Salzburg may be over the border in Austria, but it's one of the closest cities to München/Munich hence the service of frequent trains.
Because of the relatively short distance the express trains, the Railjets and EuroCity trains aren't particularly faster, but they do allow the option to reserve seats; and can be cheaper if you want to book ahead and commit to a specific departure.
There are also hourly Regio trains operated by Meridian.
During the day the timetable is arranged so that:
Something worth knowing is that the railway line to Salzburg is on the opposite side of München/Munich to its main hauptbahnhof railway station.
So after departure from München hbf the trains have to travel in a semi-circle around the city centre, but aside from the fast Railjet trains, the other trains from München/Munich to Salzburg also call at Munchen Ost station.
Munchen Ost station offers straightforward connections from local, S-Bahn, trains which call at multiple stations in the heart of the city, they use a tunnel to cross the city centre.
If you will be travelling by train from Munich Airport/Flughafen to Salzburg, the quickest option is to take a train on line S8 to Munchen Ost and make the connection on to Salzburg there.
Budapest or Wien (the Railjets)
Klagenfurt or Zagreb or Graz or other destinations (the EC trains)
Some trains (the EC trains) also call at: Munchen-Ost
1 x express train per hour
Book early and save: Yes
Though a condition of the discounted tickets is that you have to travel by a specific departure.
Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date
For train journeys between Munchen/Munich and Salzburg you can choose between:
(1) the Railjet trains - the fastest trains AND can be cheapest if the discounted tickets are still available (and they still tend to be available up to the day before you want to travel).
During the day*, between 09:00 and 18:00 these Railjets depart in the odd hours only.
*They’re hourly between 06:00 and 09:00.
(2) the EC trains -they tend to be around 14 mins slower than the Railjets, but can be cheapest (particularly if the discounted tickets for the Railjets have sold out)
During the day, between 09:00 and 20:00 these EC trains depart in the even hours only.
Between 19:00 and 20:30, after the final Railjet trains of the day have departed, there also 2 x Nightjet trains, which have daytime seats.
On the DB Bahn booking service, these trains are shown as ‘IC’ trains
Travelling from Munchen Hbf station:
If you’re booking online 24 hours ahead or more, the departure/arrival times suit, AND the optimum starting point for your journey is Munchen Hbf – then target the Railjets.
The EC trains are very rarely cheaper and they're slower
You can certainly ignore the Meridian (M) trains as they’ll be more expensive (and slower).
On the DB Bahn booking site look for journeys that have:
- 0 in the Chg. column
- RJ in the Products column
Travelling from Munchen Ost station:
The Railjet trains do not call at Munchen Ost station, but the EC and Meridian trains do call there.
If the starting point of your journey is in central Munchen/Munich, around Marienplatz - then the quickest option is to take an S-Bahn train to Munchen Ost and then connect there into an EC or Meridian train on to Salzburg.
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These express trains share the Munich to Salzburg route with hourly Regio trains operated by Meridian.
So during the day there are 2 x trains per hour from Munchen/Munich to Salzburg and those 'Meridian' trains are only six minutes slower than the EC trains.
However, if you are booking ahead it can be worth targeting these express trains, the discounted tickets tend to be cheaper and the trains are more comfortable too (if you can find a seat).
Final Destination: Salzburg
All these Meridian trains also call at: Munchen-Ost.
1 x train per hour
Book early and save: No - not on these trains
For train journeys between Munchen/Munich and Salzburg you can choose between express trains or these Meridian (M) regional trains – they’re slowest because they're not express trains; though they’re only 4 minutes slower than the EC trains.
When the discounted tickets for the Railjets and EC trains are no longer available, these Meridian trains become the cheapest option.
So they will be usually be the cheapest option if you will be buying tickets at the station just before boarding.
They also depart hourly.
Travelling from Munchen Ost:
Thede Meridian trains also call at Munchen Ost.
If the starting point of your journey is in central Munchen/Munich, around Marienplatz - then the quickest option is to take an S-Bahn train to Munchen Ost and then connect there into a Meridian train on to Salzburg.
You may as well as buy tickets at Munchen Ost station, the Meridian trains will cost the same if you haven’t booked in advance.
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If you have booked a ticket online, then aim to be at Munchen no later than around 10 mins before the departure of the train.
These Meridian trains usually depart from Gleis (track/platforms) 9-10 in Munchen Hbf - and these are some distance from the main concourse.
If you will be purchasing tickets at Munchen Hbf then be at the station a minimum of 15 mins before departure.
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