The Germans love AND hate their public transport. While their public transportation network is most likely on of the best in the world the germans still love to complain about every little delay. In Average there are 30 Million People using public transport in Germany every day!
Don’t make the mistake to tell them they have it good compared to most other countries. You will hit a sensitive spot on many.
The information network of the public transport is pretty good organized. Germany divides the public transport into multiple organizations (e.g. RNV, HNV). Each organization manages a large region and is responsible for the development of public transport in that area.
For every region there are multiple apps that provide you with local transport information. Some of these apps are very good and you can even book online tickets with them, but some just shouldn’t be used.
As a tip – only use the app of the official public transport organization of the region.
One public transport organization is national and is leading everything that has to do with and evolves around the train. The “Deutsche Bahn”, in short “DB”, provides train transportation on a national scale.
Compared to the cheap Busses that drive on national scale it’s pretty expensive. While they bring really fast travel times and comfy trains, they push the prices pretty high because they have no competitors in Germany. In every so defined “city” and even in many villages you find a “Hauptbahnhof”, short “Hbf”, which just means Central Train Station, that is managed by the “DB”.
One of the best things of “DB” is free. The App of them is most likely the best for public transport you can get in germany. In their app “DB Navigator” You can not only find train connections, you find almost every official public transport connection of Germany, details about the stops and even a map which shows where the stop is located.
As an alternative for bigger journeys inside of Germany you can book a trip with Flixbus (They have a very good app). While it is less comfy and the travel times can be much longer, the prices are very low. But be fast! The price gets higher when the bus is about to be booked out.
Overall the german public transport can be pretty confusing, but it is overall pretty good organized and provides a large amount of connections.
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask others about the connection. Some might disagree, but most of the germans will gladly help you as good as they can.
Writer: Matthias Riebl