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Which foreign countries can you visit with Germany’s €9 ticket?

A number of Germany's regional trains and buses travel across the border to places like Switzerland and the Netherlands. We look at how you can use the €9 ticket to get there.

Salzburg, Austria
The beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg, which y. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Österreich Werbung | G.Breitegger

Germany shares a border with eight hugely diverse European countries, from Denmark in the far north to Austria and Switzerland in the south.

With so many cities and towns lying close to these land borders, it’s not unusual to see people commuting across them each day to go to work or even just to the shops. To cater to this crowd (and the summer holidaymakers), there are numerous cross-border trains and bus services that run between Germany and its neighbouring countries. 

The question that’s been confusing many is whether Germany’s €9 monthly travel ticket will be valid on these services after they cross the border into a different country. After all, the ticket is only meant to be valid on regional and local services, rather than long distance trains. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

Incredibly enough, it is possible to visit some foreign countries using the bargain travel deal – and you can make it to some surprising destinations.

Here are the places you can visit using Germany’s €9 ticket this summer.

Austria

Reutte, Austria

The mountain rope-bridge in the Tirolian region of Reutte. Photo: picture alliance / dpa-tmn | Marktgemeinde Reutte

The charming mountains and lakes of Austria are just a stone’s throw from Bavaria, and it takes hardly any time at all to reach them with the Bavarian Regional Rail (BRB).

If you’d like to visit one of Austria’s most beautiful cities this summer, you’ll be pleased to know that the €9 ticket is valid all the way from Freilassing to Salzburg, the picturesque birthplace of Mozart. For this route, you can either take a BRB train or an S3 train run by Austrian Rail (ÖBB). The popular Tirolian hiking regions of Vils, Reutte und Ehrwald can also be reached with the €9 ticket while travelling from Pfronton-Steinach to Griesen (near Garmisch-Patenkirchen). 

Here are the routes that the €9 ticket is valid for:

  • BRB: Freilassing – Salzburg
  • BRB: Kiefersfelden – Kufstein
  • ÖBB (S3): Freilassing – Salzburg
  • DB Regio AG: Pfronten-Steinach – Vils – Reutte (Tirol) – Ehrwald – Griesen

Belgium 

From Aachen in North Rhine-Westphalia, it doesn’t take long to hop across the border into Belgium to the small municipality of Kelmis. Kelmis isn’t all that interesting in itself (though it does have an old castle that’s worth a visit). But you’ll be well placed to travel on from there to Liege (in 45 minutes) or Brussels (in one hour and 45 minutes). Of course, you’ll have to buy a new ticket for this last stretch of the journey in Belgium.

  • ASEAG (23): Aachen Bus Station − Preusweg − Kelmis

READ ALSO: €9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany’s cheap travel deal

France

If you’d like to spend some time in France this summer, the Alsace Express and the Wine Route Express will both take you over the border from Rhineland-Palatinate to the pretty town of Wissembourg with the €9 ticket. Though the Alsace region is arguably the most ‘German’ part of France, it also represents a fascinating meeting place for the two countries’ cultures, histories and languages – and is certainly worth a visit at least once.

If you find yourself in Saarland, you can also reach a number of locations in France with the €9 ticket on the Saarbahn, including Carling, Creutzwald and Saargemünd.

  • Alsace Express: Mainz – Wissembourg
  • Wine Route/Weinstraßen-Express: Koblenz – Wissembourg
  • Saarbahn (S1): Saarbrücken – Saargemünd
  • Saarbahn (MS2): Saarloius – Creutzwald
  • Saarbahn (184): Bous – Carling

Luxembourg

Luxembourg City

Luxembourg City, the quaint capital of Luxembourg. Photo: picture alliance / dpa-tmn | Bernd F. Meier

For those in the Rhineland-Palatinate area, hopping across the border into beautiful Luxembourg is also covered by the €9 ticket. The good news is, public transport within Luxembourg is completely free – so once you’re across the border, you’ll be travelling for nothing anyway.

  • VRT Bus 410: Bitburg – Luxembourg
  • VRT Bus 455: Bitburg – Vianden
  • VRT Bus 460: Gerolstein – Clervaux
  • VRT trains to Luxembourg

The Netherlands

OK, it’s not exactly Amsterdam, but there are a number of little towns dotted along near the border with North Rhine-Westphalia that you can reach with the €9 ticket, including Vaals and Kerkrade. In most cases, you’ll need to rely on the Aachen Transport Association trains to get you there, though there are some buses running between Germany and the Netherlands too. 

  • ASEAG (25): Stolberg Mühlener Bahnhof – Vaals
  • ASEAG (33): Fuchserde − Vaals
  • ASEAG (34): Diepenbenden – Kerkrade
  • WestVerkehr Bus (SB3): Geilenkirchen – Sittard
  • Arriva Bus (350): Aachen – Vaals

READ ALSO: Nine of the best day trips from Frankfurt with the €9 ticket

Poland

Unfortunately the range of options to travel to with the €9 ticket in Poland are limited, but if you fancy a break on the Baltic coast, you can hop over from Usedom in Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania to Swinemünde in Poland at no extra charge. Unfortunately, to get to Szczecin, you’ll have to switch to a regular ticket after the last stop in Germany on the train.  

  • DB Regio AG: Züssow – Świnoujście Centrum (Swinemünde Zentrum)

Switzerland

Basel city centre

The picturesque Swiss city of Basel, which you can visit with the €9 ticket. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/KEYSTONE | Georgios Kefalas

The words ‘Switzerland’ and ‘cheap’ don’t normally go together, but if you’ve bought a €9 ticket, you can at least reach one or two destinations in Switzerland on a budget.

The first and most obvious of these is Basel, a charming medieval city nestled close to the borders of both France and Germany. Basel is a popular place to visit for a short city break and is also not far from the Euro Airport, which due to its location serves three different cities in three different countries. You can reach Basel with the €9 ticket on both Swiss and German-run services, as well as some more rural Swiss destinations along the train route from Erzingen to Biesingen in Baden-Württemberg. 

  • SBB: Zell im Wiesenthal – Lörrach – Basel Bad. Bf
  • DB Regio AG: Weil am Rhein – Basel Bad. Bf
  • DB Regio AG: Erzingen (Baden) – Trasadingen – Schaffhausen – Thayngen – Bietingen

READ ALSO: Nine of the best day trips from Munich with the €9 ticket

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TRAVEL NEWS

Could drivers in Germany fund a future €9 ticket scheme?

Germany's much-talked about €9 ticket offer ends later this month. But a think tank has suggested that a toll system for drivers could provide funding to subsidise public transport, as well as to upgrade the roads network.

Could drivers in Germany fund a future €9 ticket scheme?

It is the main sticking point for reduced price travel continuing in Germany after the €9 ticket expires at the end of August – where would the money come from?

Now a group of experts have a proposal on how it could be funded in the future – and it involves car drivers. 

In a study, the think tank Centrum für Europäische Politik (CEP) presented a concept for a general car toll, the revenue from which could be used to finance the costs of a permanent €9 ticket for local transport.

In the paper, which was made available to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, the authors propose a route-dependent toll system throughout Germany – i.e. not only on Autobahns or country roads, but on all roads. This could be made possible by a satellite-based recording of the kilometres driven.

Furthermore, there would be differences in the prices per kilometre depending on the vehicle class, in order to reflect the different loads on the infrastructure caused by the weight and exhaust emissions of the vehicles.

READ ALSO:

The CEP calculated a surcharge of 6.9 cents per kilometre, however, there is currently an upper limit of four cents in Europe. The researchers suggest standardising the different toll systems that are used in European countries.

According to the study, revenue from the toll, amounting to around €12 billion, could initially be used to cover maintenance costs and to reduce the investment backlog in road transport. In this way, the acceptance of the levy among motorists could also be increased, the experts said.

However, the indirect consequential costs of car traffic, such as exhaust fumes and noise, should also be compensated. The report authors said the funds could therefore also used to expand public transport or to finance a permanent €9 ticket. 

The ticket, which is valid in all public transport networks in Germany – including on regional trains – currently costs around €2.5 billion for three months.

The suggestion comes after an attempt to introduce a car toll in Germany that only foreign drivers would have paid because German drivers were to be reimbursed failed under the previous federal government. The European Court of Justice rejected it as discrimination against foreign drivers. 

Tax excess profits of companies 

Meanwhile, Social Democrat leader Lars Klingbeil has said a follow-up ticket to the €9 offer could be funded by an ‘excess profits tax’.

“We have just seen that the €9 ticket makes sense, that it is accepted, that the citizens also want the extension,” Klingbeil told the radio station NDR Info.

With the excess profits tax, he said, the financing of a successor model could also be pushed forward.

The excess profits tax is intended for companies that profit from the energy crisis without making any contribution of their own. In Britain, for example, oil and gas companies have to pay a temporary 25 per cent tax on their extra profits. In Germany’s traffic light coalition, the Greens are also in favour of a supplementary tax, while the pro-business FDP rejects it.

FDP leader and Finance Minister Christian Lindner has repeatedly rejected an immediate follow-up to the €9 ticket, blaming finance woes.

At the weekend Lindner slammed the “freebie mentality” surrounding the ticket, and said continuing it with funding from the government wouldn’t be fair anyway. 

“People in the countryside who don’t have a train station nearby and depend on the car would subsidise cheap local transport,” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair,”

READ ALSO:

Vocabulary

Car toll – (die) Pkw-Maut

Local transport – (der) Nahverkehr

Revenue – (die) Einnahmen

Freebie mentality – (die) Gratismentalität

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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