Travelling on a German Intercity train
At a glance
- Regional train
Usually abbreviated as IC, German Intercity trains are fast, long-distance services between major cities within Germany. Although IC trains reach speeds of up to 200km/h and are quicker than regional trains, ICs are generally not as sleek as the newer ICE trains.
German IC trains provide many invaluable domestic services between popular cities such as Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Cologne. There are also a few, but not many, Intercity trains that cross borders, such as the IC services from Berlin to Amsterdam and Munich to Salzburg.
German IC trains are operated by Deutsche Bahn and can either be single or double-decker, the latter running on routes between Hanover-Leipzig and Cologne-Dresden.
Before you board
There are no specific pre-boarding requirements for German Intercity trains.
German Intercity trains tend to be air conditioned and perfectly comfortable. German IC trains provide power sockets in both classes of service and there is plenty of room for luggage.
Some, though not all, German Intercity trains are equipped with wifi.
Trolley services are available onboard most German Intercity trains, and many provide a bistro car as well, offering cold and hot snacks, soft and alcoholic drinks.
A small number of IC routes within Germany have a full restaurant service. Expect hearty staples (such as meat dishes with rich sauces) and a good range of lighter fare with soups, salads and pasta dishes.
You can take bicycles onboard most German Intercity trains, but bike spaces need to be booked in advance by phone. Read more about taking your bikes on trains in our Help article.
Booking and printing options
German Intercity tickets are usually open for bookings 180 days in advance.
Seat reservation is not compulsory on German Intercity trains, although if travelling at a busy time, reserving a seat is advisable.
Get the lowest prices on German Intercity trains by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.
Opt for off-peak German Intercity trains when you have to travel at short notice. Off-peak trains are more affordable than ones that run mornings and evenings, Fridays and Sundays or during popular holidays.
Classes of service
German Intercity trains provide two classes of service: Standard Class and First Class.
German Intercity First Class
In open-plan carriages, seating in First Class is more spacious with three seats across the central aisle rather than four. Seating in compartments is also common. There are more power sockets available in First Class than in Standard Class.
German Intercity Standard Class
Seating in Standard Class on German Intercity trains is often in open-plan carriages with airline-style seats in pairs across a central aisle or – on some retro trains – in six-seat compartments. Yet retro does not mean uncomfortable and there is usually good luggage space. Power sockets are available on most trains, but not at every seat.