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Train or plane from Munich

Hi everyone!

I will be traveling from Munich to Paris in May, and I am trying to decide whether to fly or take the train. Has anyone taken this train route? Was it scenic enough to justify the 4 extra hours of travel? The train I am looking at has 8 minutes for a connection in Stuttgart. Does that seem like it would be ample time for me to get off my first train and board the second before it leaves?

Thanks for your help!

Posted by
3019 posts

I have gone Munich to Basel and yes, it was very scenic. Really spectacular. But if your route goes through Stuttgart and not Switzerland, I think it will be less so. If you're after scenery, try Munich - Basel - Dijon, then TGV from Dijon to Paris.

Remember when you compare travel time, flying takes more time getting through security etc. so it's not just the actual time in the air that counts.

An 8-minute connection sounds awfully tight!

Posted by
79 posts

I took the direct train from Munich to Paris last summer. I enjoyed the journey very much and it was scenic though not overly so, try reserving a seat on the 2nd level. It was a chance to see the German/French country side that I had never experienced before which can't be experienced from the air. The trains are timed for connections. Look up helpful information on The Man in Seat 61 website (seat
Love both Munich and Paris! Enjoy!

Posted by
17339 posts

Stuttgart is a terminal type station so walk to the front of the train, turn and walk 100 feet, turn and get on the first door onto the train if you are running tight. They will hold the departure of the connecting train if a lot of people are making the connection and I suspect there will be, if it is not a big delay (10 minutes or so).

Or you could book an earlier train to Stuttgart simply clicking on the "Transfer time 8 Min" and click on earlier train to Stuttgart, and you find there is an ICE that leaves 45 minutes earlier and gives you a 55 minute connection. Time enough to stop at Mickey D's for an Egg McMuffin and a cup of coffee.

Now lets discuss this statement:

Was it scenic enough to justify the 4 extra hours of travel?

If you take the train with the 55 minute connection time, it will take 6 hours and 15 minutes to get from the center of Munich to the center of Paris. Now if you fly, it will take 1/2 hour to get to Munich airport from the center of Munich. You should arrive 2 hours before you flight departs to allow for check-in, security, walk to the gate, be at the gate at least 1/2 before departure when they start boarding. Now 1 1/2 hours flying to Paris, only 1 hour of which is actually in the air, the rest taxiing and waiting for clearance to take off, then get to the gate in Paris. Probably 15 minutes waiting until you can actually get off the plane (unless you're in 1st class). Now walk to luggage carousel and wait another 15 minutes to get your bags. Now walk to the train station and get a train 1/2 hour into central Paris, or longer to take a cab in traffic.

So it will take at least 5 hours by flying, more likely 5 1/2 to get Munich Center to Paris Center, and 6 1/4 hours by train. If you stay with the 8 minute connection itinerary, they are the same.

Posted by
12074 posts

My rule of thumb is to limit travel to four hours a day. It's a decent rule of thumb because your other activities - meals, checking in/out of lodging, getting to stations/making connections, packing/unpacking, etc. - take up the rest of your day. Any more and you can wear yourself out quickly. Often, I'll add a couple hour day stop in the middle, just to break up the trip.

Generally, if my travel exceeds 4 hours, I look for an intermediate destination or alternate travel mode. Long story short, rather than take a really long train ride, I'll opt for the plane and keep my day reasonable.

It's only a rule of thumb, sometimes I choose not to stick to it but at least I consider options and know why I've chosen the longer travel leg.

Remember, getting from lodging to a train station and from the train station to lodging takes time too, as does arriving somewhat earlier than departure. Train departure time isn't really a fair comparison to when you leave the hotel for the airport. A fair comparison is when you leave your hotel and when you arrive at your next hotel. If you travel with only a carry-on, and arrive with a printed boarding pass in hand (not always possible), you can cut an hour off the front end and a 1/2 hour off the back end of a plane ride.