Munich is the most popular commuter city in Germany, with over 380.000 commuters making their way into the city on a daily basis. Munich also has the highest cost of living in Germany, and the 23rd highest cost of living in Europe. Thankfully, Munich also has some of the best connectivity around, with high-speed trains, excellent Autobahn access and even its own airport! So, commuting to Munich while living outside the city seems viable. But what are the most efficient ways to commute? And what are some of the most interesting commuter towns for expats? Let’s find out!
Commuting by train is one of the best ways to commute into Munich. The city has 8 S-bahn lines that see departures and arrivals as frequently as every 5 minutes during peak rush hours and service until 1 AM. Additionally, Munich is connected to the High speed ICE train network, that connects major cities in the fraction of the time it would take to travel to these cities by car. Most importantly, the Munich train system connects many of the outlying towns directly to Munich. So taking advantage of the MVV transportation map is a great tactic to find a more affordable commuter town to live in without making your commute an awkward affair.
In fact, all locations listed within the MVV plan are at their longest around one hour from Munich by train with regularly scheduled connections throughout the day. Another advantage of using this map to locate places to live in is that it is guaranteed that the village or town you are looking into is actually accessible by fast public transport! Some smaller villages may very well be within the same range on the map - but might be a real hassle to reach if you don’t so happen to have a car at your disposal.
Speaking of cars, Munich is also at the heart of a number of major Autobahn arteries, allowing drivers fast access to Munich and other major cities like Stuttgart and Nürnberg. To give you an example of the connectivity, Bundesautobahn 9 connects Munich all the way to Berlin! Not optimal for a commute, but a testament to the freedom and mobility having a car in Germany can afford you. At the complete opposite of the spectrum, you could also live in Germany for the rest of your life without needing a car for more than a handful of occasions.
So, commuting by car or by public transport is basically a game of pros and cons based on your needs. Do you have kids you need to bring to school? Do you do groceries for more than 2 people? Then yes, a car might be a worthwhile investment. But if you’re an expat duo or even just you by yourself, a bike and a public transport card might be all you need to go wherever you want in and around Munich.
So, let’s take a look at some of the towns and cities that are home to people who make their way to Munich for work on a daily basis. Thanks to Munich’s excellent connections, there are available towns nearby, as well as viable towns that are remarkably quite far away!
Just outside the bustle of Munich you’ll find the town of Dachau, home to only around 50.000 people. Despite it unfortunately being home to a concentration camp during WWII, it is now a popular residential area for commuters working in Munich. It’s connected to Munich by the S2 line, which takes you into Munich in anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on the time of day. Going into Munich by car takes a little more time, with 30 minutes on a smooth drive and up to 50 minutes in bad weather or when running into traffic.
Roughly 30 km west of Munich you’ll find Fürstenfeldbruck, a town with roughly 35.000 people and it has had its own airbase since before WWII. Driving in clear weather and normal traffic will see you in Munich in anywhere from 30-40 minutes. Its train route uses the S4 line, ferrying commuters into Munich central station in around 25 minutes.
We’re now getting a little further away, with the city of Augsburg at around 80 km away. With 300.000 inhabitants, it’s the third-largest city in the area. It has a beautiful Altstad city centre and is one of the oldest cities in Germany, founded in 15 BC by the Romans. To get to Munich by car, you’re looking at around a 50-minute drive. Doable, but pushing it in terms of quality of life. Once again, the train system is the lifesaver, with a 45 minute trip by train or a 30-minute ride if you take the high-speed ICE train system.