What to do and see during a layover or stopover in Munich airport?

Last Updated: May 2018.

Consistently rated as one of the finest airports in the world, Munich Franz Josef Strauss International airport (MUC) is among my favorite airports for a layover.  In this guide i would like to share a couple of ideas on things to do while in transit in the MUC airport.

If you have less than 2 hours

Your key concern would be to make it on time to your connecting flight. Previous experience showed me that unless weather conditions are adversary (for example: heavy snow),  45 minutes connections are generally doable in MUC  for Schengen flights.

When connecting towards your Non-Schengen flight, plan to allow 30 extra minutes to clear passport controls and security. Once landed, look into the departures monitor to identify your departing gate. If you are flying with Lufthansa or one of the Star Alliance members, you have most probably landed and should remain in Terminal 2.

Free WIFI (network name is telekom) is available upon registration (you’ll need to provide your email details) and relatively fast. Outlets for charging your mobile devices is readily available. Lufthansa typically offers free coffee to passengers waiting for connecting flights. Miles and More silver and gold members can relax in Business/Senator lounges.

Note that smoking is only allowed in designated cabins at the gate concourses.

If you have 2 to 6 hours – Staying in the airport

If you have less than 5-6 hours, my recommendation would be to stay at the airport terminal.

Catching a nap is generally possible in MUC, either in the newly available nap cabins, seating areas near the gates or in one of the VIP lounges in terminal 1 and 2.

Showers are available at the MAC (Munich Airport Center) or Terminal 2 (Arrival gates) for 15 Euro. Note that you’ll need to leave the international area and go through security on your back.

Shopping is readily available, however relatively expensive.

If you have 6-10 hours:

If you are in MUC for a long layover, you might want to consider renting a nap cabin, getting an hotel room for day use or go for a short sightseeing tour in central Munich.

Can i leave the airport?

People often ask me whether they are able to leave the airport during their layover. It’s a complex topic which i recommend you’ll take the time and find out before your trip. European citizens are obviously allowed to enter Germany. Other nationalities (including USA/Canada/Australian citizens) are able to enter Germany for transit or tourist purposes without a Visa. Other nationalities, require a visa for transit through German airports.

Note: Allow at least 5-6 hours to customs and passport control, travel to the city center,complete the essential tour outlined below and go through security to your flight.

Once you clear passport controls and customs you should be heading towards the regional train (S-Bahn) stations, which is strategically located in between the two terminals. If you are coming from Terminal 2, note the amazing MAC forum, which often hosts events and specially wild during Oktoberfest (Beer festival starting mid September).  You might want to consider a stop at the EDEKA supermarket at MAC forum for some drinks and snacks at reasonable prices. Other option is to visit the nice Beer Garden in the airport (restaurant AirBrau).

Luggage storage is available in the service centers located in terminals 1 and 2.

DIY City Center tour

(Note: Taxis are VERY expensive in Munich. A one way ride to the city center could go up to 80-90 Euros. Therefore, we recommend to use the ultra efficient train system.)

Once you reach the S-Bahn station, go ahead and buy a return ticket that will take you from Flughafen (airport) to the City Center. Board trains S8 (shorter) or S1 and allow roundabout an hour to get into the Marienplatz station. Trains are typically available at 20 minutes intervals. Use the Munchen train system website to plan your journey.

Here are a few essential visit sights (will take 2 hours to complete approximately):

  • First off wander around the Marienplatz square and the amazing neo-gothic city hall building.
  • Then visit the Frauenkirche – a pretty impressive gothic church
  • Walk couple hundred meters up north towards Odeonplatz.
  • Next return towards the Marienplatz on your way to the Viktualienmarkt, a picturesque food market located right off the main square. This would be a good place to try some Bavarian delicatessen.

Additional activities to consider:

  • BMW Museum (2-3 hours): Wondering how world class vehicles are built? A layover in Munich could be a great opportunity to visit the BMW factory (BMW Werk – located at U-Bahn subway station Olympiapark). Make sure you book your tickets ahead for a visit to remember, especially when traveling with kids.
  • Located a 15-20 minutes drive from MUC is Therme Erding, Europe’s largest spa and water park, which could be a great for unwinding during a longer layover. Therme Erding is accessible via the S2 S-Bahn train from the city center stations (drop at station Altenerding and allow ~ 15 minutes to stroll from the train station to the therme).
  • If you are a soccer fan, you might want to consider a visit to the FC Bayern Munich Allianz Arena stadium; definitely on of Europe’s finest sport venues.

If you have an overnight stopover

You could either go for the itinerary above and stay in the city center or in case you need to rest, meet colleagues or just get some work done, consider booking an hotel near the airport.

MUC hotels are located in the nearby towns of Hallbergmoos , Schwaig and Erding; many of them offering courtesy shuttles from Terminals 1 and 2.

Did we forget anything? Feel free to let us know so we can update our Munich essentials layover guide.

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