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Train from Munich to Salzburg

We will be taking the train from Munich to Salzburg on June 12th in preparation for our Rick Steve's Alps My Way Tour. Any insights would be appreciated. Do we need to purchase train tickets in advance or can they be purchased the day of?

Posted by
2070 posts

Our April flights into Munich were were significantly delayed, so if you pre-purchase tickets, you could easily lose money. The 1.5 hr train tickets were 17 Euros each for 65 yrs and older. We set up an account on the DB Navigator app, and easily completed the purchase. The machines at the train station wouldn't accept our credit cards without pin #'s. The DB app worked very nicely.
safe travels!

Posted by
18298 posts

No point in purchasing Länder-Tickets, like the Bayern-Ticket, in advance. In fact it's ill-advised. You can always purchase a Bayern-Ticket on the day of travel for the same price as it sells for in advance. And once purchased, the Bayern-Ticket cannot be returned, so if you buy it too soon and then change your plans, you are out the cost of the original ticket. It's easy to buy a Bayern-Ticket at an automat; they can "speak" English.

The Bayern-Ticket is valid for regional trains between Munich and Salzburg. The trains might not be classified as RB (Regional Bahn, milk runs) or RE (Regional Express, faster regional trains), but as long as they are not EC, IC, or RJ, they are regional trains. I think most of the Munich to Salzburg regional trains are classified as BRB (Bayerischer Regiobahn), but these are privatized regional trains and the Bayern-Tickets are valid for them.

Posted by
295 posts

We took the train form Munich to Salzburg a few years ago and got there hours later than expected because they changed the platform that the train was departing from but made the announcements in German. When we finally figured out which train to take (finding someone who worked there and spoke English was surprisingly hard) and got on it, shortly after we left the station, there was a problem and we spent a lot of time waiting around a remote station for it to be solved.

Ultimately, we got there, but had a much shorter day trip than planned. On the plus side, we met some very interesting people on the train (a Muslim man who lived in Vienna and talked about how much racism he and his family face in Germany. He was intrigued by the fact that my husband and I are an interracial couple and wondered how that was perceived in Canada) and while waiting around (young girls from Jordan).

I hope your trip goes more smoothly. Just wanted to give you a heads ups.

Posted by
698 posts

I haven't look at the scheduling, but I prefer the OBB RailJets over the IC/EC options.

Posted by
1356 posts

The more expensive Rail Jets and EC trains are only slightly quicker that the BRB trains that Lee mentioned. Buying the Bayern Ticket the day of travel and using the local (BRB) option would seem best to me.

You can check times and costs at this Die Bahn template:
https://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

Posted by
698 posts

"The more expensive Rail Jets"

Interestingly, I just did a plug-in-a-date look, and the first 5 listings showed the RailJets to be cheaper but besides all that, the RailJets are rolling nicer stock than the alternatives - that's why they're my preference.

Posted by
5555 posts

We will be taking the train from Munich to Salzburg on June 12th in preparation for our Rick Steve's Alps My Way Tour. Any insights would be appreciated. Do we need to purchase train tickets in advance or can they be purchased the day of?

You haven't indicated whether you are traveling from Munich AIRPORT to Salzburg or from Munich's main station or from some other Munich location.

The Bayern Ticket is one of those very handy solutions for just about everybody.

Fundamentally there are two types of trains in Germany - the a.) regional/local trains, and b.) the "fast trains" or the long-distance/high-speed trains (IC, EC, ICE, RJ, etc)....

If you WAIT and buy tickets for travel from Munich's main station:

a.) the regional train to Salzburg takes 1.75 hrs.; the "Bayern Ticket" day pass covers the trip for only €34/2.
b.) the fast train to Salzburg takes 1.5 hrs; full-price tickets, the only option, will cost upwards of €72/2.

If you instead PRE-PURCHASE your tickets for Munich-Salzburg, whether it's weeks in advance or months in advance:

a.) the Bayern Ticket price (for the regional train) is still €34; refunds are impossible.
b.) the fast train ticket will be discounted (saver fare) - but the very best price you can get is €36. And you MUST ride the specific fast train you book.

For this route, both the fast trains and pre-purchasing are unwise, as I see it.

Other good reasons to get the Bayern Ticket on the day of travel:

  • No matter what time you buy it, it's good at any hour all day long (Saturdays or Sundays) or from 9 am onward (weekdays.) You can "miss" a train and take a later one, or travel earlier than you planned. No problem.

  • If you're in Munich and you want to catch the bus or the subway to the rail station first, you can buy your Bayern Ticket from the bus driver or from the subway ticket machine. And it covers BOTH the bus/subway AND the train ride.

  • If you were doing just a day trip to Salzburg - the same Bayern ticket you bought that morning would be good for the trip back to Munich as well at no additional cost.

Pat has brough up the new "senior" saver fare offering. This limited-time offer appears on the DB site and is good for train-specific travel through December 11, but it is only available for sale through July 31. And it is only available for journeys which include "fast trains", just like other saver fares. Ride the trains as scheduled, or lose the ticket.

Posted by
5 posts

So helpful, thank you!!! We will definitely wait and purchase our tickets when in Munich. We are arriving in Munich on Friday and will be traveling to Salzburg on Sunday with the tour beginning Monday evening. Thank you, this information is invaluable.

Posted by
5555 posts

For your transfer from MUC airport on Friday and for moving about within Munich that same day, this ticket might be the one you want:

AirportPLus-Ticket

Posted by
1757 posts

I haven't look at the scheduling, but I prefer the OBB RailJets over the IC/EC options.

First of all, RJ and IC/EC are not alternatives, but different train classes. Secondly, RJs and ICE's do not run in competition, but RJs on the route Munich-Salzburg-Vienna, and ICE's on the route Frankfurt-Passau-Vienna. EC's are hardly faster than local trains, and hardly anyone uses them for a trip between Munich and Salzburg (but for direct travel further on to Graz). In fact, for a single person a Sparpreis ticket booked far in advance will often be cheaper than a Bayernticket, but for two people and more the RJ is always more expensive than the local train. A good compromise between travel time and price are the Westbahn trains - as fast as the RJ, some of them attractively priced. there are only four of them a day at the moment, but from summer there will be seven.

Posted by
39 posts

When using the DB Website https://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en for every connection the information about the train is given by an abbreviation like RJ/RJX/EC/BRB/WB.
RJ/RJX and EC are international trains operated by OEBB (Austrian national rail).
BRB are German regional trains.
WB is a private Austrian rail company (Westbahn).
Westbahn tickets can be purchased via https://westbahn.at/en/ portal by not via DB portal (but connections will be shown).
For a single person, WB tickets are typically the best deal. For multiple adults it’s typically “Bayern Ticket” on BRB trains.

As you are traveling in June 2022 the “9 Euro Ticket” will be the best deal. https://www.bahn.com/en/offers/regional/9-euro-ticket-en
It’s a personalized ticket valid for one month on local and regional public transport.
It would cover S-Bahn from Muinch Airport, all S-Bahn, U-Bahn, tram and busses in Munich als well as (according local media) the BRB trains to Salzburg.
On the search window of DB Website there is a tick-box “local transport only”. If you select it only BRB trains are shown that can be used with “9 Euro Ticket” and/or “Bayern Ticket”.

Warning: It might be that this very cheap ticket will lead to overcrowded regional trains (the week of June 12th there are school holidays in Bavaria).
Thus for more comfortable travel it could be wise to invest some more Euros and use RJX or WB trains.

Posted by
5555 posts

At the moment the German news headlines are reporting strong opposition to the 9-Euro legislation which may actually stall or kill the 9-Euro bill. If passed it will affect local public transport (which in Germany means buses, subway systems, trams, AND regional trains) not just in Bavaria (see Paul's post) but around the entire country. Pop some more corn.

The stated purpose of the bill is to provide German citizens some temporary economic relief from high energy prices caused by events in Ukraine. But the move also gets strong support from those who support heavy subsidies in the battle against climate change; make public transport free or dirt-cheap forever, and the automobile becomes a mere memory.

If the bill passes, it will very likely overload some regional trains during June, July and August. Users will be commuters who leave their cars at home, but also the summertime tourists, as Paul points out. So if you really can stick to a tight schedule, a saver fare ticket, as Paul suggests, might be wise for heavy-demand routes like Munich > Salzburg... if you can get one that is. Because standard walk-up fares on the RJX and other fast trains tend to be so pricey, I'm sure Paul's not alone with this idea; the normally heavy competition for saver fare tickets on this route this season will surely be heavier than ever.

Another summer planning idea: Avoid commuter routes where possible as well as the destinations and routes that are promoted heavily by Rick Steves and other guidebooks. Travel instead to lesser-known destinations in Germany on routes that get less traffic. Lots of travelers on this forum say they plan to "explore" places but in fact their itineraries take them to all the usual towns and sights. Going to Bavaria? There are hundreds of routes and destinations to choose from besides Munich > Salzburg:

http://www.bayerwald-ticket.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Streckennetz_Bayern_2012.pdf

Posted by
12880 posts

Hi,

You can take the train from Munich to Salzburg which accepts no seat reservations, the Meridian train. If no seating is left, you stand as do all the others.

Posted by
18298 posts

That's the same train that is shown as "BRB".

I've been on 9 different segments of the Munich to Salzburg regional train in the last 22 year. Only once was a train close to SRO This was in May of 2012, when Müchen Bayern was playing Chelsea in Munich for the European Championship. Although I did find an empty seat, the RE, a double-decker, was packed. I've only had to stand two times on a German train, once on an ICE from FRA to Mannheim on "2nd day of Christmas" in 2002; then on a Monday night commuter train out of Hannover in 2008.

Posted by
12880 posts

I go in the summer and have stood numerous times taking the ICE, one definite time was from Leipzig to Berlin, lucky a short ride. Take the RB in the Ruhr area on a week-end in the summer, chances are that you could stand or on week days after 5 PM. When a ton of students board, you can expect to stand, say from Hamm to Soest. I'm there prior to the end of their semester.

Posted by
18298 posts

One thing people have to realize about the different trains between Munich Hbf and Salzburg Hbf is that Munich all the way into Salzburg or visa versa is fine for RailJet of Westbahn, but those trains, being non-German trains don't normally carry passenger to other stations on the line. The Railjet does sometimes stop at Munich Ost, but that is only do pick up passenger going to Salzburg or discharge passenger coming from Salzburg. Occasionally, the RailJet also stops in Rosenheim, a hub between Salzburg and Innsbruck. Neither the RailJet nor Westbahn stops in, for instance Freilassing nor Prien (Chiemsee). Eight of my nine trips on a Salzburg to Munich (or V-V) train have included at least one terminus in Prien or Freilassing, all of which are served only by German trains (EC or BRB).

Posted by
43 posts

I'm reading all of your responses with interest. In June, we will need 4 tickets for these routes:

  1. From Munich Airport to Marienplatz
  2. From Marienplatz to Dachau Memorial and back
  3. From Mairenplatz or Munich Central station to Salzburg (no return)

Number 1 will be on a separate day. 2 and 3 might be on the same day.

I have never traveled in Germany by train before. I have the DB app reading to go. I had planned on the Bayern ticket for getting to Salzburg, and possibly to cover the Dachau trip, if we did that on the same day. I have read the comments here and the news release about the 9E tickets, but I can't quite tell if it includes the Munich-Salburg regional trains?

If anyone has thoughts about the most economical options for our train tickets, I'd appreciate it. I do appreciate all of you who know this system sharing your expertise with newbies like me!

Posted by
1757 posts

You will need a 9€ ticket for every traveller, which will cover all your trips.

Salzburg is technically a DB station, so the 9€ ticket is good for your trip to Salzburg main station but not for urban transport within Salzburg.

Posted by
43 posts

Looking at the bahn app for our munich to salzburg train trip. We are looking for tomorrow morning, leaving either from Marianplatz or the main Munich station. Destination is the main Salzburg station. I'm very confused! Was hoping our 9 euro tickets would work. I know they are not good on IC,EC, ICE trains. Will the 9 euro tickets work for an S-WB train? I have looked on the bahn website and app and can't find out. I did read here that WB trains are run by another private company? If that S-WB train doesn't work, it looks like we will have to take a longer train (2.5-3 hours).

Posted by
43 posts

I found the answer to my question. Underneath that WB route it says 9E ticket not valid.... :(

Posted by
43 posts

I think my confusion is that the shortest travel time I can find on any of the regional trains is 2 hrs 30 min and requires 2 changes. Is that normal? I thought it was more like 1 hr 45 min?

Posted by
43 posts

I have yet another update. Apparently due to some sort of technical glitch, the BRB trains are not displaying on the Bahn webstie or app! I thought I was going crazy because I could not find them. They are on the BRB website and app and still running!

Posted by
1757 posts

There is work on the rails over the next days. You can find the replacement timetable of the BRB here (scroll down to " Downloads - Chiemgau-Inntal: Fahrplanabweichung München - Salzburg 30.05. - 15.06.2022"). In the upper left corner, below "Verkehrstage" locate the line "So 05. und Mo 06.06.2022". Available trains are marked with a blue bullet.