Salzburg is often visited as part of a longer journey. Many trips also include a stop in Munich. Or you could visit the Bavarian capital as a main destination while you’re attending Oktoberfest, then travel to Salzburg as a side trip. The distance between Salzburg and Munich is 150 kilometers, which is actually closer than the distance between Vienna and Salzburg. Additionally, Vienna and Munich are the closest big airports and often serve as a launching point for travel to Salzburg.
But how can you get from Munich to Salzburg by public transport?
A train is the most convenient way to get from Munich to Salzburg, and the Bayern ticket is the best way to take a train from Munich to Salzburg. The Bayern ticket is a group ticket good for 1-5 people, valid for an entire day on regional trains in Bavaria. The cost is €26,- for the first traveler and €8,- for each additional traveler up to a maximum of five. Thus, the Bayern ticket becomes cheaper as the number of travelers in your party increases.
What is a Bayern Ticket in Germany?
The Bayern ticket allows you to take all regional trains in the German state of Bavaria for one day. What does that have to do with how to get to Salzburg you might ask. Salzburg is in Austria, isn’t it?
Well, yes. The Bavarian ticket is not valid in Austria but it’s valid in border towns. Border town means, the first train station across the border. Thus, most interesting places in Austria are inaccessible by it, but one of the most popular destinations in Austria, Salzburg, actually borders Bavaria. Salzburg’s old town is 5 kilometers from Germany, and the border is located in the suburbs of the city.
In Austria, you can also reach Braunau and Kufstein with a Bayern ticket, but they are not on a popular route and not as interesting as Salzburg. Therefore, using a Bayern Ticket to Salzburg is the only viable use for Bayern Tickets in Austria.
This is a MAP that shows you WHERE YOU CAN USE THE BAVARIAN TICKET
How does the Bayern Ticket work?
When can you use the Bayern Ticket?
There are actually two Bavarian tickets. The Bayern Ticket Nacht (night) and the regular Bayern Ticket.
- The regular Bayern Ticket is valid from 9 am to 3 pm the next day. During the weekend, the Bayern ticket is actually valid longer. Instead of starting at 9 am, it starts at midnight. Why is that? That’s is because the train companies want fewer people on the trains during rush hour and do not want people to use the Bayern ticket to commute. The same applies to public holidays as well as the 24th and the 31st of December.
Monday – Friday: from 9 am – 3 am the next day
Weekend and Public Holidays: from midnight – 3 am the next day
- The Bayern Ticket Nacht is valid from 6 pm until 6 am the next morning. On Weekends and public holidays including the 24th and the 31st of December, the Bayern Ticket Nacht is valid until 7 am instead of until 6 am. So the Bayern ticket Nacht, as the name suggests, is valid in the evening and at night instead of only until 3 am. The validity of the Bayern ticket night is shorter, therefore the ticket is cheaper. More on that below.
Now in practice, that’s not very useful, at least not to get from Munich to Salzburg with the Bayern ticket. The Bayern ticket needs to be valid during the entire ride but the last train from Munich to Salzburg leaves just before midnight and the earliest train doesn’t arrive in Salzburg before 6 am or 7 am. Therefore, the Bayern ticket Nacht really only works to get from Munich to Salzburg in the evening but if that’s your requirement, you can save a few euros.
Monday – Friday: from 6 pm – 6 am the next day
Weekend and Public Holidays: from 6 pm – 7 am the next day
How much is the Bayern Ticket?
Bayern tickets cost €26,- for one person and €8,- more for each additional person. The cost decreases as you add more people. That is until a maximum of 5 travelers. If you have more than five people, you will need to buy another ticket that also gets cheaper the more people contribute, so five, ten, or fifteen people are the cheapest. In 2022, if you have five people in your group, the price per person will be €11,60.
You can also purchase a 1st class Bayern Ticket for a higher price. What are the benefits of 1st class train tickets? The main advantage of buying a 1st class train ticket in Austria and Germany is that there are fewer people in 1st class. Although the seats may be slightly more comfortable and the space a bit larger, the differences are marginal, aside from the higher price scaring away the majority of travelers.
As a new convenience, up to three kids from the age of 6 up to the age of 15 can join for free, regardless of whether they are your own children or not. Children under the age of 6 are always free and don’t count. Here is a list of the price of the Bayern Ticket:
2nd Class Regular Bayern Ticket
|# of Travelers
|Price per Traveler
1st Class Regular Bayern Ticket
|# of Travelers
|Price per Traveler
2nd Class Bayern Ticket Nacht
|# of Travelers
|Price per Traveler
1st Class Bayern Ticket Nacht
|# of Travelers
|Price per Traveler
Which trains can you take with the Bayern Ticket?
With the Bayern Ticket, you can take all regional trains (RE, RB, and private trains) in Bavaria. You can also take trams and most buses in Bavaria as well as the U-Bahnen (metro), like the one in Munich. The metro in Munich is especially convenient because there is no direct train from Munich airport to the city but there is a metro.
Which trains can’t you take? You can’t take any of the faster trains like the Railjet, the Railjet express, the EC, or the ICE. You will see the Bayern Ticket price for the selected number of travelers and the train that the Bayern ticket is available for when you look up German train schedules on Deutsche Bahn.
How to buy the Bayern Ticket online
There are two options to buy the Bayern Ticket online:
- You may complete the search we started above if you want to buy the Bayern ticket online. Ensure you selected the right amount of travelers and click the discounted price slot. In the next step, the booking engine shows you the Bayern ticket by default. The regular price is still displayed if the price difference is not too great, but if there is a big difference, Deutsche Bahn only shows the Bayern Ticket price, and the regular price is hidden in “further offers”.
Don’t worry about picking the right connection. The ticket is not for an actual connection but is valid for every regional train that day. Selecting the train connection only ensures you are planning to take a train for which the Bayern ticket is actually valid and determines whether the booking engine suggests the regular Bayern Ticket or the Bayern Ticket night.
- You can also purchase your Bayern Ticket online without searching for a train connection. Just head to the Bayern Ticket offer page on Deutsche Bahn. If you click the “Select now” button you get to a page where you can choose the regular Bayern Ticket or the Bayern ticket Nacht, the number of passengers, the class, and the date of validity.
After selecting your ticket, you can proceed with the purchase as a guest or by creating a user account. It is up to you whether to receive your ticket online or as a print-out, and you must list the names of everyone traveling with you.
Bayern tickets cannot be transferred. That wasn’t the case in the past. In the past, you didn’t have to write your name on the Bayern ticket but I knew people who were running a full-time Bayern Ticket business. They used to buy a ticket in the morning and then rode back and forth between Munich and Salzburg all day, each time taking a few strangers with them for a fee of €10,-. That was a good deal for the traveler, a great deal for them but a really bad deal for Deutsche Bahn, the German train company.
How to buy the Bayern Ticket offline
You can of course also buy your Bayern ticket offline at the DB ticket machine. In the past, Bayern tickets could only be purchased offline, but online tickets have obvious advantages. Since you have to figure out the ticket machine if you buy the Bayern ticket offline, you have to get to the station a bit earlier.
Offline, you should buy your Bayern ticket at the ticket machine. The ticket would cost a few euros more if you bought it at the counter. Also, if you buy your ticket offline, make sure you bring a pen to write your names on the ticket. The ticket is only valid with the passenger’s names written on it.
If you purchase your Bayern Ticket at the ticket machine in Salzburg, make sure to use the DB (Deutsche Bahn) ticket machines instead of the ÖBB. ÖBB is the Austrian railway company but at the station in Salzburg, there are also ticket machines from the German train company.
Bayern Ticket Insider Tip: Munich to Salzburg during Oktoberfest
I used to work for a hostel in Salzburg for many years and every year during Oktoberfest we were fully booked. Why would a hostel in Salzburg be fully booked during the two and a half weeks of Oktoberfest in Munich? It is because the prices for accommodation in Munich rise to astronomical levels during that time. Hence, people used the Bavarian ticket to get from Munich to Salzburg cheaply and stay there for less.
Taking a day trip to Munich while staying in Salzburg is not only an excellent idea during Oktoberfest. Salzburg is often less expensive than Munich and although Munich is 10 times larger than Salzburg, its old town is extremely compact and walkable, which makes it a great day trip destination. A day trip to Vienna from Salzburg, in comparison, would not work. There are many more things to do in Vienna and Vienna is a lot more spread out than Munich.
MORE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Is there a cheaper way to get from Munich to Salzburg?
Depending on the number of people in your group and on the season, there might be a Flixbus connection that is less expensive than the Bayern ticket. That especially applies when you are traveling alone because the Bayern ticket for a single person is €26,- while the cheapest Flixbuses in 2022 start at €10,-
How do I get from Munich airport to the train station?
The airport is only 29 kilometers away from the main station in Munich and is connected by S-Bahn. The S-Bahn trains are included in the Bayern ticket, and you can get your Bayern ticket online or even online before your arrival as described above.
Is there a direct train from Munich Airport to Salzburg?
There is no direct train from Munich to Salzburg but. You will first have to take the S-Bahn train from the airport to the train station in Munich where you change to the train to Salzburg.
Is the train ride from Munich to Salzburg scenic?
Yes, the train journey from Munich to Salzburg is scenic. The entire way you pass lush green hills with the alps in the distance on your right. It is therefore recommended that you sit on the right side of the train in order to get the best view of the mountains. If you sit on the right side of the train when it enters Salzburg for the first time, you’ll also get rewarded with a spectacular view of the old town and fortress.