Fastest journey8hr 6m
It is very easy to travel by train from Paris to Berlin. Daytime journeys between the two capitals always require a change of train. That change is most commonly in Mannheim or Karlsruhe, but since July 2016 the fastest route has been via Frankfurt-am-Main – and that’s the journey we describe here.
The opening of new high-speed sections of line (one in eastern France and the other in eastern Germany) brought big improvements to this route. The first leg of the journey, that from Paris to Germany may be on either a German ICE or a French TGV train. The onward journey to Berlin on the second leg of the journey will always be on a German ICE.
Bookings for your train journey from Paris to Berlin normally open three months prior to travel. This is a route where it is really worth booking early if you are keen to secure a cheap fare.
There are alternative routes from Paris to Berlin. Three times each week there is a Russian overnight train on which Loco2 is sometimes able to book sleeping berths. There is also an alternative daytime route via Cologne. For that you’ll need to book one ticket from Paris to Cologne and then a second ticket from Cologne to Berlin, leaving at least one hour for the change in Cologne.
Paris to Frankfurt am Main
There are six direct high-speed trains each weekday (five on weekend days) from Paris to Frankfurt-am-Main. The route is served by both French TGVs and German ICE trains. Both offer comparable levels of comfort. The fastest services run via Strasbourg, while others – only slightly slower – are routed via Saarbrücken. The journey time between the two cities is under four hours. Trains to Frankfurt leave from the Gare de l’Est in Paris. In Frankfurt they terminate at the city's Hauptbahnhof.
Frankfurt am Main to Berlin
In December 2015, Deutsche Bahn introduced its fastest-ever timing on the route from Frankfurt-am-Main via Erfurt to the German capital. A small number of trains now speed between the two cities in under four hours, making just two stops along the way (at Erfurt and Halle).
Every day, up to 20 trains link the two cities, almost all of them top-of-the-range ICEs; most will take about 4 hrs 30 mins for the journey. Some Frankfurt to Berlin trains still travel via Göttingen and Wolfsburg, while others take the new high-speed line via Erfurt and Halle. The latter is much the prettier of the two, as it crosses the hill country of Thuringia.
Fast trains to Berlin all leave from Frankfurt-am-Main Hauptbahnhof. In Berlin, they all serve Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Those services which run via Erfurt also stop at Berlin Südkreuz. The trains which route through Göttingen and Wolfsburg also stop in Spandau in the western suburbs of the city.
Other popular journeys on Loco2
Image credits: © Michal Bednarek