Neuschwanstein Castle: A Visitor’s Guide

Few places in the world can be compared to the Neuschwanstein castle, and believe me this is not an overstatement. Only a few hours away from Munich, this fantasy-like castle constructed by the ‘mad’ king offers an unforgettable experience, one which can be expanded through a better understanding of the history behind the king and the castle themselves.

Here is my personal guide on how to get to the castle from Munich, as well as a little bit of background on who Ludwig II was, what he went through, and what the Neuschwanstein castle is all about.

The Story Behind the Neuschwanstein

The Legacy of King Ludwig II

His Highness, King Ludwig II, ruler of Bavaria, had already become a sort of a legend while he was still alive. The shy and introverted dreamer was early in his life brought to kingship and forced to deal with a huge loss in the war against Prussia.

Stripped of his political roles, he then sank into a fantasy world out of which he would never come out. The now vassal, far removed from reality, decided to materialize his fantasy world around him, where he would become a true king. And thus the idea of Neuschwanstein was born.

The story becomes even more tragic with what followed. Due to increasing debts and irrational mismanagement of the royal treasure, which was almost entirely spent on the creation of magical places, the Bavarian government decided to depose the king through an illegal move not provided for in the Bavarian constitution.

The king was officially declared insane and deposed by the Bavarian government in 1886, with the help of a sponsored psychiatrist, who on the next day after the king’s hospitalization, was found dead together with the king on Lake Starnberg.

The Construction of the Neuschwanstein Castle

Ludwig II spent most of his infant years at the Hohenschwangau castle, where he fell in love with the beautiful mountain scenery. After becoming king, he decided to build his own fantasy castle in this place which was so dear to him.

On the narrow mountain ridge near his father’s castle, there were the ruins of two small castles: Vorder- and Hinterhohenschwangau. It seemed like the perfect place to begin construction. The foundation stone of his fantasy castle was laid in 1869, but the castle itself would only be inaugurated eleven years later (1880), with the king moving in only in 1884, two years before being deposed.

How to Get to the Neuschwanstein Castle

Munich to Hohenschwangau

To reach the Neuschwanstein Castle, you have two main options, either going there by car or by train. By car is the easier option, as you only need to take the A96 route, and drive yourself for roughly two hours towards the parking lot of the castle. In case you don’t have a car, you should take the following routes:

Train: München Hbf → Füssen Hbf
then,
Bus:
Füssen → Steingarden / Garmisch-Partenkirchen (RVA/OVG 73) or
Füssen → Schwangau (RVA/OVG 78)
exiting at:
Hohenschwangau/Castles – Alpseestrasse (Alpsee Street)

Keep in mind that the cheapest option to go from Munich to Füssen is by purchasing a Bayern Ticket, which grants you a 2-way transfer. Also, the actual distance between Füssen and Hohenschwangau is 5km, so taking a taxi to the castle is also possible.

Hohenschwangau to Neuschwanstein Castle

Once you arrive in Hohenschwangau, it’s time to purchase your ticket. Ideally, you should have bought it beforehand here. But in case you haven’t, all you need to do is go to the ticket center by the foot of the mountain.

After buying the tickets, all you need to do is walk to the castle, which can be quite tiresome for some. It’s an uphill walk of almost half an hour. In case you either do not wish to suffer this fate, or someone involved in the trip has any sort of physical impediment, you have two main options: a bus trip or a carriage ride. Honestly, the carriage ride is not that expensive and adds to the experience, so I would go for that.

Outside the Neuschwanstein Castle

The View of the Castle

Throughout most of the journey, from the moment you drop in Hohenschwangau to the entrance gate, you will have some sort of a view of the castle. The tiny distant towers slowly become larger and larger until this glorious structure materializes in front of you from behind the trees.

Its exterior appearance itself is already worth the visit. From it, we can already see that Ludwig II was not joking when he told everyone he intended to build a fantasy-like castle to honor his medieval heroes.

The View from the Hill

As glorious as the view of the castle is the view of the surroundings from its ledges. From up here, you can see the Alps, the large Alpsee and the little Schwansee lakes, as well as the tiny Hohenschwangau castle where Ludwig spent most of his early years.

Up the mountain, outside of the castle, there are many metal ledges where you can see the whole natural environment surrounding the place. At some specific places, you will even find fixed binoculars to help you admire the farther sights.

Inside the Neuschwanstein Castle

While taking pictures of the outside of the castle is allowed, it is strictly forbidden to take photographs or videos inside the castle. If you wish to take photographs or film, you need formal permission from the administration, and it comes with a fee.

For those reasons, I will be using the photographs of Joseph Albert, the photographer of Ludwig II, to illustrate the most beautiful rooms in the castle.

Wohnzimmer (Drawing Room)

This large saloon was mainly utilized by Ludwig II to spend time with family and guests. The room is divided by columns, wherein one side we find an alcove furnished with chairs. The curtains of this room are made of blue silk and embroidered with swans and lilies.

The paintings on the walls refer to the Lohengrin Saga, who is a character in German Arthurian literature, as in related to the legend of King Arthur. Lohengrin was the son of Parzival (Percival), and a knight of the Holy Grail sent in a boat pulled by swans to rescue a damsel who can never ask his identity.

Ludwig II had a personal connection with the story, mostly due to the fact that the swan was his heraldic animal, as he was the Knight of Schwangau (swan village).

Arbeitszimmer (Study Room)

Upon entering this room, we can see Ludwig’s study table right at the center of the room, where his writing set still can be found. The cupboard in this room used to contain the castle plans and drafts.

The paintings on the walls refer to Tannhäuser, a knight and poet who is said to have found the Venusberg, the subterranean home of Venus, where he spent a year worshipping her. Tannhäuser, filled with remorse, travels to Rome to ask Pope Urban IV for papal forgiveness. The Pope then replies that it would be easier for his papal staff to blossom, than for him to be forgiven for his heresy. Three days after Tannhäuser left, Urban’s staff bloomed with flowers.

Schlafzimmer (Bedroom)

Ludwig’s bedroom is one of the most ornamented rooms in the whole castle. The royal bed was carved in neo-gothic style and the seat coverings sewed in blue silk, with embroidered and appliquéd lions, swans, crowns, lilies, as well as the Bavarian coat of arms.

The paintings on the walls refer to the legend of Tristan and Isolde, the famous tragedy of adulterous love. According to legend, after defeating the mighty knight Morholt, Tristan returns to his home country with the beautiful Isolde for his uncle, the reigning king, to marry. The tragedy begins when, on their way home, both ingest a love potion which causes them to fall madly in love with each other.

Speisezimmer (Dining Room)

As the name suggests, this is the room where Ludwig II had his meals. It served as an entrance to the apartments of the king, where people entered through an oak-paneled anteroom. It even has its own electric bell system, which Ludwig used to call upon his servant in charge.

The paintings on the walls refer to the legendary Bavarian knight and poet, Wolfram von Eschenbach, who was responsible for the writing of the Parzival (Percival) epic; as well as the motif of the battle of Siegfried against the Dragon, as detailed in the epic Nibelungenlied (the Song of the Nibelungs).

Sängersaal (Singers’ Hall)

The Singers’ Hall was one of Ludwig’s favorite rooms in the whole castle, second only to the Throne Hall. It’s gigantic size, occupying a great part of the fourth floor of the castle, signifies the importance of what happened here: it was the king’s personal sanctuary to the knights and legends of medieval times. Here, musical performances of the epics of Tannhäuser, Parzival and Lohengrin took place, to honor the history of Bavaria.

All over the walls of this room, you will see allegories to medieval German myths, including and actually focusing on the ones mentioned here before. The hall itself provides a sight that no words can accurately describe, especially due to the artistic weight it has.

Thronsaal (Throne Hall)

Finally, we reach the Throne Hall. Inspired by Byzantine churches, it was built so to represent the role that Ludwig believed he was born to play, that of king by God’s grace, a mediator between the divine and the mundane.

This colossal hall occupies the third and fourth floors and the entire west section of the castle. It hosts a massive four meter tall chandelier, descending from a glorious cupola. On the apse area we can see Jesus Christ together with the Twelve Apostles, acompanied by six holy kings.

This hall was never intended to be used for ceremonial or State occasions, it was solely built to represent how Ludwig saw himself as king. Walking into the hall is a unique experience which grants us access to the deepest beliefs of the Bavarian monarch.

Amazing Things To Do In Munich, Germany

Munich is the heart of Bavaria, a region that has built up since antiquity a culture that includes a unique language, cuisine, architecture, festivals and elements of Alpine symbolism.

The city is the physical representation of Gemütlichkeit (a German word used to convey the idea of a state or feeling of warmth, friendliness, and good cheer). So get ready to enjoy! Here are my top picks for the best things to do in Munich.

Visit one of the many Churches

Catholicism is very tightly connected to the story of Munich, and Bavaria as a whole. For that reason, the Church and the Bavarian royalty invested a lot in their churches, which display incredible architecture and iconography.

Visiting the churches in Munich will give you an idea of the importance of religion to Bavaria. Two of the most prominent churches you will find in town are the Frauenkirche and the Asamkirche, make sure to check them out.

Have a Picnic at the Englischer Garten

One of the biggest urban parks in the whole world, the Englischer Garten (English Garden) is the perfect place in Munich for nature-lovers to enjoy. There is plenty of space to jog and cycle on the 78-kilometer-long network of paths within the park, as well as fields that are big enough to play soccer.

The English Garden is located by the Isar river, which spreads a network of canals throughout the whole park, giving a very refreshing feel to the place. It is the perfect place to have brunch or a picnic.

Visit the many Art Museums

Munich has over 80 museums for art and history lovers to enjoy. From prehistoric to modern art, the city has permanent exhibitions with collections including ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, as well as Art Nouveau, Natural History, and of course, the terrible history of National Socialism. Two of my favorites are the Egyptian Museum and the Glyptothek.

Many museums are admission free in general while some of the museums offer special prices on certain days or for children and adolescents. That includes some of the top museums offering a 1 Euro admission fee on Sundays.

Buy a small Souvenir

I know this sounds very cliché, but the reality is that many stores around Marienplatz sell very pretty souvenirs such as themed silver spoons, nutcrackers, and snow globes for as little as €8. It is a very nice way to bring back home a physical representation of the good memories you will have from this lovely city.

Feel like a Royal at the Munich Residenz

For over 400 years, the Munich Residence was the seat of residence and government of the Bavarian dukes, electors, and kings. The art collections found here stem from the Renaissance, Early Baroque, and Rococo periods through to Classicism, displaying the sensibility to art and the political claim of the Wittelsbach family.

A must-see in this place is definitely the Antiquarium. Built between 1568 and 1571, the Antiquarium is the oldest surviving room of the Munich Residenz. It is a 66-meter long Renaissance hall, the best north of the Alps. It contains 16 paintings by Peter Candid, displaying allegories of fame and virtues; as well as busts and sculptures partly from the collection of antiquities by Duke Albrecht V.

Grab a Beer at a Beer Hall

Let’s be honest, one of the top things to do in Munich will always be to try out traditional beer! If you want to taste traditional Bavarian food accompanied by great beer, a beer hall is definitely the place for you.

Typically decorated with wooden barrels and with live Bavarian music played by oompah bands, beer halls such as the Augustiner Bräustuben, Der Pschorr, and the famous Hofbräuhaus offer the most traditional Bavarian experience.

Get a Stunning View of the City

Munich, like many other European cities, does not have many skyscrapers. But this does not mean it is impossible to get a nice view of the city. The Olympia Tower, the Rooftop Bars of the TU München and the Bayerischer Hof Hotel, and the Hugendubel bookstore at the Marienplatz are some of the places in Munich where you can have a stunning view of the city.

Incredible Museums To Visit In Munich

With over 80 museums to choose from, Munich is definitely one of the best picks in Europe for culture lovers, holding exhibitions from prehistory to modern art.

Note that most museums are closed on Mondays. Apart from that, during Sundays, there is a special admission charge of only €1 for state-owned museums, which will be marked throughout this post.

Alte Pinakothek

Location: Barer Str. 27 | Kunstareal
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Wed 10:00 – 20:30, Thu-Sun 10:00 – 18:00
Website: pinakothek.de/en/visit/alte-pinakothek

Around 700 European paintings from the 14th to the 18th century are on display in the 19 halls and 47 cabinets of the Alte Pinakothek.

Alte Pinakothek History

The Old Pinakothek was built on behalf of King Ludwig I, opening its doors in 1836. The architect Leo von Klenze has created it as a groundbreaking museum building, mostly lit by skylights and with the accompanying cabinets on the north side being also exemplary for other museum buildings.

The building was sadly destroyed during the Second World War but then rebuilt by Hans Döllgast in 1957, with the missing facade parts replaced by exposed brick masonry, a symbolic gesture to remember the ‘wounds’ of the city’s troubled past. He created an impressive example of the architecture of reconstruction.

Pinakothek der Moderne

Location: Barer Str. 40 | Kunstareal
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00
Website: pinakothek.de/besuch/sammlung-moderne-kunst-der-pinakothek-der-moderne

With an area of ​​approximately 12,000 m², the Pinakothek der Moderne majestically displays an overall view of the art coming from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Pinakothek der Moderne History

The Pinakothek der Moderne was designed by Stephan Braunfels and opened its doors in 2002. It is known by the locals as the ‘Third Pinakothek’, after the Old and the New. It is one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art, as well as architecture and design, in Europe.

Under its roof are four completely independent museums: the Neue Sammlung – the International Design Museum, the Collection of Modern Art, the Museum of Architecture and the Graphics Collection.

Staatlichen Museum Ägyptischer Kunst

Location: Gabelsbergerstraße 35 | Kunstareal
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00
Website: smaek.de/

Although this museum is not one of the greats in its field, it has one of the highest quality collections in terms of its size and is a sought-after lender internationally. Many of the objects displayed here, especially in the field of round sculpture, are world-class works of art.

Staatlichen Museum Ägyptischer Kunst History

The foundations for the collection were laid at the beginning of the 19th century by the Bavarian King Ludwig I, who already began to acquire the first Egyptian monuments for his planned Glyptothek while being Crown Prince. The second pillar in the collection history of the Egyptian Museum of Munich is the acquisitions of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, especially sarcophagi and steles.

Museum Brandhorst

Location: Theresienstraße 35a | Kunstareal
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00
Website: www.pinakothek.de/besuch/museum-brandhorst

Why should you visit the Museum Brandhorst? Over 1,200 works of art from the 1960s to the present day. The largest collection of works by Cy Twombly, the largest collection of works by Andy Warhol in Europe, highlights of the neo-avant-garde and postmodernism and emerging figures of contemporary art.

Museum Brandhorst History

The Museum Brandhorst has started from the private collection of Anette and Udo Brandhorst. After being transferred to a foundation in 1993, the collection was made accessible to the public with the opening of Museum Brandhorst in 2009 and has since been part of the Bavarian State Painting Collections.

NS-Dokumentationszentrum

Location: Max-Mannheimer-Platz 1 | Kunstareal
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00-19:00
Website: ns-dokuzentrum-muenchen.de

This important exhibition started in May 2015, placing Munich as a central place for learning and remembrance of the crimes committed by the National Socialist dictatorship. It educates and creates awareness around the causes, characteristics, and consequences of the Nazi regime up to the present day.

NS-Dokumentationszentrum History

It is impossible to separate the rise of Nazism from the history of Munich. The building known as the “Brown House” in Brienner Strasse was the first headquarter of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). At this historic location, the building of the National Socialism Documentation Center was built.

Jagd- und Fischereimuseum

Location: Neuhauser Str. 2 | Near Marienplatz
Opening: Mon-Sun 9:30-17:00
Website: jagd-fischerei-museum.de/

This unusual museum in the former Augustinian church displays everything related to hunting and fishing stemming from German-speaking countries. In addition to historical, there are also natural history and ecological exhibition areas. You can experience more about fishing in the “Water World Fish Stories” area, or learn more about the local wildlife on the “Forest Trail” section of the museum.

Jagd- und Fischereimuseum History

The origins of the German Hunting and Fishing Museum can be traced back to the period around the early 20th century when Germany experienced numerous historical and natural history-oriented museum foundations. For hunters, forestry officials and association officials, the idea of ​​a German hunting museum seemed perfect, but the plan was delayed for financial reasons.

With the Nazi government takeover, things took a turn after the official approval of Adolf Hitler as well as sponsorships coming from politicians, businessmen, and hunters. In 1934, with the support of the influential NSDAP Treasurer Franz Xaver Schwarz, the acquisition of the world-famous antler collection of Count Arco was realized in Munich and the foundations for the future hunting museum were laid.  The Deutsches Jagdmuseum was later founded in Munich in the same year.

Staatliche Antikensammlungen

Location: Königsplatz 1 | Kunstareal
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00
Website: antike-am-koenigsplatz.mwn.de/

The soul of the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans inhabit the Antikensammlungen at the Königsplatz. Not only works of art but also everyday objects made out of ceramics, metal, and stone allow visitors to immerse themselves in the amazing world of antiquity.

Staatliche Antikensammlungen History

The earliest collections of the museum come from the Kunstkammer of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria (1550-1579). The Wittelsbachers extended their art collection in the “Antiquarium” of the Munich Residence over the centuries according to their personal interests. Finally, as the crown prince, Louis I began to acquire antiquities in Italy on a large scale.

Right before the museum was reopened in 1967 named as “Staatliche Antikensammlungen”, the diplomat Hans von Schoen (1876-1969) donated his collection to the museum. The last significant addition came from the more than 700 gems and ring stones from the Helmut Hansmann collection (1924-1996).

Munich Beer Halls: Where To Feast In Munich

It is impossible to think of Bavaria without brewed beer coming to mind, and there is a good reason for that: a centuries-old tradition involved in crafting the purest and most delicious beers in the world. And there is no better place to experience that that in one of the many beer halls in Munich. Here are my personal picks for the top traditional beer halls in the city.

Ratskeller

Location: Marienplatz 8 | Inside the New Town Hall
Opening: Mon-Sun 11:00 – 01:00
Reservation: ratskeller.com/

The Ratskeller has symbolized Munich’s lifestyle and gastronomy for decades. With 1,100 seats and 15 rooms in the heart of Munich, its unique environment with neo-Gothic vaults and in the impressive Prunkhof are in themselves a real attraction!

The six vaulted ceilings of this beer hall narrate in forty-eight presentations the history of beer drinking, the “Older and Newer History of Munich” and the “Bockrausch”. The paintings are quite funny and I can assure will you enjoy the stories painted there.

I can’t stress this enough, this place is simply one of the best in the whole city when it comes to traditional Bavarian food. But it gets pretty crowded already around lunchtime, so make sure to make a reservation.

My favorite dish coming from this place is the ‘Ratskeller Grillwürstl-Schmankerl’, a warm dish containing a variety of sausages accompanied by sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.

Der Pschorr

Location: Viktualienmarkt 15 | Near the Viktualienmarkt
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 00:00
Reservation: der-pschorr.de/

Der Pschorr was founded by Joseph Pschorr, a brewer who set new standards to his art. He was the one to invent the first method of cooling beer, over two hundred years ago. In the winter he had long pieces of ice cut from the Isar River, and stored his beer on top of the ice allocated in deep vaults.

The place is really cozy and well lit. It has two levels with plenty of tables ready for small to very large groups. The staff is usually very busy, especially at night, but they manage to be very friendly and attentive to every single customer.

My favorite dish from this beer hall is definitely the Bratwurst. The seasoning is just perfect and the combination of potato salad and sauerkraut match very well the flavor of the sausages. To go with it, I always ask for either a Radler or a Russ’n, which are mixtures of beer with lemonade.

Zum Augustiner

Location: Neuhauser Str. 27 | Between Karlsplatz and Marienplatz
Opening: Mon-Sat 09:00 – 00:00, Sun 10:00 – 00:00
Reservation: augustiner-restaurant.com/

The Augustinian Hermits built the Augustiner brewery in the 14th century, in order to support the economy of their monastery on the Haberfeld. Later on, Anton and Therese Wagner, a wealthy couple from Altaching purchased the brewery, making it the family business that it is today.

Since 1948, Manfred Vollmer holds the tenancy of the Augustiner Großgaststätten, keeping alive the tradition of the monks at the heart of Munich.

Although the place is relatively crowded, it has a nice ambiance to it. The building is one of the few historical places from Munich’s Art Nouveau period which remains unchanged. The staff simply couldn’t be more friendly, even joking around a couple of times.

This is the place I go when I want traditional Bavarian food with traditional ingredients, especially when it comes to pork, like pork knuckle. Apparently, they managed to score high with me in this category.

Augustiner Bräustuben

Location: Landsberger Str. 19 | Close to the Main Station (München Hbf)
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 00:00
Reservation: braeustuben.de/

This beer hall got its name from the term “Bräustüberl”, which in Bavaria refers to a tavern business connected to the brewery in which the brewed beer is served. The Bräustüberl is the perfect choice for someone in a hurry to travel since it is really close to the train station.

The place has a very cozy feel and is known among locals for being a non-expensive option regarding beer halls in Munich. More of a tavern than a restaurant, the atmosphere is definitely different from the other places in town.

My personal recommendation for the Bräustüberl is definitely the Bratpfandl: a mixed pan with the house specialties including duck, pork knuckle, roasted pork, cabbage salad and dumpling with dark beer gravy. And definitely do not forget to order a Starkbier to accompany the main dish.

Hofbräuhaus

Location: Platzl 9 | Couple of blocks after Marienplatz
Opening: Mon-Sun 09:00 – 23:30
Reservation: hofbraeuhaus.de/

Labeled “the world’s most famous beer hall”, Hofbräuhaus is the cradle of the Bavarian tavern culture. Built almost 500 years ago, it has its own brewery, butchery, bakery, and confectionery. All this effort goes to make sure that everything served is typically Bavarian.

The place is very crowded, especially during weekends and holidays, which consequently means that service is a bit busy and your food might take a while to arrive. Also, be prepared to hear some shouting from locals who had a bit too much to drink.

But the medieval architecture, the typically Bavarian frescos on the walls, and the delicious beer really compensate for the crowd. Another plus is that there is live traditional Bavarian music every day, all the year-round (except for Good Friday and All Hallows‘ Day).

Honestly, I come here mostly for the atmosphere and the beer, since the cost/benefit of the food is not the greatest to me. I always order a Maß (1L mug) of Helles Bier, or a glass of Weißbier (usually served in a 0,5L glass) if I am not really willing to drink too much.

Löwenbräukeller

Location: Nymphenburger Str. 2 | Two blocks away from Königsplatz
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 00:00
Reservation: loewenbraeukeller.com/

The name Löwenbräu is first mentioned in the beer catalogs of Munich in 1746/1747. The Löwenbräukeller was then opened in 1883, close to the brewery in Stiglmaierplatz. The brand currently belongs to InBev, the largest brewing company in the world.

This is definitely the quietest and coziest beer hall in town, especially for a brewery of this size. Here is the place to have a nice afternoon talking to friends over some good beer.

Paulaner Bräuhaus

Location: Kapuzinerpl. 5 | Near Goetheplatz
Opening:
Mon-Sat 11:00 – 00:00, Sun 11:00 – 23:00

Reservation: paulaner-brauhaus.de/

Paulaner dates back from 1634 and comes from a very interesting source. The monks of the Munich monastery of Neudeck ob der Au had to craft a very strong beer to help them go through Lent (a period where they have to abdicate from eating). What was left was then given to the poor or sold in the taverns nearby. The beer then slowly started becoming famous throughout the region.

Although the Paulaner brewery has such a long history, the current building only became the Paulaner Bräuhaus in 1928, when Thomasbräu merged with the Paulaner brewery.

The place is very quiet inside, so you won’t hear people shouting everywhere like in other locations. The atmosphere gets even better after dawn, as the lights are slightly toned down, making it a lovely place for a romantic date.

When it comes to the big beer halls in Munich, this one really stands out both from the food and beer perspective. There is only one word to describe Paulaner: wuuunderbar. In my first visit, I ordered a typical Schnitzel and was pleasantly surprised by how much effort they put into making the dish interesting.

As you can see in the picture above, one of the pieces of chicken was crumbed not with bread but with tiny seeds and the other was covered with a cheese sauce, both served with gnocchi. The Helles beer here has a very particular flavor which made me fall in love with it from the first sip.

A Brief Guide To The Munich Train Station

If you are coming into Germany from the Munich Airport or simply visiting another city close to Munich, the chances that you will have to stop at the Munich Hauptbahnhof are pretty high!

The München Hauptbahnhof (Munich Central Station) is the largest station in the city, followed by the Ostbahnhof (Eastern Station). It is one of the city’s main crossroads for different public transportation modes, be it an intercity train or the subway.

General Information

The station has a total of 32 platforms, divided among three main sections:

  • Holzkirchner Bahnhof (Holzkirchen wing station), platforms 5-10
  • Hauptbahnhof (main concourse), platforms 11-26
  • Starnberger Bahnhof (Starnberg wing station), platforms 27-36

Since the station is quite big, the Deutsche Bahn recommends planning for a minimum of walking time between the sections. It recommends 10 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof to Starnberger Bahnhof or Holzkirchner Bahnhof, 15 minutes between Starnberger and Holzkirchner Bahnhof, and 15 minutes between the S-Bahn station and Holzkirchner Bahnhof.

Buying a ticket is really easy. You can either stop by the ticket office or purchase at one of the dozens of machines spread throughout the station.

Important: there is a ticket that allows you to travel within the whole state of Bavaria from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. of the following day with Regional Trains and also use the S-Bahn (Suburban Train). It is called “Bayern Ticket“, and its price is €25 for a single passenger adding €7 for each additional person.

But please keep in mind that the only train type allowed for the Bayern Ticket is the Regional and S-Bahn. Trying to use it in another type of train may cause you to pay a fine!

The Deutsche Bahn Trains

It is not difficult to identify the Deutsche Bahn trains at the station based on color, as the short distance trains are red and the long distance ones are white. Those are then further divided into 5 categories:

  • EC (EuroCity) – International, Regular Speed
  • IC (InterCity) – Long Distance, Regular Speed
  • ICE (InterCity Express) – Long Distance, High Speed
  • RB (Regional) – Short Distance, Many Stops
  • RE (Regional Express) – Short Distance, Few Stops

The ticket prices vary depending on the train type, even if going to the same destination. Many places allow for buying the ticket inside the train, but in Bavaria, it is very important to have them beforehand. Not having the tickets can cause you to pay a fee of €60.

Food Options

If you have been through a long journey already, you will probably be hungry. If you have a long trip ahead, it is best to be prepared and get some food ready, especially if the next stop is in 3 hours. 

Thankfully, the Munich HBF provides with many options. There are dozens of kiosks all around the station with a wide variety of foods, here are some of my favorite.

Yormas

Does your next train depart in 5 minutes? No worries, that is enough time to get a nice sandwich and some juice at Yormas. This convenience store can be found in most of the main stations of Germany and offers very cheap food ready to go.

Rubenbauer Genusswelten

You don’t necessarily need to eat sandwiches and drink soda. At the Rubenbauer Genusswelten, you can find a wide variety of fruits and smoothies to enjoy while staying healthy.

nchner Zuckerl

Aching for some sweets? Close to the station’s main entrance and in front of the ticket office, there is the Münchner Zuckerl, the best place in the station to get local sweets.

Starbucks

Starbucks needs no introductions. The world-known coffeeshop is also at the Munich Central Station, offering from the classic Expresso Roast to specialties such as the Colombia and Guatemala Antigua coffees.