A Deutsche Bahn (DB) ICE train at Berlin Hauptbahnhof (photo © hidden europe).
Deutsche Bahn (DB) has a very attractive rover offer for this summer. At some time over the weeks ahead, DB will announce details of its 2015 Deutschland-Pass. This is a rail pass which allows unlimited rail travel for one month across Germany.
There are no restrictions on who can buy a Deutschland-Pass. It is not limited to German residents. This summer-season pass is very much better value than Eurail or InterRail passes for Germany.
Usually reliable sources tell us that the 2015 Deutschland-Pass will be available for sale from late June — most probably from Saturday 27 June. Passes give unlimited travel for a full month from the first date of validity. The last date on which these passes may be used will be in early or mid September. The word is that the cut-off date for 2015 could well be Sunday 13 September.
We expect the 2015 prices to be as follows:
Pass holders in either of the above two categories can enter the names of up to four children on their pass, who then travel with them without charge.
There are a number of other pass options, including attractively priced passes for couples and families. For example two adults and three children can enjoy unlimited first-class travel across Germany for an entire month for just €669.
For young travellers (aged 15 to 18), there is a discounted version of the Deutschland-Pass for just €159. That’s a neat way of pulling teenagers who might not normally think of making long journeys by train. Lure them off the discount coach services during the school summer hols and perhaps they’ll become lifelong rail travellers.
Travellers from countries outside Germany are often tempted by one of the many rail passes marketed to visitors to the country. All such passes are poor value compared with the Deutschland-Pass. The InterRail one-country pass for Germany allows just eight days travel within a month and for adults (26+) costs €313 in second class or €492 in first class.
DB market a German Rail Pass to visitors from outside Europe. There are a variety of options. One of the best-value deals in this range is the Family Pass, which allows two adults and three children to roam Germany for 15 days in first-class comfort for 1336 US Dollars. That’s over €1200 — almost twice the price of a Deutschland-Pass which would be valid for a full month rather than just 15 days.
Germany is a country of such variety and of a size that one might easily wander for a month without covering the same ground twice. Few other European countries have an unlimited rail travel offer which comes close to matching the Deutschland-Pass. In Britain, for example, there is the popular all-line rover ticket which costs £724 for a week’s travel in first class — that is over €1000 for just seven days. It’s hard to fathom how a week’s first-class travel in Britain can cost more than twice as much as a entire month’s first-class travel across Germany’s much larger rail network.
In Britain ‘unlimited’ does not actually mean unrestricted. The British all-line rover is hedged by restrictions about travel in the morning peak period, although in fairness these restrictions apply only to travel to or from ten stations in south-east England and the Midlands.
This article is based on information supplied by a normally very reliable source. If you are planning on using the Deutschland-Pass in 2015, it would be wise to check details once they are confirmed and made public by DB. We expect that will be in early or mid June.
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries, 24 June 2015
Interesting, Yury, to read your comment. The article above very specifically looked at tickets which are available to anyone. The brilliant thing about the Deutschland Pass is that it affords nationwide travel without any residency requirements: viz. it can be purchased and used by people who live in Germany as well as visitors. In that respect the GB equivalent is the all-line rover which was mentioned in the article. The BritRail Pass which you commend is restricted to overseas visitors to Britain. Even it stacks up to be poor value compared with the Deutschland Pass. We gave costs for a hypothetical family of two adults and three children. Using the Deutschland-Pass they would pay 669 euros for a full month's first-class travel. Now let's suppose that same family goes instead to Britain and uses your BritRail Pass suggestion. They will pay 785 euros for JUST FOUR DAYS travel by train in Britain. (And that takes into account that two of the three children will travel for free). This hardly seems to be the great deal you suggest.
Yury Plokhotnichenko, 25 May 2015
Your comparison with all-line 1st class rover is definetely incorrect. Visitor to Britain can use much cheaper Britrail Pass (or combine different Britrail passes for different parts of the contry). All travellers can use a number of regional rover tickets, many of which are excellent value.
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 book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide. The 17th edition of that book will be published in mid-April 2022. You'll find a list of outlets that sell the book on this website.