We will depart Munich and travel by train to Salzburg. Detailed instructions please, first time travellers in Germany/Austria.
Hi Jill, Have you checked out this page on this site? It's really helpful for beginners. It explains how to buy tickets, where the train schedules are, what the different types of trains are etc. The trip to Salzburg is easy. Most of the train pro's on this site recommend using this site for checking on train schedules etc. You'll probably get a more detailed response from one of those pro's, but in the meantime, you can check out these sites.
At Munich's station, buy a "Bayern Ticket" daypass from a ticket machine and use the direct regional trains to get to Salzburg.
Bayern ticket information
2 adults = €27 (new price)
Find train itineraries HERE. Specify "only local transport" under "means of transport" to pull up regional trains good with the Bayern Ticket. Trip takes 2 hours on the "M" trains.
It is for the very reason pertaining to regional trains in Germany that of the time-cost trade-off and transfering that you don't take regional trains and avoid them when you can. Going from Munich to Salzburg, just take the RJ, esp if you're doing a day trip r/t.
"...just take the RJ..."
The price for 2 adults on the RJ is €72 for a trip that takes 1.5 hours.
The price for 2 adults on the regional "M" train is €27 (Bayern ticket) for a trip that takes 2 hours.
So by taking Fred's advice, you'll spend €35 more in each direction (if coming back on another day) to save about 30 minutes.
If you are returning the SAME day, your total round-trip cost with the Bayern Ticket is the same - €27. The round trip on the RJ trains would be €144 - more than 5 times as much.
You will use DIRECT trains in both cases - no transferring is required on the regional train option.
Note that the Bayern ticket can also be used for city transit within Munich if needed (U-Bahn, bus, etc.) to and from the train station.
It is possible to get the RJ tickets cheaper - if you purchase well in advance and are able to snag the €29/ 2 adults / one-way fare. These tickets however are train-specific and are forfeited if you change your mind at the last minute or don't make your train.
The RJ trains generally run at 2-hour intervals. The "M" trains run every hour.
It's your call, Jill, but those are the facts for Munich-Salzburg.
Also important to know:
The RailJet leaves from the Hbf and goes non-stop to Salzburg. It does not stop at Muenchen Ostbahnhof, as do the regional trains. If you are starting at Marienplatz, for example, going back on the S-Bahn to the Hbf to catch the RJ only saves 6 minutes elapsed time vs. taking the S-Bahn to Ost and catching the regional train there. Of course, different trains leave at different times, so which train you take might depend on when you want to leave. But, all day long, there is only a span of about ½ hour every two hours in which a RailJet will get you to Salzburg sooner than a regional train. In other words, if there is a regional train leaving next, waiting for the RailJet will not only cost you more, it will get you to Salzburg later.
"you CANNOT use the Bayern Ticket before 9:00am on weekdays"
True, but you can leave before 9 AM if you are using a Bayern-Ticket. The 8:54 M (Meridian = regional) stops at Ostbahnhof at 9:02 AM, so you can either get on there if you are close, or you can purchase an MVV Inner Zone ticket for 2,60€ and get on the train at Hbf. (Or, with the MVV ticket, you can use any conveyances in Munich to get to the Hbf or to Ost.) Use the MVV ticket to Ost and the Bayern-Ticket from there. You'll get to Salzburg at 10:55.
There's an RJ at 7:31, but that's way too early for me. After that, the next one is at 9:34. Take the 8:54 Meridian. If you wait until 9:34 to catch the RJ (at the Hbf only) you'll pay more and get to Salzburg later.
In 2002, we went to Salzburg on a weekday with a Bayern-Ticket, had lunch, saw everything we wanted to see, left in the evening, and got back to Munich for a late dinner.
"You always have to check the small print AND the facts"
Yes, because there aren't any 19€ fares one way for two people on the Bahn website. I don't think the Bahn makes that offer. For trips under 250 km, Savings Fares start at 19€ for the first person, 29€ for two, 58€ (not 38€) for 2, return.
For my money, I'll save over half - and MUCH more if more than 2 people! - and use the Länder-Ticket. While it's true that some regional trains usually take longer, make more stops, etc., the short distance between Munich and Salzburg negates that problem. Also, you can travel whenever you like - if you're just not moving very fast that morning, you can mosey to the station whenever you get there...and return whenever you've had enough of Salzburg (within travel rules AND subject to train schedules, of course). Also, if you decide NOT to travel to Salzburg, you haven't wasted any money - those 29€/2 people (EACH way) tickets can turn into 72€/2 people (EACH way) tickets if purchased the day of the trip :-( By using Länder-Tickets, you can buy them immediately before boarding the train. Here is a wonderful website showing the various types of automated ticket machines you may come across in Germany (thanks for your site, Lee!); be sure to follow the links at the bottom of the first few pages.