Munich's towering cathedral and Bavarian architecture make it a major highlight of Germany whereas Venice, nicknamed La Serenissima, is unlike any other with its labyrinthine canals and charming culture. They're two of the most visited cities in Germany and Italy, respectively, and standard stops for travelers on Euro-trips, gap years, and study abroad programs alike.
Because Munich is in southern Germany and Venice is in the very north of Italy, it's common for people to hop from the former to the latter. The 543-kilometer (337-mile) route can be traveled by train, bus, car, or plane. Flying is the fastest, but a train ride is much cheaper and prettier if you have a couple of hours to spare.
How to Get from Munich to Venice
- Train: 6 hours, 30 minutes, starting at $50
- Bus: 8 hours, starting at $30 (budget-friendly)
- Car: 5 hours, 45 minutes, 337 miles (543 kilometers)
- Flight: 1 hour, starting at $120 (fastest)
Direct trains from Munich to Venice take about six and a half to seven hours. If you have a Eurail Global Pass, you can use that to book a spot. Fares typically cost between $50 and $80 USD. Train tickets in Europe are almost like plane tickets in that they get more expensive as the travel date gets closer, so it would be wise to purchase your ticket as far in advance as possible. If you are traveling extensively through Germany, a German Rail Pass will cover your commute throughout the country and the train to Venice as well.
While the train isn't quite as fast as flying, it is much cheaper. It's no less comfortable, either, and the trip from Munich to Venice has plenty in the way of scenery, passing through Bavarian forests, Austrian villages, snow-capped mountains, and Shakespeare's Verona. Trains depart from Munich Central Station and arrive at Venezia Santa Lucia several times per day.
For the budget-conscious traveler who has time to spare, the bus is typically the most cost-effective option. You can expect to spend between $30 and $40 USD on a one-way ticket with FlixBus, and the trip takes about eight hours.
For a few dollars more, travelers can opt for a slightly longer trip to squeeze in an extra destination: Verona, Italy. This medieval town is said to be the birthplace of Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet." Any fan of the famous tragedy will recognize the balcony they call "Juliet’s House." Buses run from Munich to Verona hourly and the trip takes just over six hours. The final stretch to Venice from Verona takes another two hours.
If you have or plan to rent a car, the trip from Munich to Venice is just as stunning as the train ride, plus you'll have the benefit of pulling over to explore.
There are two similar routes that connect them—which one is best for you depends on the places you want to pass through. Both routes are about 337 miles (543 kilometers) long and take nearly six hours to drive without stopping (rest assured you'll want to stop). The western route will take you directly through the charming alpine city of Innsbruck, Austria, before continuing down through Verona and on to Venice. The eastern route, rather, will take you near Salzburg, Austria—the setting of the Sound of Music—later straddling the Italian and Slovenian border.
Drivers in Austria must pay an upfront toll to use the highways. Gas stations and stores in border towns sell what the locals call vignettes, stickers that cover your highway travel 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—meaning no cars—in Venice. You can drive to Venice, but then you'll be required to leave your car in a nearby garage. Because of the limited space and the popularity of Venice, parking garages can be rather costly.
If you choose to fly, Air Dolomiti (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) has daily direct flights between Munich's Franz Josef Strauss Airport and Venice's Marco Polo Airport. The flight is only an hour long, but when you factor in the time it takes to travel to and from airports (not to mention passing through security and waiting for luggage), it can wind up occupying an entire afternoon.
It costs more than the train, too. According to Skyscanner, the cheapest flights cost about $120 (in June), but they can cost as much as $220 during peak travel times (December).
There are 25 direct flights from Munich to Venice per week. While the Venice Marco Polo Airport is the primary international travel hub, you can fly into Venice Treviso, too. The former is about 25 minutes from the city center and the latter is about double the distance.
What to See in Venice
Venice is called The Floating City because it's spread across dozens (more than 100, actually) small islands in the Adriatic Sea (hence the no cars rule). The most quintessential Venice thing to do is to take one of those charming gondola rides where an Italian in a striped top rows you through the lagoon. You can see the Renaissance- and Gothic-style palaces just by walking around, too.
Between stopping at the many cicchetti bars for snacks and wine (ombra, as Venetians often call it), you can explore Piazza San Marco, the central square where the famous St. Mark’s Basilica and the Campanile bell tower are located. Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and colorful Burano are also magnets for tourism.
Once you've seen the major sights, you can widen your range to other islands via a guided day trip or, if you're keen to get away from the crowds, head for the cities of Padua or Ferrara, both quick train rides away.