Sustainable travel on wheels

Traveling by train has many advantages: it’s sustainable, offers beautiful views as you pass by, and lets you spend time with friends or family in a cozy compartment. In Germany, many sights can be found within a short distance of each other. The excellent local transport networks and the regional TouristCards ensure that you can reach your favorite destinations quickly, comfortably, affordably, and sustainably. There are many wonderful train routes in Germany; here are three spectacular ones. 

Through Northern Germany by Train  

The train journey from Hamburg to Sylt offers a picturesque route through the German countryside. Departing from Hamburg Central Station, the train travels north through charming towns and lush green landscapes. As the train nears its destination, passengers are treated to breathtaking views of the North Sea and the iconic Hindenburg Dam causeway connecting the mainland and Sylt Island. It takes less than two hours to get from Hamburg to the coastal town of Husum and from there on to Sylt. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the port facilities of Brunsbüttel on the North Sea. The journey provides a delightful blend of relaxation and scenic beauty, making it a popular choice for travelers seeking a tranquil escape.

Cross from the mainland to Sylt over the the Hindenburgdamm.
Cross from the mainland to Sylt over the Hindenburgdamm. © Adobe Stock/thosti57

The Brocken Railway 

Enjoy a scenic train ride through the Upper Harz Mountains via the Brocken Railway, which ascends the highest peak in Harz National Park. The panoramic views extend far into the foothills, creating a picturesque journey. As an “adhesion railway” without gears, it climbs to 1,125 meters with 700 horsepower, and boasts the highest station among German narrow-gauge railways. Departing from Drei Annen Hohne station in Wernigerode, Saxony-Anhalt, the journey to the summit takes approximately 50 minutes and offers a delightful experience in the heart of nature. In addition, adventurers can bike along narrow paths and rocky passageways down Brocken  Mountain, while animal enthusiasts can spot red deer, black woodpeckers, and wildcats during planned feeding sessions and viewings.

A railroad with a steam locomotive in the snow on a sunny day.
Harz: Harzquerbahn, a narrow-gauge railroad with a steam locomotive in the snow ©Adobe Stock/Peisker

The Höllentalbahn 

The Höllentalbahn runs between the Black Forest towns of Freiburg im Breisgau and Donaueschingen and is known as the steepest railway in Germany. Over a distance of twelve kilometers between Himmelreich and Hinterzarten, it climbs 400 meters in elevation. The remaining route is equally spectacular, passing through nine tunnels and over several bridges, including the 224-meter-long Ravenna Viaduct spanning the gorge of the same name. Along the way are stunning views of the Black Forest, expansive valleys, and Lake Titisee. The train takes 1.5  hours to cover the 76 kilometers of steep track. The route was long considered impassable for railway traffic and defied many attempts to build tracks. Efforts continued from 1845 to 1901 when the railway line finally opened. 

Cross through the forest over the Ravenna bridge in the Höllental Valley.
Cross through the forest over the Ravenna bridge in the Höllental Valley. © GNTB/Jens Wegener

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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