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Getting Downtown from Munich Airport
UPDATE: Due to construction, there will be significant delays and service changes along the main S-Bahn trunk ("Stammstrecke") between Pasing and Ostbahnhof late nights and weekends through 30 June 2014. During these times, the S-8 will only serve Pasing (planned to be Track 5) and Ostbahnhof (Planned to be Track 7) stations downtown, and the S-1 will travel directly between Moosach and the Hauptbahnhof above ground station (planned to be Track 26). Passengers will need to take either U-Bahn, tram, shuttle train or bus to/from one of these stations to get to and from the airport.
Munich's Franz Josef Strauss Airport (Airport Code: MUC) is located about 35 km (20 miles) to the north of Munich. In addition to being a hub airport for Lufthansa, the airport is used by many international carriers and budget airlines. Air Canada flies directly to Munich, as do the US carriers United, Delta, and US Airways.
If you're staying in Munich and want to rent a car, keep in mind traffic is quite bad. Even if you're planning a car tour of Europe starting with one or more overnights in Munich, you might want to wait to rent the car until your Munich stay is over. Similarly, if you plan to spend your final evening in Munich before flying home, consider turning in the rental car on arrival in Munich and using public transport to get to the airport.
The Lufthansa Airport Bus is a possibility, stopping at the Nordfriedhof U-Bahn station (U6) and the Hauptbahnhof, costing EUR 10.50 1-way (EUR 5.50 per child) and EUR 17 round-trip. The buses depart about every 20 minutes, and are scheduled to take approximately 25 minutes to get to Nordfriedhof, and 40 minutes to get to the Hauptbahnhof (travel time varies depending on traffic).
My recommendation to get downtown, however, is to take the S-Bahn. The S-1 and S-8 depart alternately about every 10 minutes. Travel time downtown is 40-50 minutes, depending on where you're going.
Costs: Railpasses (e.g. Eurail, Selectpass, German Rail Pass) are valid on the S-Bahn only (i.e. not the U-Bahn, trams, or buses), but require use of a travel day on a flexi pass -- a bad value unless you're taking a train well outside of Munich the day you arrive. A 1-way ticket costs EUR 10.40 with cash (a bit less with "non-cash" options -- see the website for details), but for just a bit more (EUR 11.70), you can buy a "Single Tageskarte Gesamtnetz," which covers the trip plus all of Munich's S-Bahns, U-Bahns, trams, and buses for the rest of the day. An even better deal for 2-5 travelers is the "Partner Tageskarte Gesamtnetz," which costs EUR 21.30, just a few cents more than two 1-way tickets alone, and covers the transit system for the whole day for up to 5 people traveling together. You can purchase tickets at the DB ticket booths or at the easy-to-use ticket machines (the ones at the airport even take credit cards!). Remember to validate your ticket in the machines marked "E" before you board. (NOTE: When you purchase a Tageskarte Gesamtnetz at the airport, sometimes also known as an "Airport-City-Day Ticket," you no longer need to cancel the tickets, but you must use the ticket on the same day you buy it.)
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Munich Airport: my favourite :-)
Whenever I fly to Ancona (Italy), I have to change planes in Munich. And it is now my most favourite airport in Germany. But only recently I realised that it is the second biggest German airport when it comes to transport passengers. Very interesting, especially since I do not really like my home airport Frankfurt, which is just too big and where I cannot refrain from thinking that the airport managers are a bit overstrained. Often I have to walk a lot to get to my gates.
Not so in Munich. Even though the flights to Italy with Air Dolomiti involve bus transfer to the planes, it always seems to very efficient and excellently organised.
Ok, the hard facts are that Munich’s airport, named Franz-Josef Strauß Airport (after the famous Bavarian politician) is in operation since 1992. It is located approx. 30 km NE of the city, easy in reach with public transport (streetcar/Straßenbahn S1 and S8, 45 min from main station). It has two terminals, T2 being the one where Lufthansa and Star Alliance flights are being checked. As of today, 110 airlines fly regularly into and out of Munich, 230 destinations worldwide being served. The airport has two runways, the third one will most likely not be built, as a result of a citizens’ decision mid June 2012.
Terminal 2 is a very convenient airport, with only a short part without transport bands/ moving walkways, as opposed to Frankfurt where long distances have to be walked, especially strenuous when one has to catch another flight.... In the middle of the terminal the food and shopping stores are located, often quite pricey.
But in case one wants to save some money, here are my suggestions:
* get your free coffee (several varieties including hot chocolate) from one of the Lufthansa self-serving machines, which are quite abundant here and I found them always filled and functioning (as opposed to Frankfurt!). Don’t worry, even if you are not a Lufthansa or Star Alliance passenger: these machines are for everyone,
* in “Little Italy”, or “Spazio Italia” in the lower level (L3), the prices are very reasonable and good food is being served too. Although it is only snacks. But for my double caffè macchiato plus croissant plus San Pellegrino Limonata I paid only 6,60 Euro in August 2012 (Limonata: 3,10, croissant: 1,80, caffè macchiato: 1,70). This level is located down the escalators just behind the mini Allianz-Arena.
Location of Munich Airport on Google Maps.
© Ingrid D., August 2012 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)
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Munich's International Airport is a modern facility that has easy connections into the city center. There are lounges and plenty of places to shop, internet spots and well-marked information areas. The train comes directly to the airport and takes about 45 mintues to get into the city center. You'll look for the S-Bahn (S1 or S8) which connects to the U-bahn (underground train), but you can also take a shuttle, a bus or a taxi. When doing flight searches online, the Munich airport code is MUC and the German word for airport in "flughafen".
Airport Terminal 2
Europe's most modern airport and the headquarters of Lufthansa!
The new Terminal was opened in June 2003. It is a real shopping mall now as well, with over 100 shops.
This is now the most modern airport in Europe and almost as big as the one Frankfurt.
Munich's Franz-Josef Strauss is a busy international airport, with great links, especially to southern Europe. Lufthansa is the main airline here, and it often has some great offers to nearby international cities, including 99 euros return to Budapest. It even has direct and good value flights to Nice. Munich isn't Germany's main international airport, and most of its flights are to Europe, the Near East and North Africa. It does have a few long haul destinations, like Shanghai, but usually you will need to go to (or via) Frankfurt.
The airport is fully integrated into Munich's public transport system, and the S1 and S8 suburban trains run regularly from the central station to the airport throughout the day and night.
From airport to Munich
Franz Josef Strauss airport is about 30 km from Munich. To get there you can take the S-Bahn. In the main lobby look for a sing, an "S" inside a green circle. You have to go down a floor below to buy the ticket (8 Euros). The access to the platform is right in front from the place you buy the ticket. To get to Munich take the S1 or the S8. It will take about 40 minutes there
Fly into Munich airport
The first thing you notice about Munich airport is that it is far too large and grandiose for a city the size of Munich, which means that it's mostly empty. The second thing you notice is that away from the Lufthansa areas, there's nowhere to eat except Burger King. Thanks for thinking about people who fly airlines other than your crappy national carrier, guys! The final thing you notice is that, rather cleverly, the airport was built in a slight depression in the ground in the middle of nowhere. This means that a) it takes 45 minutes and 50 euros to drive to the city center by taxi, and b) in the winter, fog gets trapped over the airport, causing massive flight delays. Nice one.
Munich has a very nice airport, brand new terminal etc, distances are quite short... But the airport is far away from the city center!! If you go by train you need about 45 minutes, same goes for a trip by car or taxi because there are lots of roadworks and congestion all the time.
Depending on where you come from, consider going by train!
Luggage Storage at the Airport
If you need to, you can store luggage at the airport. Cost (as of April 2013) is between EUR 2.30 and EUR 7.50 (depending on size) for the first 3 hours, between EUR 3.80 and EUR 10 per piece for up to 24 hours, then between EUR 2.80 and EUR 8.50 for each 24-hour period thereafter.
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Modern and fairly large
Munich has Germany's most modern and second largest airport. It is situated some 40 km north east of the city centre, near the city of Freising. Connections into the city are easy as the airport is being served by S-trains, the journey taking about 45 minutes. Allow some time to get to your check in as distances are quite long. I cannot confirm, however, that it is difficult to find your way around, as some people are claiming. The airport has 2 terminals, terminal 2 being even more modern than the slightly older terminal 1. The airport's layout also allows planes to start and land on parallel runways, so don't become frightened if you see another plane approaching the airport in a very similar direction -- you're not on a collision course! Good disabled access, but single-travelling wheelchair users with heavy luggage should be aware of the long distances at the airport. Better get some help!
S-bahn to the city centre.
The trip from the airport to the city centre in Munich is very straightforward. Take the S-bahn S1 or S8. The trip crosses 4 ticketing zones, so if one is puzzled at the ticketing machine (with all the small prints), just pressed the small orange rectangular button with a 4 on it (if you are going to the city centre). the machine will ask for 9.20 euro (price is correct April 2009), it takes euro notes and will give change.
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Getting to Central Munich from Airport
There are many options for getting into Munich after you arrive at the Airport. The best value looks like the S bahn, lines 1 and 8 head into the centre.
The ticket machines are located downstairs in the centre of a shopping mall area.Takes cash and gives change.
Many options as far as tickets to go for. Consider the Partner one which allows up to 5 people, max 2 adults to travel within specified zones for the day.Ideal for a family but a couple can also use. Cost was 18 euros in March 2008.
We came to Munich by plane and landed in the airport "Franz-Josef-Strauss-Flughafen", which lies some 30 km north of the city. It's linked to the city by S-Bahn #1 and #8 and by buses operated by the Lufthansa airline.
We took a taxi to the hotel and had to pay about 50 EUR!
Josef Strauss Airport to Hotel
We caught the Lufthansa bus from the airport to the central train station, Hauptbahnof in Munich. Our hotel, Eden Wolffe, was directly across the street. I made arrangements for the bus ahead of time online. It was very clean, comfortable and inexpensive. One tip: I printed out a colored photo of the bus I would be looking for online prior to my trip. It made it easier to spot and sort through all the transportation options quickly when we arrived. Had my kids looking for a "blue bus". Worked out great.
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S8 from Munich Airport to City Center
The directions I received from a local on how to arrive to my hotel near city center (on Maximilianstrasse) from the airport was as follows:
Taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel is expensive - in the order of US $100 (as far as I have heard). The much more economical way to do it is to take the train called "S8" from the airport (the station is in the basement of the Terminal 1 building) to the 11th stop called "Isartor" (a 36 minutes train ride) and to take a taxi from there to your hotel. The only difficulty in going to town this way is buying the right train ticket at the airport: Do not even try the ticket vending machines, they are horrible. There are some real people around (sitting behind a counter in Terminal 1 right where you go down the escalators to the basement) who are selling tickets to those who are interested.
My commentary based on my experience:
I found that the S-Bahn was easy to use from the airport. The S-Bahn originates from the airport, so there's only one direction you can take. The key is just taking the right train. Only two trains service this airport (S1 and S8). Anyways, the signs are well posted, and you won't have a problem finding them.
The trains are comfortable, and I found them to have plenty of space for my luggage.
I did have problem finding the ticket people as my host recommended (because after re-reading his message, I went down the elevator before looking for the ticket people, and I should have looked for the people before I took the escalator down). However, the machines were not as bad as he said. The cost to go to town was 8.80 Euros. The machines actually took credit cards.
Based on actually doing this trip, I would say to get off at Marienplatz station (12th Stop). This stop is more central to the city center, and a nicer area to view when walking to your hotel. I decided to walk rather than take a taxi (although taxis seem to wait outside these stations).
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