Travel throughout Europe can be relatively easy and inexpensive. Whether by plane, bus or car, travelers can move from one city to another in just a matter of hours. In Germany, for example, the train is a convenient and common way for both tourists and locals to travel. Easily accessible websites, centrally located stations and a variety of ticket discounts make the 600 km-journey (380 miles) from Berlin to Munich hassle free.
While this cross-country trip might take a bit more time than a flight, it offers wonderful scenes of the German countryside. Routes that take passengers past nearby towns including Leipzig, Chemnitz and Nuremberg allow for quick day trips before reaching the final destination. The main train systems are the Regionalbahn train, which makes frequent stops between cities; the Regional-Express, which makes fewer stops; and the bullet-shaped, fast Intercity-Express train, also known as the ICE train. Speeds for the ICE train reach up to around 300 km/hour, putting the journey duration at a little less than six hours compared to eight or more hours for the slower trains.
Each train line can take passengers to the cities’ main stations — Berlin Hauptbahnhof and Munchen Hauptbahnhof — with access to the city centers. Tickets can be purchased at bahn.com, eurail.com or in person at the station. Though reservations are not required for all trains, when made in advance they can be as cheap as 45 euros one way with special online discounts. In addition to the online offers, bahn.com also has a bahn card, giving cardholders 25 percent or more off standard ticket prices. Children below age 15 can travel for free if accompanied by their parents, and with a 50 percent discount if traveling alone. Trains leave at almost anytime throughout the day, with departures every 15 minutes on average beginning at around 6:00 in the morning as well as an overnight train system.