Trains from Berlin to München take only four hours making German Railways ICE Sprinters faster than flying or driving. Cheap ticket deals are available.
The ICE Sprinter train of Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) is the fastest way to travel between Munich (München) and Berlin. From mid-December 2017, the Sprinter services of the intercity express (ICE) trains connect Berlin and Munich in (just) less than four hours. Further regular ICE trains will connect Munich and Berlin hourly in 4:30 on a new railway link that shortens the journey by at least 90 minutes from previous travel times. City-center to city-center journeys by train will thus be faster than flying between Munich and Berlin. The cheapest journeys are likely to still be on bus and coach services – Flixbus links the cities several times per day in around 7 hours but the train is the more comfortable and quicker option with cheap savings deals and bargain tickets often available.
Fast Trains Between Munich and Berlin
Traveling between Berlin and Munich (München) has long been a rather cumbersome affair. Trains took a long detour via old tracks with the total journey seldom below 7 hours – traveling by car or even bus was often faster.
However, train travel time between Berlin and Munich will come down to just four hours after a new railway link opens in mid-December 2017. The fastest four-hour journeys will be on the ICE Sprinter trains that leave Berlin / Munich three times per day around 6:00, 12:00 and 18:00. En route from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to München Hauptbahnhof ICE Sprinter trains also stop at Berlin Südkreuz, Halle (Saale), Erfurt and Nuremberg (Nürnberg).
Further ICE trains connect Berlin and Munich hourly in between 4:30 and around 5 hours. The fastest of these hourly ICE trains stop en route from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to München Hauptbahnhof at Berlin Südkreuz, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Leipzig, Erfurt and Nuremberg (Nürnberg).
- Using B or M as station on Deutsche Bahn websites will automatically default to the main station / Hauptbahnhof in Berlin and Munich.
- Trains taking more than five hours usually stop en route also at Donauwörth and Augsburg – it is often faster to change trains in Nürnberg and shave half an hour off the journey time to Munich (but a transfer may affect the ticket price if using a savings ticket discount offer).
- All ICE trains stop in Berlin at the Hauptbahnhof (main station) but may also stop at other stations in the city that are more convenient to outlying suburbs.
- The ICE trains do not stop at any Berlin (TXL / SXF) or Munich (MUC) airports.
Advance train reservations can be as cheap as €30 one-way from Berlin to Munich while the full flexible fare is a rather pricey €132. All regular German Railways discount offers may be applied.
By Bus from Berlin to Munich
Inter-city coaches were for years time competitive with trains on the slow Berlin to Munich route. However, the new four to 4.30 hour travel times of trains from Berlin to Munich mean that buses are now two to four hours slower than the railways.
Flixbus is currently the only major intercity bus service operator with coaches traveling a few times per day between Berlin and Munich. Journey times are at least 7 hours and often slower.
Full price bus tickets are cheaper than full-fare train tickets but with advance reservations, the difference often shrinks. However, Flixbus often have special offers when journeys may be as cheap as €5.
Driving from Berlin to Munich
Driving by car from Berlin to Munich could be as fast as six hours for the around 600 km journey but actual traveling time very much depends on traffic conditions. Other than a private or rental car, BlaBlaCar often advertises shared journeys with cost-sharing prices from around €30 to €40 for travel between Berlin and Munich.
Flying from Berlin to Munich
Lufthansa is currently the only airline flying between Berlin and Munich Airport. Flying time is only an hour but add at least 40 minutes traveling time from downtown München to the airport. In Berlin, Lufthansa uses the super convenient Tegel (TXL) airport.
Currently, Lufthansa flies around 20 times per day between Berlin and Munich – many passengers on these flights connect in Munich to longer flights, so the faster railway service may have a limited impact on the number of flights.