Getting to Germany
The majority of people from outside Germany arrive by plane. Feel free using the search tool at the end of this page to find suitable flights. You will also find information about train travel to/in Germany below as well as car park information (for those arriving by car).
Getting there by train
Traveling across Germany is most convenient by train and you will get to see the countryside. The train service is better than the Germans say it was. (They just love complaining about it.) In order to get information about train schedules as well as to buy tickets online, visit bahn.com.
Keep in mind that train tickets become available online 180 days prior to departure. Before that 180 days period you only get to see train schedule information on the website. If you buy a ticket online, make sure you print the ticket and bring the credit/debit card that you used for paying online. By the way: Train specific, cheaper tickets are more likely available the earlier you buy the ticket. Also good to know: A second class ticket will be perfectly fine and a seat reservation is usually not necessary.
When looking for ticket prices of trains that run more than 180 days ahead, simply change the date to an earlies day of the same weekday (just within the 180 days). You will get shown the regular fare for your preferred train connection. If it changes meanwhile, this will not be substantial.
If you plan to take the train, have in mind that not all long haul trains in Germany offer to take your bike. In general: Only a few of the ICE trains take bicycles. Other long haul trains, like the InterCity (IC) and the Eurostar do. In any event, check with your carrier before purchasing the tickets. On bahn.com you tick a box named 'Carriage of bicycle' before retrieving potential train connection.
Just a thought: If you take off the front wheel and have an old sheet wrapping around your bike, it is officially luggage allowed to be taken in an ICE. However, the train's service personnel may not like it and refuses the carriage, notably on connections that operate on a good capacity.
Regional trains in Germany on the other hand take bicycles. There is an official limit for each train/carriage. However, train attendants are usually rather relaxed when there are more bicycles on the carriage, unless the train is fully employed by non-cyclists. All they usually want to see is that people can move freely past the bicycles. Furthermore, some regional trains do not take bicycle during peak hours (usually commuter trains in big cities only).
A special ticket for your bicycle ('Fahrradkarte') is usually needed on regional trains. Unfortunately, rules and cost vary amongst the federal states. We recommend to either ask the staff at the station or to purchase a 'Fahrradkarte' on the vending machine (possibly unsubstantiated). Other cyclists may get on the train and see what happens. Explaining in a clear English that you didn't know only makes the train attendant charging you the regular cost of a bicycle ticket. Contrariwise, it is recommended purchasing your train ticket before entering the train.
Getting there by train (from the UK)
All connections between the UK and Germany use the Eurostar through the tunnel. You will change trains either in Paris or Brussels for connections (TGV or ICE trains) to Stuttgart, Ulm and Munich. We recommend the website of Deutsche Bahn for accurate information and special offers. Tickets for Eurostar and TGV are also available from Voyages Sncf, or your local travel agent [possibly recommended if taking your bicycle along].
Getting there by car
.. is possible, of course. There are even free car parks where you are able to leave your vehicle while you are cycling the Danube. They are often marked as 'P+R' parks ('park and ride').
Free long-term parking in Donaueschingen
The Donaueschingen tourist office provides a flyer for you to print out. On this flyer, parking spots h, k, a, b, c, d and i are available. Spot k is below a bridge. Parking spot m is for train travelers only. Don't use this car park. The information is available online as well (partly in German): www.donaueschingen.de/directions If you arrive by motorhome, park the vehicle here (cost unknown, possibly free).
Free long-term parking in Regensburg
Free for cars and motorhomes and situated in walking distance to the cycle path and the old town is the car park 'P+R Unterer Wöhrd'.
Long-term parking in Passau: See the Austrian Danube section.
When driving into certain German towns and cities with your vehicle, you have to have an 'emission sticker' on your front window (lower right corner). Depending on your vehicle's level of emission, it is either a red, yellow or green sticker. Most places that request such a sticker, require your car to have a green one (representing the lowest level of emission). Such cities are Ulm and Regensburg, but also Munich, Cologne, Heidelberg and so on (current list of places here). The fine for not having such a sticker is about €80. The cost of getting it is about €6 from any car dealer across the country. The car dealer will need to look at your car's documents. If, for whatever reason, you want to have the sticker before entering Germany, feel free to have the sticker mail-ordered from TÜV Süd.
Nearby international airports are (most western first):
- Stuttgart (60mi NW of Ulm, Code: STR)
- Friedrichshafen (60mi SE of Donaueschingen, Code: FDH)
- Memmingen (38mi S of Ulm, Code: FMM)
- Nuremberg (70mi NW of Regensburg, Code: NUE)
- Munich (Code: MUC)
- Salzburg (70mi S of Passau, Code: SZG)