I was caught in a circus show, where the bus driver was the director, whipping the audience into place, making them jump through hoops in order to be seated on a tiny pedestal. The hoops were the baggage regulations and the mood was rather sour.
Germans can be quite strict and that includes bus travel through Germany. So before you pay too much or get lost with the different options, here are my personal, tried and tested tips for scoring Germany bus tickets the cheap and easy way.
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Which Bus Services in Germany to Book at
If you want to travel with Germany via bus, you basically have just two options.
The market leader among German bus lines is FlixBus. You cannot miss it, it’s bright green and flits all over the country. I even spotted the buses of this German bus company when I travelled by bus through Croatia.
They’ve expanded quite a bit. Alternatively, you can book your German bus with Eurolines Germany. FlixBus is usually cheaper. However, both bus companies and you can buy tickets on- and offline.
When travelling within Germany, you basically just have 2 options: FlixBus and Eurolines. – Tweet this
The good thing is that bus travel in Germany is quite affordable. You can ride an intercity bus for as little as 5€ (if you’re lucky) and it is way cheaper than taking a train in Germany. As with German train travel, the sooner you book in advance, the cheaper it gets. Though sometimes you only save 2€. Still, that’s an ice cream – or a bottle of water if you want to buy one on board.
Price examples: Hamburg to Berlin bus 9,90-22,90€ | Munich to Berlin bus 22-45€
How to Get Bus Tickets for Europe
You can even book international bus trips through Europe or a coach to Germany with these German bus lines in addition to spicing up your Germany itinerary.
A popular one is the Frankfurt to Prague bus by Flixbus for around 27,90 to 39,90€. Generally speaking the main cheap bus Germany lines also serve bus travel in Europe.
Bus Baggage Can be an Issue
Generally in Germany coach travel travel is not that complicated. You buy a ticket, you show the driver your receipt, you get on the bus.
I am not sure of the traffic controls got worse, the drivers grumpier or the customers more complainier (is that a word?), but the luggage situation on German buses seemed to become quite the hot topic.
Before you board you need to hand over your luggage and can keep hold of a small day bag or purse. Just one item is allowed on board – even if you just carry your jacket in a shoulder bag.
When you book your ticket, you have to agree to the terms and conditions, which is where the regulations are stated. So have no excuse even if you play ignorant or really didn’t read up on the baggage restrictions. If a road control sees your luggage on the floor, you’ll be fined 27€.
Generally your [FlixBus] ticket includes the free transportation of:
- One item of hand baggage (max. 42 x 30 x 18 cm, max. 7kg)
- 2 items of baggage (max. 67 x 50 x 27 cm, max. combined weight 30kg)
You can take one or two medium sized suitcase or rucksacks with you [on Eurolines buses] and these will be stored securely in the hold. They should be no more than 70(h) x 30 (w) x 45cm (d). Luggage allowances may vary by service and you should check individual timetables for full details. You are also allowed one small piece of hand luggage which you can carry onboard. This should fit in the over head rack or under your seat.
Changing or Cancelling Your German Bus Travels
One thing I really love is how easy it is to change or cancel bookings with FlixBus. Up until 15 minutes before the bus ride, you can change or cancel.
For both, there will be an administration fee of only 1€. When you cancel, the price you paid will be credited to your account and used when you book next.
If you cancel or change your booking in person at a FlixBus counter, there will be an additional fee of 2€. Since FlixBus usually has working wifi (though often slow), try doing it online first if you have the time and patience.
Alternatives to bus travel in Germany are Blabla Car (arranged lifts with strangers via an online platform), train travel or hitchhiking (it is not that common anymore).
What You Should Know about the Buses in Germany
German buses are quite clean, have a toilet and small compartments above the seats.
Seats aren’t allocated, so you need to be fast if you want your dream seat. With FlixBus, tickets can be printed or shown digitally on your phone. The bar code is what needs to be clearly scannable. There is even an app from which you can manage your bookings easily.
All buses are commonly equipped with wifi. It should be noted, however, that it is not the fastest and its frequency depends on your current location. If you cross borders, such as on your way to Prague, it can stop working.
At times, you can even access a small entertainment selection when you’re logged in. At the moment, you only accept the terms and conditions and don’t have to provide your name and email address. Note, however, that it changes constantly.
Public Transport in Germany
While cheap bus tickets in Germany vary depending on your booking time, prices for local public transport in Germany are set. However, there are vast differences between cities and regions.
For example, a bus ticket from Berlin’s airports to the city centre (A, B, C zones) costs around 3,40€ while a three zone ticket in Munich costs 87,0€. In the East, there are a lot of trams while in the West, underground connections can be available in bigger cities, like Bochum.
German bus networks can be found everywhere. Transportation in Germany is really well connected though German train travel would make you doubt that at times.
You can take a look at the bus timetables and live times online for the respective regional bus and tram networks. If you forget to check or don’t have wifi, there are always timetables or electronic signs at every local bus stop.
Always make sure to get a local ticket before you board a bus or tram as there aren’t always ticket machines on board. You cannot buy them from the driver. There are regular checks and if you are caught without a ticket, you have to pay 50€ and might get a note in your criminal record if you are caught multiple times.
If you cannot find a local ticket machine or it is broken, you can also ask at nearby kiosks or the local public transport service centre. There usually are regular tickets, sometimes short distance tickets (1-3 stops), one or multiple day tickets, reduced price (seniors and kids) as well as family/group tickets available.
Usually tickets are valid for 1 hour but don’t allow switching directions. Double check if your ticket is valid on both buses and trams.
Bus Tours in Germany
If you rather explore Germany hassle free, with a guide and fellow travellers, then why not try Tourradar with their Best Tours of Europe tour program?
This way, you get around, have accommodation, meals and activities sorted. I personally love tours even though and especially since I travel solo most of the time.
It’s the perfect way to connect with fellow travellers and make memories together. Getting around Germany by bus is easy but tours certainly are a fun alternative.
Have you looked for cheap bus tickets in Germany before? What were your experiences?
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Header and pin image: FlixBus