Save on Railway Fares with the Happy Weekend Ticket
For cheap unlimited travel on local German trains over weekends, Deutsche Bahn’s bargain Schönes Wochenende Ticket (Happy Weekend) is hard to beat.
The cheap Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (literally Happy Weekend Ticket but more commonly referred to in English as Weekend Ticket for Germany) is one of Deutsche Bahn’s greatest savings deals. The ticket is valid for groups of up to five traveling together on Saturday or Sunday using only local and regional trains in Germany. It is a great deal for saving on railway fares in Germany, especially when traveling only short distances or visiting sights in towns without high-speed trains. The Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket has a base fare of €40 for the first traveler with each additional traveler up to five adding €4. It is best bought online from German Railways or at station vending machines.
Save with the Cheap Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket
The Schönes Wochende Ticket is remarkably cheap and thus not surprisingly comes with special travel restrictions. The most important include:
- The Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket may only be used on Saturday or Sunday and is valid from midnight up to 3 am the following morning. (National holidays do not alter the requirement that travel must be on a Saturday or Sunday.)
- The Happy Weekend Ticket may only be used on local regional trains with the letters IRE, RE, RB, or S in the train name.
- Travel is only permitted in second class carriages.
- The Happy Weekend Ticket may also be used for almost all U-Bahn trains, trams and local city buses in Germany.
- The Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket is available for solo travelers or for a group of up to five passengers traveling together. The group composition may not be altered and names have to be entered on the ticket prior to commencement of the journey. (Group members may join at later stations / get off earlier but the correct names must be entered before the first journey starts.)
- Own children (or grand children) up to 14 years old may travel for free with a parent(s) or grandparent (s) on a single or two-person Schönes-Wochenende Ticket. Other children must be counted as separate passengers and the free own children rule is no longer applicable if more than two paying travelers are counted. (Children under 6 years always travel for free on German trains.)
- Larger dogs require tickets and may be added as a “passenger” to the weekend ticket. Enter “Hund”, i.e. German for dog, rather than the name of the dog.
- Bicycles tickets, in regions where bikes are not transported for free, must be bought separately and may not be added as a “passenger” to the Weekend Ticket.
Cheap Schönes-Wochenende and Quer-Durchs-Land vs Cheaper Länder-Tickets
The Schönes-Wochenende-Tickets, Quer-Durchs-Land-Tickets and Länder-Tickets are Deutsche Bahn’s saving tickets for travel on local trains only. The tickets have a lot in common but there are important differences too:
- Länder-Tickets have geographical restrictions while the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket and Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket are valid throughout Germany.
- The Quer-durchs-Land Tickets are usually not valid on city buses, trams, and U-Bahn trains while the Schönes Wochenende and Länder-Tickets are generally accepted.
- Länder-Tickets and Quer-durchs-Land Tickets are available all week while Schönes-Wochenende-Tickets can only be used on Saturday and Sunday.
- Länder-Tickets and Quer-durchs-Land Tickets are available all week but except for holidays and weekend are only valid from 9 am.
- Länder-Tickets are available in first-class versions too while the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket and Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket are only sold for travel in second class (many local trains are without first class anyway).
- A few states have even cheaper Länder-Tickets Nacht for for night travel.
Buying the Schönes-Wochenende-Tickets
The Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket, when bought online or from ticket machines, is €40 for the first passenger and then add €4 for each additional traveler up to a maximum of five (€56). Additional passengers cannot be added after purchase and names must be entered in ink before the first journey commences.
At station ticket counters, the Happy Weekend Ticket is usually €2 more expensive. Train tickets generally cannot be bought on Germany local trains – failure to buy a ticket prior to boarding will result in heavy fines per person.
Buy in German from Deutsche Bahn: Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket, or in English from German Railways. (If the link has moved, look for the Schöne Wochenende or Weekend Ticket link (under Offers) on the English website of German Railways.
In many areas, bicycles are transported for free on trains. In others, each bicycle requires €5 Fahrradticket (Bicycle Ticket), which allow unlimited transportation on all local trains for the day.
Small dogs travel for free if inside a transportation container, otherwise a dog counts as a person. Dogs do not qualify for free travel under the “own children” rule.
The Schönes-Wochenende-Tickets offer great savings over regular train fares provided traveler is on weekends and on local trains only. During the week, the Quer-durchs-Land Tickets provide similar savings while Länder-Tickets provide even bigger savings any day for travel in smaller areas. Deutsche Bahn has numerous further discount fares available on high-speed, long-distance trains as well while non-resident can also get great value out of the German Rail Pass.