Traveling Between Munich and Berlin

Main terminal at Berlin Tegel airport.
••• John Freeman/Getty Images

Munich and Berlin are about 600 kilometers (380 miles) apart. But getting to and fro is quite easy for two of the most popular cities among tourists in Germany.

If you are unsure whether to take the plane, train, bus, or car between the two, here are all your transportation options including their pros and cons.

Munich to Berlin by Plane

The fastest and possibly cheapest way to get from Munich to Berlin (and vice versa) is flying.

Many airlines, including Lufthansa, Germanwings, and AirBerlin offer direct flights between Munich and Berlin and it only takes about one hour. If you book early and don’t fly during high travel season (e.g. height of summer or Oktoberfest), tickets can be as cheap as $120 (round-trip).

To get into the cities themselves:

From Berlin's Tegel Airport (TXL), you can take an express bus (around 30 minutes, $3) or a taxi to the city center. The city's other airport, Schönefeld (SXF), is well connected by S-Bahn and regional train.

Munich Airport (MUC) is located 19 miles northeast of the city; take the metro S8 or S2 to reach Munich's city center in about 40 minutes.

Munich to Berlin by Train

The train ride from Munich to Berlin takes about 6 hours with Germany’s fastest ICE train which reaches speed up to 300 kilometers per hour. This may seem a bit slow as France's trains can travel from Paris to Marseille (a similar distance) in roughly 3 hours.

The truth is, Germany is densely populated and though the trains move fast, even the fastest train - the ICE - stops frequently to serve the populace. Settle in and enjoy the ride as seating is comfortable, the countryside is beautiful and wifi is available on board. 

Plus, good news! Work is being done to shorten the ride from six to four hours by December 2017.

Unfortunately, tickets may not come cheap. While there are deals and discounts, the average one-way ticket costs about $160. Make sure to check out the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) website for special offers and try to book as early as possible. Early fares are a much more reasonable $80.

There are also several night trains from Munich to Berlin (and vice versa). They leave around 9 or 10 p.m. and arrive around 7:30 or 8:30 a.m. the next morning. This 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.

Munich to Berlin by Car

It takes about 6 hours by car to get from city to city -- if you are able to avoid the dreaded Stau (traffic). You can either take the route E 45 and E51 with Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Leipzig, and Potsdam along your way, or follow the Autobahn A 13 (which takes around 30 minutes longer), leading you past Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Chemnitz, Dresden, and Cottbus.

Base rates vary wildly depending on the time of year, duration of rental, the age of driver, destination, and location of rental.

Shop around to find the best price. Note that charges usually do not include the 16% Value Added Tax (VAT), registration fee, or any airport fees (but do include the required third-party liability insurance). These additional fees may equal up to 25% of the daily rental.

Munich to Berlin by Bus

Taking the bus from Munich to Berlin is one of the cheapest travel options – but also the slowest. It takes around 9 hours to get from Bavaria to the German capital. But it is not all bad; coaches offer wifi, air-conditioning, toilets, electrical outlets, free newspaper and sleeper seats. Buses are generally clean and arrive on time. They also come at a deep discount with tickets starting at about $45.

The German bus company Berlin Linien Bus offers daily buses between the two cities. Read our review for a full rundown on the service.