Getting to Salzburg in Austria from Flughafen München (MUC) in Bavaria, Germany, is easy by car, intercity bus or train. Using the fast Autobahn, driving to Salzburg should take around two hours. Flixbus long-distance direct buses from the airport to Salzburg a few times per day. Trains run twice per hour from Munich Airport in around two and a half hours to Salzburg – a transfer is always required at either München-Ostbahnhof or München-Hauptbahnhof. Trains can be as cheap as €20 one-way or €38 for a group of five traveling on the Bayern Ticket. Flixbus buses are is currently only €15.
Driving to Salzburg from Munich Airport (MUC)
Driving from Munich Airport to Salzburg is fairly easy and straightforward. The simplest is to use the Autobahn – the 180 km (120 m) journey takes around two hours.From Munich Franz Josef Strauss Airport (MUC) follow the A92 and then A9 Autobahn towards Munich. Before entering the city, use the A99 ring road to get to the A8 that goes all the way to the Austrian border.
Salzburg is around 5 km from the German-Austrian border. While cars travel for free on German autobahns, a toll sticker is required for travel on Austrian highways. Toll stickers (Vignette / Pickerl) can be bought from the service stations on the Autobahn in Germany before reaching Austria.
Drivers in cars without a Pickerl can take a chance – but note that the fines are very high. Alternatively, shortly before the border leave the Autobahn A8 for Bad Reichenhall on route B20, and then turn onto the B21 heading for Salzburg. The road name changes to the B1 in Austrian and goes directly into Salzburg passing Salzburg Airport (SZG). This detour adds about 3 km / 10 minutes to the overall journey. On the return journey, it is possible to rejoin the Autobahn A8 from the B1 directly at the border to actually shorten the journey by 3 km from the highway route.
The shortest route from Munich Airport to Salzburg is around 150 km (90 miles) but takes at least 3 hours to drive via smaller towns including Wasserburg am Inn.
Schloss Herrenchiemsee is on the Autobahn between Munich and Salzburg and a popular sightseeing stop en route to the Mozart city.
A pre-booked private airport shuttle van from Munich Airport to Salzburg should be around €300 – compare prices before making reservations. My Driver gives online quotations for private airport transfers without first requiring personal details or flight numbers.
By Train from Munich Airport to Salzburg
Getting from Munich Airport to Salzburg is easy by train – generally two trains per hour are available. A simple transfer is always required in München from the S-Bahn to regular trains. Total traveling time is around 2h20 with the more expensive EuroCity (EC) and RailJet (RJ) trains offering no time advantage..
As the differences in travel times are marginal, it is worth working through the options to get the best deal, especially when traveling as a couple or small group.
The full second-class fare from Munich Airport to Salzburg is currently €42 (early 2017). This allows for travel on any train, at any time, and interrupting the journey. Rail&Fly – if offered by the airline – is a good alternative at €29.
By not using the RailJet (RJ) trains, travelers can save €4, and by avoiding the EuroCity (EC) trains, the full fare becomes €35. In this case, the hourly Regional Express (RE) or Meridian Direction (M) train must be used but the actual journey time is hardly longer. BahnCard and other German Railways discounts may be applied, although the Meridian Direction (M) trains are privately run.
However, the biggest savings are usually on the Bayern Ticket, as it is valid for travel to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof. The Bayern Ticket allows for unlimited travel for a day on almost all Bavarian regional trains and buses (including S and U Bahn trains, buses and trams in Munich). For solo travelers, the cost is €23, for a couple €31 and for up to five €49. (Note that travel must commence after 9 am on weekdays, any time on weekends. Travel commencing after 18:00 qualifies for the slightly cheaper Bayern Night Ticket.)
- See Save on Rail Travel with the Bayern Ticket for more details on this discount offer.
Advance reservations can see the price of a train ticket falling to less than €20 for travel between Munich Airport and Salzburg but will commit the traveler to a specific train. This is fine for travel to the airport but missing the train for delayed flight arrival – or any delay not directly attributable to Deutsche Bahn – will require buying a completely new ticket.
Trains from Munich Airport to Salzburg
Train travel from Munich Airport starts with an S-Bahn ride towards Munich. The S8 and S1 follow different routes, with the S8 generally the best option for travel via the Ost Bahnhof, while both S1 and S8 take around 45 minutes to the Hauptbahnhof.
When heading to Salzburg from Munich Airport, it is usually fastest and easiest to change trains at Munich Ostbahnhof. Except for the RailJet, which only stops at the Hauptbahnhof, all trains for Salzburg also stop at the Ostbahnhof.
The S8 from München Flughafen Terminal takes just over half an hour to reach München-Ostbahnhof. (The S1 takes almost an hour.) From the Ostbahnhof, an hourly Regional Express train goes to Salzburg. (Currently, leaving at :55 from the Ostbahnhof and arriving in Salzburg just less than two hours later.)
High-speed trains – although the time difference on this route is only about 15 minutes – run hourly from Munich Hauptbahnhof to Salzburg. The EuroCity (EC), which also stops at the Ostbahnhof, and the RailJet (RJ) trains generally alternate. The Bayern Ticket is not valid on these trains.
See the German Railways timetables (and online tickets) for railway travel: MUC München Airport-Salzburg. (For Bayern Ticket travel, click the “only local transport” option to only receive information on trains and buses where this savings ticket may be used.)
The Bayern Ticket can also be bought directly from Deutsche Bahn (in German only) without having to go through a complete booking process to get the offer.
The RailJet is the most luxurious train on this routing but the Regional Express and private Meridian Direction (M) trains are hardly less comfortable than the EuroCity – just bring your own coffee and snacks. Reservations are not required on any of these trains.
For cheap travel on regional trains in Austria, use the Einfach Raus Ticket, which gives huge discounts for small groups traveling on local trains and buses only.
By Flixbus Buses from Munich Airport to SalzburgThe long-distance, intercity Flixbus buses offers an alternative for cheap travel between Munich Airport and Salzburg. Six times per day, a direct bus connects the airport with Salzburg in just over three hours. For some Lufthansa flights, it is possible to book the bus to Salzburg as part of the flight ticket.
The advantage of the bus is the comfortable, guaranteed seats, free wifi, and no need to transfer with luggage at train stations. The bus currently stops at Salzburg Süd P&R, which has good bus connections on lines 3 and 8 to downtown Salzburg. Flixbus bus tickets currently are €15 on the München Flughafen to Salzburg route.
(Note: From 1 November 2016 all German Postbus routes were taken over by Flixbus.)