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Day trip to Salzburg from Munich. Better to train or drive?

We will be visiting Munich for the first time the 3rd week in June and would like to spend a long day in Salzburg. Trying to decide if we should take the train so as not to have to worry about parking and such but if we decide to drive are there sights along the way that we might want to stop at? Also wondering what the time difference between the two options would be if we didn’t stop while driving. We will be staying near HBF train station so if going by train would like to get an early start from there. We will travel either Saturday or Sunday and there will be 3 adults. Thank you.

Posted by
15573 posts

Train can be easy and cheap with a Bayern Ticket. assuming 2 people, it is 31 EUR to cover the train to and from Salzburg. You do have to leave after 9 am on weekdays and only use the Meridian regional train that goes every hour. To get and early start if you are not near the Ostbahnhof, buy local transit tickets and you can leave on the 8:56 train from the Hauptbahnhof. That train stops at the Ostbahnhof at 9:05, so then you will be legal. On weekends and holidays, you can leave anytime. Train takes 1 3/4 hours.

That will save traffic headaches and expensive parking in Salzburg, plus you will not have to stop and buy a vignette for your car to drive on Austrian motorways. You can avoid the need for a vignette by getting off the motorway before you get to Austria, but that will slow the journey even more.

Posted by
665 posts

You should also remember that Sunday is not a "normal" day. Many places are closed for, at least, the mornings. The churches (like the Dom) will be having services and are not conducive to wandering tourists. Personally I think the idea of Salzburg as a day trip from Munich is a waste of a day. You're looking at 4 hours of travel, which gives you maybe 8 hours in the city. And walking up to the castle (which is a major attraction) is going to be another hour or more. There's no way you can see anywhere near enough in that time.

Posted by
1280 posts

You must decide what you want to see, Salzburg or the sights along the way. Both would require more than one day each, anyway.

For a day trip to Salzburg take the train, it is faster and cheaper. Driving in the center of Salzburg is a mess.
Take an early train, i.e. arriving about 9am in Salzburg, and go back after sunset, thus maximizing your time in Salzburg.

Posted by
921 posts

As you are downtown Munich, take the train (you save very little time by having to search for a parking spot, plus you do not have time for Salzburg and stopping off at any worthwhile sites). Weekend, train just before or just after 7:00.

Posted by
1152 posts

The main sight between Munich and Salzburg is the Herrenchiemsee castle that needs five hours on its own at least (you have to reach it by a ferry and has long queues). The train is slow, the highway is one of the most trafficked in Germany, parking is expensive, you need the Austrian vignette unless you get out of the highway at the Bad Reichenhall exit. So I would prefer train - the Salzburg station is out of the center but you can easily take a bus. But, all considered, a day in Salzburg is not a bad thing.

Posted by
1280 posts

the Salzburg station is out of the center but you can easily take a bus.

The distance to the historic center is 1 mile, thus walkable.

Posted by
479 posts

We drove into Salzburg from nearby Mondsee. We found Rick's recommended parking garage, but it was a struggle. If we'd had a realistic train option the day would have been far more relaxing.