Getting around Munich is super easy and fast. Well-connected Munich public transport, amazing bike lanes and easy to navigate subway system will make your Munich city break stress-free and smooth.
Getting around Munich & Munich public transport
When to go to Munich?
Let’s start our guide with the main issue: when to go to Munich? The most popular season among travelers visiting Munich are three weeks between mid-September and beginning of October, when the famous Oktoberfest beer festival takes place. However, you have to consider that hotel prices are a few times higher than during other months and the city is overcrowded. I recommend you visiting Munich in summer – from June to mid-September. Surprisingly, Munich is not very popular among tourists (comparing to Paris or London) and outside Marienplatz, there are usually no crowds at all. You can enjoy a famous Radler (beer with lemonade) at the numerous beer gardens or relax in the Englisher Garten. While visiting Munich in summer, you may also take a short trip to nearby Bavarian Alps and indulge in its natural beauty. Munich is also worth visiting in December, when numerous Bavarian Christmas markets take place here. The weather in Munich is similar to the one we have in Central Europe, except that it rains much more often 🙂
Getting from Munich airport to the city center
OK, so you’ve just landed… How to get to Munich from the airport then? The city basically has two airports. The first is one of the best airports in the world, named after Franz Josef (MUC), located about 40 km from the city center. It is an amazing attraction itself. You can find here the only airport brewery in the world and a replica of the Allianz Arena. In front of terminal entrance, depending on the season of the year, you can see a tennis court, Christmas market with an ice rink, and even … an artificial wave for surfers.
The easiest way to get to the center of Munich, to Marienplatz, is by S-Bahn (train) – two lines run from the airport: S1 and S8, with S8 traveling much faster (approx. 40 minutes instead of 50 minutes). The S1 also runs through the western areas of Munich. The price for a one-way ticket is around EUR 12 and you can buy it at vending machines in an underground station. You better have cash in banknotes below EUR 20, many e.g. Polish debit cards are not accepted, as well as banknotes higher than EUR 50. Another option is the Lufthansa bus to Munich Central Station Hauptbanhof. The return trip costs 17 EUR (one-way ticket EUR 10.50) and takes about 45 minutes. A taxi ride from the airport to the center costs about 70 EUR.
The other airport is located in Memmingiem (FMM – Allgäu Airport), but is often described as Munich West airport. It is located about 120 km from the city and serves mainly as a base for low cost airlines. How to get from Memmingen to Munich? Preferably by bus. This connection is operated by both Flixbus (by the way, it is a Munich-based company) and Allgäu Airport Express. Ticket prices range from 10 to 15 EUR and it is better to buy them online. The journey takes about 1.5 hour and you reach the Hauptbanhof central station. Fun fact, if you get stuck in a traffic jam, the bus drivers call the airport to ask the plane to “wait” for you 🙂 The bus schedule, especially of the second carrier, is aligned with the planes’ one.
|Tip: As weird a it seems… Bring cash. In many cafes or restaurant you won’t be able to pay by card. Also, Oktoberfest is a cash-only event!
Munich public transport
U-Bahn (subway) is the best mean of Munich public tranport 🙂 Munich’s greatest tourists attractions are actually located just next to the subway lines. The cost of one trip in one zone is EUR 2.80. If you plan to ride more, I recommend buying a full-day ticket (EUR 6.60) or ticket for 3 days (EUR 16.50). All ticket options and the subway plan may be found on the MVV website of Munich public transport. The metro stations themselves are a great architectural masterpiece, if you have more time, be sure to check out the rainbow-like Candidplatz station (line U1).
Munich by bike
Another great option for exploring Munich is a bike. Bike lanes are basically everywhere, there are a lot of stands and facilities for cyclists. You can rent a bike, e.g. in oBike through the application (however, the bikes are not suitable for longer trips – it is quite difficult to ride them, good thing – you can leave them anywhere). Other bike rental companies operate on similar terms to Warsaw’s Veturilo are e.g. Deutsche Bahn or MVG bikes. If you stay in Munich for longer, it’s worth considering simply buying a bike – I once bought a beautiful (ok, I admit – quite an old one) Batavus only for EUR 50 on eBay 🙂
Munich by car
As a lucky car owner, I have to admit that it may be one of the worst ideas that ever crossed your mind. And this is not even about horrible traffic jams, but… parking. Finding a parking space in the Munich city center is like searching for the Holy Grail, especially on weekends, when the whole city goes shopping. Seriously. I remember that once I was looking for a parking space for almost 1.5 hours, then I finally, returned home and went shopping … by subway 🙂 Even if you experience this miracle and find a free spot, parking fees in the center will give you a slight heart attack – in some places you can pay even EUR 20 for 1 hour (parking is free on Sundays). So, Munich public transport for life! 🙂
Hotels in Munich
Let’ have a look here: Hotels in Munich.
Eating out in Munich
Munich is not the best option for a foodie on a budget. A simple pretzel with butter bought in a bakery costs about 1.5 – 2 euros. Lunch in a regular restaurant in Munich costs between 15-30 euros per person. Pizza costs between 8 and 12 euros, depending on the place. A typical Bavarian breakfast, i.e. two white sausages (Weisswurst) with mustard, pretzel and beer, costs around 8-10 euros. There are also several Michelin star restaurants in Munich. For example, the tasting menu at the two-star EssZimmer restaurant at BMW Welt costs from 150 to 200 euros per person.
|Tip: Fun fact – in many restaurant you may get a beer in the price of water, or even… cheaper! 🙂
Shopping in Munich
As this post is written by a woman, there must be a part about shopping of course 🙂 The most popular shopping streets are the ones in the area between Odeonsplatz, Marienplatz and Stachus. You will find here chain stores as well as high-end brands.
If you want to experience the best designers, you should visit the Maximilianstrasse, especially popular among Arab and Russian tourists.
Germans love big department stores, where you can buy basically everything starting from lipstick to vacuum cleaner. Near Stachus you may find TK Maxx, but even on weekdays there are terrible crowds and personally I do not like this place (although there are often good deals!). If you want to do all your shopping in one place, you should look for Galeria Kaufhof or the Karstadt department store near the main train station. There are also department stores dedicated only to fashion, e.g. Hirmer (Kaufingerstraße 28) for men or Ludwig Beck (Marienplatz 11) for women, both near Marienplatz. Kustermann (Viktualienmarkt 8) is a department store with a broad range of home products. These are not cheap places and if you are looking for some less expensive alternatives, then a trip to shopping centers in the outskirts is what you need.
If you are looking for small shops with things from Munich-based designers, go to Schwabing and Glockenbachviertel district (near the Fraunhoferstrasse subway). Germans highly value handicrafts, so you have to expect *really* high prices (example: hand embroidered suspenders for Lederhosen for 400 EUR…).
Shopping malls are rather rare in Munich and are usually located a little further from the city center. I can recommend you three good ones: Olympia-Einkaufszentrum (near Olympiapark, Hanauer Str. 68), Riem Arcaden (probably the coolest center and definitely the most modern, at the former Munich-Riem airport, Willy-Brandt-Platz 5) and PEP (quite old, in Neuperlach district, Ollenhauerstraße 6). There are a lot of chain stores with prices similar to the other EU countries (cosmetics and house supplies are much cheaper, especially in dm or Rossmann chain stores).
|Tip: A trip to Ingolstadt Outlet Village is extremely popular weekend entertainment among Munich residents. It is a city located 80 km north of Munich, famous primarily for the Audi factory. It is very picturesque itself, but a majority of visitors is attracted primarily by the outlet village. There are a lot of amazing deals, especially during the New Year sales. There are both top-end brands such as Boss, Gucci, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Prada, as well as slightly cheaper ones – Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Furla, New Balance, SuperDry. Prices can be really pocket-friendly compared to regular ones. My last purchase is a 100% wool sweater from Hilfiger for less than 30 euros (discounted from 200!) 🙂