München Hauptbahnhof Guide: Everything you Need to Know About Munich Central Station

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München Hauptbahnhof, AKA Munich Central Station is the heart of the entire Munich transport system.

If you are travelling to Munich, the chances are very high that you’ll end up here, roaming cluelessly like a zombie.

I mean, I can’t lie to you, this place is massive and kind of confusing to navigate, which is why I felt writing this comprehensive guide was necessary!

Throughout the past few years living in Munich, I’ve come to this station roughly two million times. I now like to think I know it like the back of my hand, so here are my best tips and tricks for surviving Munich Central Station and how to navigate it like a…. professional zombie.

München Hauptbahnhof Guide, Munich HBF, or Munich Central Station…?

First thing’s first – München Hauptbahnhof, Munich HBF, Munich Central Station and Munich Hauptbahnhof are all the same.

Signs/websites will use them interchangeably and depending on what language you’ve chosen (München is Munich in German, and Hauptbahnhof is Central Station in German).

If it’s your first time in Germany, your head is probably already spinning with the fifteen letter words and oddly non-intuitive systems… just know that these are all the same. I will also be using them interchangeably throughout this article just so I can mix things up a little bit.

An Overview of Munich Central Station

The Hauptbahnhof in Munich is similar to most other central stations in Germany – it acts as a main hub for transportation and therefore has easy connections to other parts of Munich.

Now, if there’s one thing you need to know about Munich HBF, it’s that this thing is huge. Truly. Besides the main choo choo trains that chug to mega-exotic locations such as Frankfurt and beyond, this is also a main transit hub for underground (U-Bahn) lines and suburban trains (S-Bahn). Airport buses and trams also have stops here.

Because of its sheer size, Munich Central Station is often a total pain to navigate, certainly for a first timer. You can check out a map on the official website here, but that might confuse you further 😉

Instead, here’s my ultimate piece of advice for you: LOOK AT THE SIGNS. There will always be signs in the station, so follow them instead of just blindly trying to feel your way through.

Basically look at the whole station as having multiple levels. There’s the underground trains at the bottom, the regular trains on the ground level and suburban (S-Bahn trains) somewhere in between.

If you are transferring from one of these to the other, know that there is quite a bit of walking involved.

If you only leave yourself 3 minutes to get from the U-Bahn to your regional train, you will probably not have enough time (unless you’re the Flash, in which case let’s grab coffee sometime, Barry).

If arriving by U-Bahn or S-Bahn, there are often multiple levels of escalators to get through, so do factor that into your timing… and don’t always rely on Google Maps to understand this. Sometimes they’ll show you impossible transfers because they don’t get that it’s not yet within human functionality to phase through walls. We’re working on it though 😉

Navigating Munich Central Station: Step by Step

The #1 thing that will be your friend = signage. While Munich HBF is massive and confusing, the signs do make sense.

If you’re catching a train, follow the signs with a train symbol. Remember, the trains are on ground level so if you’re underground, look for more escalators and like, follow the light.

Once you’re on the ground floor with all the train platforms, look up at the big board in the middle for your destination to see what platform it will be arriving at. Alternatively, if you install the DB app, it will usually tell you. Then follow the numbered signs to your platform.

NOTE: One of the most wonderful things about Munich is that it’s usually the first stop for trains, which means a) it’s easy to get a seat and b) it’s unlikely to be delayed.

If you’re trying to connect to a bus, tram, U-Bahn or S-Bahn, just follow their corresponding signs (they’re very self-explanatory).

Food Options at Munich Hauptbahnhof

Here’s the good news: there is an insane amount of food options at Munich Central Station. You definitely won’t be starving at any point. The bad news? The place is a total maze, and all these options are scattered around the station on different floors etc.

On the train platform level: If you’re in need to something quickly, there are a lot of kiosks on the train platform level selling takeaway foods like pastries and sandwiches. There’s at least one kiosk that sells fruit (and healthy snack options) and also a “food court” area if you want a sit-down meal. The options here are plentiful, with plenty of German (think sausage, potato, etc.) and international goodies. Condesa is also one of Munich’s most popular Mexican places, and they have a location close to Platforms 5-11).

On the underground level: If you venture to the underground level, there’s a lot more takeaway places, but better ones if you’re craving something hot (i.e. not just sandwiches). Besides good old reliable McDonalds, there’s also a few Asian takeout places (Asiahung is good!) and some other options like burgers, kebab, etc.

Connected to the station: L’Osteria is a chain Italian place in Munich that I adore. If you have some extra time to spare, I definitely recommend eating here – they have a location built right into the station. It’s a sit-down place but the pizzas are delicious and HUGE. You can easily split one (around 10-12 euros) between two people, making it a cheap and delicious meal.

Facilities at München Hauptbahnhof

Munich Train Station Luggage Storage: There are short-term luggage lockers in the station available for up to 6 hours. The cost is 2 euros for a standard locker and 3 euros for a large locker.

Bathrooms: There are paid public washrooms in München Hauptbahnhof provided by Rail & Fresh. The cost is 1 euro (but you get a 50 cent voucher for vendors in the station). Showers are also available for 7 euros.

Wifi: Look for the Telekom network. It should provide you 30 minutes for free, but sometimes it’s finnicky and doesn’t work.

Where to Find a Munich Train Timetable

I highly recommend you download the DB Navigator app or use the GoEuro app to look up different train times and prices. Trying to find a paper schedule is nearly impossible in the station, but if you need extra help, you can always try the DB Reisezentrum.

NOTE: For trains departing soon, there is a large board on the train platform level that has upcoming departures alongside important info like platform numbers.

Munich HBF to Munich Airport

Getting from Munich HBF to Munich airport is really easy. You have three options: take the S-Bahn, take an airport bus or take a taxi. All of them are really easy.

S-Bahn: The S-Bahn is the cheapest option to get from Munich HBF to Munich Airport. All you need to do is hop on the S1 or S8 (the S8 is much faster, FYI) in the direction “Flughafen”.

Airport bus: The Lufthansa Express bus costs €10.50 one way and €17 roundup. It leaves from Hauptbahnhof to the airport every 15 minutes. It takes approximately 45 minutes, which makes it negligibly faster than public transit. The only perk of this is ease of mind and comfort, though beware: there’s a chance you could get caught in traffic.

Taxi: The one time I took a taxi to/from the airport was on my very first day ever in Munich. It cost about 50 euros. This might be a smart option if you’re riding with multiple people, though again, beware of traffic. Unlike some major cities, Munich does not have a fixed rate on airport taxis.

NOTE: These tips are all for Munich International Airport. If you are looking for transfer information to Memmingen Allgau Airport, then read my full guide on that airport here.

Munich Airport to Munich HBF

I would highly recommend taking the train from Munich airport to the city center. This is not only the most cost-effective option, but it’s also the only option that exempts you from traffic 😉 Here is a quick rundown of your different options though:

S-Bahn: Again, the S-Bahn is the cheapest option to get from Munich Airport to Munich HBF. All you need to do is hop on the S1 or S8 (the S8 is much faster, FYI).

Airport bus: The Lufthansa Express bus costs €10.50 one way and €17 roundup. It leaves from the airport to the Hauptbahnhof every 15 minutes. It takes approximately 45 minutes, which makes it negligibly faster than public transit. The only perk of this is ease of mind and comfort, though beware: there’s a chance you could get caught in traffic.

Taxi: The one time I took a taxi to/from the airport was on my very first day ever in Munich. It cost about 50 euros. This might be a smart option if you’re riding with multiple people, though again, beware of traffic. Unlike some major cities, Munich does not have a fixed rate on airport taxis.

The Munich Airport Train Station is the same as the S-Bahn Station. Look for the white S in a green circle on the signs and follow the signs until you reach it.

Munich hotels near the train station

I can’t lie to you – Munich is a wonderful, clean, super safe city, but the only mildly rough area of town is the area surrounding Munich Hauptbahnhof and the Munich Central Bus Station.

This is why I typically don’t advise that people stay in this area.

Note: when I say “rough”, it is completely relative to the rest of the city (which is otherwise a pristine wonderland of hot people riding bikes and glittering beer gardens). Honestly, the area around Hauptbahnhof is no different from most downtown areas of urban cities like New York – there will be some sketchy characters floating around, and you might feel a bit uneasy, BUT I have never felt I was in any actual danger… it’s just objectively not as “nice” as the rest of Munich.

Of course, the compelling argument for booking hotels near the Munich Central Station is that hotels here tend to be on the cheaper side AND they are in a central location close to other sights. If you don’t mind staying in an area that’s less “pretty”, then there are plenty of Munich hotels near Hauptbahnhof for you to choose from.

Click here to browse hotels near Munich Hauptbahnhof.

Final Tips for Surviving Munich Hauptbahnhof

Pay attention to platform numbers

Some of the platforms are REALLY far, namely platforms 5-11 (where trains to Salzburg usually leave from) and platforms 27-36 (where trains to Neuschwanstein usually leave from). I used to make the very newbie mistake of assuming all the platforms were within easy distance, but these are notable exceptions. If you know your train will be leaving from one of these platforms, make sure to add some extra time for yourself! On that note, I highly recommend you just…

Leave yourself a lot of extra time anyway

Again, the station is huge, so I advise you arrive scarily early to sort yourself out prior to departure. Better safe than sorry. I’ve sprinted for my train before on many occasions and no, it’s not cute.

You can get very cheap and good coffee at Yorma’s

If you’re looking for a caffeine boost, forget an overpriced Starbucks and head to Yorma’s instead. Their coffees are less than 2 euros and they have syrups on the side for you to add into your coffee fo’ free. This excites me.

Bring something warm if you plan to wait for a long time/after hours

The station is covered, but open air, so if you plan to be at the station for a long time, bring something warm to cuddle up to (coat, human, or otherwise). The smarter solution though would be to wait in the underground level or inside any food spots that might still be open.

Any more questions about Munich Central Station?

I hope this terrifyingly long guide answered most of your most pressing questions about Munich Hauptbahnhof, but if you still have any, feel free to fire away in the comments!


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PS: If you’re planning on coming to Munich, you might also like these articles:

17 Hilariously True Must-Knows Before Traveling to Germany

99 Awesome & Fun Things to do in Munich

A Guide to Munich’s Public Transport 


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