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Intercity buses in Germany

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Intercity buses in Germany

Intercity Bus Banner.jpg

Understand

One of the first things that come to mind when discussing travel in Europe is the inexpensive and plentiful options to get around. From myriad of rail options including the famous EUrail pass to a host of budget airlines offering rock bottom fares, once you are in Europe, getting from one place to another is a breeze.

An often overlooked option is the intercity buses, many cities across the continent can reached by a quick trip on these giants of the highway. In 2012, Germany liberated the market for long distance buses after the "Passenger Transportation Act" (PBefG) was amended. A law, which was designed to protect the national railway, had previously restricted long distance buses mostly to services from and to Berlin.

Since the law was repealed, lots of new bus services have been created and are fighting for their share of the market. This often means great deals for travelers, even though the pricing can be somewhat confusing at times.

Map of Germany

Carriers

With a ton of competition springing up seemingly overnight in Germany, the market is still very volatile. The prices are very affordable mostly due to the fierce competition among the different companies and with the other modes of transport. The prices are lower than most train tickets, because of the excise tax that trains have to pay for the use of the tracks. This is opposed to the technically "free" use of the roads and highways that the bus carriers operate on. Here are some of the more popular carriers both domestically and internationally:

Domestic

  • FliXBUS Connects most towns and cities in Germany, in addition to providing international services, 2015 merged with MeinFernbus
  • MeinFernbus Those green-orange coaches which connect large cities and remote areas like Jever/Schortens/Wittmund (NW Germany), as well as holiday areas abroad (eg Merano in South Tyrol)
Berlin Linien Bus
  • BerlinLinienBus operates coach services to over 300 destinations within Germany plus several international destinations in over 10 countries. Routes include Cologne–Berlin (via Essen, Dortmund and Hannover), Berlin–Hamburg, Munich–Hamburg and Frankfurt–Berlin. The most frequent routes are those to and from Berlin.
  • Onebus.de Privately held company operating two routes across Germany
  • Postbus Only domestic routes and is run by the German Post service. Flixbus acquired the company in 2016 and the last buses will run under the Postbus name on October 31st 2016.

International

  • EuroLines / Touring Before 2013 this company already offered serious long haul connections (eg to England, Spain or Ukraine...). Now they also offer domestic bus routes.
  • DeinBus Have a national network although it offers more extensive services in southern and western Germany. Dein Bus also operate international services to Maastricht (from Cologne and Aachen) and to Prague and Pilsen (from Munich). Fares start at €5 and coaches feature free Wi-Fi.
  • Sindbad A Polish bus company serving several destinations in Germany as well as other countries in Europe.
  • Ecolines Mostly a eastern European focused provider that services international destinations.
  • Hello Provides stops in southern Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.
  • Flico Operate primarily as a shuttle bus serving budget airports in Belgium and Germany and they operate from Frankfurt to Metz with stops en route at Hahn Airport and Luxembourg. From Luxembourg it is possible to transfer to coaches to destinations in Belgium, France and Portugal.

Tickets

Because of the intense competition with multiple carriers running many of the same routes, ticket prices are often volatile. Apart from the above mentioned companies official websites, you can also find prices on many comparison website such as: busliniensuche.de or busticket.de. They can help you price out the best possible connections and routes, in addition to the lowest fares, to get you where you want to go.

ZOB - München - Bus Hub