzona, Lugano and St. Galllen.

(3) Dortmund → Wuppertal → Koln/Cologne → Seigburg/Bonn → Frankfurt Airport/Flughafen → Mannheim → Kalrsruhe → Freiburg → Basel SBB; 6 trains per day
One of the trains on this route commences its journey in Amsterdam and also calls at Duisburg and Dusseldorf.
It is the only daytime train service from The Netherlands to Switzerland.

There are also daily Swiss operated IC/EC trains which travel through Basel on these three routes:

(1) Hamburg → Bremen → Dortmund → Essen → Duisburg → Dusseldorf → Koln/Cologne → Bonn → Koblenz → Mainz → Mannheim → Kalrsruhe → Baden Baden → Freiburg → Basel → Olten → Bern → Thun → Spiez → Interlaken

(2) Hamburg → Bremen → Dortmund → Essen → Duisburg → Dusseldorf → Koln/Cologne → Bonn → Koblenz → Mainz → Mannheim → Kalrsruhe → Baden Baden → Freiburg → Basel → Zurich
These trains link The Rhine Gorge to Switzerland.

(3) Frankfurt (Main) → Mannheim → Kalrsruhe → Baden Baden → Freiburg → Basel → Olten – Luzern* → Belinzona* → Lugano* → and on to Milano
* This train returns to Germany on a different route via Brig and Visp, so doesn't call at these towns when heading north.
It is the only direct train from Germany to these towns in Switzerland.

There are overnight Nightjet services on these routes. which also come this way:

(1) Hamburg → Hannover → BaselZurich
(2) Berlin → Magdeburg → BaselZurich
(3) Amsterdam → Koln → Bonn→ Basel → Zurich.

the route from Singen to Schaffhausen

Three train services make this border crossing:

(1) German IC trains on this route; Stuttgart → Horb → Rottweil → Singen → Schaffhausen → Zurich.
(2) Swiss IC trains on a Singen → Schaffhausen → Zurich route.
The train service is arranged so that in alternate hours there is a direct train from Stuttgart to Zurich, but in other hours, Stuttgart > Singen IC trains connect with the Singen > Zurich trains.
(3) German Regio trains which take a Ulm – Friederichshafen – Radofzell - Singen – Schaffhausen – Waldshut – Basel (Bad Bahnhof) route.
Ulm has frequent trains from Munich/Munchen and Augsburg; and trains from Lindau connect into these services at Friederichshafen.

By train from Germany to The Netherlands

An ICE train to Germany awaits departure from Amsterdam An ICE train to Germany awaits departure from Amsterdam

The trains from Germany to The Netherlands take one of five routes, but only two of them are taken by long-distance express services.

from Bad Bentheim to Hengelo

Every two hours during the day Intercity-Berlijn trains take this route:

Berlin → Wolfsburg → Hannover → Osnabruck* → Rheine → Bad Bentheim → Hengelo → Deventer → Amersfoort → Hilversum → Amsterdam Central
*Osnabruck is served by trains from Hamburg via Bremen.

Hourly Regio trains now also cross this border on this route; Bielefeld → Osnabruck → Rheine → Bad Bentheim → Hengelo.
Connect in Hengelo into hourly Dutch IC trains on these routes

  • Hengelo → Deventer → Amersfoort* → Utrecht → Gouda → Den Haag/The Hague
  • Hengelo → Deventer → Amersfoort → Hilversum* → Amsterdam-Zuid → Schiphol Airport
    *= Make connections at these stations into trains to Amsterdam-Centraal.

the route from Emmerich to Arnhem

Two daytime train services now take the main railway line from Germany to The Netherlands:

(1) The ICE trains on these routes:

  • Frankfurt (Main) → Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport → Seigburg/Bonn → Koln/Cologne \ → Dusseldorf → Duisburg → Oberhausen → Arnhem → Utrecht → Amsterdam; 6 or 7 trains per day
  • Basel → Freiburg → Kalrsruhe → Mannheim → Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport → Seigburg/Bonn → Koln/Cologne → Dusseldorf → Duisburg → Oberhausen → Arnhem → Utrecht → Amsterdam; 1 x daily train
    Connect in Utrecht for Den Haag, Gouda, Delft, Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport.

(2) Hourly Regio trains which take a Dusseldorf → Duisburg → Oberhausen → Emmerich → Arnhem route.
If the timings of the ICE trains don't suit, there are Dutch IC express trains on from Arnhem to Amsterdam, Delt, Rotterdam and Utrecht.

The relatively new overnight train service from Basel to Amsterdam calls at Freiburg and Offenburg.

via Gronau:

Hourly local trains from both Munster Dortmund cross this border to reach Enschede.
Connect in Enschede into hourly Dutch IC trains on these routes

  • Enschede → Hengelo → Deventer → Amersfoort* → Utrecht → Gouda → Den Haag/The Hague
  • Enschede → Hengelo → Deventer → Amersfoort → Hilversum* → Amsterdam-Zuid → Schiphol Airport
    *Make connections at these stations into trains to Amsterdam-Centraal.

from Monchengladbach to Venlo:

Hourly Regio trains operate on this route; Hamm (West) → Hagen → Wuppertal → Dusseldorf →Neuss → Monchengladbach → Venlo.
Dutch IC trains operate hourly on this route; Venlo → Eindhoven* → 's-Hertogenbosch → Utrecht → Amsterdam Centraal.
So this is the route to take if you want to travel from Dusseldorf to Eindhoven and 's-Hertogenbosch / Den Bosch
*Connect in Eindhoven for Rotterdam and Den Haag/The Hague.

through Bad Nieuweschans in the north Netherlands:

The trains which used to take this route from Leer to Groningen have been replaced by buses which depart every other hour, this could be due to work on the railway line, or it may be a permanent substitution.

Leer is served by hourly trains from a swathe of German towns and cities including Bremen, Duisburg, Dusseldorf, Hannover, Koln/Cologne and Oldenburg.

through Herzogenrath

Hourly trains connect Aachen to Heerlen and Maastricht; Dutch IC trains link Maastricht to Eindhoven and 's-Hertogenbosch / Den Bosch and Utrecht and Amsterdam.

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Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

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