MUNICH FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Munich's Franz Josef Strauss International Airport is located approximately 20 miles northeast of the city center. If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options. An excellent train service links the airport with the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) in downtown Munich. The S-1 and S-8 lines depart daily from the S-Bahn platform beneath the airport at 20 minute intervals between about 4am and 10:45pm, less frequently through the night, with a journey time of about 40 minutes. The fare for an All-Zone Tageskarte (DayTicket) is 12€.

The Lufthansa Airport Bus runs between the airport and the main train station in Munich every 20 minutes from about 6:30am to 10:30pm. The trip takes about 40 minutes and costs 11€. Alternately, a taxi to the city center costs about 70€ and can take more than an hour if traffic is heavy, especially during rush hours from 7am - 10am and 4pm - 7pm.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

Munich's Hauptbahnhof, on Bahnhofplatz, near the city center, is one of Europe's largest train stations, with a hotel, restaurants, shopping and banking facilities. All long distance rail services arrive at and depart from the Hauptbahnhof. Connected to the rail station are the city's extensive S-Bahn rapid transit system and the U-Bahn (subway) system.

Additionally, Munich's cream-color taxis are available for hire at the station and at stands throughout the city. Taxis are plentiful, but expensive. Rates start at 3.50€ and you can expect to pay around 10€ for a 3 mile trip within the city. There's also a 0.60€ charge for each piece of non-hand luggage.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

Munich has one of the most efficient public transportation systems in Europe. An extensive network of U-Bahn (subway), S-Bahn (light-rail), Strassenbahn (trams), and buses makes getting anywhere in the city relatively easy. Marienplatz forms the heart of the U-bahn and S-bahn network, which operates regularly from around 5am to 1am.

Munich has four concentric fare zones. Most of your sightseeing will take place in Zone 1, which includes the city center. A single ticket (Einzelfahrkarte) in Zone 1 costs 2.60€. A Tageskarte (day ticket) good for a day of travel within the inner city costs 5.80€ for one adult; a Partner Tageskarte costs 11€ and is good for up to 5 people traveling together. A 3-Tageskarte (3-day ticket) costs 14€; the partner 3-tageskarte costs 25€ and is good for up to 5 people traveling together. You can buy these cards from the ticket vending machines (with instructions in English) or at station ticket windows. You also can buy tickets in the tram or from a bus driver, but they only sell single tickets. Tickets must then be validated in the blue machines found on U-Bahn and S-Bahn platforms and in buses and trams. Stick your ticket into the machine to be stamped with the date and time. A validated ticket is good for two hours. The same ticket entitles you to ride U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams, and buses; and you can transfer between them as often as you like as long as you travel in the same direction.

Warning: Spot checks for validated tickets are common. Inspector's will fine violators 40€ to be paid on the spot whether you are a tourist or a local!

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Munich's cream-colored taxis are plentiful, but expensive. You can get a taxi at one of the stands located throughout the city or you can hail a cab on the street if its rooftop light is illuminated. Rates start at 3.50€ and go up by 1.60€ per kilometer after that. There's also a 0.60€ charge for each piece of non-hand luggage. To order a taxi by phone, call Taxizentrale at tel. 089/21610, but note there's an additional 1.20€ charge for calling a taxi.

Where can I rent a bicycle in Munich?

Munich is a bike friendly city. You can rent a bicycle at Radius Bikes (tel. 089/5434877740) at the far end of the Hauptbahnhof at Arnulfstrasse 2. Rates are 3€ per hour or 18€ per day. A deposit of 50€ or a credit card number is required. Radius Bikes is open Monday - Friday, 9am to 6pm and Saturday - Sunday, 9am to 8pm from mid-March through October.

I will have a car in Munich, where can I park?

Our best advice on driving in Munich would be: don't! Not only is most of the city center a pedestrian-only area, but traffic jams are frequent and parking spaces are costly and hard to find. If you are renting a car we suggest you pick it up as you depart the city to avoid excessive rental/parking expenses. You can find car rental companies at the main train station including Avis (tel. 089/1260-000), Hertz (tel. 089/1295-001) and Sixt Autovermietung (tel. 089/550-2447).

Is Munich a walking city?

Munich is one of Europe's most architecturally interesting cities and a walk through the Altstadt (Old Town), a pedestrian zone, is the only way to truly get to know it.

Is Munich a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Munich, like all big cities, has its fair share of crime, especially pickpocketing and purse/camera snatching. Most thefts occur in the tourist areas, like Marienplatz and the Hauptbahnhof, which is particularly dangerous at night. Use caution and common sense to avoid becoming a victim. In addition, young 'skinheads' have been known to harass or attack people for racial reasons or because they appeared foreign. If you are the victim of acrime, report the incident to local police and contact the nearest embassy or consulate for assistance. For emergency medical aid or the police, phone tel. 110. Call the fire department at tel. 112.

Strong and unpredictable currents make cooling off in the Eisbach creek in the Englischer Garten more dangerous than it looks. Exercise extreme caution; there have been deaths.

A Note on Demonstrations: Germany has a number of political and economic demonstrations every year. Unfortunately, these demonstrations have a tendency to spread and turn violent. Police oversee demonstrations to provide security for participants and passersby; however, situations may develop that could pose a threat to public safety. Foreign visitors are advised to avoid the area around protests and demonstrations and to monitor local media for updates on situations.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Germany is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks and ATM's can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city.

What is the food like?

Bavarian cuisine:
Weisswurst breakfast - Munich is home to everything characteristically Bavarian. Munich is especially well-known for the Münchner Weisswurst, a veal-based breakfast sausage that is traditionally eaten as a late breakfast with a Brezn (prezel), sweet mustard and a Weissbier (white beer) and has traditionally been available in restaurants only until noon (today it can be ordered all day long).

The Bavarian meal often starts with a soup, of which there are many varieties. Staples include Leberknödelsuppe (soup with round dumpling containing liver), Grießnockerlsuppe (soup with semolina dumplings) and Pfannkuchensuppe (pancake soup). Main dishes are typically meat-based. Some examples, which you should taste, are Schweinsbraten (roasted pork), Schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle), Spanferkel (roasted suckling pig), Brathendl or simply Hendl (roasted chicken) or Bauernente (roasted duck). Those are usually served with gravy and Knödel (large round poached or boiled potato or bread dumplings) or Späzle (egg noodles).

Typical desserts include Bayrische Creme (a pastry cream served with fruit or jam), Dampfnudeln (made from yeasty dough and served with vanilla custard) or the Austrian import Kaiserschmarrn (light caramelized mix of small pancakes and raisins eaten with apple sauce).

A popular small meal or snack is the Leberkässemmeln, a white roll filled with a thick warm slice of `Leberkäse`. Which consists of a mixture of veal, pork, spices and a hint of lemon zest baked in an open pan and typically served with a sweet and grainy mustard. You can find these around the city very cheap (around €1.50). They are quite delicious, and filling. Also, try a Schweinsbratensemmel (a white roll filled with roasted pork). An alternative that can be had are rolls with Fleischpflanzerl, which a patties of mixed ground pork and ground beef eaten with spicy mustard. Another local option are Bratwurstsemmeln. The kind of Bratwurst most often sold at Munich sausage stands and butcher shops is of a typical medium-sized and mildly seasoned variety, basically like you expect a quintessential Bratwurst to be. Another plentiful snack in a roll is Schnitzelsemmel, which is quite popular amongst children, but the meat is not known to be the best quality.

There are countless bakeries and cafes to enjoy the popular Bavarian/Austrian style pies and cakes by the slice. All these sweet goodies are traditionally made with high quality all natural ingredients. The same goes for the amazing range of bread which can be bought at any of the local bakeries.

Other cuisine: Munich also offers various international restaurants, as well as the typical American fast food. Due to the proximity to Italy and as a result of Italian immigration in the 1960s, there is a plethora of Italian restaurant and pizza places in all price ranges throughout the city. If you need to cool down in the summer months, you can also enjoy delicious gelato at one of the many ice cream places mostly run by Italians.

There are also numerous small booths throughout the pedestrian area selling fresh fruit, snacks, ice cream in spring and summer and chestnuts during fall and winter.

I don't speak German. Will many people speak English?

English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest you get a good guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

When is Oktoberfest?

Munich is a fun-loving festival city - typified by its Oktoberfest. This celebration, which began as a sideshow of the crown prince's wedding in 1810, has become a symbol of the city itself. The world's greatest beer festival starts in September and runs to the first Sunday in October. For these 16 days every fall, more than seven million visitors cram themselves into the traditional Theresienwiese ('Wiesn' for short) festival grounds for some serious trinken und essen (drinking and eating). Different beers are sold in 14 different tents, each with its own atmosphere and food, although sausage and sauerkraut prevail. Oktoberfest beer is delicious - but strong - so pace your beer drinking and drink plenty of water in between.

Please Note: While the 'Wiesn' welcomes millions of visitors, it only has seating for about 100,000; so if you want to sit, especially on busy weekends, it's imperative to arrive early (the gates open at 10am).

What are the drinking laws in Germany?

As in many European countries, the application of drinking laws is flexible. Laws are enforced only if a problem develops or if decorum is broken. Drinking and driving, however, is treated as a very serious offense. Officially, someone must be 18 to consume alcoholic beverages in Germany, but it is rare for a bar or cafe to request proof of age. Munich doesn't have definitive closing times for bars, with many staying open until dawn, depending on the owners. Beer, wine and liquor are sold at most local supermarkets; which are usually open until 10pm.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Munich is a superb shopping society that values high quality merchandise. Maximilianstrasse, the most fashionable avenue for shopping, restaurants and art galleries is also home to the prestigious Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski München. Radiating out from Marienplatz, both Kaufingerstrasse and Neuhauserstrasse are major shopping avenues in the core of the Altstadt's pedestrian zone. The best streets for elegant boutiques and specialty shops are Briennerstrasse, Maffeistrasse and Theatinestrasse, where all the top European and German designers have shops including Jil Sander, Joop, Bogner, Max Dietl, and Rudolph Moshammer. While you can find almost anything you want in Munich, its not likely that you'll find any bargains.

Munich's famed Christmas Market, or Christkindlmarkt, takes place from late November through December. Marienplatz, the main square of the Old Town, overflows with stalls selling toys, ornaments and handicrafts as well as a delicious selection of traditional snacks and sweets, including gingerbread, sugar coated almonds, fruitcakes, smoked meats and piping hot Glühwein, a spiced red wine.

What are the best areas for nightlife?

As southern Germany`s cultural capital, Munich is certainly a city that offers a vibrant nightlife, possibly one of the best in Europe. Thanks to many pubs and dance clubs scattered throughout the city, the famous Oktoberfest (held every September and October), and the traditional beer culture, there is plenty of possibilities for fun. Munich is also renowned for its opera and symphony concerts and theater. The city truly offers something for everyone.

Today, mixology bars are serving experimental cocktails based on local ingredients in speakeasy-style settings, while cabaret clubs put on evenings of oft-zany cultural performances. Look to the Glockenbach viertel south of the Old Town for a neighborhood of cool café-bars, while the Schwabing district to the city’s north is home to a bunch of dirty dives, student bars, and dance clubs; the so-called Westend northwest of the Theresienwiese, aka Wiesn, is becoming an eclectic, artsy neighborhood worthy of exploring in the evening. With few exceptions, nightlife in Munich`s Old Town is often either touristy or typically a bit more low key.

Munich Beer Gardens and Beer Halls
Munich is famed for its breweries and beer halls, many of which have outdoor beer gardens where you can drink their brews and order hearty food at reasonable prices. If you`d rather nibble than dine, you can order a homemade Brezeln (pretzel), another Munich specialty, or a Radl, the large white radish that`s another traditional accompaniment to beer. For a glass or mug of beer, expect to pay about 5€ to 8€, depending on its size. Different bands/musicians sometimes add to the jovial atmosphere. The beer halls and gardens are typically large and casual, with communal seating.

Gay and Lesbian Nightlife
Munich`s gay and lesbian scene is centered around the blocks between the Viktualienmarkt and Gärtnerplatz, particularly on Hans-Sachs-Strasse.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital? Emergency dial 110

Munich has a large number of hospitals with English-speaking staffs. Your hotel can put you in touch with the one nearest you. The German word for hospital is Krankenhaus. A good recommendation is Städtisches Klinikum München, Bogenhausen (tel. 089/92700; www.kh-bogenhausen.de).