Getting around in Germany

This item appears on page 15 of the June 2011 issue.

I have lived and worked in Germany for the last 28 years and have become a seasoned European traveler.

You can get around easily in Germany via the train. It is very fast, timely and efficient. In the ’80s it used to take four hours to get to Paris from the outskirts of Germany, but now, on the ICE (bullet train), it takes a mere 1¾ hours. There are still regional trains with several stops, but the ICE trains make fewer stops.

At, you can plug in your departure and destination cities and find out how long the trip takes plus the cost and whether or not you have to change trains. You can even find which track numbers you come in on and leave on.

You can purchase and print the ticket online. Aboard the train, you have to have a credit card in the same name you used to purchase the ticket.

For inexpensive air service, consider Ryanair. I can fly from Stansted Airport (40 miles from London) to the Frankfurt-Hahn airport in Germany for about €45 (plus €5 administrative fee and €15 per checked bag for tickets bought online or €35 per bag for tickets purchased via phone or at the airport).

When putting in your destination on the website, make sure to put “Frankfurt-Hahn,” NOT “Frankfurt-Main.” In west-central Germany, Hahn is in the Rheinland Pfalz state and about one hour from the French border.

Ryanair has destinations all over Europe, and there are bus shuttles between Hahn and many destinations in Germany (see their website for details).

I don’t remember how much it cost to take a bus from Stansted Airport directly to London’s Oxford train station, which is a central location for going anywhere. It was a modest fee, much cheaper than a taxi.

Happy traveling!