Update 19 January 2016: London Spezial tickets have been renamed by Deutsche Bahn and are now called "Sparpreis Europa London" tickets, so this is what to look out for in Loco2 search results
Thanks to our integration with German national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, it's now easier to browse options for travelling from London to Berlin by train. We've always sold tickets for the excellent sleeper train via Paris, but until now we haven't had access to the much coveted London Spezial tickets which promise trains from London to Berlin or any other German city for €59 one-way.
We've spent the few days getting to grips with all the new and exciting European train routes and tickets we can get our hands on. In this post we share the cheap train tickets we've discovered. Think Bargain Hunt, but with trains.
From London there are two major routes to Berlin to choose between, one by day and another overnight:
1. During the day: London to Berlin via Brussels and Cologne
Taking the train from London to Berlin is a straightforward journey with just two connections, and at 9hrs long it can be done in a day if you wish. It's a Eurostar from London to Brussels, from where onward high-speed ICE services connect you to Cologne, and then onward to Berlin. Although it includes two changes, you'll only be switching platforms, and not stations in Brussels and Cologne, so there's minimum hassle. There are power sockets on board if you want to work on the train. It's possible to buy a one-way fare for this route between London and Berlin for €59 one-way, see below for precise instructions about how to find the ticket.
2. Overnight: London to Berlin via Paris
This sleeper option takes a little longer (around 12 hours) but may be preferable because you spend the vast majority of the journey, well, sound asleep. Once again, your journey begins with Eurostar - this time to Paris - where you'll change stations and trains. It's a 5 minute walk from Gare du Nord to Gare Est, where the City Night Line to Berlin departs, rolling into Berlin the following morning. This route is slightly more expensive (around £82) but your train acts as a hotel for the night!
We've worked out how to find the cheapest tickets between London and Berlin for both of the above routes. Some of them include tickets wholly from Deutsche Bahn, others from Eurostar and City Night Line, but you can do it all on Loco2, even if the route you eventually choose is a combination of them all. If you use our basket functionality, it's possible to pick and choose whichever bits you want and buy them in one transaction. As always, search well in advance for the best chance of finding the advertised fares.
1. How to find a London Spezial ticket for €59
This is possible if you can find a Second Class Saver fare, also known as a London Spezial ticket, on the London-Berlin route. These are limited edition tickets - negotiated by Deutsche Bahn with Eurostar - available on just a few trains departing London in the morning. Unsurprisingly, they sell out fast!
The London Spezial is valid for the Eurostar portion of your trip and your onward connection to Berlin, or indeed anywhere in Germany. Tickets start at €59 (around £50) in Standard Class or €109 in First Class. Alas, there's no discount for a return journey with return prices simply double the single fare. There are limited numbers of these tickets - restricted by the number of seats allocated on each eligible Eurostar train - and as they sell out, the price goes up in increments of €10. So once all the €59 seats are gone, there will be €69 seats, then €79...you get the picture. The upshot is, buy as early as possible.
At the moment the following scheduled Eurostar services are eligible for London Spezial fares:
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