Munich to Salzburg and back

First trip to Germany, flying into Munich and out of Berlin. We plan to buy a Germany only Eurail pass, but would like to spend one or two nights in Salzburg. Do we buy separate train tickets to cross the border? If yes, how do we do that? Thanks for any help!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10844 posts

Yes, go to a ticket booth and buy a ticket. Or go to bahn.de and buy on line. Lots of trains between Salzburg and Munich. Lee should be along to explain the various German passes. Doubtful if the Eurail pass will save any money or the local day passes.

Posted by Caroline
Salem, USA
4 posts

So we might be better off buying separate train tickets and not the pass? Besides Munich and Salzburg, we plan to visit Bavaria (Fussen?), and another town on way to Berlin. We (2 adults and 15yo)only have 8 nights, and because we're flying on miles, need to fly out of Berlin. Trying to do 2 nights in each hotel.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
958 posts

Caroline, the Germany rail passes do cover train to Salzburg. But with the few times you'll actually use the train on your trip, point to point tickets may be a better value. The rail experts should weigh in on this one. Also, I know there are some regional passes in Germany (Bavaria specifically) that are excellent value.

Posted by Rob D
Bad Tölz, Bayern
27 posts

Hi Caroline, the three of you could get to Salzburg for 30€ if you buy a Bayern Ticket, which I think is very good value. You can read a good description about using this kind of train ticket at http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Bayern_ticket Regional (somewhat slower but the only type a Bayern Ticket lets you use) trains leave hourly from Munich Hbf (Hauptbahnhof) / Main Station and take two hours to get to Salzburg. This isn't a long stretch, so the faster IC / EC / RJ trains are only about 20 minutes faster... No biggie. You can check around the Deutsche Bahn website for other cost-saving possibilities, such as the City Night Line train "Capella" from Munich to Berlin (won't need a hotel that night). http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml You'll have to run numbers to see if a Rail Pass is worth it; that's beyond my knowledge. Enjoy your trip ~

Posted by bronwen
maplewood, new jersey, usa
750 posts

tickets cover trip to Salzburg. When you calculate the number of days on your pass just calculate days you will need it - I think we did a 5 day pass for our 8 day vacation. We found using the German Rail Pass so easy and as we had some long haul high speed trains it ended up making sense financially I thought.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8637 posts

Railpasses will not be cost effective. Salzburg is covered by the Bayern-Ticket. Buy one for Munich-Salzburg, one for Salzburg-Munich, and one for Munich to Fuessen and any other towns in Bavaria you visit the same day. If you book well in advance (up to 92 days allowed) on the German Rail site, you can get a discount fare as low as €189 for all three of you together for Fuessen-Berlin. I imagine you can get the same fare from other points in Bavaria.

Posted by Caroline
Salem, USA
4 posts

Thank you all for your help! I have learned so much from your posts, and from reading other threads.
~Caroline

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11254 posts

As pointed out above, the Bayern-Ticket is a good way to get to Salzburg. In addition, you might as well use it to get to Füssen as there are only regional trains on the route. If you go to Füssen on a weekend or holiday, you can use the Bayern-Ticket any time after midnight; if you go on a work day, you must wait until after 9 AM to use the ticket. However, you can leave before 9 AM if you also purchase a point-point ticket to the first stop after 9. With advance purchase (at least 3 days, 92 max) from the Bahn website, you can purchase a Savings Fare ticket (must include at least on leg on an express train - EC/IC/ICE) from any rail station in Germany to any other rail station in Germany. These tickets start at 29€ for a single person, 69€ for three adults. Since I used my last German Rail pass in 2000, I have always looked at both point-point tickets and Savings Fare/Regional passes vs a rail pass and have never found a pass to pay.

Posted by Caroline
Salem, USA
4 posts

"Since I used my last German Rail pass in 2000, I have always looked at both point-point tickets and Savings Fare/Regional passes vs a rail pass and have never found a pass to pay." Very interesting, Thank you. Part of it, though, is if the pass is easier than buying separate tickets. Are ticket machines easy to use with very limited German? I'm working on learning to use the bahn.de site, and the discount codes are still confusing to me. Of course, I've only spent a couple of hours on it so far. I think I assumed the pass was easier because this website, and guidebooks, seem to have the most info on them.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11254 posts

The new ticket automats in Germany, and they are in practically every station now, can be made to display in English. I have some help for using the automats here. I took the screens off of the Bahn website's tutorial on using the automats, which only shows German language screens. The touch pads should be in the same places, and do the same things, on the English side.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2684 posts

Caroline, On the DB ticket machines are pictogram instructions. You don't need to know German but it's easier if you do. But still following the pictogram instructions carefully, you can buy and pay for train ticket. No problem using your US magnetic stripe credit card to pay.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2811 posts

Caroline, Just to clarify Lee's post about using the machines. Click on the link he provided, and look at the first picture. At the bottom, you see there's a series of flags. When you are using the machine, click on the British flag, and this will switch the machine to English. This is common in Europe; English language is most often indicated by a British flag, not a US one (or by those of any other English speaking country).