Two of the most popular cities for visitors to Germany are Frankfurt and Munich and how to get to one or the other is a frequent question. Luckily, there are several different options at different price points. You can fly, make a road trip along one of Germany’s most picturesque routes, or take the train.
Here are all your transportation options — including their pros and cons — from Frankfurt to Munich and back.
Frankfurt to Munich by Plane
Your fastest option could be to fly from Frankfurt International Airport to Munich Airport. Both are popular airports and it takes a little less than an hour with tickets starting around $150 (round trip).
Munich’s Airport (MUC) is located 19 miles northeast of the city. Visitors can take public transportation in the form of S-Bahn S8 or S2 to reach Munich's city center in about 40 minutes.
Frankfurt's Airport (FRA) is Germany's busiest airport and the fourth busiest airport in Europe, with excellent services for international travelers. The airport is located approximately 7 miles southwest of Frankfurt's city center and is well connected by S-Bahn (city railway) and road. Transport time is only between 10 and 20 minutes.
However, with such a short flight it is often a better plan to travel by ground.
Frankfurt to Munich by Train
A cheaper and smarter option is to take the train from Frankfurt to Munich. Germany’s super fast Intercity Express train (ICE) reaches speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour and will take you to the Bavarian capital in three hours. Tickets cost around $120, with vast discounts available if you book well in advance.
You can book your ticket, find special sales, and reserve a seat on the Deutsche Bahn (German railway) website. Information is in English.
Frankfurt to Munich by Car
Driving is often the best option for families, so they can comfortably travel together and save money, or it can just be your excuse to drive on the world-famous Autobahn! With 390 km (240 miles) separating Frankfurt and Munich, you have two options if you want to drive yourself:
1. You can fly down the Autobahn from Frankfurt to Munich and reach your destination within 4 hours. Simply follow the Autobahn A 3 and then E 45.
2. If you have a little bit more time on your hands, how about taking a ride along one of Germany’s best scenic routes, the Romantic Road? This scenic drive leads you from Würzburg (south of Frankfurt) into the foothills of the German Alps.
When renting a car, base rates vary wildly depending on time of year, duration of rental, 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.
Driving in Germany:
- The legal driving age in Germany is 18, but drivers usually have to be over 21 to rent a car. Depending on the company, they may pay a premium until the age of 25.
- Reserve your car in advance (14 days beforehand ideally) for the best deals.
- Sign up for major companies' (such as Hertz, Sixt, etc.) newsletters or follow on social media for deals.
- German cars usually come with a manual transmission (gear shift). If you prefer an automatic transmission, ask the rental company, and most can accommodate you. This may -- like so many things -- result in an extra charge.
Frankfurt to Munich by Bus
The cheapest option is by bus. It can cost as little as $18, so bus tickets are a real bargain. Plus, comfort levels are boosted by bus services like wifi, air conditioning, toilets, electrical outlets, free newspapers, sleeper seats, and toilets.
Coaches are generally clean and arrive on time, barring issues with traffic.