Munich – a city in which I find myself almost every month (or every other month) and where it is still complicated getting around at times, especially if I get out of my comfort zone. And that is why I thought about lending a hand to all those in need and write this article.
Getting around in Munich – my top tips
1. Getting from Munich airport to Munich city center
This one should be easy you say? Just recently I have arrived at a different terminal than the one I was used with and I walked around in circles for almost 20 min until finding the way to the S-Bahn.
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But then again, maybe I am clumsy than most since there are only 2 terminals.
- T1 where flights such as Airberlin, Tarom, Iberia, EasyJet and so on land and
- T2 which is the Lufthansa terminal (but also other companies such as Emirates, Etihad, KLM just to name a few lands here).
Getting out of the airport is easy, just follow the green signs showing you the way to the S-Bahn (German abbreviation for Stadtschnellbahn – meaning urban rapid rail).
I would recommend buying a ticket from within the terminal since the ticket machines in the train stops are usually very crowded with people who are not familiar with the process and this might lead to high waiting times.
What kind of ticket do you need for getting around in Munich?
There are 2 versions of doing it:
- From the ticket machine select the point of departure (Munich Flughafen) and the stop where you are heading to (Munich Hauptbahnhof – main train station – for example) – you will receive a single ticket at the cost of 10.8 EUR, which you will have to validate at the machine before getting on the train. The ticket is valid for S-Bahn and U-Bahn up to your destination of choice.
- The stripe ticket – it is a blue long ticket, with 10 stripes. You should validate 2 stripes for each zone you are planning to cross in your trip. Munich has 4 zones and since the Airport is in the red outer zone, you would need to stamp 8 stripes. You are allowed to change and interrupt your journey and it is also valid at the U-Bahn. Return and round trips, however, are not permitted and the cost of a stripe ticket is 10.8 EUR.
The white zone represents the Inner District. Adding the green zone to that, you will have Munich XXL. The green, yellow and red zones make up the Outer District. Finally, all the zones make out the Entire Network.
What train to take from and towards Munich Airport?
The S1 and S8 S-Bahn lines connect the airport with the center of Munich, with departures every 10 minutes. Check the map and choose the most convenient train depending on the side of the city you are heading to.
Please note that when getting back to the airport, if choosing the S1 train, the passengers heading to the airport must sit on the rear side of the train. Why do you ask? Well, simply because the train splits at Neufahrn Bahnhof, the rear side heading to the airport, while the front side heads to Freising. You wouldn’t want to lose yourself just before leaving.
2. Getting around in Munich
The cheapest and easiest version is buying a single or group multiday ticket, depending on the number of days you are planning to spend in Munich. You can easily do that at the ticket machines. The costs for a single day ticket for the Inner City (the white zone) is 6.6 EUR, a 3-days pass is 16.5 EUR and a weekly single ticket is 18.2 EUR for 3 rings.
You just need to buy it once, validate it before getting into the U-Bahn and have it with you in case someone will control you during one of your trips. It is good to know that the ticket is valid for all means of transportation within the selected area (S-Bahn, U-Bahn, tram or bus).
Where do you find validation machines?
- on the U-Bahn and S-Bahn platform and at the entrance of the platform
- inside the tram
- inside the bus
3. Getting around in the outskirts of Munich
Do you want to take a day trip to Dachau or one of the lakes around Munich but you only have a ticket (day ticket or week ticket) for 2 or 3 zones? Simple. You will only have to buy a single ticket for 1 or 2 additional zones (depending on where you are heading to).
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4. City Tour Card
Like every touristic city, Munich has its own City Tour card, which permits you to link public transportation to entrance fees, helping you save money. This ticket for discoverers is available as a day ticket for the Inner District or as a 3-day-ticket and as a 4-day-ticket for the Inner District or the Entire Network.
The CityTourCard includes discounts for more than 70 tourist attractions from theatres to museums, sights to sightseeing trips. The CityTourCard is available as a Single or Group Ticket (for a group of up to 5 adults or 10 children between 6 and 14 years of age). You can buy the ticket from ticket machines, at customer centers and the points of sale.
Cost: Single Day ticket for Inner District (white zone) – 11.9 EUR
Single 3-Day ticket Inner District (white zone) – 19.9 EUR
Single 3-Day ticket entire network – 34.9 EUR
For more prices and options you can check out the MVV site here.
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