I spent some time a while back expounding on the transportation options within cities in Germany. Stockerkahn rides in Tubingen are just another option.
However, now I want to devote a few words to the options for traveling between cities in the country.
Until a few years ago, the Deutsche Bahn held the monopoly on long-distance travel throughout Germany. This meant that things like organized carpool (made more possible by social media nowadays) and trek busses were not authorized. Instead, one could choose between riding, driving, or flying… of which riding the train was most usually the least expensive and most convenient option. Virtually every city is connected by train in Germany, and most small villages (literally one-road towns in the rural areas of Germany) are within a half-hour bus ride to a train station. However, with the expiration of the Reichsbahn came the introduction of “Fernbussen,” often much less expensive than the rail tickets. With different lines in competition like Meinfernbus, Flixbus (now joined with meinfernbus), Postbus, Berlinbuslinien and others, whose rates can be compared at busliniensuche.de, the prices range from 8-30 Euro for trips from Hamburg to Berlin or Hamburg to Munich.
However, riding with the rails can be inexpensive too if one times it right and is able to take advantage of special deals. For example, most standard trips have savings-prices (Sparpreise) that can make a trip that usually costs more than 100 Euro cost 29 or 49. There are also “Laendertickets” that are valid for travel for five people within the German Land. This ticket is most practical if you’re traveling with others and don’t mind using the Regional Bahn, as opposed to the famously speedy ICE. It’’s a nifty ticket if you’re also planning a day-trip somewhere within the Land, since it works for the entire day, including return trip. If you want to travel with multiple people throughout Germany, there is the “Queer Durchs Land” that costs a base amount, and then a small up charge per added person on the card. This ticket also makes the most sense when one has a group one is traveling with and wants to travel through more than one Land via RE.
Finally, there are the discount cards one can apply for. Costing upwards of a hundred Euro, the Bahncard 25 and 50, priced respectively and awarding discounts of 25% or 50% are a good investment if you plan to take multiple trips throughout the year and would like to take advantage of the quicker trains like the IC and the ICE.
Having traveled throughout Germany a decent amount now, I can’t say that I favor rail lines over bus lines, but traveling individually, the bus may be more comfortable (especially since it often has free Wifi and adjustable seats). On the other hand, trips mit der Bahn and with multiple people provides a good deal of memorable experiences. The landscape views are also usually much better on routes accessible by train alone…