The best way to travel around Munich—besides using your own feet—is the public transportation system consisting of the suburban trains (S-Bahn), subway (U-Bahn), the tram and buses. There is only one ticket system, called MVV, which means you can use all elements of the public transport with the same ticket. You can get individual, group, day and week tickets. The U-Bahn stations are signed with a white capital "U" on a blue background. S-Bahn stations are signed with a white "S" on green background. All S-Bahn lines join in one tunnel (Stammstrecke) between the stations Donnersbergerbrücke and Ostbahnhof in central Munich.
The Munich MVV website includes maps of the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram and bus network, maps of the P&R parking decks, pricing information as well as timetables and a journey planner. The official urban rail-network map is indispensable.
Single trips in a single zone such as the city center cost €2.60, but the four-zone journey from the airport is a whopping €10.40. Thus, if you arrive at the airport and intend to explore Munich by the public transport system, the best option is to buy a €11.20 Gesamtnetz (whole network) day pass. If you are not traveling alone, then you can purchase a group ("Partner") day pass for €20.40, allowing up to five adults to travel together on all lines of the MVV system.
A day ticket is worth buying if you plan to take more than two trips on the same day. It is available for single persons and groups ("Partner"), the latter for up to five adults traveling together, and is valid until 06:00 the next morning. The day ticket is available for four areas:
If you are staying longer than three days in Munich, a good option is to buy a weekly ticket. The weekly ticket is valid from Monday to Monday. The price of the weekly ticket depends on the number of rings you want to travel during the week (starting from the center of the city). Almost all U-Bahn stations are within the rings 1–4.
For several journeys on different days the blue stripe card (Streifenkarte), with 10 strips, is a better value than buying lots of individual tickets. The cost is €12.50, and may be purchased at dispensing machines at every station. You need to use two strips for each colored zone on the map. If you are making several trips a day, the day ticket is a better option.
If you plan to explore Munich and see all the sights and tourist attractions, buy the Munich CityTourCard; this a valid for all public transportation services in Munich and a discount card for many tourist attractions like museums, sights, shopping or gastronomy. It is available in six versions (single and group tickets) and with validity for one or three days.
A leaflet with information about the discount offers of the partners and a map of the city center and a plan of the public transportation network are included. The ticket is available at ticket vending machines at all S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations and at some tram and bus stops. Furthermore it can be purchased at the MVG customer center as well as in selected hotels and online.
All tickets, except for weekly tickets must be stamped to be valid; without a stamp the ticket is invalid and you can be fined €40. Stamping machines (Entwerter) are found at the entrance to the S-Bahn or U-Bahn platforms, and inside buses and trams (look for a small blue machine with a black "E" on yellow ground). In most other German cities, passengers can validate tickets on the train; however, this is not the case in Munich, so be sure to validate your ticket before boarding any U-Bahn or S-Bahn train.
Public transportation operates with limited service from 02:00 to 05:00. The U-Bahn does not operate at all during this time, and trams and some buses operate only in one hour intervals from Monday to Friday and on 30-minute intervals on the weekend. On Friday, Saturday and nights before public holidays, there is a single S-Bahn on each line between 02:30 and 03:00. So if you're staying out late, try to get the schedule of the so-called Nachttram (night tram) in advance or do not leave the place before 05:00 unless you want to take a taxi.
MVV-Companion, journey planner for public transportation in Munich, to be used on iPhone, iPad and Android-Smartphones and for free.
If you plan to explore Munich and Bavaria via regional trains, consider getting a Bayern Ticket, which is good on all regional trains within Bavaria, all Munich MVV transportation, and trains to Salzburg for up to five people for only €38 a day (single travelers can purchase the Bayern Ticket 1 person for €22, every additional person up to 5 persons: €4). The Bayern Ticket is good on any weekday after 09:00 and all day on any weekend day.
If you travel on a weekend, exploring Munich and taking a regional Deutsche Bahn train to another city anywhere in Germany on the same day, consider getting a Deutsche Bahn Schönes–Wochenende Ticket . This ticket covers all DB regional train travel and all Munich S-Bahn travel for up to five people for a single weekend day for €42.
Schönes–Wochenende Tickets and Bayern Tickets are only valid on regional train services (red) but not on IntercityExpress and Inter/Eurocity trains (white). Additionally, both tickets are valid on trains run by the Bayerische Oberlandbahn (BOB) and Arriva–Länderbahn Express (ALEX).
With over 200 km (120 mi) of bikeways, one of the very best ways to explore the city is on a bicycle. Guided tours are available, or for the independent-minded, rentals and maps are available at Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) and other areas of the city.
Bikes can also be rented by the Call-A-Bike system, which is run by Deutsche Bahn. You need to call a number listed on the bikes from your mobile phone and register with the callabike.de website in order to use them. The service is convenient, as you just spot an available bike throughout the city and just leave it at your destination. However, this is not an economical alternative if you are planning many trips in a single day. In that case, it is better to get a day or multiday rental from one of the rental services located throughout central Munich.
Munich is generally a bike-friendly city, with many designated bike lanes (especially along river Isar, in the parks and even in the city centre). Rates of accidents involving bicycles are rising in Munich. Hence, the police enforces traffic rules for cyclists more rigorous, especially at the beginning of the bike season in spring. Fines range from €10 for driving without light during nighttime to €100 for ignoring red traffic lights. Drunk cycling can result in hefty fines and even in detention. Helmets are not required for cyclists, but are recommended.
As everywhere in Germany, Munich taxi cabs can easily be recognized by their beige color and the yellow-black taxi sign on the roof. Taxis can be found at taxi stands throughout the city, at train stations and at the airport. It is also possible to flag down a taxi (if it is not occupied) or to call one of the many taxi companies of Munich. Prices are regulated by the city government. The basic fare is €3.30 with additional €1.70 per kilometer for up to 5 kilometers, €1.50 per kilometer for 5–10 km, and €1.40 per km for every additional kilometer above 10. Waiting time per hour is €24 and there are additional charges for pets (€0.60 per animal) and luggage (€0.60 per piece).
It is generally a bad idea to explore Munich by car. Traffic is heavy especially during rush hour, and parking tends to be close to impossible. Moreover, many landmarks and areas of touristic interest are in the inner city, which is largely closed for car traffic. Close to the historic city centre, parking space is scarce and expensive.
Driving may be an option for visiting some of the attractions in suburban Munich like the Bavaria Film Studios or for making day trips to cities and lakes outside of Munich.
Munich has three ring-roads: the autobahn A 99, Mittlerer Ring (B 2R) urban expressway and Altstadtring, which can be used to avoid getting stuck in inner-city traffic. However, during rush hours these rings are often congested, too. In July and August when people from the rest of Germany, northern Europe and the Benelux countries travel to the beaches of the Adriatic Sea and back home (half of them towing a caravan) you're almost guaranteed to get into traffic jams around Munich.
Prices for parking on streets range from €1 to €2.50 per hour, usually from 08:00 to 23:00. There may be additional restrictions, e.g. for the maximum duration. Throughout the city centre there are "blue zones". Wherever you find blue lines on the ground, you can park your car for a maximum time of 2 hours (hourly rate €2.50). The meaning of other colours is as follows:
The best options are public parking decks which are widely available in the centre. However it can take some time to find a free parking spot. Parking garages are indicated with blue rectangular signs with a capital white "P". Usually a green sign indicates that there are free spots while a red sign indicates that the car park is full. The city has a car park routing system which shows you where you can find a parking slot. Rates are:
Outside the historic city centre (where the colour scheme isn't used), parking along the streets is mostly only allowed for residents with a special parking permit.
The police may tow your car away if it obstructs the traffic or endangers other people. Watch out for fire brigage access roads which are marked with small signs reading "Feuerwehrzufahrt". There is no stopping and standing, parking will result in immediate towing.
If your car has been towed away contact the next available police station. There is a central place where all towed cars will be brought to (Thomas-Hauser Straße 19; open 24/7; S2/S4 to station Berg am Laim, Bus 146 to Iltisstraße until stop Thomas-Hauser Straße, 5 min to walk from there). You need to show your passport/ID, drivers licence and registration document and you will have to pay a fine—expect around €150.
A constant harassment are the private towing companies that guard private parking spaces such as those of supermarkets. Their fines can easily double or triple the police's fines.
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