Public transport in Munich: How to get around

Bas

Updated on Sep 18 • 3 minute read

Munich is a beautiful city, with an excellent public transport system. It’s well connected with timely and frequent departures. So let’s take a look at Munich's public transport works, so you can explore the city as soon as you move!

Tickets and transport zones in Munich

Munich has 7 different transport zones, but if you live in or near the city centre, the large M zone is the most important. If you’re moving to- or from the Airport, you’ll be going into zone 5, for example. The cost of public transport in Munich depends on how many zones you travel in.

Since you’ll staying for a while tickets for Munich's public transport will be too expensive. Rather purchase a weekly or monthly ISARcard which is the best and most affordable option to use Munich's public transport network. You can use the ISARcard on all means of public transportation in Munich: S-Bahn, U-Bahn, bus and tram. For students, the ISARcard is also available as a semester card.

If you plan on using public transport in Munich rarely, a one-way or day ticket might be more down your alley. You can buy public transport tickets at any ticket machine and use it on any type of public transport.

S-Bahn in Munich

Munich S-Bahn's connects Munich with cities nearby. The S-Bahn's network spans over 150 stations over 8 S-lines, carrying more than 850,000 people a day!

On weekdays, most of Munich's S-Bahn trains run until 1 a.m., and start up again in the morning as early as 4 a.m. On Fridays, Saturdays and the nights before public holidays, trains are available all night. The only exception's the connection to Munich airport, which runs 24/7.

Munich's S-Bahn frequency

The S-Bahn trains are available every 20 minutes, down to every 10 minutes during peak hours. For the more outlying stations, the times might be different, with less frequent trains and wait times between 20-40 minutes.

U-bahn in Munich

The U-Bahn is the Munich's metro system made up of lines U1 through U8 (only U5 and U6 have sections that are above ground). Munich's U-Bahn has close to 100 stops and runs from 4 in the morning up until 1 a.m. on weekdays. On weekends, the lines run until 2 AM, with exceptions for holidays like New year’s eve.

Munich's U-Bahn frequency

Most of Munich's U-Bahn trains run every 5 minutes during peak hours, but because some lines overlap, you can find a metro to your destination as often as every 2 minutes during peak hours. Outside peak hours and in the evening your wait can increase to up to 20 minutes, so be sure to check your travel planner!

Due to its frequency and availability, Munich's U-Bahn is probably the most flexible way to get around the city over medium to long distances.

Munich's tram & bus system

In the northern part of the city, you’ll find Munich’s famous tram and bus system! The Munich tram network is made up of 14 daytime routes and 4 night routes servicing over 173 stops. With that many bus- and tram stops covering Munich, this system is ideal if you need to get somewhere in the city with pin-point accuracy! So, get to the right district using the U-Bahn and then hop on a tram on bus to take you within a few minutes of your destination!

Tram & bus frequency

The 13 daytime tram lines operate from 4:45 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., departing every 10-20 minutes and the 4 additional nighttime routes run daily from 1:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. at a much-reduced frequency. The Munich buses follow a similar schedule, operating between 5:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m., with night buses covering the main arterial routes outside regular hours.

In short

  • For longer trips between towns or across districts: The S-Bahn in Munich train line is your best option!
  • For medium- to long trips across the city itself: The U-Bahn in Munich metro line is a great option to move around the city in no-time.
  • Bad weather, or need to get close to a specific area? Hop on one of the many buses or trams in Munich, to get within a few streets of your destination. Buses and trams also have an excellent night schedule to get you home from your party!

Couple this with a monthly or annual ticket for the lines you travel most and you're all set to navigate Munich, even as an expat fresh from the airport!

General tips

  • Find a place close to the U-Bahn or S Bahn

In Munich, the U-Bahn metro lines and the S-Bahn trains are the arteries that connect the various districts of the city.

Living in Munich you get to use the city's public transport system since parking or owning a car can be an expensive hassle. Either way, living close to the U-Bahn or S-Bahn is useful.

You can also opt for living in a nearby town and commute to Munich for your studies or work. This often means cheaper rent and spacious rentals.

  • Digitally scout for your new home in Munich

Before you find your new home in Munich, you need to know which of Munich's neighbourhoods you want to live in. So, if you spot an appealing place, hop on Google Maps and make sure you use the following queries: ‘Public transport near me’, ‘Supermarkets near me’, and ‘Where can I have lunch near me’.

  • Download Munich's apps on your phone

The Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund GmbH (MVV): A free app that allows you to plan your journeys, check departure times, delays and disruptions, and purchase virtual tickets. If you’re running into issues using the MVV app, the popular Öffi app is a good alternative, although it doesn’t offer virtual tickets.

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