How To Save BIG on Trains with the Bayern Ticket

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One of my favorite ways to get around Germany is by train. It is easy, pretty straightforward, almost always exactly on time (you know those Germans, even a minute late is a minute too late!) and gets you to even small, remote villages and towns quite easily.

Seeing Bavaria by train is especially nice if you don’t want to drive on the Autobahn or learn some of the basic German driving rules or if you are just someone who enjoys sitting back and enjoying the scenery as opposed to being stuck in Staus (traffic jams).

But there are several passes and tickets that are game-changers for train travel in Germany. Living in Bavaria myself, I’m obviously pretty partial to the fantastic money-saving Deutsche Bahn Bayern Ticket,

How to Use the Bayern Train TIcket

^Planning Your Trip(s) in Bavaria? Pin This Massive Deutsche Bahn Bayern Train Pass Guide To Reference Later!^

What is The Bavaria Train Ticket and Why is it so valuable?

The Deutsche Bahn Bayern Pass is the regional day ticket for Bavaria.

Ok. Doesn’t sound that appealing yet, right? Let’s dig in.

  • It is a day pass that is good from 9am-3am the following morning. If it is the weekend or a public holiday, then you can start using the Bayern ticket at any time in the morning.
  • Can be used on almost all public transportation (yup, regional trains*, S-Bahns, U-Bahns, trams, buses).
  • It gives UNLIMITED travel on most public transportation systems.* (Yup, that includes regional trains*, S-Bahns, U-Bahns, trams, buses). There are a few nuances to this, but I’ll cover those in detail as you continue reading. Don’t worry, they aren’t deal breakers and are pretty easy to understand once you know them.
  • You can have up to 5 people on one Bayern Pass! (Ahem, big money saver!)

What Does the Bayern Ticket Cost?

As of the current writing, the Bayern Pass starts at 25 Euro for one person for unlimited day use. You then add 7 Euro per person for up to a total of 5 passengers per ticket. So, if you use the max number of people (5) then it is only 53 Euro for 5 people for the whole day for all public transportation!

There is also a Bayern Night Ticket. It has the same concept, just different times and slightly different prices, so I’ll cover that more below.

bayern ticket cost 2020

Price Saving Comparison

Let’s take a look at the savings in a little more detail. Let’s look at two scenarios.

  1. Let’s say you are a small family with two adults and two children wanting to go to Nuremburg from Munich
  2. You and a friend, spouse, or partner are backpacking Europe.  You want to go from Munich to the Neuschwanstein Castle by train

Scenario One: Small Family

When typing in the search criteria to get to Nuremberg, on Bahn.com, most of the results are showing €102!!! WHAT!?

Instead, if you have two adults and two children (over 5) then it would just be €46 with the Bayern Ticker from Munich to Nuremberg! For €56 Euro, that would get you boat loads of famous Nuremberg Lebkuchen (gingerbread)!!!

Note: If your kids are under 5, they do not count towards the number of passengers, so in this scenario, if you have kids under 5, the two adults would only be €32 for the Bayern Ticket.

munich to nuremberg train bayern ticket vs bayern ticket ice train

Scenario Two: 2 Adults going to Neuschwanstein

If you go straight to Bahn.com and input 2 adults from Munich to Fussen, it shows that it costs 56 Euro for both.  Versus the 32 Euro it would cost if you just bought the Bayern Ticket.  €24 saved!!! Think of all the German pretzels you could buy with €24!!!

munich to fussen train bayern ticket

Where Does It Go

Anywhere in Bavaria.

Like….ANYWHERE!

Don’t over-complicate this. Just take a look at a map, and if where you are wanting to go is in Bavaria (Bayern) then you can use the pass for that destination and within that destination on things like public buses.

So, for example, get to and around popular places like Munich, Regensburg, Rothenburg Am Tauber, Garmisch (and the tallest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitz), and even Salzburg. No, you don’t need to pull out a map, you are correct, Salzburg is not in Bavaria. Shoot, it’s not even in Germany, but it IS included on the Bayern Pass, sooooo score!

Specifics and Logistics



Click Here to View The Bayern Ticket

Alright, so notice I keep saying things like “The Bayern Ticket is good for MOST* public transportation systems in Bavaria”?

Those pesky little asterisks often scare people away from the ticket because they are nervous they are going to do something wrong or are missing a really important piece to the puzzle. But don’t worry, it’s actually still pretty straight forward.

Follow these rules and you are good to go.

The Bayern Pass is only good on regional trains.

The Bayern Ticket train type IS important!

This means no long travel trains or inter-country trains. For example, the high speed ICE trains will not work with the Bayern Pass. How do I know this? In my beginning days, I hopped on the IC train from Nurenburg to Regensburg because it was the exact same route as the regional train route. It even had the same stops! When I handed over my ticket, I got scolded and ended up having to pay the expensive IC train ticket price (on top of my already purchased Bayern Pass!) OOF!

Not sure how to tell the difference between a regional and not regional train? Watch this

 

Check For Validity Times

Weekdays.

As noted earlier, if you are traveling during the week, you’ll want to watch your times. The Bayern Pass is not valid before 9 am on weekdays. Ask me how I know about this rule 😉 (Hint: I was on my way to the airport at 8:30am)

If you are needing a head start on your day and needing to leave before 9 am, you can always check the price for a ticket that gets you to 9 am. So, even if it is not your destination, see where the train should be around 9 am and buy a ticket for that location, and then at 9 am your Bayern Pass will take over. Often times, if it is not too far away, it won’t cost too much.

The ticket is then good until 3 am the following morning, so yes, it should even get you back from those late night beer hall experiences.

Weekends

If you are traveling on the weekends, you don’t have to worry about the pass starting at 9 am.  It is good for any time and lasts until 3 am the following morning. 

Traveling With Children

This is where it does get a bit tricky. On a typical train ticket, children up to 14 travel free with a paid adult ticket. However, on the Bayern Pass, they are only free until the age of 5. If your child is over 5 then they will count against your 5 person max total. For example, if you have two adults and four children, ages 6, and 8, 9, and 11 then you are at 6 people. This means you will need to purchase 1 Bayern pass and then one individual train ticket to cover everyone.

Maximum of Two Adults from One Family (when traveling with families)

This one always has seemed a bit odd to me because 5 adults can travel as a group on the Bayern Pass. However, let’s say you are with some friends doing some Bavaria Day Trips. Technically, if I am traveling with my

Children 5 years old and younger travel for free but other children count as a person (usually children up to 14 can travel for free with an adult on standard Deutsche Bahn railway tickets). Parents and grandparents (maximum two adults per Bayern Ticket) may take all their own children under 14 years, or own grandchildren, even if the number of travelers then exceed five persons.

Thus two mothers traveling with two children each will require two Bayern Ticket Single tickets, while a two-passenger Bayern Ticket would have been sufficient if all four children were from the same family. Similarly, if a family consists of two parents and four children, a second Bayern Ticket will be required if any of the children is 15 years or older

What is Not Covered on the Bayern Pass

Inter City/ Inter City Express/ Etc

While trains like the ICE train is a public transportation option, again, only regional trains are covered on the Bavaria Train Pass

If you see trains like ICE, IC, ……. these are excluded.

If you see trains that say things like RE, Alex……..these are included as they are regional.

Private Transportation

There are some buses, shuttles, etc that are privately owned. For example, if you have read my Ultimate Neuschwanstein Guide, you’ll know that the bus that takes you up the castle is not a public bus, therefore your Bayern Pass is not good for that journey.

Bayern Night Ticket

The Bavaria Night Train Ticket follows pretty much the same rules as the normal Bayern Train Ticket. The only differences are times and prices.

The Night Ticket starts at 23 Euro for one traveler. Add 4 Euro per each additional traveler. Again, you can have up to 5 people per ticket like the Day Pass.

Valid Times for the Bavaria Night Train Ticket

You can use the night pass from 6 pm until 6 am the following morning. If it is the weekend or a public holiday, you can use the ticket until 7 am the following day.

Where and How To Buy A Bayern Pass

You can not buy the Bayern Pass on the trains themselves. Therefore, you have 4 main ways to purchase your tickets.

Bavaria Regional Online Ticket/ Desktop

Buy The Bayern Ticket Online

Start at Bahn.com to begin

    Active Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 5 minutes

    Instructions

    1. 1. Go to Bahn.com
    2. 2 .Change to "English" if you need
    3. 3. Click "Offers" > " Regional Offers"
    4. 4. Click "Regional Day Tickets for Bavaria"
    5. 5. Click "Book Your Tickets Now"
    6. 6. Input your information and passengers

    Notes

    If instead of going straight to the Regional Offers and you are just looking for train times using the Destination and Origin search, be sure you have de-selected "Fastest Route" and instead checked "Local Transport Only" to show trains that will only be good for the Bayern Pass.

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    Click Here To Purchase the Bayern Pass Online

    On the DB App

    How To Buy the Bayern Ticket On Mobile

    Use this method to buy the Bayern Ticket straight on your phone

    Active Time 3 minutes
    Total Time 3 minutes

    Instructions

    1. Download the "DB Navigator" App to your smartphone
    2. Click the Three Lines in the top Left Corner next to "Trip Planner"
    3. Click "Regional Offers"
    4. Click the Red "Regional Offers" button again
    5. Select "Bayern-Ticket" and "Search"
    6. Select the Day or Night Ticket, input the day of travel
    7. Put in how many travelers and the required information for each
    8. Click "Book Ticket"

    At A Ticket Machine

    Most main train stations will have a ticket machine. However, the reason I don’t like to rely solely on this method is because once in a blue moon the machine will not be working. Getting on the train anyway and explaining this to the conductor won’t work. Want to guess how I know this???
    Granted, if you don’t have data/ a smartphone or access to a computer to get a ticket online/printer, you are usually ok with just buying it at the kiosk on the platform, especially at bigger, more touristy train stations. 

    From A Ticket Office

    At bigger train stations, there might be an actual Deutsche Bahn office. However, they will charge an extra 2 Euro to book your ticket. Not a huge deal if you just want someone else to take care of it, but it is simple enough to do on your own. And hey, 2 Euro can buy you a beer for that train ride! That’s money worth saving!

    Other Things To Know For the DB Bayern Ticket

    bavaria pass train

    Designate The Passengers When Purchasing

    When you buy your ticket, if you are getting it online, you will have to enter all of the passengers traveling on that ticket.
    If you bought the ticket at the kiosk then you will need to write in the names of all passengers.

    Keep Your Ticket

    If you purchased your ticket online, you will receive a confirmation with a QR Code which will be used to verify your ticket with the conductor.
    Sometimes, they ask for the credit card used to book the ticket and/or an ID, so have those handy if needed.
    Since this ticket is good for the whole day, be sure to keep it nearby so that you can use it on buses, trams, etc throughout your day of exploring.

    It Can Go To Salzburg!

    If you missed that info from above, yes, it is true! The Bayern Ticket can get you to Salzburg, even though it is in Austria! However, unlike being able to use public buses, subways, etc within Bavaria, this route will only get you TO Salzburg, not within and around the city. Once in Salzburg, you will need to purchase a local transportation ticket for Salzburg’s buses.

    Consider The Local City’s Transportations Instead of the Bayern Ticket

    If you are going short distances, you might be better off actually not using the Bayern Pass. For example, in the small village I used to live in (about an hour away from Nuremberg) instead of using the Bayern Pass, it was actually cheaper to use Nuremberg’s VGN local ticket, which zoned out to where I lived. However, for most tourists, you’ll probably be going far enough that the Bayern Ticket will still be best. 

    It is Good For the Zahradbahn to the Zugspitze

    A little known secret is that the Bayern Pass is actually good to get you up to the Zugspitze in Garmisch!

    FAQ About the DB Bayern Pass

    bavaria train

    How Do I Know If the Bayern Pass is the Best Priced Option

    Good Question! As stated earlier, there is a rare occurrence if you are traveling a short distance within Bavaria that you might be better off with a local day pass or if you are just a single traveler. However, for most travelers, especially ones that plan on using public transportation all day, it is still often the best choice.

    If you want to double check, just simply go to the website or App and plug in both options (remember to choose “Regional Trains Only!” Don’t forget to take into account single tickets for things like local U-Bahn or bus tickets if you plan on using those as well as they can up quickly (granted, most city day passes also include those as well)

    Does the Bayern Pass Cover Buses, Ubahns and Sbahns?

    Yes! The Bayern Ticket covers almost all public transportation within Bavaria. There are a few buses not included, which you can find here

    What’s the difference between first and second class?

    You might have seen charts or prices for the Bayern Pass that includes a first class ticket vs a 2nd class ticket.

    Remember, you will be traveling on regional trains only. That means that there is almost no difference between first and 2nd class. There are no special services or amenities.
    The only possible perk to having a first class ticket is that there is rarely anybody ever sitting in these spots, so you will probably be guaranteed a seat. With that being said, I have used the Bayern ticket countless times and can’t even count on one hand the times that I haven’t been able to find a seat. It is a rare, rare occurrence.
    My honest opinion? Don’t even bother with first class.

    Do I need to buy in advance (online)?

    You can buy your Bayern Train Ticket at most major train stations at the kiosk at the time of your train travel. However, I prefer to buy online or on the App, just in case for some strange reason the kiosk isn’t working.

    Other than that though, you do not need to purchase in advance. There is not a limited number of Bayern tickets, so you can just purchase the day of and be good to go. (Remember, the ticket is only good for the day selected, therefore if you did purchase the ticket in advance and your plans changed, you can not change the ticket.)

    Can I Use the Pass to Travel on the Weekends?

    Yes, absolutely! In fact, on the weekends, you are not limited to the 9am start time as you are on the weekdays. Therefore, you could buy a Bayern Pass and take a train at, for example, 6am and use the Bavaria trains and public transportation until 3am the following morning.

    Do I Need To Specify Destinations for the Bayern Pass

    No. The pass is good for all regional trains in Bavaria. Yes, all. Therefore, you can use as many regional trains within Bavaria within your day as you like without needing to specify locations. You will need to specify the names of passengers though.

    Do I need to or can I reserve seats?

    No. You can not reserve seats on regional trains, but really you don’t need to either. The only times I have struggled to find a seat was when returning home from Oktoberfest and on a rare occurrence that I hit a train right at a major commuting time in a bigger city. However, in either of these situations, it typically clears out enough within a few stops to find a seat with no problem.

    Are There Bathrooms on DB Regional Trains

    On almost all of the regional trains you’ll find a bathroom. Most are even surprisingly clean!

    Can I bring food? Is there food to buy on the trains?

    On almost all of the longer regional trains (like the ones specified as RE) you will almost always find a drink and snack server. He or she is usually quite exuberant and will double, triple check that you really don’t want a beer, coffee, or other drink to sip on. Occasionally, they will have light snacks like chips.

    Rarely will there be an actual food car though.

    Alternatively, you are more than welcome to bring along your own food and drinks.
    Tip: At almost all the main train stations, find a Backerei and get a delicious sandwich (I love the salami baguettes) and some pretzels. Grab a few local beers while you are there as well (yes, alcohol is allowed on the train).

    I understand that the Bayern Ticket is only for Regional Trains, but what does that EXACTLY mean and how can I tell?

     

    This is probably one of the most confusing parts (in theory) for people who aren’t familiar with the Deutsche Bahn trains. For someone like me, who has traveled within Germany for years, I understand that this isn’t a big deal and is easy to decipher, but for first time travelers or users of the Deutsche Bahn system, I can totally understand wanting a clear, defined answer rather than “Most public transportation.”
    This is not an all inclusive list, but it will get you started. Here are some of the trains that you will not be able to use on the Bayern Pass

    • IC
    • EC
    • ICE
    • Nightjet

    Here are a few examples of regional trains that are included

    • Alex
    • RE

    When Finding Your Train, Select “Only Local Transport”
    Whether you are on a kiosk at the train station or online, when looking at the timetables, you can select “Only Local Transport” (Scroll above to see my detailed step by step instructions on this). It will then ONLY show trains that are acceptable for the Bayern Pass so that you know you are good to go.

    Will the Bayern Ticket Go To Frankfurt?

    No. Frankfurt is in the state of Hessen, not the state of Bavaria. In order to go from Bavaria, such as Munich, to Frankfurt, you will need to purchase a regular DB ticket, not a Bayern Pass.

    Do I need to Validate My Ticket?

    If you buy your ticket at a kiosk, it will have the date already printed on the ticket. Since the ticket has specific validity times already in place in the rules, this means that you do not need to validate the Bayern Pass. However, if you had to purchase a single ticket in addition to a Bayern Pass (for example, if you had too many people in your group) then don’t forget to validate THAT ticket!

    Instead of validating the ticket at a machine, you WILL need to make sure that all names of passengers are included on the ticket. If you printed this off at a kiosk, simply write/ sign all names. If you purchased online, be sure to include them when buying.

    Can I Change Passengers Throughout the Day?

    No. Just because the Bayern Pass is good for up to 5 people, this does not mean you can switch out passengers.
    Likewise, whatever number of travelers you started with is what you end with. For example, if you purchased your ticket in the morning for you and 2 friends to go to Oktoberfest in Munich and ran into your buddy there, he can’t bum off the ticket to get home with you unless you specified him at the onset.

    Are Kids Free on the Bavarian Train Ticket?

    Kids under 5 are free on the Bayern Pass. If there are more than 2 adults on one ticket, then children over 5 then continue to count as additional passengers.

    Can I Bring A Bike?

    Of course. However, this is actually a separate/additional train ticket. So, you will need to purchase yourself a Bayern Ticket and then an additional Fahrrad- Tages Karte Bayern ticket (Bavaria day bike ticket) which is only €5 and covers your bike in all of Bavaria.  This is just a check mark online when purchasing and it gets added onto your Bavaria Ticket.

    What are the hours of the Bayern Pass

    Weekdays: Valid Only After 9am and is good through 3am the following morning.
    Weekends and Public Holidays: Can start at any time (even before 9am) and is good through 3am the following morning.
    During weekdays, the Bayern Ticket is not valid between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. So you need to start your trip after 9:00 a.m. or buy a point-to-point ticket to the first station your train reaches after 9:00 a.m.

     

    PHEW! That was a lot of train information!!! While it may seem overwhelming, I promise, once you actually start the process, you’ll realize how simple it actually is and how much money it can save you.  So, where are you going first on the Bavaria Train Ticket??

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