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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

Majority of Germans in favour of ‘extending the €9 ticket’

The €9 ticket is set to expire at the end of the month. But more than half of Germans want the cheap travel deal to continue, according to a new survey.

Majority of Germans in favour of 'extending the €9 ticket'

In three weeks’ time, Germany’s cheap summer travel offer will come to an end. While members of the traffic light coalition government have been unable to agree on a continuation of the ticket, the majority of Germans are in favour of keeping the heavily-discounted travel card in place.

According to a survey conducted by the opinion research institute Civey for German news magazine Spiegel, 55 percent would like to see an extension of the ticket, which allows people to use public transportation throughout Germany for €9 per month. Meanwhile, 34 percent of Germans are against extending the offer. 

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

The survey also showed that mainly Green Party supporters are for an extension of the €9 ticket, as more than two-thirds are in favour of continuing the deal. A majority of supporters of the Left Party and the SPD are also in favour of continuing the discount campaign.

Leading Green Party politicians have put forward proposals for a cheap successor to the €9 ticket: a regional ticket for €29 and a nationwide ticket for €49 a month. 

Meanwhile, FDP Finance Minister Christian Lindner has heavily criticised demands for extending the cheap transport deal. On Monday he tweeted that a “freebie mentality is not sustainably financeable, not efficient and not fair”. He also told the  Augsburger Allgemeine that there is no scope for an extension in the federal budget.

The Spiegel poll backs up the results of a questionnaire conducted by The Local, which showed that 85.4 percent of readers want the €9 ticket to continue after August. Meanwhile, 47.2 percent of readers said that reduced cost was the most important issue for them in relation to public transport in Germany. 

READ ALSO: ‘Affordable and simple’: What foreigners in Germany want to see after the €9 ticket

Reader Asa from Hamburg, 26, told the Local “I’d love to see a successor to the €9 ticket supported. It’s given me the chance to explore the surrounding towns in a way that would otherwise be financially unviable.”

Bethany, a reader from Kaiserslautern, said she had replaced at least six long-distance car journeys with public transport in June and July.

“Before, the cost of taking a train wasn’t worth it. But now? I’ll put up with delayed trains for €9,” she said. 

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