Munich

Where will your dreams take you?

Yes, Munich is famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) for its annual beer festival and drunken Oktoberfest gathering. But if that is all you know about Munich, then you are missing out on a most beautiful city full of architectural and historical gems. There is something for everyone in and around Munich: Don’t miss the historic city center, Marienplatz city square, old and new City Halls, and Munich’s famous clock tower with its hourly “Glockenspiel” with charming dancing figures. There is the Englischer Garten (English Garden) – one of the largest urban parks in the world and ideal for wandering, walking, running, sitting, sipping and, yes, surfing (as in, on surfboards, on a faux wave). A walk, cycle or run along the Isar River is also a must. Whether you are visiting for one day, two days, a week or more, the best way to begin your quest to find what to do in Munich is right here. Discover Munich with us through our photographs and stories. And, when you are ready to visit, be sure to download our free Munich City Guide.

Entry Requirements (Passports and Visas)PASSPORTS: Citizens of European Union countries simply need a valid identity card. Citizens of any other country seeking to enter Germany will need a passport that is valid for at least four months from the date of entry into Germany. VISAS: Citizens of many countries outside the European Union may need a visa to visit Germany; however, U.S. citizens for example do not since the United States falls under the Schengen Agreement. That agreement allows for certain countries, such as the United States, to visit EU countries for up to 90 days every 180 days (i.e. approximately three months within a six-month period). Before planning travel, use the iVisa search function below to verify requirements.

Arriving By Train – It is easy to get to Munich on either the fast train (InterCity-Express) or the other lines (InterCity, EuroCity, and InterRegio). For booking information, go to the Deutsche Bahn website here. Trains to all over Germany will depart or arrive primarily from the Munich Hauptbahnhof (Munich’s central train station). If you use the train to arrive or depart, take a close look at your ticket. If it says “+City” after the arrival or departure city, you can also use public transportation at no cost going to and from.

Arriving By Plane – All flights will arrive and depart from Munich International Airport (MUC). Both international and domestic flights are frequent. The city is a gateway for many trans-Atlantic arrivals. Our tip: Do not short any transfer time there. The airport can be a bit of a maze and security is multi-level.

To and from the airport — Getting to and from the airport from almost anywhere in Munich is quite easy. S-Bahn lines 1 and 8 serve the Munich Airport train station. Tickets Some airlines offer a “Ride + Fly” ticket for arrivals and departures in Munich. This allows you to travel to and from the airport using public transportation for no additional charge. Be sure to inquire when booking your flight. There is also an airport express bus operated by Lufthansa with departures and arrivals to and from the airport every 15 minutes between 5:15 a.m. and 8 p.m, with two convenient stops (main train station and north Munich). This bus can be more convenient and much more comfortable than dealing with public transit (Our tip: Buy a less-expensive roundtrip immediately if you plan to use the bus service twice since tickets do not ever expire).

Getting Around In Munich

Munich’s public transportation network is one of the most confusing we have confronted anywhere, being divided into a series of zones with those all divided into a series of rings. Even locals have problems figuring it out. Nevertheless, it is thorough with its U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (fast urban rail), buses, and trams run by the Munich Public Transportation Agency (MVV). Tickets are based on numbers of rings or zones! Don’t guess. Go to a window and ask what you need to get it right. The Munich Tourist Office has done a valiant job trying to explain it so take a look here for that detail if you are so brave. Once there, use the MVV Journey Planner or its good app to help you out.

Munich has so-called “stripe tickets” (Streifenkarten) that can be cheapest way to go if you don’t travel enough for a day pass. You validate with a stamp the number you need for each ride, with a basic ride in the inner area needing two stripes. Ask how to fold it and validate it. That too is tricky! Another trip is to buy a so-called IsarCard” week’s pass if you are going to be hopping around a lot for a number of days. It is not commonly sold to tourists (see CityTourCard, below) but offers insanely inexpensive frequent travel for up to a week – you choose the start date of your week. Again, don’t pull out your hair in utter confusion; go see a ticket agent. Please.

Renting a car – Travel by car is very easy in Germany and renting a car relatively uncomplicated. But there are a few things to keep top of mind. First, many German towns and cities have designated low emission zones, meaning only certain vehicles meeting established low emission standards and bearing a color-coded sticker are permitted. Learn more about the emission stickers here. Second, while the autobahn has only suggested speed limits in places, in other places and on most other roads speed limits are strictly enforced, often with cameras. And those speed limits can change in a blink of an eye, typically right before a speed-trap camera catches you flying by. If you rent a car, stay within the speed limits at all times and drive carefully!

Finding a toilet or WC

There is a smattering of public facilities – one on Marienplatz, one in the Englischer Garten, for example, but they are not free. So be sure to carry 50 cents change with you. Take advantage of the toilets whenever you are in a coffeehouse or restaurant. And you can always find facilities in department stores, but even there the cleaning ladies will have a dish out – in this case, paying is not mandatory but nice of course since such places are kept quite clean. Another tip: If you are near a university building, you can always walk in and use the toilet there, totally free.

Language – The main language in Germany is indeed German (Deutsch). Many Germans, especially younger ones and those living in larger cities speak English sufficiently well that tourists and visitors who do not speak German or only “nicht sehr gut” (not so good) will be able to communicate just fine. Still, it’s always a good idea to learn a few German language basics so that you feel more comfortable shopping and in a restaurant.

Learn to speak a bit of German so you can get around more easily and don’t stand out as a tourist! Read our story Start to learn languages – Top language learning apps and websites.

Health – Ticks are prevalent in many forested regions in Germany and carry Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Be sure to use insect repellent and wear insect repellent clothing when walking in forests and fields. Ask your doctor about needing a TBE vaccination if you plan to spend significant time walking in forested areas.

For over-the-counter medications and seeking minor health issue advice (sore muscles, cough, cold, etc.) you will go to an Apotheka. Should you need a doctor or emergency care while in Germany, be sure your health insurance will cover you internationally — and at what level. We strongly advise purchasing travel insurance that that has emergency medical coverage sufficient enough to cover you in the event of an emergency.

Vaccinations – It is very important you understand what vaccinations and immunization proof is required before travel. The CDC Traveler’s Health page is your best and most up-to-date source for finding what shots are recommended and which are required for any country in the world.

Travel Advisories – Before you travel, we would recommend checking to see if there are any travel advisories or warnings issued for your intended country of travel. Also, for U.S. citizens, we do recommend that you register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

Emergencies – To reach the police, fire department or ambulance service, dial 112. Calling 112 is free from any landline or mobile phone. This is throughout Europe.

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Managing Money — The Euro is the currency in Germany. Use the calculator from Oanda below to help you manage your money exchanges and know how much something selling in Euro would cost in dollars.

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Save some money with the Munich CityTourCard

One price offers discounted admission to museums and attractions, and, depending one what level of ticket you purchase, includes on and off access to selected parts of the MVV public transportation network. Purchase your Munich CityTourCard in advance here.

 

Late spring to early autumn (think May through early October) are the best times to visit if you are seeking warmer, sunnier weather — this is also the most crowded time to visit as a result.

To check the latest weather for any destination you are thinking of heading to in Germany, visit our weather page complete with weather radar and minute-by-minute forecasting.

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