Travelling on an InterCity Express train

At a glance

  • High speed train
  • Regional train
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Austria
  • Netherlands


The InterCity Express (ICE) is a top-of-the range family of high-speed trains run principally by Germany’s national train provider Deutsche Bahn. Sleek, swift and very comfortable, the ICE is a reliable choice for business and leisure travel.

The ultra-modern ICE trains are among the most technologically advanced and comfortable trains in Europe. ICE trains run on main business rail routes within Germany with hubs in Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich and Stuttgart. A limited number of ICE trains are used on busy cross-border routes to Amsterdam, Brussels, Interlaken, Paris, Vienna and Zurich.

Practical information

©ÖBB/ Harald Eisenberger

Before you board

There are no check-in or customs procedures prior to boarding ICE trains. However, ticket control and ID checks occur once onboard if you are travelling internationally.


Air conditioning comes as standard in ICE trains, seats in both classes recline and there is plenty of space for luggage.

ICEs have power sockets in both classes around seats with tables and, in recent models, between each pair of seats. There is free wifi on board ICE trains in both First and Standard Class.

On ICE trains, there is a viewing gallery behind the driver’s compartment, making it easy to experience every twist of the train as you get a bird’s eye view of the passing scenery.

Many ICE trains also come with baby-changing facilities as well as a small play area in a designated 'parent & child' compartment.

Booking and printing options

ICE train tickets are open for bookings 90 days in advance.

Seat reservations are compulsory on all international ICE trains routes.

Get the lowest prices on ICE by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.

Opt for off-peak ICE trains when you have to travel at short notice. Off-peak ICE trains are more affordable than ones running mornings and evenings along with those running around the holidays, Fridays and Sunday afternoons.

Classes of service

ICE trains provide two classes of service: Standard Class and First Class.

ICE First Class

With chic leather seating and a smart executive ambiance, First Class travel on an ICE is an experience to savour. Seating is mainly open-plan, with a small number of compartments on selected ICE routes. Each train has a designated quiet zone in First Class. Staff serve drinks and snacks to passengers at their seats (for a charge).

ICE Standard Class

Standard Class seating on ICE trains is consistently a notch above European norms for this class of travel. The majority of carriages have an open-plan layout, but on some ICE variants you will find a small number of compartments, some of which may be reserved for travellers with small children. One carriage is designated as a quiet zone.

Child and youth passengers

The definition of "Child" and "Youth" varies by country and operator. This is why we ask for the age of young passengers.

Sometimes children below a certain age can travel without a seat for free. If you want to guarantee a seat for child passengers, enter '6' as the age of the child.

Read more about child and youth passenger ages. See also youth discounts and railcards.