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Train ticket prices in Austria and Germany

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Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:39 PM
  #1
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Train ticket prices in Austria and Germany

I am still sorting out my train tickets for our trip in May to Salzburg and Garmisch/Munich. On both the Bahn.de and Oebb websites, there are different fares if you buy early for a specific train (non-refundable and non-transferable) or for a flexible train schedule. Do the flexible train fares fluctuate much? Is there a benefit to buying them now versus just buying at the train station when we arrive? Or will they be the same price (and not fluctuate like airplane ticket prices)?

I am nervous that delayed flight will cause us to miss our train if we buy the discount fare ticket, so I am leaning towards paying full price (I am still researching the all inclusive train passes to see if they make sense financially).

Thanks as always!
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:01 PM
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Have you looked into railpasses? Check out the Rick Steves website, he has a nice section on the various rail passes. I would probably get a pass, it gives you the option of first class and can be a good value. I guess if I was buing tickets for each trip, I would just buy them over there - then if you change your plans, you aren't stuck with a certain locked in trip. Trains are frequent in that area, no need to worry about missing a train, there will always be another. Sometimes the best travel is ad hoc, without a tight itinerary.
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:11 PM
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If you are able to wait until after 9 am to travel there is the Bayern ticket that lets you and up to four other people in your group travel for a modest price if you travel within Bavaria. I understand that it also covers the train to Salzburg. We are planning to use this type of ticket for most of our train travel within Bavaria in May. I have already purchsed my train ticket from Bamberg to Frankfurt to return home at the end of the trip. We cannot use the Bayern for that trip.

Some other fodorite will know more about the Bayern ticket.

Pat
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Forgot to mention the Bayern ticket, it's a great deal - I highly recommend it.
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 06:51 PM
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Yes, I know about the Bayern Pass. My only problem with that is sometimes we like to get an early start to our day to get where we need to go early, and of course you have to wait until 9 am on the weekdays using that pass. But that is probably a small price to pay for the savings.

Is bus travel covered on either the Bayern Pass or the Rail Passes? For example. while staying in Garmisch we will probably take the bus from Garmsich to Hohenshwangau to see the castles. Is that covered by either the Bayern Pass or the 3 country rail pass, or will that be an extra cost on top?
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Apr 4th, 2011, 05:24 AM
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Bayern Ticket: many buses within Bavaria are included, including the Garmisch-Füssen route operated by the local RVO transit authority. 9606 is a direct bus. Other local bus transit is included with the Bayern ticket too (see acronyms below for transit authorities.)


"Die Tickets gelten... in den Regionalbussen der OVF, RBO, RVO, RVA, KOB, RBS und im CityBus Burghausen."


Note that a Bayern Ticket lets you on the city transit buses, trams and subways in Munich (MVV) and the other cities mentioned:

"Die Bayern-Tickets gelten in S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Bus und Tram im MVV-Gesamtnetz sowie in den Verkehrsverbünden in Augsburg, Nürnberg, Regensburg und Würzburg."

You can even take the train through Austria between Garmisch and Kempten, a very scenic route.

And about the 9 am rule: that's only on weekdays. On Saturday or Sunday, travel at any hour you like with a Bayern Ticket.

If you must travel prior to 9:00 on a weekday, you can always purchase regular tickets on top of the Bayern ticket for the time/route you travel prior to 9 am. So if you're leaving Munich at 8:32 for Garmisch on a weekday, the Bayern ticket will cover your travel after you stop in Tutzing at 9:01 - you'll just need an extra ticket for Munich - Tutzing (7.50 Euros.)
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Apr 4th, 2011, 05:33 AM
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wanttogo writes: "I have already purchsed my train ticket from Bamberg to Frankfurt to return home at the end of the trip. We cannot use the Bayern for that trip."

This is true if you use the fast (IC, ICE, etc.) trains or must travel before 9 on a weekday, but on the regional trains you can use the Bayern Ticket for most of this trip. Bavaria (Bayern) ends very near Frankfurt in the town of Kahl. Bamberg to Kahl is regularly 30-40 Euros each, but this is covered by the Bayern ticket on the regional trains. Of course, you'd need an additional regular ticket on the regional trains from Kahl to Frankfurt, which is 7.30 Euros each.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 06:25 AM
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Oh! I did not think of that method. Too late. I may be able to use that method from Frankfurt to Nuremberg at the beginning of our trip. My husband will be with be then. We don't want to buy tickets in advance because we are flying from the United States and too many things could delay us. Maybe we could buy tickets upon arrival to a point just at the border of Bavaria and a bayern for the trip through Bavaria to Nuremberg. Russ, what do you think?

Pat
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Apr 4th, 2011, 07:00 AM
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wanttogo: At FRA's Regionalbahnhof, if you get one Bayern ticket and also regular tickets to Kahl (7.30 each from a RMV - the local travel authority - ticket machine) you'll be covered for about 44 Euros for two travelers. If it's a Sat or Sun, however, just get a "Schönes Wochenende" Ticket for 37 Euros, which permits travel on the same regional trains throughout the country for 2-5 people, from either the RMV or the DB machine. (Be sure not to use the IC, ICE etc. fast trains, of course.)

(BTW, if using the first option, it's not necessary to get off in Kahl, as some travelers seem to think, just because you're using separate tickets.)
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Apr 4th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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Oops, forgot the S-W ticket is now 39 Euros.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 12:46 PM
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Thanks so much Russ. One last pesky question-do we stamp both our tickets to Kahl and our Bayern tickets at the Frankfurt train station before boarding the train? When we buy the Bayern ticket is it a specified Bavarian Bayern ticket or just a general Bayern ticket?

Pat
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Apr 4th, 2011, 01:17 PM
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You can see on www.bahn.de - German Railways web site that fares on those lines for fully flexible 'walk up' tickets rarely vary though they may a few euros on ICE trains on some lines - and yes restricted discounted tickets are I believe train specific and cannot be changed.

If arriving I'd pay the extra for a full fare ticket and you can always always get on these trains IME - as for the Bavarian Pass efficacy it depends on which routes you are taking - to Garmisch if the 9am thin is not a problem then that line involves mainly regional trains that you can use the pass on. But on say Munich to Salzburg then the Bavaria Pass is limited to regional trains and cannot be used on the much faster ICE trains - you may well take an hour longer each way - time that IMO could be better spent in Salzburg - and regional trains IME are just not nearly as comfy as ICE or express trains and can become very crowded at times as they also tend to act like schoolbuses - crowds of kids swarm aboard at times.

For lots of great info on German trains I always highlight these fantastic IMO sites - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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Bayern Ticket = Bavaria Ticket. There's only one kind good for 2-5 people (a "single" version exists for one person.)

Don't stamp your tickets. Just present them when asked. One of you might need to sign the Bavaria ticket if there's a line asking for an "Unterschrift", but that's all.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 02:15 PM
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Depending where you buy it, you may need to stamp the Bayern Ticket. Basically, if there's no date stamped on the ticket, you have to use the validation machine at the entrance to the tracks. Always have one of you sign the ticket before entering the station or bus. Sometimes they get nasty, if you havn't signed it and suspect fraud.

"Bayern" is the German word for "Bavaria"
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Apr 14th, 2011, 07:42 PM
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And the Bavaria Ticket will indeed take you to Salzburg, Austria even though it is not in Bavaria, duh!
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Apr 14th, 2011, 07:54 PM
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Salzburg is not part of Bavaria only since 1816, which is not a significant timespan to consider it not eligible for the Bayern Ticket.
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Apr 17th, 2011, 08:57 PM
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I am doing a similar route: flying into Zurich (because the airfare was reasonable) but plan to go directly to Salzburg and use that as a base. I am traveling with my wife and twin 10 year old sons. My current thinking is:
* on arrival in Zurich take the train to Lindau, staying overnight there and then using the Bayern pass to go to Salzburg the next day, I assume via Munich. We have no desire to stop in Munich as Vienna is our preferred Germanic city. The night in Lindau is because we will be tired after the transatlantic and it will be a chance to stretch and rest.
* on the way back I am thinking of taking the regional family pass from Salzburg to Innsbruck and then purchased tickets to Zurich. I suspect this is a more expensive option than via Munich but it looks to be more scenic.

I too weighed buying train tickets beforehand but based on the unknowns of air travel I do not want to commit to a specific train departure. On the way back I think I could book ahead.

Mostly a ramble but if anyone has ideas on how to make this more fun and cost efficient, please let me know. Any choices for inexpensive hotels in Lindau are also appreciated.

Eric
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Apr 17th, 2011, 09:10 PM
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None of the train rides are scenic. The Inntal is a HUGE and wide valley, maybe if you're there for the first time you could find something scenic about it? In fact, it's just a wide valley. Driving up or down the Gerlos imho would be what I'd consider "scenic".
If you're in the mountains for the first time in your life, however, everything including Innsbruck could be considered scenic. Are you a flatlander?
Try www.hrs.de if you need a hotel in Lindau.
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Apr 20th, 2011, 02:12 PM
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None of the train rides are scenic>

IMO ALL of the train rides in Bavaria and Austria are scenic to an American but not to blase Germans I would expect - but the chalet-style houses nestled in hilly forests, etc to me at least are still scenic after decades of rail travel in those climes.
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Apr 20th, 2011, 03:16 PM
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So you havn't been to the better places and you come from Ohio or even New Jersey.
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