European Rail News
Your source for updates on European train travel

One ticket - six countries

Posted by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries | | Practical Info
An IC-bus:

An IC-bus: 'der kleine Bruder der Bahn'. Deutsche Bahn (DB) has a growing network of international bus routes. DB markets the bus network as 'the small brother of the railway' (photo by Matti Blume).

Travel for just €29 from London to Salzburg! That’s just over twenty pounds. This may well be the best ticket deal offered by any European rail operator this summer.

Yes, it really is possible to buy a ticket from Deutsche Bahn which will take you from London to Austria for €29. The itinerary takes in six countries: England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.

The ticket is valid on selected itineraries leaving London on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The ticket can be booked online at www.bahn.de. Two stopovers are permitted. Each stopover may extend to 48 hours.

Now there has to be a catch in this. And there is. This "train" ticket from London to Austria actually includes a leg on the thrice-weekly overnight bus from London to Düsseldorf — which is run by Deutsche Bahn (DB) under its IC-Bus brand. But the onward journey beyond Düsseldorf is entirely by train.

The lead-in fare for London to Düsseldorf on DB’s IC-Bus is just €29 (with a 25% reduction for holders of DB’s BahnCard 25). Tickets can be booked to destinations beyond Düsseldorf — so to any railway station within Germany and to a limited number of DB tariff points beyond Germany.

Provided that you undertake to use only local and regional trains for your journey beyond Düsseldorf to your eventual destination, then the add-on fare beyond Düsseldorf is completely free. Our itinerary shows a sample journey from London to Salzburg (which is a DB tariff point on Austrian territory). It leaves London on a Sunday evening, using the overnight bus which traverses French, Belgian and Dutch territory to reach Düsseldorf on Monday morning.

Our sample itinerary has a two-night stop in Cologne and then on the Wednesday follows the beautiful Rhine Valley route south to Heidelberg for another two-night break. Then on Friday lunchtime, it’s back on board the trains again, travelling via Munich to reach Salzburg the same evening. All-in-all, a five day journey by bus and train through Europe for just €29.

Woe betide those who, once in Germany, are tempted to hop on one of the country’s sleek ICE trains. If you opt for the free add-on fare beyond Düsseldorf, then you cannot join the faster premium brand trains (generally those prefixed ICE, EC, IC or CNL). Tickets are endorsed to this effect. Of course, you can opt to continue from Düsseldorf to Salzburg by fast trains, also building in stopovers along the way, but then the fare will amount to very much more than €29.

Our sample itinerary consists of the following four legs:

Leg Travel time
London-Düsseldorf (by direct overnight bus) 9 hrs 55 mins
Düsseldorf-Cologne (by train) 31 mins
Cologne-Koblenz-Heidelberg (by train) 6 hrs 16 mins
Heidelberg-Munich-Salzburg (by train) 7 hrs 31 mins

 

Here is a scan of our sample itinerary from the Deutsche Bahn website:

Our sample itinerary as available on the Deutsche Bahn website (www.bahn.de) on 7 June 2015.

Copyright © Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries. All rights reserved.
hidden europe
About The Authors

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries

Nicky and Susanne manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers and the authors of the Europe by Rail guidebook - the latest edition of which was published in June 2016. A fully updated 15th edition will be published in autumn 2017.

2 Comments

Roger Whiffin, 10 June 2015

Still a bit confused as to how to put the data in to get the specimen itinerary, and also modify for my possible use. Can it be used to get Graz in Austria?

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries, 24 June 2015

Roger If you are still have difficulties do contact our office in Berlin, and someone will be happy to assist you. As to your specific question, no this cheap fare by overnight coach and onward Nahverkehr trains cannot be booked through to Graz in Austria. Salzburg would be your best bet.

Add a comment
*Please complete all fields correctly