I found this way to get cheap train tickets and travel to many destinations. Since I hate planes I prefer a long, scenic hubble-hubble by train. You will arrive in the city centre instead of some remote airport. You might actually see and meet some locals. You have a feeling you are traveling.
The one point train travel nowadays lose from plane travel is the cost. Since the fast train virus has broken out it’s hard to find the slower trains and cheap train tickets. The saviour of the train traveler are the Germans ( no pun here ) with the excellent db.de planner.
Unfortunately even buying border-to-border tickets instead of taking the EC-trains might cost more than u want. Besides it’s nearly impossible to plan your trip without spending a few days trying to read Czech, Slovakian and Hungarian ( for these destinations ).
But there comes the great ‘ Sparangebot’ ! This works about the same as ‘skyscanning’ for flights. Popular routes on good times don’t have sparangebot and neither do connections to some small villages and/or long distances. In Germany always try to get ‘sparangebot’.
Combine the Citynightline ( Amsterdam – Berlin – Prague – Budapest ) with sparangebot and you will get this deal:
Amsterdam – Prague : 29 euro (Normal price 129 euro)
If you buy a ticket to Prague it’s 29 euro. This train stops at 4-am something in Berlin Hbf. The exact same train cost 69 euro if you buy a ticket Amsterdam – Berlin.
Berlin – Budapest : 29 euro
Using the same logic the train from Berlin costs 29 euro to Budapest passing by Prague. While the cheap E-ticket Prague – Budapest is 35 euro, normal price being around 60-80 euro.
Conclusion being if you want to go to Berlin from the Netherlands it’s cheaper to buy a ticket to Prague. If you want to do Prague – Budapest, buy a ticket that starts the trip in Germany, ie from Berlin. Otherwise db.de will say it’s foreign ticket and won’t give you any prices.
I think this might be manipulated for all kinds of connections. Take for instance Berlin – Koln; Sparangebot is 69 euro, but the City Night Line stops in both Berlin and Koln. Which is 53 euro Sparangebot, while the exact same train but from Prague – Amsterdam is 29 euro again.
In my case I wanted to go to Prague, stay a few days and then go on to Budapest. I buy one ticket Utrecht – Prague, then one ticket a few days later Berlin – Budapest and get in at Prague central station.
In theory if you want to see Berlin – Prague – Budapest (Bratislava in Slovakia is a stop as well!) you might be cheaper buying a few tickets Amsterdam – Prague and/or Berlin – Budapest. Weird huh? The City Night Line (see the wiki map: wiki) runs throughout Europe (ie Kopenhagen – Basel for 29 euro or any station in between )
Post if you did make any interesting connections with this information so we can expand this knowledge 🙂
Be sure to buy the printable E-tickets in time since sparangebot-tickets DO sell out.