While Berlin is the capital of Germany, Munich is the capital of the state of Bavaria. The two cities are about 364 miles (585 kilometers) apart and getting between them is quite easy. Both are popular stops for tourists in Germany and planes, trains, and buses are readily available should you have particular travel needs that require you to get to Munich quickly or on the cheap.
The train is convenient because you can take it from city center to city center, but it tends to be the most expensive option. It's much cheaper to travel by bus, and sometimes by plane. However, driving to Munich is also an exciting way to see Germany from the Autobahn, the country's famous speed limitless highway system.
|Train||4 hours, 30 minutes||from $110||Convenience|
|Bus||6 hours||from $18||Budget travel|
|Flight||1 hour, 10 minutes||from $39||Quickest route|
|Car||6 hours||364 miles (585 kilometers)||Driving on the Autobahn|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Berlin to Munich?
With tickets sometimes as low as $18 via bus lines like FlixBus and BlaBlaBus, the bus is the cheapest way to get from Berlin to Munich. FlixBus offers the fastest service with a route that estimates only six hours of travel time, but you should account for potential traffic and travel delays before making your plans. The coach buses are quite comfortable and provide Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, toilets, electrical outlets, free newspapers, and sleeper seats.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Berlin to Munich?
The fastest, and occasionally cheapest, way to get from Munich to Berlin (and vice versa) is flying. Many airlines, including Lufthansa and easyJet, offer direct flights between Munich and Berlin and the flight only takes about one hour, 10 minutes. Booking early and not flying during a busy travel season, like summer or Oktoberfest, can help you find a better ticket price.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
The drive from Berlin to Munich takes about six hours if you don't make any stops and can avoid traffic. If you need to rent a car in Germany, keep in mind that base rates vary wildly depending on the time of year, the duration of the rental, the age of the driver, destination, and location of rental. From Berlin, you can take the A9 all the way south to Munich and it will be easy to follow the signs into the city as you approach. In Germany, there is famously no speed limit on the major highways but before you get too excited, make sure you do your homework and read up on the local driving laws.
How Long Is the Train Ride?
On Germany's high-speed InterCity Express (ICE) train, the trip from Berlin to Munich can take as little as four hours, 30 minutes, traveling at speeds of up to 190 miles per hour. The seating is usually pretty comfortable and there are some nice views of the countryside along the way. There are also several night trains from Munich to Berlin (and vice versa), which can allow you to travel the distance while you are asleep and arrive in the city fresh and ready to explore. Reservations are a must, and you can choose between seats, sleepers, and suites with two to six beds. Note that the better the accommodation and privacy, the higher the price tends to be.
Unfortunately, tickets may not come cheap and even basic fares start at $110. Most likely, you can find a better price if you book in advance and you may luck out from time to time with a special deal or discount.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Munich?
As the epicenter of the world's Oktoberfest celebrations, Munich is quite busy and crowded during the festival—which counterintuitively occurs in September and not during October. If you prefer to avoid the robust crowds the event draws, it's best to plan your trip to Munich for the spring when the weather begins to warm up and average temperatures range between 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) and 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). At this time, you can attend Fruhlingsfest, which is like the little sister of Oktoberfest. This spring festival is also a celebration of beer, but it attracts fewer crowds than the fall festival. On May 1, you might even have a chance to witness the traditional raising of the Maypole.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
The Munich commuter train—the S-Bahn—shuttles passengers from the Munich Airport directly to the city center. The S-1 and S-8 lines both leave from the airport and take different routes to the center of Munich, but if your final destination is the city center then you can use either one. Each of them takes about 35–40 minutes and depart from the airport at 10-minute intervals. An Airport-City-Day ticket only costs 13 euros, or about $15, and is good for all public transportation around Munich until 6 a.m. the following morning, which is a great deal if you arrive in the morning and can use it all day (otherwise you can purchase a single journey ticket for slightly less).
For a cheaper option, the Lufthansa Express Bus goes from the airport directly to the city center and costs 10.50 euros for a single journey or 17 euros for a roundtrip journey, about $12 or $20, respectively. The journey takes about 45 minutes by bus and while you can buy tickets directly from the driver, you'll get a small discount if you pre-purchase them online.
Taxis and ride-sharing are both available from the airport and use meters, but keep in mind that the airport is about 24 miles (38 kilometers) from the city center. Going by car can take up to 45 minutes with traffic and prices start at about 60 euros, or roughly $70.
What Is There to Do in Munich?
The Bavarian capital of Munich offers history and culture galore from gothic architectural gems of the Neues Rathaus to the sprawling green lawns of the English Garden, a park even larger than New York City's Central Park. The city is home to many interesting museums like the Deutsches Museum, the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum, and the Bavarian National Museum. In the summer, you can take advantage of the outdoor farmers market, enjoy the beer gardens, or throw yourself a picnic on the banks of the lively Isar River.