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German trains: Intercity (IC)
Intercity and Eurocity trains connect all major German cities.
- Book up to 180 days in advance
- Regional trains
German trains: Intercity (IC)
Travelling faster than regional trains, Intercity (IC) and Eurocity (EC) are the most popular way to move around in Germany. The trains can travel up to 200km/h making them the ideal means of transport to travel between major cities. While the Intercity (IC) trains operated only in Germany, Eurocity (EC) trains operate on international routes to reach neighbouring countries. Both IC and EC are operated by the DB, Germany’s national railway company.
|Main routes||Travel time|
Receive your ticket directly to your address. Just take them with you and you are ready to travel. Shipping fees apply.
- German trains: Intercity (IC) tickets are open for booking 180 days ahead.
- Get the lowest prices by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell the fastest.
- Opt for off-peak trains when you have to travel short notice. They are more affordable than morning and evening trains along with those running on holiday eves, Friday and Sunday afternoon.
A class apart
Classes of service
|First class||Second class|
|Comfortable seats Spacious seats with a headrest and generous legroom. small>|
|Bar buffet car Access to the bar buffet car where snacks and beverages can be bought. small>|
|Reclining seats Cosy with more legroom, reclining seats are ideal to enjoy the trip. small>|
Reviews & ratings German trains: Intercity (IC)
Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. How early should I arrive at the train station?
A. We advise travellers to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure. This allows you time to clear any security checks and locate the platform where your train will be departing. If you are departing from a larger train station (typically a city’s main station) and need to activate your rail pass prior to boarding, you will want to arrive even earlier to make sure you have enough time to get your rail pass activated and avoid doing a luggage-hauling sprint through the station.
Please note: For Eurostar trains, follow the "check-in and Ticket Gate Time Limit" instructions which can be found on your ticket under "Additional Information".
Q. I need to cancel my trip to Europe. How do I request reimbursement through the Rail Protection Plan™?
A. Although the Rail Protection Plan™ doesn’t allow you to get reimbursed in case your trip is cancelled, you may be eligible to receive an in-store credit. That in-store credit will be good for two years (from the date the credit is issued) towards your next booking, for the full value of the products covered. You can choose to receive this credit toward a future booking or to request to have your tickets refunded per the after sales policies of the products booked.
If you choose to forego the in-store credit and opt for a refund, the regular exchange and refund rules of your products will apply, and you will be subject to the regular carriers penalties, if applicable, in addition to the Rail Europe booking fee.
Q. I’ve noticed a big difference in the cost of seat reservations for different trains. Why?
A. Fares for reservations may vary greatly from one train to another. Unfortunately, we have no control over these prices as they’re set by each individual railroad.
Trains that have higher priced reservations are typically high speed, international trains such as Thalys or Eurostar, as well as night trains.
Various factors are considered by rail carriers when pricing reservations for rail pass holders. These factors can include: the technology used by the train (high speed or regular speed), the types of tracks the train travels on and their associated maintenance cost, the range of services and amenities offered on board, possible tolls incurred by the carriers depending on the train routing (such as tunnel crossing tolls) and partnerships between rail carriers for the operation of cross border trains.
In addition, there are also specific costs associated with traveling on a night train that may include food for dinner and breakfast, as well as cabin maintenance costs (sheets, etc…). Since these costs are not associated with travel on day trains, day train reservations generally cost less.
Q. Are train tickets exchangeable and refundable?
A. It depends. Exchange and refund rules are governed by the kind of fare you booked.
When browsing fares on our website, you can read a brief description of each fare flexibility level, and then see the full exchange and refund conditions for each fare.
Once you have booked a train ticket with us, its exchange and refund rules will be indicated in your Rail Europe booking confirmation email, as well as printed with your train ticket and/or on the ticket jacket in the case of paper tickets. Please note that train tickets must be received for exchange or refund within the allowed time frame mentioned in the exchange and refund conditions.
Refunds, when applicable, can only be applied to unused and unvalidated train tickets.
Be sure to view the complete refund and exchange rules for the product you are booking to see any applicable penalty and administrative fees.
If you’ve purchased the Rail Protection Plan to cover your train ticket, you can exchange it for either the same thing or a new product. To start an exchange under the Rail Protection Plan, please contact us via our Contact Us page.
Q. When I compare your schedules with European railroad sites, I notice some differences. Why?
A. Although this is not typical, you may occasionally find some discrepancies between the train schedules shown on our website and the ones listed on a rail carrier’s website. This is generally due to the fact that the rail carrier has not yet made available its complete schedule range in the European train schedule database we use to populate our booking engine.
We continuously work with individual European railroads to establish partnerships that ensure our direct access to all inventories in order to provide you with the fullest range of travel options.
Q. How do I know the right rail pass and how many days I should purchase?
A. We provide simple tools on our site to help make finding the best products for your journey - easy! Our tools help you find both the most cost effective and logical travel solution for your travel needs.
Use our Interactive Rail Map to help you plan your journey, our site will then display available options to bring that journey to life with rail passes, train tickets, and even great add-on products that can truly enhance your experience. Enter the number of days you wish to stay in a particular city, and where you wish to travel next, and our system will provide you with the best options for your itinerary.
The more you know about the train rides you plan on taking, the better you’ll be able to research which trains are running, how long each of those rides take, whether or not you’ll be traveling on night trains, etc… All these factors determine how many travel days you’ll need on a pass.
Q. Can I exchange or refund my rail pass while in Europe?
A. Unused and unvalidated rail passes can be exchanged for an alternate rail pass of equal or greater value. A 7% administration fee, any price difference, and additional shipping fees would apply. Some promotional rail passes are non-exchangeable; please read the terms and conditions for these passes for more details. Exchanges and refunds for rail passes cannot be performed locally at the train station.
Please send us a message through the Contact Us page to begin the exchange process. To exchange a rail pass, we must receive your original unused and unvalidated rail pass no later than 3 days prior to your departure to Europe, issue a new rail pass, and ship it to you.
If you bought the Rail Protection Plan™ when you placed your rail pass order, you are eligible to receive the full value of your original pass as a credit and use it towards any future Rail Europe purchase within 2 years, with no fee or penalty incurred.
Q. I’ve booked a print at home e-ticket. What do I need to do before getting on board the train?
A. Your print at home e-ticket will be forwarded to you as one of three methods:
- A PDF included as a link on your Rail Europe booking confirmation email
- A unique 6 character e-ticket confirmation code that, along with a photo i.d., is checked when on the train
- Sent via a separate email, in addition to your Rail Europe booking confirmation email, forwarded to you after purchase
Your Rail Europe booking confirmation will clearly indicate which type of print at home e-ticket is affiliated with the train ticket(s) you have purchased.
If you were signed into your account when you booked your print at home e-ticket, you can also find all PDF links in the booking history located in your dashboard, as well as the itinerary tab of our iPhone app or mobile site.
All print at home e-tickets must be printed before arriving at the train station.
Q. I just landed in Europe. How do I get to the train station from the airport?
A. Whether you’re going straight to a train or to your hotel, you’ll generally find public transportation options from the airport to the center of town, where most train stations are located. Below is a list of airports that have rail connections (train or local subway/metro) to the main rail station:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
15 minute train trip to Amsterdam Central Station
Stockholm Arlanda Airport
20 minute train trip to Stockholm Central Station
30 minute train to Barcelona Sants Station
Berlin Schoenefeld Airport
Birmingham International Airport
12-15 minute train trip to Birmingham New Street Station
28 minute train trip to Brussels Zuid/Midi Station
15 minute train trip to Cologne Central Station
Copenhagen Kastrup Airport
14 minute train trip from Copenhagen Airport to Copenhagen Central Station
Geneva Cointrin International Airport
7 minute train trip to the Geneva City Central Station
Glasgow Prestwick Airport
1 mile bus or taxi trip to Paisley Gilmour Station and then a 12-15 minute train trip to Glasgow
London Gatwick Airport
30 minute train trip to London Victoria Station
London Heathrow Airport
15 - 27 minute train trip to London Paddington Station
45 minute train trip to London St. Pancras Station
12 minute metro trip to Madrid Nuesvos Ministerios Metro Station
10 minute train trip to Malaga Torremolinos Station
Munich International Airport
41 - 46 minute train trip to Munich Main Train Station
Oslo Gardermoen Airport
19 - 22 minutes train trip to Oslo S Station
Paris Orly Airport
24 minutes train trip to Paris Austerlitz Station
Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport
30 minute train trip to Paris Gare du Nord Station
Porto – Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport
7-10 minute metro trip to Porto City Center Station
Rome Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport
30 minute train trip to Rome Termini Station
47 minute train trip to London Liverpool Station
Stuttgart Echterdingen Airport
30 minute train trip to Stuttgart Central
10 - 14 minute train trip to Zurich Central Station
Many other European airports have buses to the central or main rail stations. There are typically a minimum of two departures per hour, and travel times can vary from 15 minutes – 55 minutes depending on the city (and of course traffic en-route to the city center).
You can always check directly with your arrival airport for specific information regarding transfers to the city center. Most airports have websites with information on where to go to find a train or bus connection to the downtown area.
In addition, we encourage you to visit our Train Station pages to view information about services at the station and what airport links are available, if any, for a particular city.
Q. Can I bring my pet on board?
A. Generally, cats and dogs are allowed on trains, though they may need to be contained in a pet carrier or wear a muzzle or leash. Pets are not allowed on some trains in Great Britain, Spain, Ireland, Norway, and Finland. Currently the only animals that are permitted to travel on Eurostar are guide dogs for the visually impaired.
Some trains require advance reservations for pets. Unfortunately, Rail Europe cannot make reservations for your pet. This will need to be done locally. In general, dogs normally travel at half the fare of a second class ticket, payable directly to the conductor.