Let the train take the strain
Deutsche Bahn has postponed direct rail services through the Channel Tunnel, for technical reasons, but there’s plenty of other reasons why it is worth travelling to Germany by train, says Emily Morrison from Railbookers.
Fast, sleek and efficient, Germany’s trains are the epitome of hassle-free travel. Eating up the journeys at speeds of up to 320 kph, DB trains are modern and comfortable with both open-plan seating and six-seater compartments with onboard announcements usually given in both German and English. High speed ICE trains have a restaurant car where you can sit for a meal and a bar buffet where you can buy drinks and snacks. Some services even have WiFi with power sockets for laptops and mobile devices around tables. If you have a first class ticket you can even relax in a private lounge with complimentary refreshments before boarding your train, in stations including Cologne, Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich and Nuremberg.
Getting to Germany from London is also faster than you would think. A journey to Cologne for example, takes around four and a half hours including Eurostar check-in. Unlike with flights, there is only a 30 minute check-in for the Eurostar and no real weight restriction (beyond what you can feasibly carry). The journey through the Channel Tunnel to Brussels takes around an hour and 50 minutes and then the connecting high-speed ICE service to Cologne leaves from the same station. There are other connections to other destinations in Germany either direct from Brussels, or via Cologne.
Compare this to the equivalent journey by air, and the time difference is very slight. In the case of Cologne, for example, the flight itself would take around an hour and 10 minutes – though that would not include travel to your London terminal, the two hour check-in, collecting bags at the other end and then the 30 minute journey by public transport to get from Cologne-Bonn airport into the centre.
And once you’ve decided on a rail-based option, then it opens up lots of travel possibilities where the getting there is all part of the fun. Why not spend a day in Paris, for example, and then take one of the high-quality City Night Line services overnight to Munich or Berlin?
If you are looking for scenery, some of Germany’s railways travel through stunning rural landscapes. For example, there is a high speed service direct from Brussels to Frankfurt but you can also choose to change in Cologne and take the slower, more scenic route along the Rhine Valley, past fairytale hill top castles, vineyards and the famous Lorelei Rock.
Travelling by train is a wunderbar way to explore!
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