101 Germany Munich

Munich 101: Arriving & Getting Around [2021 Update]

Rathaus @ Munich, Germany
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Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is the third biggest German city but still retains a small-town atmosphere, especially in the historic center. It goes without saying that the entire region is full of history and culture.

ARRIVING in Munich

Munich is super well connected, you can arrive by flight, international train, bus or car.

THE AIRPORTS

Theoretically, Munich is served by two airports: Munich (MUC) and Memmingen (FMM). However, if you treasure your time, stick to MUC.

Flughafen München (MUC)

Surprisingly there’s not an express rail connection to the city center. But you do have two suburban trains — S1 and S8 — departing every 10 minutes, with a journey time of approx. 45min and multiple shuttle bus options.

munich airport to city center map

If your accommodation (or best point of connection to reach it) is between Hauptbahnhof and Marienplatz, the journey time will be similar enough that you should just hop on the next S-Bahn available. However, if that’s not the case, beware that these two lines virtually circle the city and where you stay may significantly affect which is the better option for you; or even if you should favour a shuttle instead (find shuttle alternatives here).

You have a few options for covering the route from/to the airport. Don’t forget to choose Zones M-5.

For solo travelers:

  • Single Ticket Airport-City or vice-versa: €11.50 (purchase at machines or within the MVV-App);
  • Single Day Ticket: €13, valid on selected day until 6am of following day;
  • Airport-City-Day-Ticket Single: €13, valid on selected day until 6am of following day.

TIP: Whenever two persons are traveling together, it’ll always be cheaper to buy a group ticket instead of two singles.

For group travelers (up to 5 adults):

  • Group Day Ticket: €24.30, valid on selected day until 6am of following day;
  • Airport-City-Day-Ticket Group: €24.30, valid on selected day until 6am of following day.

Note that the MVV Single Day Ticket for zones M-5 and the Airport-City-Day-Ticket are interchangeable, covering the same area for the same price.

Allgäu Airport Memmingen (FMM)

Now, why avoid FMM, you may ask. First, it does not have a rail connection to Munich. This leaves you with some (crappy) options: a 1h20 shuttle (“shorter” but infrequent bus option) or a 2h+ train (with 1 connection) to Memmingen train station and then a further local bus to cover the 4.5 km distance to the airport. It is just so absurdly disadvantageous ― the shorter your trip, the worst ― that you shouldn’t even have this as an option when you are researching flights. If you still want to give it a shot ― good luck! ― find all possibilities here.

Train Munich Bavaria Germany

RAIL

International trains will arrive at München Hbf (de: Hauptbahnhof; en: Central Station), which is connected to S1-S8, U1-U2 and U4-U5, in addition to various tram lines. This station is big, but it’s well signalled, just keep your eyes open.

BUS

You will likely arrive at ZOB Munich (de: Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof München; en: Central Bus Station), which is located right next to Hackerbrücker station, served by the S1-S8 (more on this below) and trams 16-17. Depending on your plans and/or if it’s more convenient, you can also walk to Hauptbahnhof (600m) or Theresienwiese/Oktoberfest grounds (1km).


GETTING AROUND Munich

Click here if you want to read more details on the changes to the tariff system effected in December 2019.

The transport network in Munich is operated by MVV (Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund) and is served by S-Bahn (suburban trains), U-Bahn (underground), Straßenbahn (trams), and buses. It’s also divided into 6 concentric circles, each representing a tariff zone, so the furthest you travel, the more you pay.

Karlsplatz (Stachus) @ Munich, Germany
Karlsplatz/Stachus Station

For the regular tourist, the most basic ticket covering Zone M is more than enough to explore the city, as you’ll find every point of interest within.

  • Single Day Ticket: €7.80, valid on selected day until 6am of following day;
  • CityTourCard* Single 24h or 48h: €13.90 and €20.90, respectively;
  • CityTourCard* Single 3, 4, 5 or 6 days: €24.90, €29.90, €35.90 and €41.90, respectively, valid from selected day until 6am of day following last day of validity;
  • München Card* Single 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days: €11.90, €19.90, €28.90, €35.90 and €43.90, respectively, valid from selected day until 6am of day following last day of validity;
  • IsarCard-Woche (Weekly): €17.10, valid from selected day until 12 noon of day following last day of validity. It’s not possible yet to buy the IsarCard online, but you’ll find it on the MVV vending machines.

Group Tickets

Don’t forget to buy group tickets if you will be traveling in groups of 2-5 persons:

  • Group Day Ticket: €14.80, valid on selected day until 6am of following day;
  • CityTourCard* Group 24h or 48h: €22.90 and €34.90, respectively;
  • CityTourCard* Group 3, 4, 5 or 6 days: €37.90, €47.90, €57.90 and €67.90, respectively, valid from selected day until 6am of day following last day of validity;
  • München Card* Group 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days: €21.90, €32.90, €42.90, €52.90 and €62.90, respectively, valid from selected day until 6am of day following last day of validity.

But remember, it’s one ticket, so you must be traveling together at all times.

*Both the CityTourCard and the München Card are aimed at tourists and give discounts on several attractions (listed on the links). I always advise against this kind of ticket, unless you’ll really visit lots of those attractions. That’s the only way for these discounts to be worth the (usually much) higher price of these tickets.

Westfriedhof U-Bahn Station

Balance of Cost and Flexibility

The initiative to simplify the Munich system was very welcome, but it still lacks good options for fast visitors, like a 48h or 72h ticket. In the meantime, it’s worth comparing whichever time-based ticket you’d need with the IsarCard-Woche, even if you’ll use much less than the seven days.

So if you want to keep the flexibility of using the subway as you wish, but without wasting money, you can follow this general arrangement:

  • day of arrival from + day of departure to airport: (Airport-City) Day-Ticket for Zones M-5
  • day of visit to outer areas (like Dachau or Andechs): Day Ticket for the corresponding zones
  • days of touristing within the city: Day Ticket for Zone M (white area in the map below)

But if you believe this is still too much for your needs, you can also buy pay-as-you-go tickets. Find here the calculator.

TIP: Pay attention to the monitors on the S- and U-Bahn platforms, as you can have more than one line using the same platform! For example, in Marienplatz, the U3 shares a platform with the U6, while S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S7 and S8 all share the same platform too.

MVV_Netzplan_S_U_R


See also:

Munich: New Transport Tariff System (2020)

Munich: Top 10 Attractions Tips & Tricks

Bavaria 14-Day Ticket: Is It Worth It?

Berlin 101: Arriving & Getting Around


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