Munich and Venice are arguably two of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and both are standard stops for travelers on Euro-trips, gap years, or studying abroad. The towering cathedral in Munich along with the typical Bavarian architecture and verdant landscape make this city a highlight of Germany. Venice, nicknamed La Serenissima, is a city unlike any other with its labyrinthine canals and charming culture.
Because Munich is in southern Germany and Venice in the very north of Italy, it's common for travelers to finish traveling in one of these countries and then head to the other. Depending on your schedule and budget, there are various ways to travel between these two iconic cities.
Munich to Venice by Train
There are direct trains from Munich to Venice that take about 6 1/2 hours to arrive. If you have a Eurail Global Pass, you can use that to book a spot on one of these trains. Otherwise, try and purchase your ticket as far in advance as possible. Train tickets in Europe are like plane tickets; they use dynamic pricing and get more expensive as the travel date gets closer. If you are traveling extensively through Germany, a German Rail Pass will cover your trains within Germany as well as the train to Venice.
The trains are comfortable, and the trip from Munich to Venice passes through Bavarian forests, Austrian villages, snow-capped mountains, and Shakespeare's Verona. Even though you spend nearly a full day on the train, the stunning scenery that glides by will have you glued to the window during the entire trip.
Munich to Venice by Car
If you have a car, the trip from Munich to Venice is just as stunning as the train ride, plus you have the freedom to pull over and explore.
There are two similar routes you could take depending on the cities you want to pass through. Both of them are about 340 miles (550 km) and take nearly six hours to drive if you don't stop (you will want to stop). The western route takes you directly through the charming alpine city of Innsbruck, Austria, and continues down through Verona, Italy, and on to Venice. The eastern route takes you close to Salzburg, Austria—the setting of the Sound of Music—and later straddles the Italian and Slovenian border as it continues to Venice.
Drivers in Austria must pay an upfront toll to use the highways. Gas stations and stores in border towns will sell a "vignette" or sticker that will cover you for 10 days. Unless you want to pay a steep fine, you must have this sticker affixed to your car when driving in Austria.
Also, be aware that there are no roads—and therefore, no cars—in Venice. You can drive to Venice, but then you'll need to leave your car in a nearby garage. Because of the limited space and the popularity of Venice, parking garages can be a significant cost.
Flying From Munich to Venice
If you choose to fly, Air Dolomiti (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) has daily non-stop flights between Munich's Franz Josef Strauss Airport and Venice Marco Polo Airport. The flight is only an hour long, but when you factor in time to arrive at the airport, deal with baggage, and pass through security, the total journey time will be closer to four hours.
Ticket prices can vary, but if you are traveling in the winter off-season there are often deals for very affordable flights. Summer is the most expensive time to travel, as well as certain holidays like Christmas, Carnival, and Easter week.
Travel Planning Information for Munich and Venice
For Munich, there are a lot of things to do in the city. Foodies will want to head over to the Viktualienmarkt, Munich's farmers market, where you can sample great food or hang out in the enormous beer garden.
In Venice you'll have a chance to stretch your legs a bit on flat land, searching out the best Cicchetti Bars any time you're feeling like a little Venetian snack or a dribble of wine (an ombra, by the way). You can splurge on a Gondola ride when you get tired, or take the cheap route and explore the other islands on a Venice day trip. If the crowds get to you, you can head off for Padua or Ferrara, as both are quick train rides away from Venice.