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Between September 22 and October 7, thousands of locals and tourists will descend on Munich to celebrate the biggest folk festival in the world - Oktoberfest! For more information on how to Oktoberfest like a German, watch our handy video below. Ein bier, bitte!
As the capital of Bavaria and the home of lederhosen, weisswurst, and Oktoberfest, Munich is the city most North Americans associate with German culture. People traveling in Germany will fall in love with the city as you sample world-famous Bavarian beer and explore the massive Englischer Garten. You can even surf the Eisbach River during the summer! Even if you're not a soccer fan you definitely can't escape the excitement that 'football' generates in Munich. Catch a match at Allianz Arena during the football season or just head to a bar to experience the local fandom!
Quick Guide to Munich
- Must Know: The public transport system in Munich is well established and is used by 500 million people per year
- Must See: Visit Schloss Neuschwanstein, the castle that inspired Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle
- Must Do: Visit Marienplatz, the central square in the city, which features a popular glockenspiel show
- Did you know? Munich is the formal capital of Germany and derives from the German word for ‘monk’
How to Get to Munich
Munich Airport was opened in 1992 as a replacement of the old airport, Riem, which was located near the city center. Today, it is the second largest airport in Germany and 7th busiest in Europe, used by almost 40 million passengers per year. The fastest way to get to the center from the airport is the S-Bahn (overground train). There are 2 lines, the S1 and S8, that connect the airport with the city in 40 minutes and the service departs every 20 minutes. An ExpressBus is also available that stops at the airport, taking just under an hour.
Munich Hauptbahnhof is one of the main train stations in Germany and together with Hamburg it is the most frequented station in the country with 450,000 passengers per day. There are 7 S-Bahn lines stopping at the station: the S1-S4, S6-S8. These lines come from all directions and have their own platforms inside the station. The U-Bahn (underground) also connects the city with the central station. The Hauptbahnhof has 6 U-Bahn lines including the U1, U2, U4, U5, U7, and U8. Furthermore, the station also offers several tram lines and buses that stop in front and beside the station.
Munich Ostbahnhof is the second biggest train station in Munich. Located 2.4 km from the city center, there are a lot of travel options that connect Ostbahnhof to the city center. 7 S-Bahn lines stop here; S 1-8, except the S5. Located just underneath the station, the U5 also offers direct services to the center as well as the number 19 tram and several city bus lines.
Munich is one the most popular destinations in Germany, so there are many bus providers, serving routes to and from Munich. The most important one being Flixbus, as the company has its headquarter in Munich. Other important providers are Postbus, Infobus and Eurolines. Munich's main bus station, called the Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof (or ZOB), is located next to the central train station (or Hauptbahnhof), therefore all the routes to the city center apply from ZOB with just a small walk to the central train station.
Getting Around Munich
MVG (Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft) serves the buses, trams and the U-Bahn, while the S-Bahn is serviced by Deutsche Bahn. The public transport by MVG is used by more than 500 million people per year and it is made up of 11 tram lines, 67 bus lines, and 8 U-Bahn lines. There are many different zones around Munich but for the city itself, the inner ring is the main zone of importance. It consists of 4 zones and the more zones you cross, the more expensive the ticket becomes.
Cycling is a great way to get around Munich and there are well-maintained cycle lanes on almost all main roads in the city, as well as many in parks and gardens around the city. In addition to the municipal bike service, which has stations littered all over the city, there are also private bike rental shops - however, they can often be slightly more expensive.
German roads are generally very well maintained; however, since Munich is one of Germany's biggest cities, there is a tendency for the city center to be extremely busy during rush hours. These periods of extreme traffic tend to be during the morning and evening commutes.
Munich is a pedestrian-friendly city. There are lots of well-kept sidewalks and in the city center, you can find many pedestrian zones like Marienplatz and along Kaufingerstraße. Walking around the whole city on foot is possible, though will require a good pair of shoes.
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