Within the city limits of Berlin, there are a multitude of options for travel: buses, S-Bahn, the Tram and more. But what options are there for a girl who just needs to get away from the city? You could rent a car, but I wholeheartedly recommend a Deutsche Bahn (DB) train trip for travelling outside of the city.
One of my favorite things about the DB is that you can easily book tickets in advance using their online system and even use your smart phone to store your ticket for travel. The interface is simple to use, and if you don’t feel confident in your German language skills, you can easily change the language of the site to English.
A few items of note:
- Searching for your trip requires you to choose a departure point in Berlin. This can be somewhat tricky, as there are several to choose from. The most central option is the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, but if you are departing from school, the Alexanderplatz station may be a better option. Or…maybe you live in Kreuzberg? Then the Berlin Sudkreuz option is better. Or maybe…well, you get the idea. Do some research before booking your ticket, or you may add additional unnecessary time to your travels.
- When booking your ticket, you’ll see that there is an option for a discount card that will reduce the cost of your booking. Take some time to review the discount options on the DB site. There are student discounts, (up to a certain age), senior discounts (that begin at a certain age) and additional options that allow you to purchase an ongoing discount of 25, 50 or 100 percent. I highly recommend the 25% discount card, as it can be used across all types of fares. The other cards come with some restrictions which you can review before purchasing on the website.
- I recommend trying to book either an Intercity or Eurocity train. With each of these options, you will have the opportunity to do your best Doctor Zhivago impression while dining in the Boardrestaurant or Boardbistro. Plush seating, dining tables and relatively affordable food and drinks can be found in these rail cars, and whether you’re doing your homework or penning your next great novel, this option allows you to do so in comfort and style. If you are not booked on one of these trains, be sure to purchase food or drinks before boarding.
Whether you heed all or none of these recommendations, train travel in Germany is easy and fun. It’s a great way to discover more of the country, and a fun option for trying out your new language skills. So, get out of Berlin for a bit, and have an adventure on a train.