Bus travel in and around Germany

Jul 8th, 2014, 01:35 AM
  #1  
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Bus travel in and around Germany

Hello,
I wanted to inquire regarding the bus travel in and around Germany. Firstly, do we have to book tickets here also in advance just like air/rail? Or do the prices remain constant? And how is the availability of services? I have not found any night services on Internet as of now. Are there any night bus services? Thank you.
Pulkit7 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 02:36 AM
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In general, long-distance buses in Germany were not as well-developed a means of transport as in other countries.

Nowadays there are some, the main one I can think of is Meinfernbus http://meinfernbus.de/en/

Never used them as I prefer train travel anyway. But browse the website and see if it suits.
mjdh1957 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 03:09 AM
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Seems like a good site. But nonetheless my queries in the first post still remain unclear to me.
Pulkit7 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 03:57 AM
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Hi Pulkit7,

I've taken Meinfernbus for a ride from Garmisch to the Munich airport -- I think you can look at its schedule to see the availability of services and the availability of night bus services.

The prices remain constant, I think. I think they charge for the distance traveled, and there are no discounts for advance purchase. I booked my ticket in advance, and it was easy to do it online.

The services onboard are meager: you can buy small snacks (pretzels or nuts in a small sack), and there is a toilet onboard. There are electrical outlets at the seats next to the windows.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Jul 8th, 2014, 04:26 AM
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"I have not found any night services on Internet as of now. Are there any night bus services?"

You can travel from Hamburg to Mannheim by bus overnight. But anyone would desire such a trip is a genuine puzzle.

http://www.eurolines.de/de/nationale...nheim-hamburg/
Russ is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 06:35 AM
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How many journeys are you going to take in Germany - if several on different days you can take the faster and more comfy trains - if traveling a lot the German Railpass can be a great bargain - letting you hop on any train anytime with few exceptions.

and train travel is infinitely more comfy than a jammed bus - and there are overnight trains throughout Germany too - so consider taking trains which go everywhere all the time - just show up at the station and hop on. Fully flexible travel and as trains go all the time in Germany you just need to show up at the station and hop on the next train - no advance planning needed.

If you're under 26 years old there is a bargain German Youth Railpass.

If traveling several days on trains then the railpass could be as cheap as buses and infinitely more comfy - for lots of good stuff on German trains and passes check out these superb IMO sources: www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 08:40 AM
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Palenque, you really astonish me with your knowledge of Europe. Seriously. You must have a photographic memory.

I can hardly remember where I went on my last trip, whereas you have detailed knowledge of all kinds of aspects of travel.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 09:12 AM
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I took Meinfernbus from Freiburg im Breisgau to Zurich and back a few months ago. The bus was fine for a ride of a few hours. Bus tickets can and do sell out, and prices will go up as the bus nears capacity. (Check prices on their website now for future routes say tomorrow and see which ones are available and what the prices are.) I don't recall if you can buy bus tickets from the driver (check on their website) , but I bought them online ahead of time and showed my tickets on my phone to someone who scanned the QR code as I boarded.

I considered taking Meinfernbus a few other routes in Germany just to save money and might have in some cases, but the train either worked out better or I just didn't want a six hour bus ride.
Andrew is online now  
Jul 8th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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Meinfernbus is just one of the many bus companies that started this year. Other major players are Flixbus, IC Bus (by German Rail), Postbus, Eurolines, Berlin Linienbus, etc.
So far, there is no really good bi-lingual website that lets you do a meta-search across all possible companies/lines.
But if you can find your way through the quite basic search boxes with google translate,
http://www.busliniensuche.de
Abfahrtsort means Start, Zielort means Destination, Abfahrtsdatum means Date of travel
it is kinda easy to find more than just Meinfernbus (which is actually a quite silly alliteration of the three single words MY, LONG-DISTANCE, BUS
Pricewise most companies do have super-saver fares that can sell out. Their main advantage over trains and planes is that even the same-day walk-in maximum fare is still lower than for other means of transportation.
Some overnight services do exist. But given the fact that the country is not THAT large (600mls N-S), I guess there is not so much demand (or options)
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 10:56 AM
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Some overnight services do exist. But given the fact that the country is not THAT large (600mls N-S), I guess there is not so much demand (or options)>

or because most Germans would for overnight journeys take the comfy CNL CityNightLiner trains and not as Russ suggests some uncomfy all night ride in a crowded bus. There are several night rains in Germany linking zillions of cities - and some nifty discounts if you book in advance.

http://www.citynightline.de/citynigh...en/index.shtml
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 10:39 PM
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In all fairness, long-distance bus services have become extremely popular in the few months since they started. The main problem in many cities is that the bus stations are getting problems to accomodate the exponentially increased departures and arrivals.
OTOH, overnight trains are probably the most "exotic" means of transport for locals. I'm not exactly young and I would know of only one living soul who actually travelled on one, from Munich to Paris.
Even those weekend commuters from, say Munich back to Berlin, are more likely to take the Monday 6-8am flights than the night train. Which I do find somewhat odd, but that's the way it is.
The largest share of long-distance travels goes by private cars.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 12:58 AM
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A long-distance night bus sounds even more exotic and uncomfortable to me than an overnight train.
quokka is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 03:38 AM
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quokka - have you ever taken a CNL private compartment night train? Just curious, not accusative.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 06:03 AM
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Pegontheroad: thanks for your nice words - but I am not an average traveler but a retired European travel writer who has gone to and researched thoroughly zillions of places - I was lucky to make European travel - specializing in rail travel - my work for over three decades - now retired but not from European traveling. Again thanks for your nice remarks.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 06:57 AM
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rtwin80days is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 12:47 PM
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I checked Berlin to Frankfurt on both the bus site cited by OP and on www.bahn.de for train fares.

For one thing the buses all seem to take 6.5 hours and trains at least two hours quicker

Bus fares for tomorrow - walk up fares were just 17 and 19 euros - walk up train fare was 123 euros! But if you booked in advance by a few weeks there were plenty of 29 euro Berlin to Frankfurt fares - and for 10 euros more and two hours quicker taking the much more comfy train where you can get up and walk around is a no-brainer to me.

But if you are buying on a fully flexible walk-up basis then the bus is far far cheaper than compared to walk up fares on trains - yet again if taking several longer train trips then the German Railpass can be about as cheap as a string of discounted train fares.

So the bus is a nice cheap alternative for those making a few longer trips in Germany where a railpass is not warranted - for those who do not want to lock themselves in stone by pre-booking weeks in advance to get the limited in number discounted train tickets (are train-specific, can't be changed and can be refunded minus a 15 euro cancellation fee if you do it before the train).

But I suspect with those cheap bus rates seats may be cramped? Is there a charge for baggage or a limit to it?

To me the pain in Germany ain't on the train but could well be, at least for a taller guy like me, on the bus.

I've taken many a long-distance bus ride in Europe in my younger days and always found them uncomfortable, especially if the bus is packed as I suspect by offering those type fares.
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