Berlin Hbf ranked third-best European train station, while Bremen comes in last

Berlin Hbf ranked third-best European train station, while Bremen comes in last

German train stations have dominated the European Railway Station Index of 2023, claiming 21 spots of the 50 largest stations across the continent. Berlin Hauptbahnhof took a respectable third, while Bremen came in 50th place.

Top railway stations in Germany and Europe revealed

For the past four years, the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), a consumer advocacy group, has ranked the 50 largest stations (by passenger volume) on the continent. 

To calculate each station’s score, the CCC gave a set number of points for 16 different services provided by stations, including regular opening hours for physical ticket offices, the variety of tickets available for purchase, passenger waiting times and train punctuality, in-station information, wheelchair accessibility and free access to the internet

This year's ranking saw some stations’ ratings decline severely. After being ranked as the best European station in 2021, Leipzig Central Station fell down to spot number 13. The central stations in Frankfurt and Munich, which were ranked in joint 2nd place in 2022, fell to place six and 22 respectively.

Germany’s southern neighbours dominated the top end of the ranking, with Zurich taking first once again, followed by Vienna in second, Bern in joint third with Berlin Hauptbahnhof and Utrecht in fifth.

The bottom end of the ranking was particularly damning for Berlin, with the capital’s Ostkreuz, Gesundbrunnen and Zoologischer Garten taking joint 46th place with just 54 points out of the ranking's available 123.

Delayed German trains dominate station ranking

Though German train stations dominated the top 50 spots, taking almost half of them, only one station made it into the top five (Berlin Hauptbahnhof) and only two in the top 10 (Berlin Hauptbahnhof and Frankfurt). German train stations were more heavily concentrated in the lower end of the ranking.

The main reason given for the German stations populating the lower end of the ranking was chronic Deutsche Bahn delays, which will be unsurprising to those who regularly travel with DB and have been affected by the company’s ever-worsening punctuality

According to the ranking, the “main culprit” causing delays is Germany’s subsidised tickets for public transport, such as the Deutschlandticket and its predecessor, the 9-euro ticket, which has led to “more congestion, longer waiting times, and mounting frustration from German consumers”. 

While both tickets lead to increased footfall on transportation, and the Deutschlandticket has been criticised for failing to meet the needs of those living in more rural areas, the index did not address what many in Germany consider to be the main cause of chronic Deutsche Bahn delays, the private company’s reluctance to finance retrofitting Germany’s degrading track network.

According to a recent investigation by German public broadcaster ZDF, temporary speed restrictions during stretches where tracks should be repaired, “like a speed limit which is introduced because of a pothole”, mean journeys take much longer than before.

The 10 best railway stations in Europe in 2023

According to the CCC, the top 10 best railway stations in Europe this year are:

  • 1. Zurich HB
  • 2. Vienna Hbf
  • =3. Berlin Hbf
  • =3. Bern
  • 5. Utrecht Centraal
  • 6 Frankfurt Hbf
  • 7. Napoli Centrale
  • 8. Amsterdam Centraal
  • 9. Gare du Lyon
  • =10. Oslo Central Station
  • =10. Vienna Meidling

To find out how the ranking was calculated, check out the Consumer Choice Center's website.

Thumb image credit: Nanisimova /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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