Munich Airport Layover Sightseeing

munich layover sightseeing

Munich International Airport (MUC) is located 35 kilometers outside the city center, making a layover outside the terminals an attainable undertaking. Though Munich International itself is certainly alluring, if you find yourself with a layover of at least five hours or more, consider traveling into the city and surroundings for a taste of Bavarian culture. With just a couple of hours, you’ll certainly have time to grab a local brew, check out German art and stroll through a couple of charming quarters. Check out our guide below for information on what to do and how to do it!

Airport Overview

If your layover is under four hours – or you don’t feel like venturing into the city – not to worry! There are more than enough activities contained within this behemoth of an airport to keep you occupied. Known to be an airport with quite a bit of unique innovation, you’ll likely want to pop into the in-terminal brewery before heading to the flight simulator. Or maybe, you’d rather sooth your body in the steam bath at the Fit & Fly Spa – or over an outdoor game of mini golf in the Visitors Park? Opportunities are endless and, for more detail on the airport itself, check out our Munich Airport Guide.

Sightseeing Options

Below are a few essential sights.

The Ancient Bavarian Town of Freising

freising church

Bavarian culture comes alive between beer gardens and churches in Freising, one of the oldest settlements in Bavaria. Located a convenient 20 minutes from the airport – and connected by public bus – this town offers a layover-worthy dose of culture, food and fresh air. And, if you’re interested in religious historical artefacts, you’ll definitely want to pop by the Diözesanmuseum within the cathedral of St Maria and St Corbinian – it houses the largest collection of religious art in Germany, and a spectacular library!

Time Required: Freising can be explored in as much time as you have – but we would recommend a minimum of two hours plus travel time.

How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for details on public and private transit options, and the associated time required

Hofbrauhaus

Step into history in Munich’s oldest beer hall – and perhaps the world’s most famous. At 400 years old, you’ll be joining a long line of beer drinkers who have sought refuge and comfort within these walls. Try out the local brew and sample a few Bavarian dishes as traditional live music plays in the background. Its Bavarian culture at its finest – and it opens at 9am!

Time Required: Though a pint might take only a half hour – an hour and a half gives you plenty of time to explore this institution and all the flavours inside. This is also a good sight to couple with other nearby destinations.

How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for details on public and private transit options, plus the associated time required.

Gärtnerplatz

Germany is quickly developing a reputation for being extremely hip and artistically inclined. Though Berlin first set the trend, districts like Gärtnerplatz are quickly bringing this culture to Munich. Spend a few hours walking through this eclectic quarter, checking out the cutting edge fashion and fine art that lines the streets. Stop for a snack at a trendy café for some excellent people watching as well.

Time Required: Anywhere from 2 hours and above should be plenty of time for a good look around. Consider coupling a visit here with other sights in Munich if you have more time.

How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for details on public and private transit options, plus the associated time required.

Visit the Kunstareal (art area)

The Kunstareal – the art area/museum quarter – is a collection of galleries that house a spectacularly high calibre of both classical and modern art. While some galleries are stocked with Cezanne, Van Gough and Raphael, others like the Pinakothek der Moderne, showcase emerging and established modern art. Check out their current schedule of events for information on rotating exhibits.

Time Required: Visitors could spend weeks exploring the full collection of art housed in this region. Depending on your level of enthusiasm, we would recommend anywhere from 1 – 4 hours to explore.

How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for details on public and private transit options, plus the associated time required.

Get some fresh air at the Englischer Garten

Offset the stale airplane air with a walk through one of Europe’s largest city parks – the English Garden. Coming in at a total area greater than both Hyde Park and Central Park, this natural refuge is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. Walk the winding paths until you get to the central lake – best enjoyed with a beer from the nearby beer garden. Other noteworthy sights include the Japanese gardens, the Chinese Tower and the summertime nude sun tanners (its legal!).

Time Required: A wander can take as long or as little as you’d like – but two hours is likely a safe minimum.

How to Get There: Check out this Google Map for details on private and public transit options, and the associated time required.

Transportation

MUC is located a reasonable distance from the city center, with travel times to and from ranging from 30 minutes to an hour+ depending on traffic. A number of public and private transit options are available for a range in both price and time.

Public transit options include:

  • Train (Terminals 1 and 2): Two train lines connect the airport to the city center every 10 minutes. Both lines stop at the Central Station and Ostbahnhof in Munich.
  • Bus (Central Area, Near T1 and 2): A number of bus lines connect MUC with areas of Germany more broadly.

Private transit options include:

  • Taxis (Arrivals of all terminals): Three taxi companies service MUC, and they can be contacted by phone in advance.
  • Car Rentals (Between T1 and T2): Rentals from all major companies are available at MUC.

Before You Go: Layover Tips

Now that you are motivated and excited for your mini layover vacation, just make sure to check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Make sure you double check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for long security wait-times, so be sure to do a bit of research in advance and factor that into your overall time-budget.
  • What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, be sure to confirm whether your luggage is checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. Visit our Munich Airport Guide for information about Luggage Storage.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly:

2017 airport survey