One transport ticket that is valid for an entire month, lets you travel all across Germany, and costs only 9 euros? What sounds like the craziest idea of all is today a reality.
After it was announced the German government was discussing a pilot program in which a nationwide transport ticket valid for an entire month would cost only 9 EUR, I first thought it was one of these tabloid articles exaggerating some ridiculous idea from a political candidate. However, as weeks passed, more official announcements were made, the German railway company, Deutsche Bahn, announced the pre-sale, and everything turned from a discussion into a reality starting on June 1.
Today, after the Federal Council gave final approval and the pre-sale immediately started, I purchased my “9-Euro Ticket” and I can’t be more excited about it. Not just because of its minimal price but also because it incentivizes me to travel spontaneously all over Germany and visit places I would usually not go.
Yes, the 9-Euro Ticket is a considerable financial risk for the German federal parliament, but at the same time starts a discussion about the future of transportation and how governments can take more responsibility for problems like climate change.
The 9-Euro Ticket seems to benefit everyone in Germany. Local commuters who purchase monthly passes for overly high prices, people whose families live in nearby cities or villages, regular car users who see the gas prices go up, and finally, travelers visiting Germany.
And while every German is talking about the plus and cons of this ticket right now, most travelers planning a trip around Europe are still asking themselves. What exactly is the 9-Euro Ticket? How can I get one? And where can I go with it?
What is the 9-Euro ticket?
Cheaper public transportation in Germany has been a discussion for years, as pilot programs about free transportation in Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg have been on the table but never kicked off. Now, as part of a strategy to help local citizens cope with the current inflation and high energy costs, as well as tackle more significant long-term issues such as climate change, this pilot program found the right time and right place to get tested.
Between June 1 and September 1, anyone can buy the 9-Euro Ticket, a special pass valid for one month each that lets you travel all across Germany for just 9 EUR (27 EUR for the three months).
This pass can be purchased online or at the official sales counters all across Germany. This is a single ticket that will be issued under your name, and with the digital or paper ticket, you can use all forms of public transport across Germany, including buses, U-Bahns, S-Bahns, trams, and local and regional trains.
To purchase a ticket, you will simply have to download one of these apps, create an account, give your basic information and payment method, and select “9-Euro Ticket” and the month you want this ticket to be valid.
With day passes in Berlin costing 8 EUR, and tickets from Munich airport to the city center costing more than 10 EUR, even if you spend 2 or 3 days in Germany, the 9-Euro Ticket will be worth it.
How far can I go with the 9-Euro ticket?
One of the best advantages of the 9-Euro Ticket is the possibility to travel all across Germany for a single price. This makes Germany the best destination to visit this Summer, and it motivates travelers to explore some of the hidden spots this country has to offer.
Furthermore, Germany has some of the best public transportation systems globally. The whole country is interconnected by train, tram, or bus, and no matter where you want to go, there is a way to get there with the local trains.
You can visit all 16 national parks of Germany – including my two favorites, Saxon Switzerland National Park (1 hour from Dresden) and Berchtesgaden National Park (2,5 hours from Munich). These are usually quite inaccessible places, where having a monthly ticket, will give you a significant advantage to get to a different spot every day.
Some of the best national parks in Germany are:
- Saxon Switzerland National Park
- Jasmund National Park
- Berchtesgaden National Park
- Black Forest National Park
With the 9-Euro Ticket you can also explore some of Germany’s most beautiful villages. Rothenburg ob der Taube (3 hours from Munich) in Bavaria and the village of Monchau (1 hour from Aachen) in North Rhein-Westfalia are some of my favorites. These are quite isolated places, that travelers rarely visit, but are still accessible by public transport.
Some of the most beautiful towns in Germany are:
- Rothenburg ob der Taube
- Görlitz (the movie “The Grand Hotel Budapest” was filmed here)
Another option is to hop from city to city and enjoy the cultural diversity each of them offers. From the incredible architecture in Hamburg to the nightlife of Berlin and the beauty of Munich.
Long-distance trains (ICE, IC, Flixbus) are not part of the program. That means that traveling from Berlin to Munich using the 9-Euro Ticket can take up to 9 hours and multiple train changes.
Read more: Why Germans drink so much sparkling water
However, one of my best tips to travel to Germany would be to spend some time in the region of North Rhein-Westfalia. Here, you can visit the cities of Essen/Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Bonn and Aachen. These are five completely different cities within a 60km radius that offer many cultural activities. Train day passes in this part of Germany usually cost 25-30€, and each city is located 20-30 minutes from each other. You can start your day visiting the coal complexes of Essen and Duisburg in the morning, get lost in the old-town in Düsseldorf in the afternoon, and finish the night singing karaoke in a bar in Cologne.
These are the best places to visit in North Rhein-Westfalia:
- Zeche Zollverein in Essen
- Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord in Duisburg
- Düsseldorf Old-Town
- Düsseldorf Media Hafen
- Drachenburg Castle in Bonn
- Aachen Cathedral
- Tiger & Turtle in Duisburg
Read more: Visiting Spreewald – The Venice of Germany
Other places you can travel to using the 9-Euro Ticket would be the wine region in the Rhineland-Palatinate. Here you can go from village to village to taste wine (1 hour from Frankfurt). You can also visit the majestic Neuschwanstein Castle (2,5 hours from Munich) in southern Germany as many times as you want. Or you can take a detour to the Devil’s Bridge (2,5 hours from Berlin) in East Germany while going from Berlin to Dresden.
To find the schedule of a connection available with the 9-Euro Ticket, visit the DB Website or use the DB App. Here you can add as a filter “regional trains only”. Google Maps is not a good option. It will give you connections using ICE and IC trains – trains you are not allowed to take.
Read more: How to visit the Devil’s Bridge in Germany