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Munich's Hauptbahnhof, or main train station, is quite an amazing transportation hub. You can think of it as 4 stations in one: The main tracks for the longer trains (tracks 11-26); two "mini-stations" on either side servicing local trains, private trains (e.g., BOB and ALEX), and some S-Bahns (tracks 5-10 and tracks 27-36); and the underground station ("Hauptbahnhof Tief," Tracks 1-2) for the S-Bahn (S-1 through S-8). You can also get to the Hauptbahnhof by U-Bahn (U-1, U-2, U-4, and U-5), the Lufthansa Airport Bus, and several trams.
From here, you can get trains to just about anywhere in Europe. Among the destinations reachable via night train: Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Florence, Hamburg, Naples, Paris, Rome, Venice, and Zagreb. UPDATE: The direct night train between Munich and Copenhagen has been discontinued.
The train station itself has an impressive number of services, to include food stands, a grocery store, a Starbucks, not one but two Burger Kings, luggage lockers, a EURAIDE office, and a full-service travel center ("Reisezentrum" -- go here to validate your railpass).
The best bet for most local travelers is to use one of the many ticket machines. You can get tickets to most local destinations at one of these, which will save you time waiting in line at a ticket counter. Many machines take major credit cards. Arriving travelers can also buy MVV (local transportation) tickets and day-tickets here, but if a machine is too intimidating, never fear: turn left (with your back to the tracks) and proceed down the escalator. Here, you will find several ticket counters where you can buy any MVV ticket you might need (to include 3-day tickets).
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Trains to and from Munich
Since Munich is the southernmost major city in Germany, it is the starting or ending point for numerous long-distance trains to other parts of the country.
On a typical weekday there are 22 direct ICE (InterCityExpress) or IC (InterCity) trains from Munich to Frankfurt am Main, and 26 more connections where you have to change trains once in Mannheim, Stuttgart, Nürnberg or Würzburg. A direct ICE usually takes three hours and forty-some minutes to get to Frankfurt by way of Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart and Mannheim.
Update: They have recently opened up a new high-speed ICE route from Munich via Ingolstadt to Nürnberg, so it is now slightly faster to go that way rather than by way of Stuttgart and Mannheim.
On Fridays and Sundays the trains can be very full, so I usually try to get a reservation on those days, but otherwise when I'm done with whatever I'm doing in Munich I just go to the station and get on the next train to Frankfurt.
Second, third and fourth photos: More people and trains at the Munich main station.
Fifth photo: First class in an ICE train from Frankfurt to Munich. The main difference between first and second class is that in first there are only three seats across, and in second class there are four.
Getting from The Airport
From the airport get the S-Bahn rail link S1which travels from Munich Airport via Neufahrn, Moosach, Laim, Munich Hauptbahnhof (main station), Marienplatz to Ostbahnhof.
Also at the main station in Hauptbahnhof there is a Tourist information at the southern exit Bayerstrasse. This is open Monday-Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-4pm.
Muenchen HBF to Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The train from the Munich Hauptbahnhof to Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the perfect, stressless way, to get to the Alpine town.
Here is an example from Deutsche Bahn www.db.de
München Hbf track 27-36
depart 11.34 a.m.
arrive 1:23 p.m.
approximately 2 hours
price 14,20 EUR
one way, tourist class
Tickets can be booked in advance either online, in person at the HBf, or even bought on the train. Return fare is double, unless you book a special fare. Please enquire directly at www.db.de
The route takes you through some picturesque Bavarian towns, and along the shores of Starnberger See, as well as, through Murnau on the way to Garmisch. If it is a clear day, you will have the panorama of the mountains the whole way.
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Around Munich in the Wintertime
March will be warmer than December (generally), although I cannot think of any specific March Munich events to attend or see? March is a good time to take the train to Garmisch-Patenkirchen and to spend sometime in the mountains walking, snow shoeing, or cross-country and downhill skiing.
Do not take the gondola up to the top of the Zugspitz. It takes 1 1/2 hours to go up, and then the same time to come down, when they are busy (during the winter due to ski season naturally), and once you get to the top there is not much to see that you cannot see from the top of any other mountain? And, it is very expensive (about EUR70-). If you are a serious skier, the skiing on the Zugspitz is pretty tame, and you can go elsewhere for less money and more pistes.
The train from the Hauptbahnhof runs every hour and takes about 1 1/2 hours to Garmisch. From the train station in Garmisch, you can take the Zugspitzbahn. Just walk under the train tracks, away from the main station, and at the end of the tunnel you will see the Zugspitzbahn station on the left hand side.
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UPDATE: Due to construction, service between downtown and Pasing will be limited late nights and weekends through June 30, 2014. During these times, the inbound S-3 and S-4 will terminate at Pasing, requiring a transfer to Tram #19, another S-Bahn, or local train to get between Pasing and downtown. The S-6 will continue non-stop from Pasing and terminate in the above ground section of the Hauptbahnhof. The S-8 will continue non-stop from Pasing to the Ostbahnhof, then continue service to Munich Airport. A supplemental shuttle train or bus will service intermediate stops between Pasing and the Ostbahnhof every 20 minutes.
On the west side of Munich is the railway station known as Pasing. Most (but not all) trains arriving from Augsburg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Weilheim, Kochel, and Buchloe stop here. You can get to Pasing using the S-Bahn lines S-3, S-4, S-6, S-8, or S-20, as well as Tram #19 and various buses. If you plan to stay in the western part of Munich, or one of the western suburbs serviced by the S-Bahn, you can save time by connecting at Pasing instead of the Hauptbahnhof. Conversely, it can make sense to pick up your outbound train at Pasing. Be sure to re-confirm your desired train does indeed stop at Pasing.
The station itself, while not as vast as the Hauptbahnhof, has a number of services, including food stands, a small grocery store, a few dozen luggage lockers, and an information counter. There are also some vending machines on the train platforms for those in a hurry.
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As one of Germany's biggest cities, Munich is well connected throughout the country, but its also well placed at the center of Europe for access to cities in a number of other countries, like Austria and the Czech Republic. Apart from Dresden, all of Germany's major cities are accessible via direct train from Munich, with Stuttgart just a couple of hours away, and Berlin over six hours. Internationally you can get direct trains to cities like Vienna(4 hours), Ljubljana (6 hours) and Budapest (7 hours). You can also be in Prague in about 7 hours, and Zurich in about 5.
A Train Named BOB
The Bayerische Oberlandbahn, or BOB, is a private train service run by Veolia Transport. Departing approximately hourly, BOB trains originate at the Munich Hauptbahnhof and continue to the Tegernsee, Lenggries, and Bayerischzell. (NOTE: outbound trains will split into three parts, one going to each destination. Be sure to get the car going where you want to go!)
If you get on at the Munich Hauptbahnhof, you must go to tracks 27-36 on the Arnulfstrasse side of the station, about 200 meters down Platform 26. This is probably not the most convenient entry point unless you're right at the Hauptbahnhof. Note that the BOB trains also stop at Donnersbergerbrücke (connections to all S-Bahns except S-20), Harras (connections to S-7, S-27, and U-6), Siemenswerke (weekdays) or Solln (weekends) (connections to S-7, S-20, and S-27), and Holzkirchen (connections to S-3).
If you have a MVV day card for the entire network (gesamtnetz), it is valid on the segment from Munich to Holzkirchen, meaning you only need a ticket beyond there (i.e., Holzkirchen to your destination). You can purchase tickets at a BOB ticket counter, or at "BOB" ticket machines at the stations. Note machines are touch-screen and in German only. If you purchase a ticket from a machine, be sure to stamp the ticket in one of the machines marked "E" before you board. Note you must stamp a round-trip ticket a second time before boarding your returning train.
Passes and Special Tickets: Both the Schönes Wochenende Ticket and Bayern-Ticket are valid for the entire route. BOB offers a day ticket called the "Oberland Ticket," valid from 9AM on weekdays or all day on weekends, costing EUR 16 per person. You can also purchase a special "BOB/MVV Ticket" valid on both BOB and the Inner Zone (Innenraum) of the MVV network for up to 5 people from 9AM until closing (EUR 27, or EUR 19 for a "single" ticket). In addition, there is a "Guten Tag" ticket, valid on the BOB as well as MERIDIAN Trains between Munich and Salzburg (not valid weekday mornings before 9AM, cost EUR 17 for one, plus EUR 4 for each additional person up to 5). Eurail / German Rail passes are NOT accepted.
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A Daytrip To Salzburg By Train
Salzburg in Austria is only an hour and a half away by train from Munich and well worth the effort.
There is a train which leaves the main railway station in Munich at 0927 and gets to Salzburg at 1054.Carriages are the enclosed style holding 6 people rather than the open plan we are used to in Britain. There is a return train at 2104 getting back to Munich at 2232.
The cost(March 2008) was 29 Euros return per person. We also reserved seats at 2 euros per person each way and as the train was pretty packed on both occasions, was glad we did.
I booked online using the German Railway website. www.bahn.de. Remember to take your credit card if that is how you booked, on the journey, as the ticket collector needs it and would probably charge again if you didnt have it.
Also remember your passport as we were asked for ours by two plain clothes police officer on the return journey.
The Railway Station in Salzburg is only about a fifteen minute walk away from the centre of town but give yourself enough time on the way back as it looks different in the dark and is easy to get lost!!
Salzburg is a very pretty place and a very pleasant place to spend a day.
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UPDATE: Due to construction, S-Bahn service between the Ostbahnhof and downtown will be limited late nights and weekends through 30 June 2014. During these times, The S-2, S-3, S-4, and S-7 will terminate at the Ostbahnhof. The S-8 from the Airport will run nonstop between the Ostbahnhof and Pasing and then continue on in the direction of Herrsching. Intermediate S-Bahn stations downtown will be served by shuttle trains departing every 10-20 minutes towards the Hauptbahnhof and/or Pasing. As another alternative, passengers can take the U-5 from the Ostbahnhof downtown in the direction of Laimer Platz, making stops including the Hauptbahnhof and Heimeranplatz (connections to the western branch of the S-7 in the direction of Wolfratshausen).
Munich's east train station, or Ostbahnhof, is a stopping point for many regional and inter-city trains headed south and east. Most (but not all) trains headed towards Salzburg, Vienna, and Innsbruck stop here. Connections are also possible with some EuroCity trains headed for Italy and the Balkans. In addition, CityNightLine overnight trains towards Berlin and Hamburg originate at the Ostbahnhof, as do various "auto trains." The train station is reachable by several buses, all S-Bahns except S-20, and the U-5.
For those who are arriving at Munich Airport and heading south or east of Munich, the Ostbahnhof can be a handy connecting point. Take the S-8 from the airport to Ostbahnhof and change to your connecting train. If you're going directly to Salzburg, for example, you can save a lot of money by using a Bayern Ticket, the cost of which ranges from EUR 22 for a single traveler to EUR 38 for 5 people traveling together (not valid on IR, IC, EC, or ICE trains; not valid before 9AM weekdays).
While the station itself is not as vast as the Hauptbahnhof, you will still find food stands, shops, kiosks, coin-operated luggage lockers, and toilets.
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Strasbourg->Munchen w/ "Dauer-Spezial" low fare
You can save € traveling to Germany by buying a ticket to a German border town [or near the border], then another ticket to the final destination.
We're traveling Strasbourg> Munich soon, and checked bahn.de. We found Strasbourg>Offenburg>Karlsruhe>Munich [2 train changes] for 72 €.
We noticed the Strasbourg>Offenburg train stops across the Rhine in Kehl, DE. The Kehl>Munich fare [same exact trains] "Dauer-Spezial" price=29 € [maybe because journey is all inside Germany.
So, A: 1 ticket - Strasbourg>Munich = 72 € B: 2 tickets - Strasbourg >Kehl ticket [3,5 €] + Kehl>Munich [29 €] = 32,5 €. Option A is 39,5 € more than Option B. 39,5 € buys nearly 5 liters of beer at Oktoberfest! The only difference is handing the conductor 2 tickets instead of 1.
The 29 € "Dauer-Spezial" is available only for a limited amount of seats [sometimes price isn't 29, but rather 49 or 59…still less than normal], and isn't refundable. Our dates are fixed, so we went for it. We bought it online [ticket = PDF]. No need to buy the first ticket early Strasbourg>Offenburg journey is a regional train [no assigned seats].
I'm sure this methodology works elsewhere. I checked the route from Luxembourg>Munich, and saw the normal fare as 107-129 €. However, by buying a Luxembourg>Trier ticket [13-16 €], then a Trier>Munich ticket [29 €], you get an equally good savings...less than 50 € instead of over 100 €.
Here's a [German language] page about Dauer-Spezial:
As of 12 July 2007, this URL is good
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There are three train stations in the city, but the main station is the Hauptbahnhof. From Munich, it takes 3.5 hours to reach Frankfurt. Berlin is 7 hours, Vienna is 4.5 hours, Prague is 6.5 hours and Milan is 7.5 hours.
What an experience to take the night train to from Amsterdam to Munich! Based on VT recommendations, we reserved our sleeping compartment far in advance. There are 3 choices of sleeping cars - couchette, economy, and deluxe. Since I was the only one under 6 ft. in the group, we decided the couchette was a little too small, and went with the economy sleeping car.
Having never been on a night train before we were not prepared for the cramped quarters. There was nowhere to put our luggage. The description said there was room under the lower bunks for a suitcase. They should say room for a garmet bag. Containing a single suit : ) Honestly, we couldn't even fit a day pack under there. We ended up stacking 2 of the suitcases on top of the "sink", and putting the other two on the floor between the bunks. And I'm not talking about huge, ugly American suitcases, either. OK, maybe one was (not mine).
And, while we got a good breakfast in the morning, we were never offered any beverages at all. Not even water. This may be entirely normal, but it struck me as odd since A) it was an 11 hour journey and B) many other trains we took had beverage service . There was a bar / dining car, but it was very small and smoky. Luckily we had packed a picnic.
So, now that I've made it sound horrible, it really wasn't that bad. The bedding was nice. And the 6ft plus guys could almost stretch out in the bunks. And my companions and I are good natured enough to find the humor in the whole situation. We laughed a lot and took a lot of pictures. And it was fun trying to sleep on the train. Oh, and the next day I felt like I was still on the train.
Anyway, all in all, it was a good $ for a hotel and transportation. But if I had it to do over again, I'd pay the extra $ for the deluxe sleeping car.
As with other train reservations, your tickets tells you which car and which comparment.
If you go to www.bahn.de and do a search on the subject as mentioned above, you will find a German page that explains this very economical ticket!
Basically, if you have the Munich Gesamnetz ticket, you need only pay 9 Euro per adult for this Werdenfels ticket. It will allow you to go to places like Oberammergau; Garmisch Partenkirchen, Mittenwald, even into Austria to Reutte(where the ruins of a great castle is) and Eibsee.
This is a better choice compared to SchonesWochenende ticket, which is 30 Euro for 5 person - bugger if you are travelling alone or with 1 friend (AND you will meet people asking to share your ticket with them).
This ticket covers all transport costs, including bus run by RVO.
Ask about this ticket at the Hauptbahnhof counter near the reisezentrum (not inside).
SchonesWochenende ticket is good if you intend to travel to far away place over weekends, i.e. to other states. It is also valid for the public transport in major cities, i.e. Munich.
Bayern Karte 22Eur is similiar to SchonesWochenende ticket but it is only valid within the state of Bavaria only. Valid on all days except that you cannot travel before 9 am on Mon-Fri (except Public Holiday). Similiar state discount card is also for other states in Germany.
The glorious bahnhof
If you can, go to Munich by rail. The train station is beautiful, usually less chaotic than the airport, close to the heart of the city, and services are available 24/7, which surprisingly is not the case at the airport. If you must fly to Munich, please visit my other Transportation Tip before you go.
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