Traveling by train to Croatia on the Adriatic for less than 30 euros? It really works! It also has easy access to other popular European tourist destinations. Trips from all over Germany to Italy, France, Croatia, Denmark and Sweden are possible for 50-100 euros – but some tricks are necessary for this.
How good is that Lennart Vanenmüller She knows – and she loves to reveal, too! The 32-year-old, who describes himself as a nerd on the train, recently grabbed attention on Twitter. In a post titled “Summer Vacation Booking Tricks by Train” he explains how travelers can make the most of the savings at Deutsche Bahn:
“Although DB’s savings rates are among the best in Europe, it is not always easy to find them in the train reservation system,” says Lennart in an interview with the German editorial network. Intermediate stops should be entered here and there, and regional trains elsewhere should be excluded. But Lennart makes it easy for us: in his thread he explains all the tricks, including screenshots of the attachment mask.
Top tips for a train deal
1. Use DB’s savings rate – as far as possible
“It sounds banal, but you need to know to what extent the database fare applies in order to get to your destination at the lowest possible cost,” Lennart says. These places can often be reached by direct trains from Germany or can be booked full-time on a cooperation basis.
In Belgium, for example, this is Brussels, in France Paris or Marseille. Singles TGVs are also allowed from Strasbourg to Bordeaux, Montpellier or Nantes. In this case, it is important to cross the border with an ICE / TGV.
Lennart knows that three routes to Italy can be easily combined with DB savings fares: The Gotthard Road via Chiasso leads to Sicily. The Brenner Route takes you to Rimini or Venice with a change in Munich. The Tauern Road leads through Villach in Austria. So it is not only cheap for Italy, but also for Croatia and Slovenia.
Copenhagen can also be reached directly by trains from Germany and thus can be combined with DB savings fares, and also for connections to Stockholm or Gothenburg.
2. If possible, use a continuous ticket
Very important: as far as possible, travelers should always buy one connecting ticket from the DB – not two. This is the only way they are entitled to enjoy full passenger rights in case of delay or cancellation.
3. Scheduling buffers
If you want to travel further than the DB savings rate will allow, Lennart says, plan a generous time slot for changing trains. Booking becomes a bit more complicated because travelers have to book a ticket with the state or private railway providers of the destination country in addition to the ticket with Deutsche Bahn. Example: you want to continue to the Spanish border via Paris or you want to continue from Chiasso to Sicily. “The rule of thumb is: DB Sparpreis as much as possible, buffer, continue with another provider,” says the railroad nerd.
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4. Bahn Card
If you’re planning one or two major train trips in the summer, the Bahnkart 25 may come in handy, says Lennart. With that you get a 25% discount on the German part of the road in addition to the price savings. The trial railway pass is valid for three months and costs €17.90.
Important: Remember to cancel (at least six weeks before the card expires) if you don’t want to continue using it after the summer.
Booking tips for Italy, Croatia and France
What destinations in Italy, Croatia and France can travelers still get special fares for their summer holidays? And how exactly do you need to do this when booking? Using Lennart’s tricks, we tried different connections during the summer vacation (trial period: end of July). Click directly to access the country of interest:
clear the way
Get the super saving Deutsche Bahn ticket now and travel across Germany for €17.90!
By train to Italy
Three routes to Italy can be easily combined with DB savings fares: The Gotthard Road via Chiasso leads to Sicily. On the Brenner Route, with a change in Munich, you can go cheaply to Rimini, Venice, Verona or Bologna. The Tauern Road leads through Villach in Austria to Trieste, for example.
How much is it? At the end of July we found a savings ticket from Hannover to Rimini for 59.90 euros on the Brenner Route, change in Munich. Duration: 17 hours and 30 minutes. Calling starts at midnight – change takes place in Munich at 6 am. The journey from eastern and southern Germany is much shorter. If you start in Stuttgart, you can also get to Rimini for €59.90 – but you don’t have to catch the first train until 6:57 am and only travel ten hours and 36 minutes in total. For the same price, you can fly from Leipzig to the Adriatic at 5.48 am in eleven hours and 45 minutes.
Additional tip Italy:“Within Italy, the private high-speed service provider Italo is often cheaper than Trenitalia,” says Lennart Fahnenmüller. However, passenger rights do not apply to transfers from database tickets, so you should plan for temporary storage of transfer time.
This is also the case with the “Kiasu trick”. Here you travel first with DB Sparpreis to the place on the Swiss-Italian border – this is possible on July 26 from Hanover at €29.90 (by night train). From there you can continue to the Adriatic with the Trenitalia savings ticket. The cool thing is: you have to buy a second ticket, but you can stay on the same train in Chiasso. And then it continues like Eurocity 307 or 319 to Bologna. From there you can go to Rimini, Sanremo or Sicily, for example.
By train to Croatia
Via the Tauern route, travelers can also take advantage of the price savings DB for Croatia – according to Lennart, this works better than in southern Germany.
How much is it? In fact, at the end of July we found a savings price of €29.90 for calling from Munich to Rijeka! Duration: 11 hours 12 minutes, departure at 7.10 am, three changes.
This is how you should do it:
- Enter the departure station (in our case Munich) and the destination station Rijeka in the travel information.
- Click “More options.”
- Enter Salzburg on the “Intermediate Stop” tab under “More than 1”.
- In the “Select Transport” tab, select the section of the route to Salzburg and activate only the first two boxes (High Speed Services, Eurocity, Intercity Trains, IC Buses).
By train to France
The TGV runs once a day from Frankfurt am Main to Marseille – the DB saving rate applies to the entire route. Departure at 1.56 pm, arrival at 9.49 pm. Lennart believes that a midday departure time means that travelers can easily access the TGV from many places in Germany. Bitter drop for travelers: It wouldn’t be easy to manage the trip to a small coastal town if you arrived in Marseille late.
How much is it? At the end of July we found the price of a savings ticket from Hanover to Marseille for 62.90 euros, change in Frankfurt. Duration: eleven hours and eight minutes.
Travelers can also take advantage of the “Strasbourg trick,” says Lennart. The reasoning behind this is as follows: “Some TGVs from Strasbourg are approved for the savings rate in DB – such as Bordeaux, Montpellier or Nantes.” To do this, some hashtags must be set in the booking mask so that the travel information DB shows only connections that lead via Strasbourg.
How much is it? At the end of July we found a savings ticket from Hanover to Montpellier for 94.90 euros, with changes in Karlsruhe and Strasbourg. Duration: eleven hours and twelve minutes.
This is how you should do it:
- Enter the departure station (in our case Hanover) and the destination station (Montpellier, Bordeaux or Nantes) in the travel information.
- Click “More options.”
- Enter Strasbourg in the “Intermediate Stop” tab under “More than 1”.
- Change two things in the “Choose a mode of transport” tab: under “One way” you must select the section of the Cologne-Strasbourg route and exclude local trains by checking the first three boxes. This does not include all local trains.
- In the Strasbourg-Montpellier section, you should switch the “Allow Transfers” tab to “Direct Connection”.
By train to Denmark and Sweden
Stockholm, Gothenburg and Copenhagen can also be reached directly by trains from Germany and thus can be combined with DB savings fares.
How much is it? At the end of July we found a call from Hanover to Stockholm that cost €69.90. Transformations in Hamburg and Copenhagen. Duration: 13 hours and five minutes, until 11:41 p.m. The price of the flight to Gothenburg is the same, but the flight takes only 11 hours and 44 minutes. If you only drive to Copenhagen, you can get there for €44.90.