Germany’s digital Deutschlandticket costs only €49 for travel on all services, except the speedy intercity ones. In addition, young people up to 14 years old always travel free with the national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn (DB), when travelling with adults. Germany has long been a leader in green living, and they put their money where their mouth is. You can also travel fairly swiftly between the UK and Germany, using Eurostar via Paris, Lille or Brussels. Travel between London and Cologne, for example, takes just over four hours. Even if you just travel within Germany by train, you will still be saving money and the planet, so here are our top walking and cycling holidays to make the most of the train offers in Germany.
How do I get my Deutschlandticket?
You can buy it here on DB’s website. You may also want to read our blog, Top walking holidays accessible by train, with details on how to get other good value tickets, including Interrail Passes. We have gone into more details on how to book cheap train tickets in Europe generally tickets in this blog.
Bavarian Mountains and Lake District
You can bask in the Bavarian Mountains and Lake District starting your walking journey in Munich and finishing in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with a finale in Zugspitze massif, the highest mountain in Germany. With train stations at the start and finish of this walking holiday, the region’s cultural heritage kicks in from the minute you leave Munich’s famous Bierkellers and head out along the River Isar, following the ancient Way of St. James to the famous Schäftlarn monastery. After that, Bavaria’s natural beauty knocks you sideways, such as Lakes Walchensee and Kochelsee, and hikes to the likes of Herzogstand (1,731m), in the foothills of the Alps.
Hike the King Ludwig Way
Hike the King Ludwig Way and a kingdom of castles by taking a 30mins train journey from Munich to Bernried, on the shores of Starnberg Lake, and walk your way through Bavaria to the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle and nearby Füssen station. This is eight exquisite days of wanderlust along one of Germany’s most romantic footpaths, passing the King’s elegant castles, small monastery towns, bucolic Bavarian villages, with endlessly beautiful views of the Ammergauer Alps, Mount Zugspitze and the Allgäu mountains. The waymarkers on this route are golden crowns, symbolising the King after whom it is named.
The meanderings of the Moselle Trail
Mosey along the Moselle Trail, a slow travel idyll along the iconic, vine-bedecked river with handy Hauptbahnhofs at both Perl and Trier to start and finish. One of our top solo travel holidays in Germany, and also one that is dog-friendly, this is a week of wineries and walking, the prettiest of Palatinate villages, some with panoramic views, and ancient trails along Roman roads culminating in the country’s Roman and oldest city of Trier.
Riding the Rhine Valley
One of our most popular cycling holidays in Germany is along the Rhine Cycle Path between Strasbourg, France (where you pick up your rental bike) and Mainz. Also known as the EuroVelo 15 route, this section follows UNESCO-protected riverside paths, where majestic medieval castles cling to cliffs, and vineyards ripen royally. It’s categorised as an easy to moderate cycling holiday, covering 300km of the most peaceful river routes. Highlights along the way include the Hördter Rheinaue Nature Reserve, copious vine-covered valleys and magnificent medieval towns of Worms or Speyer and the oldest German university town of Heidelberg.
Rambling the Rhine Valley
The Rheinsteig is one of our top walking holidays in Germany, a 320km walking trail that hovers above the great river, allowing you to enjoy its twists, turns, ravines and, vitally, Rieslings. Start in Rüdesheim, just over an hour by train from Frankfurt and finish in St Goarshausen, which also with its own station. In between, enjoy one splendid Schloss after another, a cable car up into the Middle Rhine Valley’s exquisite elevations, and the splendid sight of The Lorelei, a 132m slate rock face in the Rhine Gorge.
Bodensee by bike
Bodensee is more famously known as Lake Constance, and forms a natural border between Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Biking Bodensee has a nice ring to it, and a very beautiful turquoise and sapphire ring it is too, which you can cycle in either six days or seven, the latter including a walk to the splendours of Rhine Falls, Europe’s most powerful and overwhelmingly beautiful waterfalls, located on the Swiss section of this holiday. These holidays start and end in Konstanz, under three hours from Stuttgart by train, or 1h 30mins from Zurich, although you won’t make the most of the German fares from there. You can, however, explore anywhere in Germany after your cycling holiday to make the most of the deal. You could even combine it with a week of walking the Bavarian Mountains and Lake District or King Ludwig Way by taking a four hour train to Munich.
Malerweg means ‘painters’ way’ and it’s named after the 18th century artists from the nearby Dresden Academy of Fine Arts who immortalised its landscapes in their work. This 115km walking trail leads you through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, with walkers usually taking on either the north or south section, but nearly always coming back to complete the trail. All sections are reachable by rail, either at Dresden or Bad Schandau. The complete circuit starts and ends in Dresden, a city that was all but wiped off the map by the Allied bombings in 1945. Today, however, its magnificent palaces and stately buildings, and contemporary cultural hubs make this a superb city to arrive into by train.
Germany has one of Europe’s most impressive rail networks, and so there are many more of our walking and cycling holidays that are accessible by train, even if you sometimes need to add a short transfer on there too, which we can organise for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions, and do check out our other rail rambles at Top walking holidays accessible by train, How to book cheap train tickets, French holidays by train and Best train journeys in Switzerland.