Berlin to München / Munich by train

What won't be obvious when looking up a journey by train from Berlin to München / Munich is that the ICE trains between the two cities now take four different routes:

  1. Berlin - Halle - Erfurt - Nurnberg - München (the fastest services on this route with the fewest station calls are known as 'Sprinter' services)
  2. Berlin - Halle - Leipzig - Erfurt - Nurnberg - München (diverting off the direct route to serve Leipzig only adds around 40 mins to the journey time)
  3. Trains that have taken either of the two routes above to Nurnberg can be diverted off the direct route between there and Munchen in order to serve Augsburg; this adds around 30 mins to the journey time.
  4. Other trains take a Berlin - Leipzig - Erfurt - Frankfurt - Stuttgart - Munich route, which is much longer, so it has been excluded from the options below.
    Take care to avoid these trains if you will be travelling with a rail pass.

However, the departures are not evenly distributed, aside from trains travelling via Leipzig typically departing only in even hours, there is no pattern.
So if you need to be in Munich/Munchen by a specific time then be guided by that and don't pay too much attention to the journey time.

The cheaper tickets on the faster trains inevitably sell out faster, so if you won't be booking weeks ahead, the slower a particular departure is, the more likely it is that you'll save money by travelling by it.
But if you'll be using Eurail or InterRail passes you may as well target the faster trains.

Another unusual feature of this route is the variety of the types of ICE trains used.
If you want to have a meal in the restaurant car during the journey, you'll need to take the ICE 1 or ICE 4 trains, if you want to travel with a non-folding bicycle, you'll need to take an ICE 4 train.

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Routes

Option 1: taking the faster 'Sprinter' services

Travel Information

The departures with a journey time of around 3hr 55mins are branded 'ICE- Sprinter'* and they now provide the fastest ever train service between Berlin and Munchen/Munich.
Between Halle and Erfurt they're scheduled to travel faster than any other train in Germany!

ICE 3 trains are used for these ICE Sprinter departures - 'Sprinter' is the name that DB gives to a service and not the train.
*They should be marked with a grey 'S' symbol and referred to as 'ICE-S' on the DB website, but that can be inconsistent.
Despite being faster a premium ticket price is not typically applied to these 'Sprinter' services - though the limited numbers of discounted 'Sparpreis' tickets will inevitably sell out quickly.

They're also faster because they don't divert off of the direct route to call at Leipzig, but some of these trains which don't call in Leipzig have had additional station calls added to their schedules so they no longer qualify for Sprinter status.
Other types of ICE train including ICE 1 and ICE 4 trains are used for those slower services.

Departing from Berlin:

These trains usually depart from the lower level (tief) in Berlin Hbf.

These trains also call at Berlin Sudkreuz - which is to the south of the city centre

Connections are available at Berlin Sudkreuz from S-Bahn trains from the eastern and western edges of the city centre, as well as S-Bahn (local) trains from Brandenburger Tor and Postdamer Platz and Anhalter stations.

Check your connections in Berlin on this public transport map.

Final Destination: Munchen

All trains also call at: Nurnberg

Mon - Fri = 6 x trains per day
Sat/Sun = 5 x trains per day

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date - usually

Seat reservations:

Book 1st class ticket journey tickets and your seat reservation is included - but they're optional when booking 2nd class tickets, or if you will be travelling with a 1st or 2nd class rail pass.

Making a reservation is highly recommended if you want to remain in the same seat(s) for the entire journey from Berlin to Munich.

Finding Tickets:

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

Use the earlier/later buttons to search for the cheapest ticket prices.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB from €27.90

DB Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.
Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Two types of ticket have recently been made available;

  1. Cheaper 'Young' tickets which can only be booked by those aged 15-26 on the travel date.
  2. Flexi Plus tickets, which are now the most expensive type of ticket, but they're the only type of 2nd class tickets which DO include a seat reservation.
Omio from €27.90

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Happyrail from €27.90

Happyrail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

Saveatrain from €27.90

Saveatrain Guide

Trainline from €27.90

Trainline Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed (partial)

This is a scenically uninteresting journey, so what gives this journey its wow factor is its speed.

After departure from Halle the train will move on to the high speed line.
It will then spend around 80 minutes travelling at speeds of up to 290 km/h until it switches back to the conventional railway just to the north of Bamberg.

It will use a second stretch of high speed line for the 40 minute journey between Nurnberg and Ingolstadt.

Option 2: the more frequent trains which travel via Leipzig

Travel Information

This is the most frequent service of ICE trains between the two cities, but they divert off of what is now the direct route in order to call at Leipzig; where they REVERSE direction.
These trains with a journey time of between 4hr 32min and 4hr 47min also take the high speed line between Nurnberg and Ingolstadt.

As indicated above, the new ICE-4 trains are being used for most of these Berlin - Munich journeys with a journey time of around 4hr 30mins - 4hr 45mins (the trains on this route which travel via Leipzig, but not Augsburg).
Though ICE 1 and ICE-T trains are still used for a few departures.

Final Destination: Munchen

Departing from Berlin:

These trains usually depart from the lower level (tief) in Berlin Hbf.

They also call at Berlin Gesunbrunnen station - which is to the north of the city centre and at Berlin Sudkreuz - which is to the south.

Connections are available at Berlin Sudkreuz from S-Bahn trains from the eastern and western edges of the city centre, as well as S-Bahn (local) trains from Brandenburger Tor and Postdamer Platz and Anhalter stations.

Check your connections in Berlin on this public transport map.

These trains all call at: Berlin Südkreuz; and Nurnberg

Some trains also call at: Bamberg

Mon - Thurs = 8 x trains per day
Friday - Sunday = 9 x trains per day

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date - usually

Book 1st class ticket journey tickets and your seat reservation is included - but they're optional when booking 2nd class tickets, or if you will be travelling with a 1st or 2nd class rail pass.

Making a reservation is highly recommended if you want to remain in the same seat(s) for the entire journey from Berlin to Munich.

Finding Tickets:

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

Use the earlier/later buttons to search for the cheapest ticket prices.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB from €17.90

DB Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.

Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Omio from €17.90

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Happyrail from €17.90

Happyrail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

Saveatrain from €17.90

Saveatrain Guide

Trainline from €17.90

Trainline Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed (partial)

This is a scenically uninteresting journey, so what gives this journey its wow factor is its speed.

Around 10 minutes after departure from Leipzig, where the train will reverse direction, the train will move on to the high speed line.
It will then spend around 80 minutes travelling at speeds of up to 290 km/h until it switches back to the conventional railway just to the north of Bamberg.

It will use a second stretch of high speed line for the 40 minute journey between Nurnberg and Ingolstadt.

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