With European countries making efforts to enhance the affordability of public transportation, in Germany, you can enjoy unlimited travel across the entire country for just 49 euros.
Let me explain how.
Updated: Summer 2023
The Deutschlandticket has become the hottest train ticket in Germany over the past few months, and it’s no surprise why. For just 49 euros per month, you have the freedom to take any regional train and travel across the entire country. This offer is a fantastic opportunity for budget-conscious travelers looking to explore Germany, and it represents one of the most intriguing initiatives from a European country to boost the use of public transportation.
Given the widespread coverage and interest in this amazing deal, I decided to update my initial guide on the Deutschlandticket. In this updated guide, I’ll provide you with all the essential information you need to know about this ticket.
What is the Deutschlandticket?
Originally conceived as a policy to alleviate the financial burden on citizens facing the impact of escalating energy prices, the Deutschlandticket is seen by many as the initial stride toward the future of public transportation. Already, Luxembourg has implemented a fully free public transport system, and several other regions across Europe are beginning to adopt similar approach.
With the launch of the Deutschlandticket, this marks the first occasion that one of the major European countries is endeavouring to make its extensive transportation network accessible to everyone. Simultaneously, it aims to enhance the attractiveness of public transportation and create a compelling incentive for individuals to transition from cars to buses and trains, thereby contributing to the achievement of climate targets.
The Deutschlandticket, priced at 49 euros per month, remains valid from the first day to the last day of each month. At first glance, this might seem like an ordinary deal. However, it’s important to note that standard monthly tickets in Berlin alone cost a staggering 90 euros, while a trip from Dortmund to Cologne (a journey lasting 90 minutes) typically costs around 25 euros. Speaking as someone who has lived in Germany for over a decade, this offer is truly exceptional.
There have been rumors circulating that the 49 euros might be merely an introductory price. Nonetheless, as long as the cost remains at this level, it’s an offer that everyone should definitely take advantage of.
NOTE: Once your Deutschlandticket is activated, you can travel on any bus, subway, tram, and regional or S-Bahn train in Germany. The ticket is not valid on long-distance trains, such as the ICE (InterCity Express), IC (InterCity), or EC (EuroCity) trains.
How to get a Deutschlandticket?
There are numerous ways to acquire your Deutschlandticket. Each local transportation service has its own app system, through which you can book the ticket, and other platforms such as Freenow or DB also provide it.
Of course, you can also obtain it at the sales centers located in most major train stations. However, it’s important to note that these centers often have long queues, so you should plan on arriving at least 30 minutes before you expect to speak to someone.
Unfortunately, unlike most other train tickets in Germany, the Deutschlandticket cannot be purchased from any ticket machines. This restriction is due to the fact that the Deutschlandticket is considered a subscription service. The entity issuing the ticket needs to have your name, address, and requires a payment method that allows for the monthly payments.
The Deutschlandticket is primarily intended for residents of Germany, and when obtaining your ticket subscription, you may be asked for a German address (with the exception of the FreeNow App). In such cases, you can simply provide the address of your Airbnb, hotel, or a friend living in the country. No further proof of residency will be required.
My recommendation for getting your Deutschlandticket is to use a dedicated app. DB (Deutsche Bahn), BVG (Berlin’s transport system), and FreeNow are my preferred choices. I personally opted for FreeNow due to its wide range of payment methods and the ease of cancelation.
NOTE: There have been some articles on the internet stating that you need a German IBAN to acquire a Deutschlandticket. The quick answer is NO. You can pay using platforms like PayPal or a credit card (some platforms, such as FreeNow, accept credit cards). I personally pay for my Deutschlandticket using my American Express card, which also earns me miles with this monthly purchase.
Read more: Exploring Spreewald – The Venice of Germany
How can I cancel my Deutschlandticket
Since the Deutschlandticket operates as a subscription service, it’s crucial to keep track of how long you intend to use it to avoid incurring any additional costs. Each app platform has its own set of requirements for canceling your ticket, but most of them typically necessitate the cancellation to be done by the 10th day of the month.
It’s important to note that the ticket is valid from the first day of the month until the last. This means that if you purchase your ticket on, for example, the 15th of the month, the ticket will only be valid until the 30th or 31st of that same month. If you fail to cancel the ticket before the 10th of the following month, you’ll end up paying for an extra month, which can be frustrating due to a lack of transparency in this regulation. I have some friends who have found themselves in this situation, inadvertently incurring additional charges.
If you plan to use the Deutschlandticket for less than a full month, it’s advisable to purchase the ticket before the 10th of the month (you can usually select the specific month you want it available from) and then cancel it immediately. This approach ensures that you won’t forget to cancel, and the ticket won’t automatically extend, helping you avoid any unintended costs.
What trains can I use with the Deutschlandticket
As I mentioned before, the Deutschlandticket will only allow you to take regional transportation. These options are:
- Local and regional trains (Regio)
Keep in mind. You CAN’T use following trains and you will get a hefty fine if you do:
Regardless of whether you’re traveling from Berlin to Munich or exploring any other parts of Germany, you can use the same ticket for all your regional travel. This makes it a fantastic option for those who want to explore various cities and regions within the country without the hassle of purchasing separate tickets for each leg of the journey. It’s a convenient and cost-effective way to travel extensively across Germany using a single ticket.
The Deutschlandticket in a Nutshell
Price: It costs 49 euros per month.
Validity: The ticket is valid for the entire calendar month, not for 30 days from the date of purchase.
Coverage: It covers regional transportation all around Germany, but not high-speed trains.
Seat Reservation: You can’t reserve seats on the trains, and if you want to bring your bike, you’ll need an additional bike ticket.
Subscription: It operates as a monthly subscription, and you must cancel it before the 10th day of the month if you don’t want it to extend automatically.
Duration Considerations: It may not be cost-effective if you’re planning a city trip for one week or less, or if you have limited time and want to travel extensively across Germany.
Deutschlandticket or standard tickets?
Indeed, the experience of traveling long distances in Germany using only regional trains can be quite challenging, as you shared with your Düsseldorf to Munich journey during Oktoberfest. The Deutschlandticket is not specifically designed for such long-haul trips, unless that’s exactly what you’re aiming for. However, it shines in other scenarios, making it an ideal choice for specific travel preferences.
The ticket is a fantastic option for those who:
- Prefer Slow Travel: If you want to take your time, explore multiple cities nearby, and enjoy the scenic route, the Deutschlandticket fits the bill.
- Remote Work: If you’re planning to spend a full month working remotely in Germany and want to do some exploration during your free time, this ticket is a great choice.
- Focus on Regional Travel: If you’re interested in covering various cities within a reasonable radius, the Deutschlandticket is a cost-effective option.
- NRW Residents/Travelers: Particularly beneficial for those living or traveling to North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), where ten different cities are located within a 60km radius, making regional travel more accessible and affordable.
For a clearer perspective on the time and cost differences, here are some standard connections between key German cities:
Berlin – Hamburg:
- Regional trains – 5 Hours
- High speed trains/Flixtrain – 2 hours and 15 euros
Berlin – Munich:
- Regional trains – 10 Hours
- High speed trains/Flixtrain – 4 hours and 35 euros
Düsseldorf – Frankfurt:
- Regional trains – 4 Hours
- High speed trains/Flixtrain – 1,5 hours and 29 euros
You can use the platform CheckmyBus to compare prices using high speed trains and use the DB Website to see regional train connections (don’t forget to exclude high speed trains during the search).
Read more: What was the 9 euro ticket in Germany?