Use cheap Länder-Tickets to save on local public transportation (bus, train, S-Bahn, U-bahn, metro, tram) of Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) and cities in Germany.
Cheap Länder-Tickets (State Tickets) are often the best savings deal when sightseeing in a specific area of rural Germany. These cheap tickets are valid on local buses and regional trains of Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) and only for limited geographical areas. Fast intercity and other long-distance trains and buses may not be used. Usually, travel is restricted to one Land (or federal state) but if that limitation is not a problem, the savings on standard German train fares and tickets can be enormous. The Deutschland-Ticket (Germany Ticket) is a bit like a Länder-Ticket but valid for all of Germany but it is a commuter subscription season ticket but still worth considering when traveling extensively in Germany.
- Germany has 16 federal states (Länder) but as some states are very small, only 13 different Länder-Tickets are sold as smaller states do not have their own Länder-Tickets.
Save with Cheap Länder Train Tickets in Germany
Länder-Tickets are much cheaper than standard German Railway fares so not surprisingly they do come with severe restrictions.
- Only German local and regional trains (Nahverkehr) may be used. Local buses, trams, and U-Bahn trains are usually, but not always, included as well. Only second-class wagons may be used, although a few states now also have first-class tickets.
- Local trains have the letters IRE, RE, RB, or S in the train name and number. U-Bahn trains in most cities are covered too.
- Länder-Tickets have time restrictions. On weekdays, Länder-Tickets may be used from 9 am to 3 am the following day, on weekends and vacation days from midnight to 3 am the following day. For journeys starting earlier, buy a ticket to the first station reached after 9 am and use the Länder-Ticket from there onwards.
- Even cheaper Night Tickets (Nacht-Tickets) are valid from 6 pm to the following morning 6 am (7 am on weekends).
- Up to five persons may travel on a Länder-Ticket. Some states have single tickets or price the ticket according to the number of travelers. Usually, for two traveling together, a standard Länder-Ticket is cheaper than two single tickets.
- As a minimum, the person going to travel the furthest distance, or board earlier, should write his name on the front of the ticket but increasingly it is a requirement that the names of all travelers be added to the ticket prior to travel. The group composition may not change.
- Länder-Tickets are usually valid to the last station in the state but occasionally the first station in the bordering state is the limit. Similarly, when traveling from a bordering state, addition tickets need to be bought to / from the first station where the Länder-Ticket is valid.
- A dog larger than a domestic cat counts as a passenger – enter “Hund” rather than the animal’s name. Dogs cannot count as “own children”.
- Some states require a separate bicycle ticket.
Länder-Tickets are usually available for single travelers or groups of up to five traveling together. The base price is for the solo traveler and then add a certain amount, e.g. €8 in Bavaria, for each additional traveler up to five. The prices differ slightly but are around €25 (€37) for a single traveler and €53 (€120) for a group of five in second class (first class).
Children and Families on Länder Train Tickets in Germany
In 2021, how to count children when traveling on a Länder-Ticket was simplified in some states such as Bavaria but the system remains complicated with some state tickets now having their own rules and complications. Study these well in advance as the ticket controller will know the rules and apply fines mercilessly.
In all states, children younger than six years old travel for free and need not be counted when specifying the number of people traveling on the ticket. (In Hessen only three children allowed.)
In most states, including Bavaria, three children aged 6 to 14 travel for free per Bayern Ticket, and need not be included in calculating the number of persons on the ticket. The fourth child counts as a regular passenger and must be ticketed. No family relationships are required.
Exceptions include for example:
- Baden-Württemberg and Brandenburg-Berlin: if up to two people use a ticket, one may take three own children or grandchildren for free, all other children count as passengers. In all other cases, children count as regular passengers.
- Hessen: up to three own children under six travel for free, all other children count as regular passengers.
- Lower-Saxony: children 6 to 14 travel for free only if a five-person ticket was bought.
- North Rhine-Westphalia: children 6-14 travel for free only on single and two-person tickets.
Buy Cheap Länder-Tickets for Saving on German Railways
Deutsche Bahn currently offers thirteen different Länder-Tickets – the links below go directly to the German language pages at Deutsche Bahn. To buy the tickets in English, select the appropriate state from the Regional Day Tickets page:
- Baden-Württemberg-Tickets may be used in Baden-Württemberg as well as on trains to the Swiss cities Basel and Kreuzlingen.
- Bayern-Tickets are valid in Bavaria on all trains and on most city buses, trams, and U-Bahn trains as well. It is valid on trains up to Salzburg in Austria.
- Brandenburg-Berlin-Tickets are valid in Berlin (on all trains and buses), in the state of Brandenburg, as well as on some routes outside the state. (This includes traveling to Dessau and Lutherstadt-Wittenberg, popular day-trip destinations from Berlin.) For travel in the Berlin and Potsdam region only, cheaper Berlin Transportation tickets may be a better deal.
- Hessentickets are valid in the state Hesse including all trains, trams, and buses in Frankfurt am Main.
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern-Tickets are valid in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.
- Niedersachsen-Tickets are valid in Lower Saxony, Bremen, and Hamburg.
- SchönerTagTickets NRW is valid in North-Rhine Westphalia.
- Rheinland-Pfalz-Tickets are valid in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.
- Saarland-Tickets have the same conditions as the Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket.
- Sachsen-Tickets are valid in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia.
- Sachsen-Anhalt-Tickets have the same conditions as the Sachsen-Ticket.
- Schleswig-Holstein-Tickets have the same conditions as the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ticket.
- Thüringen-Tickets have the same conditions as the Sachsen-Ticket.
Bremen is included in the Niedersachsen-Ticket and Hamburg in either the Niedersachsen, or Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, or Schleswig-Holstein tickets — study the state borders before making a choice!
Travelers can save even more by buying the Länder-Tickets (or any German train ticket for that matter) from ticket machines or online from German Railways / Deutsche Bahn. Buying tickets from ticket counter windows at the station usually has a service fee of €2 to €5. Tickets must be bought before boarding trains.
An alternative to the Länder-Tickets when traveling in several states is the Quer-Durchs-Land day ticket the allows for travel throughout Germany. Many other savings options are available for traveling on German trains, especially for advance reservations and return journeys.
A fantastic savings deal is the Deutschland-Ticket (Germany Ticket) which costs only €49 per calendar month. However, this is a subscription season ticket with a year commitment when signing up but the option to cancel at any time, for example immediately after buying, and use it for only the first calendar month. See more details at Cheap Travel on the €49 Deutschland-Ticket Germany Train Pass and read the fine print before signing up.
The Schöne Wochenende Ticket (Happy Weekend Ticket) is no longer sold.