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Munich Car Rental

How difficult is it to navigate out of Munich if you pick up a rental car at Munich Central Station? Same goes for returning the car there. This will be our 1st trip to Germany and we are renting a car for a few days to travel to Fussen and a few other areas where a car works better than the trains. Thanks.

Posted by
917 posts

I haven’t rented a car from that site, but we stayed in a hotel a block from the Central Station, so we drove into and out of the area. It’s not bad at all. It’s just a few blocks away from the 2R. It’s a straight shot on an easy road. Take a look at google maps and google earth and get familiar with the area. If you miss a turn go around the block, no big deal.

Just be aware that a lot of the 2R is underground. It feels like you’re driving through long tunnels with lots of exits. If you can view your exact route on google earth it would be helpful.

Posted by
917 posts

There are plenty of places where, and plenty of reasons why, a car certainly works better than a train for some travelers. As a family of 4, we prefer a car because it’s often cheaper (just not now with the price of gas!) In a global pandemic, we prefer a car. When time is limited and we can drive there in half the time, we prefer a car. To see small villages at our own pace without having to lug suitcases around, we prefer a car. It makes sense to do what works for you, it’s your vacation.

Posted by
153 posts

Driving out of Munich isn’t difficult, the only thing we noticed is that other drivers are not patient when you are trying to read street signs etc. Be prepared for horns 😄

Posted by
600 posts

We rented a car from the airport, so we wouldn't have to drive in Munich proper. It does not take long to get to the airport by the S-Bahn.

Posted by
18390 posts

There are plenty of places where ... a car certainly works better than a train

But probably not in Germany, and not better than trains and buses. Certainly not if you know how to find and use public transportation in Germany.

Germany has the largest (km of tracks) rail system in Europe and is 2nd most dense (to Switzerland by 1%). With 5400 rail stations there is hardly any place in Germany you can't get close to by train, and the rail system is supplemented by an even more extensive system of buses. In over 20 years and 160 nights staying in Germany I have only once "needed" a car - for one day. But the cost of a one day car rental was about $100, and I had another option, which didn't require a car, and couldn't do both, so I went with the other option instead. Almost half of my overnights in Germany have been in 16 towns of less than 10,000. In only three cases did I need a bus to get there; the rest of the time I arrived by train.

In German, your children under 15 travel with you for free if declared when you buy the ticket. And every German Land (state) has some sort of inexpensive ticket (called a Länder-ticket) for unlimited travel all day on regional trains and most buses in that Land. Each additional person up to five, total, costs just 4€ to 8€ more on Länder-tickets. Long distance train travel can be less than 20€/P with advance purchase.

I've been to Füssen five times (three castle visits), each time arriving and leaving by public transportation.

Someone said the train is faster; I'd say that most of the time it is, but not usually twice as fast. And with public transportation you can use the time more effectively. On trains with board restaurants you can get a meal, even enjoy an alcoholic beverage, while getting to your destination. Or you can sleep, read, or walk around. I use the time to write in my journal, do my expense report, or read my notes to prepare for the next stop.

Posted by
316 posts

Hi Sharon- Over the years I have picked up or dropped off a car at the Munich HBF several times. However, I always use the airport now (or I did before Covid) for 2 reasons.

  1. Learn the descriptions for the different cars. You will get access to a much larger selection of cars at the airport. -if you don't like what they originally offer ( too small/ too large, automatic / stack shift, luggage space too small, etc.) tell the rental folks that you want a different car.

  2. The pickup locations for the cars around the HBF are sometimes difficult to navigate. Sometimes there are no attendants at the pickup locations , or they only speak German.

When you pickup the car be sure to check for prior damage to the car. If there is any prior damage, get it documented on your rental agreement. And take pictures of the car if there is any damage. When you return the car be sure the attendants document the cars condition and take more backup pictures of the car.

Fill the gas tank up when you are within 5 Km of the return location and save the gas receipt to show the attendants at the return location.

Have a great trip!!!

Posted by
51 posts

Regional trains are very cheap this summer w the €9 all inclusive ticket, but you do burn more time on routes.

A car was necessary for us, since we were in a rural location where bus connections would have had us waiting a LOT. But I didn’t love driving in the older central parts of large cities. Park and ride would have been a better choice upon arrival.

Pick up at Munich Hbf would be great if you ask me.

Posted by
896 posts

We lived in Munich and I used public transport a lot but I still personally prefer to drive to Fussen rather than take the train as I like to stop as certain locations along the way which isn't practical by train/bus.

I'll add that you don't need to go all the way to the Hauptbahnhof to rent a car (and it might even be cheaper not to since there is usually a surcharge for renting from the airport or the Hauptbahnhof). Check for rental locations at the S-Bahn stops into the city, for example there is a Sixt (my personal preference in Munich) and Enterprise near Laim. You could rent from there instead and it would be a little less hectic driving out of town.


Posted by
17 posts

I've driven in and out of Munich several times and once with a 9 passenger van. I've rented from downtown Munich and from the airport. Easy peasy! If you can drive in a city here, you can drive there.

Posted by
10 posts

We rented a car at the airport after staying in Munich for a few days. Very easy navigating Munich public transportation, including to and from the airport, and the 9 Euro pass made it economical. Driving in the center of Munich seemed daunting, which was one reason I elected to pick up and drop off the rental car at the airport.

Posted by
44 posts

Make sure you have an International Drivers License. We were not able to check out our car because we failed to get one.

Posted by
51 posts

Weird. Our rental company couldn’t care less about my IDP. She said cops would want it if we got stopped.

Also, heads up… Sixt will not honor a paper DL, only a hard card.