Cheap day tickets and public transportation travel cards offer savings on ticket prices for travel on U and S-Bahn trains, buses, and trams in Munich (München) in Bavaria.
Munich (München) has an excellent and extensive public transportation system that incorporates S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains, trams, and buses into a smooth network. Most tourists in Munich will save by using a public transportation day ticket, which is generally cheaper than two or three single journeys. Couples, small groups, and families save even more when using the cheap group day ticket (Gruppen-Tageskarte). The Munich City Tour Card and the München Card include transportation and discounts on some admission fees.
Cheap Munich Transportation Day Tickets
Most visitors to Munich will save on public transportation costs by using day tickets (Tageskarten) rather than single-journey tickets (Einzelfahrtkarten). A Munich transportation day ticket is usually cheaper than three single journeys in the inner city, and hardly more expensive than a single ticket when traveling from outside the center.
Munich public transportation ticket prices usually increase once per year but the relative positions usually stay unchanged – central Munich day tickets remain cheaper than three single-trip tickets, day tickets are much cheaper than two single tickets for longer journeys, a group ticket is cheaper than two singles, a week ticket is cheaper than three day tickets.
A day ticket (Tageskarte) is just one of the around 20 different types of transportation tickets available in Munich. Not surprisingly, transportation day tickets in Munich are available in around 20 different versions too. The most important determining factors in choosing the right day ticket are adult or child, single or small group, the area covered, and transportation only or a pass that includes discounts to popular tourist sights.
Munich Transportation Single, Group, and Child Day Tickets and Isarcard
Munich transportation day tickets are available for singles (Single Tageskarte), children (Tageskarte-Kinder), and small groups (Gruppe Tageskarte). These day tickets are valid from the moment of validation until 6 am the following morning.
Most transportation tickets must be validated in machines before first travel. (Tickets bought for immediate use at vending machines are valid from the moment of travel and will be physically too wide to fit into the validation machines.) Some tickets also require names to be entered in ink on the ticket.
The single ticket is obviously for individuals while the children’s ticket is for children aged 6 to 14 years. (Under 6-year-olds travel for free with an adult or older child.)
The Gruppe Tageskarte (previously Partner Tageskarte) generally gives the best savings for couples, small groups, and families. This group day ticket allows up to five adults to travel together or substitute any adult for two children. The Munich transportation Gruppen Tageskarte works out cheaper as soon as two people travel together (except for an adult with a single child, or three children).
The previous three-days cards are no longer sold but the Isarcard is a great alternative. The Isarcard is valid for longer periods – a week or month or as an annual abonnement. It is however very useful for tourist visits too. A week Isarcard is cheaper than three day tickets, plus up to three children may accompany an adult with an Isarcard for free for travel after 9:00 on weekdays and anytime on weekends. It is valid for seven days plus noon the following day – i.e. an Isarcard validated on Sunday is valid until Monday noon the following week.
The Deutschland-Ticket (Germany Ticket) is an interesting new local transportation subscription season ticket. It is valid on all local transportation options throughout Germany including regional trains, S and U-Bahn trains, city buses, and trams. The price is only €49 per calendar month and foreigners may also buy it. It is an annual subscription season ticket rather than a simple journey ticket or day travel pass but it is possible to cancel in time and only use it for a month.
See Cheap Travel on the €49 Deutschland-Ticket Germany Train Pass for details — read the fine print before signing up!
Munich Transportation Day Ticket Zones and Prices
Munich simplified the price structure of public transportation in 2020. The larger Munich mass transit network now has only 7 tariff zones (down from 16!), which are formed by rings around circular Zone M at the heart of Munich. Ticket prices for transportation are determined by the number of zones that a journey lasts.
The transportation day tickets (Tageskarten) are available for any single zone or combination of zones. Around 30 combinations are possible. It needs not even include zone M but for tourist visits, an outer zones ticket, say for example 2-4 is rarely of any use.
Some price examples (2023) that may be of interest to most tourists include:
|Ticket||Zone M||Zone M-1||Zone M-5||Child (6-14)|
|Single Ticket (Einzelfahrt)||3.70||5.60||13.00||1.80|
|Single Day Ticket (Tageskarte Single)||8.80||10.00||14.80||3.50|
|Group Day Ticket (Tageskarte Gruppe)||17.00||18.40||27.80||NA|
|Isarcard (Week Ticket)||20.20||32.60||68.60||* See note|
*Note: Up to three children travel for free with an Isarcard holder after 9:00 on weekdays and anytime on weekends.
Zone M (previously Innenraum) covers all of central Munich. Almost all tourist sights are in this zone.
Zone M-1 includes all of central Munich as well as nearby towns such as Dachau, Oberschließheim, Unterschließheim, and the Messe (exhibition) area.
Zone M-5 (roughly the previous Gesamtnetz / full network) includes almost the whole Munich public transportation network including transportation to München Airport (MUC). For groups, the Munich Card M-6 is actually cheaper than the transportation-only ticket when used for longer than three days and less than a euro more expensive over two consecutive days.
Zone M is usually sufficient for most tourists but Zone M-5 is useful when arriving at the airport. When bought at the airport, this ticket is often simply referred to as the Airport-City Ticket, which is valid from the moment of purchase while other tickets usually must be validated on first use.
- When going further afield, use the Bayern Ticket of German Railways – it covers almost all forms of local transportation in Bavaria including the complete Munich public transportation network.
A bicycle day ticket is €3.30 for unlimited travel in Munich or €5 for all of Bavaria. (Bicycles may not be taken on the U and S-Bahn during peak hours – usually 6-9:00 and 16-18:00 on weekdays.)
Tourists to Munich may also save with the Munich City Tour Card. This pass includes a transportation card as well as discounts on some popular sights in München. The German Railways’ Bayern Ticket covers almost all modes of local transportation in Bavaria and is also valid for all public transportation systems in Munich, and the Deutschland-Ticket is a good option too but read the details before signing up.