Questions about using your pass

Read our FAQs about using your German Rail Pass. If you cannot find your answer then contact our team of rail experts.

Frequently asked questions

  • How do I activate the pass? 

    Your German Rail Pass must be activated before you start using it. This must be done within 11 months of the issuing date. German Rail Passes must be activated by a railway official, who will enter the first and last day of validity on the pass.

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  • Where is the German Rail Pass valid? 

    Your German Rail Pass is valid on all trains within Germany operated by Deutsche Bahn (DB). You can also travel to the border cities, Basel in Switzerland and Salzburg in Austria.

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  • How do I use the German Rail Pass? 

    First you must activate your German Rail Pass at a train station in Germany. A railway official will fill in the first and last date of validity on your pass. Before boarding the first train of each day, you should write the travel date with pen on the calendar on your pass.

    Then you can just hop on the train. Note that advance a seat reservation is required or recommended for some trains.

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  • Can I use international trains to countries outside Germany? 

    Your German Rail Pass is valid for domestic trains within Germany. In addition, your pass is valid to several stations across the border:

    • Basel (Switzerland)

    • Salzburg (Austria)

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  • Do I need to make reservations for some trains? 

    Most domestic German trains do not require a reservation. However certain trains do including the City Night Line night train. Reservation is recommended for the ICE high-speed train during busy times.

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  • Which trains and buses outside of Germany is the German Rail Pass valid on? 
    The German Rail Pass is valid on the following trains and buses:

    • Belgium: ICE International trains from Cologne to Liege (Liège-Guillemins) and Brussels (station: Bruxelles-Midi).

    • Austria: On DB-ÖBB EuroCity trains from Munich to Innsbruck (station: Innsbruck) and Kufstein. You can also travel with the German rail network to the border station at Salzburg.

    • Italy: DB-ÖBB Eurocity direct trains from Munich to Venice (station: Venezia Santa Lucia), Verona (station: Verona Porta Nuova), Bologna (station: Bolgan Centrale), Bolzano (station: Bolzano/Bozen) and Trento.

    • Switzerland: Use the German rail network to travel to the border station at Basel (Basel Bad Bahnhof)

    The IC bus on the following routes:
    • Berlin-Copenhagen

    • Berlin-Wroclaw-Kraków

    • Dusseldorf-Eindhoven-Antwerp-London

    • Stuttgart–Vukovar (Croatia)

    • Dusseldorf-Roermond-Brussels

    • Frankfurt-Hahn-Trier-Luxemburg

    • München-Ljubljana-Zagreb

    • München-Vinkovci (Croatia)

    • München-Prague

    • Strasbourg-Mannheim-Nuremberg-Prague

    For travel dates and frequencies of IC Buses please check

  • Can I use my German Rail Pass to travel on the Thalys train? 

    No, the German Rail Pass gives you access to German ICE trains only. The Thalys international high-speed train is French-owned.

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