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Munich to Fussen to Salzburg and back to Munich

Hi all,

What would be the best mode of transportation to do this circle tour? We fly into Munich arriving about 9:30 am on December 19. Have reservations in Fussen for 2 nights, Salzburg for 1 night and Munich for 1 night. Thanks for your help ahead of time.

Posted by
18024 posts

Best? That would be a matter of opinion as to what "best" means. However, in terms of cost and convenience, it's the train. Each leg, Munich to Füssen, Füssen to Salzburg, and Salzburg to Munich can be done by regional rail for only 26€ for two people with Bayern-Tickets.

The trip between Munich and Füssen is best done with regional trains. There are regional trains that go directly between Munich Hbf and Füssen Bhf, and the last part to Füssen is only regional trains. Going part way by express train and then transferring to a regional train takes longer because of the transfer time.

Between Munich and Salzburg takes only about 1/2 hour longer by regional train with a Bayern-Ticket than by express, at a lot less cost.

The fastest way by train between Füssen and Salzburg goes through Munich Hbf, where you will have to change trains, but you can still use the Bayern-Ticket for the entire trip.

Posted by
425 posts

It depends on how comfortable you are with either renting a car or taking the train. If you aren't comfortable with train travel you will waste lots of valuable time sitting in a train station. Assuming that you have a car in the States, at least you know how to drive already. With that short of time, I would use a car. Drive, park, site see, and repeat. A car will be more expensive at first, but public transportation can add up. If you already have hotel reservations, you probably didn't think to get a hotel with walking distance of the train stop. That means either taking a cab (more money) or public transportation (more wasted time and money). Either way, make the most of it and have a great time!

Posted by
18024 posts

Three Bayern-Tickets for two will cost you 78€, and will include public transportation from the airport to/from the Munich Hbf, and transportation by S/U-Bahn, tram, or bus to your hotel in Munich. According to ViaMichelin, just fuel for a compact car (no fun to drive on the Autobahn) will be 68€. And then there are parking charges, tolls, speeding fines, etc. What it costs for a four day rental will pay for a lot of taxis.

There are a lot of ways you have to adapt to a different life style in Europe - people speak a different language, rooms are different, food is different - that, to me, is part of the charm of European travel. And, yes, using public transportation requires a learning curve, but it is so worth it. In this country it seems you can't go anywhere without using a car. We are slaves to our automobiles. It's so empowering to go to Europe and escape the car culture.

And sitting back in a train, with time to read, sleep, or just look at the scenery, is so liberating vs having to stare at a road and traffic congestion.

Posted by
12040 posts

Although I disagree with the above poster's usual depiction of driving in Germany as a sort of Bataan death-march, and I think driving sometimes is more convenient, in the case of your trip, taking the train is probably a better choice. If this were the summer, I might give a slight advantage to driving, because it would allow some exploring along the way, but this would be much lower yield in the winter. So, go for the train.

I'm wondering, though, why you have only alloted one night each in Munich and Salzburg and two in Füssen? The castles aren't going to take very long to see at that time of year, and the town itself is worth maybe 2-3 hours. You can probably accomplish most of that on your first day.

Posted by
5207 posts

"Assuming that you have a car in the States, at least you know how to drive already."
Heh, Heh. Only about 10% of drivers here in California do. Germans tend to drive better.

"If you already have hotel reservations, you probably didn't think to get a hotel with walking distance of the train stop."
Another good thing about the Bayern Ticket Lee suggests is that it's good on most buses, trams, and even some subways. If you use the bus from your poorly located hotel, buy it from the driver and it's good for the rest of your trip that day. But yeah, if you booked on some farm 6 miles out of town, it could be more problematic.

"In this country it seems you can't go anywhere without using a car. We are slaves to our automobiles."
In the US, I'd feel more like a slave if I had to ride the bus everywhere. But in Germany, public transport is vastly superior to its US counterpart. And you DO feel like a freed slave when you can travel efficiently AND your ride time is free to read, play cards, plan your activities, enjoy a sandwich and a beer, or chat face-to-face with your companion.

"I'm wondering, though, why you have only alloted one night each in Munich and Salzburg and two in Füssen? The castles aren't going to take very long to see..."
A good question. With only 4 days you are moving around, but maybe not "traveling" - getting to know these places, in other words. You're checking in, unpacking, eating, sleeping, checking out, and moving on again too quickly to soak up much in the way of experiences. Salzburg and Munich have so much to offer that 4 days is barely enough to visit those two alone. Ludwig's "castles" in Füssen are palaces, not castles, by the way; you can find palaces in Munich, and one of Ludwig's palaces in Prien on the way to Salzburg, and you can find real castles in/near Salzburg. Maybe you drop Füssen for a more rewarding trip with less ground travel? That would make transportation choices a snap.

Residenz in Munich
Nymphenburg Palace in Munich
Herrenchiemsee Palace in Prien
Salzburg's castles

Posted by
28 posts

This question really does hinge on the location of the sleeping accommodations you have already made. But as for driving in Germany, fuel cost for an economy car there is not much different from the cost for a good old American SUV here. Besides, once you try to park or maneuver some of the really narrow streets, you'll be thankful for a small car. If you can rent a diesel (ask at the counter), the fuel is considerably cheaper, and fill your tank in Austria when possible as fuel is normally cheaper there (taxes I think). There are no tolls on German roads, and, for the most part, no speed limits on autobahns. However, the rental car company normally will have a winter tire surcharge. I wouldn't recommend driving without GPS.