Travel and Transport

Cycling is fun!
Cycling is fun! (Credit: Andrea Müller)

Getting Around in Bavaria

Once you have settled in your new home town, it is time to explore the surrounding areas. There are many beautiful spots in Bavaria that are definitely worth a visit. We explain the best ways to travel around the state.

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get around is by public transport. There are excellent transport networks that take you almost anywhere. At many universities a public transport ticket for the semester (Semesterticket) is already included in your fees. If that is not the case, you can usually benefit from special student rates when using buses or trains.

Travel by Bus

Buses are great to get around local and rural areas. There are several different bus companies that operate in different regions within the state. You can check their websites for information on available connections and timetables.

However, if you want to travel to other cities and regions outside Bavaria, taking buses is often not the best option. There are not many national bus operators in Germany and people prefer to travel longer distances by train or car.

Travel by Tram, S-Bahn or U-Bahn

In larger cities like Munich and Nuremberg, in addition to buses, you will also find underground systems (U-Bahn), trams or overground trains called “S-Bahn”. These are great to travel quickly from one part of the city to another. Ticket prices differ according to city and operator. Weekly and monthly tickets are generally cheaper than day tickets, multi-usable so-called “strip tickets” (Streifenkarte) are less expensive than single tickets, and many companies offer student reductions.

Trains

Germany has an excellent train network that will take you pretty much anywhere you want to travel. Train fares can be expensive, but often there are special offers. On some regional trains, your “Semesterticket” may also be valid.

One good and cheap way to get around is the “Bayernticket” from Deutsche Bahn. The ticket allows a group of up to five people to travel anywhere in Bavaria for one day. It costs 22 Euros for one person, plus four Euros for any additional person you take along. So, the more friends you bring, the cheaper it gets for everybody! Make sure you only travel on regional trains though, as the ticket is not valid on the faster IC or ICE trains.

If you want to travel a lot and see other cities outside Bavaria, it may be worth getting a "Bahncard”. This is a railcard that gives you reductions of 25 or 50 percent on standard fares.

You can also often get cheaper fares without a railcard, if you book train tickets well in advance.

More information on train services in Germany

Cycling

Students who live reasonably close to their campus may consider cycling. Travelling by bike is cheap, great for the environment and you get some free exercise at the same time! There are well-developed cycle paths in most Bavarian towns. Universities will also provide bike sheds or racks, where you can park your bicycle during lectures. Many bike shops offer new and used bikes and you can often find cheap bikes in the classified sections of local newspapers.

Cars

You may also choose to bring or buy your own car, of course, and experience driving on the German Autobahn, the freeway that is famous for its lack of speed limits (though they are imposed in some areas!). However, petrol is expensive and trying to find a parking space in cities can be stressful. If you only need a car for a few days, a number of car rental firms and car sharing schemes are available in bigger cities like Munich.

Many students also choose to share rides through car pooling schemes. These are often advertised by universities or search for “Mitfahrzentrale” online.


Taxis

Taxi fares in Germany are not cheap. However, taking a taxi can be a comfortable and safe option if you are travelling to remote areas or late at night. Fares are fixed by local authorities and should be visible on a meter inside the taxi. At weekends and in the evenings, rates are usually higher. You can book a taxi by phone or hail one from official taxi stands or in the street.