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  Munich - Transportation

Munich is plagued by frequent traffic jams and a limited supply of parking spaces, therefore driving in the city is not recommended. Fortunately, the metropolitan area’s mass transit system is far-reaching and efficient—another reason not to drive. Taxis are considerably more expensive and, due to traffic, may be less efficient than public transport. Taxi stands, however, are plentiful throughout the city and easy to find.

Arriving By Air

Munich International Airport is Germany’s second-largest airport after Frankfurt and offers domestic and international service to more than 150 destinations. The airport, located 17 mi/28 km northeast of Munich, is connected to the city by the S8 S-Bahn (commuter rail line). Rail travel between the airport and the Hauptbahnhof or Marienplatz takes about 40 minutes. Making the same trip by car can take an hour or more during peak traffic times.

For information on flight connections, arrivals and departures, phone 9752-1313.

Hotel Courtesy Vans—Major hotels offer shuttle service to and from the airport, with vans stopping in front of the terminal.

Taxis—Taxi stand locations are indicated at each terminal exit. Fare to the city center is around 100 DM.

Airport Train—The S8 S-Bahn (commuter train) provides fast, efficient service to central Munich and other metropolitan destinations. The S-Bahn symbol is a green circle with a large white S in the center. Follow these signs to escalators and elevators leading down to the tracks. The train runs every 20 minutes between the hours of 3:55 am and 12:55 am every day. Tickets (adults 13.60 DM) are purchased at blue machines located at the top of the escalators. The machines accept change as well as 10 DM or 20 DM bills.

Airport Bus—Lufthansa operates a bus service between the airport and the Hauptbahnhof. The ride takes about 45 minutes, and the bus makes one stop along the way (in Schwabing, in front of the U6 Nordfriedhof subway stop). Bus service from the airport begins at 7:55 am and runs every 20 minutes. The last bus leaves at 8:55 pm. From the Hauptbahnhof, service begins at 6:50 am and also runs every 20 minutes. The last bus to the airport is at 7:50 pm. Tickets for adults cost 15 DM one way and 25 DM round trip. Children (4-14 years old) pay 5 DM one way and 9 DM round trip.

Rental CarsAlamo (phone 9759-7680), Avis (phone 9759-7600), Europcar (phone 973-5020), Hertz (phone 978-860) and Sixt Budget (phone 9759-6666) have offices at the airport (opposite Terminal A’s Departure and Arrival area), as well as at other locations in the city.

Arriving By Car

Several major highways (autobahns) lead to Munich: the A9 from the north via Nuremberg; the A92 from the northeast via Landshut, Freising and Munich International Airport; the A8 from the west via Karlsruhe, Stuttgart and Augsburg; the A95 from the south via Garmisch-Partenkirchen; the A93 from the south via Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass; and the A8 from the west via Salzburg. Speed limits are posted in some areas and during times of heavy traffic. Munich’s Mittler Ring is an attempt at a traffic bypass around the city center, but today’s traffic has outgrown the ring. Be forewarned that this route has traffic lights and is heavily traveled—traffic jams occur frequently.

Arriving By Train

Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) operates an excellent network of passenger trains, which connects Munich to cities throughout Germany and Europe. Trains run frequently and arrive and depart at the Hauptbahnhof. Train tickets can be purchased at the station or at any office of the travel agency abr Reiseburo GmbH (phone 12040). Seat reservations and reservations for sleeping quarters on overnight trains must be booked in advance. For train schedule and price information, call 19419 or the nationwide service number 0180-331-9419.

Arriving By Bus

A small bus station (Busbahnhof) is adjacent to the Hauptbahnhof and services mostly charter buses and organized tours. This is also the arrival and departure point for Lufthansa’s airport bus service to and from Munich International Airport.

Getting Around

Buses, Trams, Subways and Commuter Trains—The Munchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund, or MVV, operates an efficient interconnecting network of subways (U-Bahn), commuter trains (S-Bahn), buses and trams. Detailed schedules, maps and other information are posted at all train stations and at bus and tram stops. There are also special information booths at the Hauptbahnhof, Ostbahnhof and Marienplatz stations.

Regular service generally begins around 5 am and runs until 1:15 am on weekdays and 2 am on weekends. Check posted or published schedules for more specific information. On Fridays and Saturdays, the MVV offers a late-night service (Nachtlinien), which includes 11 bus and three tram lines running almost all night in 30-minute intervals.

Munich’s public transit operates on the honor system—there are no ticket-takers or computerized entry gates. You must validate your ticket yourself by inserting it into one of the small, blue Entwerter (validation) boxes, which are marked with a yellow E and located in all stations and on all buses and trams. In U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations these boxes are usually located near escalators. Spot-checks frequently take place on buses, trains and trams by plain-clothes MVV employees. Anyone traveling without a properly stamped ticket is subject to a fine (and a dose of public humiliation).

MVV tickets can be purchased at blue machines marked with a green K, which are located in all U- and S-Bahn stations and at some bus and tram stops. Most of these machines accept change, as well as 10 DM and 20 DM bills. Bus and tram drivers also sell tickets (no large bills, please), and ticket machines can also be found on board trams (coins only). You can also buy tickets at city newsstands displaying the green K sign.

The question of which type of ticket to buy is best answered by how much you plan to use public transit and where you want to go. Most visitors planning to travel to several destinations around the city in one day will find the Tageskarte (day ticket) a good bargain. The ticket (for one person only) allows unlimited travel from the time of validation until 6 am the following morning. There is also the companion Partner Tageskarte, which is good for two adults, three children (ages 4-17) and a dog. Both of these day passes are sold either for the Innenraum (inner zone) or the Gesamtnetz (entire network). For travel within the city of Munich, purchase an Innenraum Tageskarte (adults 8 DM, children 3 DM) or an Innenraum Partner Tageskarte (12 DM). For journeys to and from the airport and other outlying areas, get the Gesamtnetz Tageskarte (adults 16 DM, children 5 DM) or the Gesamtnetz Partner Tageskarte (24 DM). Groups of five people or more traveling together can get the Gruppen-Ticket, which allows unlimited travel (together) until 4 am the following day. For inner-zone travel, this option costs 5.60 DM for each adult and 1.50 DM per child (adults 11 DM, children 2.90 DM for the entire metro system). A regular one-way fare (Einzelfahrkarte) within Munich’s inner-zone costs 3.40 DM for adults and 1.50 DM for children (adults 13.60 DM, children 3 DM to and from the airport). You can also purchase the more economical strip ticket (Streifenkarte), which allows for several one-way rides and costs 15 DM for adults and 8.50 for children. The adult ticket is blue and has 11 strips, while the child’s ticket is red and has 8 strips. For each one-way trip within the city limits, adults must validate two strips (for children, only one strip). For trips to outlying areas, more strips must be validated. For example, for trips to or from the airport, an adult must validate eight strips, and children must validate two. The procedure is much less complicated than it sounds, and the blue ticket machines at the airport and at most stations list various Munich destinations and how many strips are required for your particular trip.

Taxis—Distinctive pale yellow Mercedes taxis are plentiful in Munich. Taxi stands are located at most major traffic intersections, city squares and public transit stations and stops, as well as in front of larger hotels and hospitals. You can also hail an unoccupied taxi if you see one passing on the street or you can order a taxi by phoning 21611 or 19410. There is a 2 DM surcharge for ordering a taxi. In the city of Munich, the base fare is 5 DM plus 2.20 DM per kilometer. If the driver has to wait, there is an additional charge of 30 DM per hour.