How to get from Munich to Salzburg by train

A local’s guide to finding the fastest and cheapest train connection from Munich to Salzburg.

Austria beckons and is barely 90 minutes away from Bavaria’s capital. But what are your options and what’s the best way to get from Munich to Salzburg (and possibly back)? Here is what you need to know:

view of salzburg from the train onboard the railjet from Munich
Make sure to sit on the right side to catch this view (~2 min before you enter the station)

Munich and Salzburg are very well connected via public transport. Trains depart multiple times per hour. There are direct trains and long-distance trains to Budapest in Hungary that stop on the way and you can basically pick whichever train leaves next. Just head to the website of the German Railway company and book your ticket there… well almost!

train connections from munich to salzburg early in the morning - screenshot from the deutsche bahn website

The usually cheapest connection is taking the Railjet. It takes ~100 minutes and if you depart at 8:16 am in the morning you’ll be in Salzburg by 10:00 am – perfect for a full day exploring the city. The special Railjet express is even faster (only 90 min) but is a tiny little bit more expensive (and does not depart as often).

If you book early enough (or you are lucky), you should be able to score one of the “super saver” tickets for currently 29.90€ per person (as of May 2024).

Tip: If you plan to do a day trip to Salzburg only, then I actually recommend booking a tour. Here’s a tour I took myself and can only recommend. The bus tour has the advantage that it already comes with a tour guide and will be, if that’s what you want, cheaper all things put together.

During summer they will also travel through the famous Salzkammergut and stop at a couple of particular enticing spots fans of The Sound of Music will be particularly familiar with. You won’t be able to do the same by train.

View of salzburg with the river in front

Be aware that you definitely should reserve a seat on the train. This will be an extra of 4.90€ (5.90€ in first class). This is recommended if you are a large group traveling together or it’s a busy time of the day. The trains that connect to Budapest are typically busier (because with Vienna and Salzburg, there are many popular stops for tourists on the way). It’s not unheard of people having to stand in the aisles.

people standing in the aisle onboard the railjet to salzburg on a national holiday
People standing in the aisle of the Railjet (this was Whitsun)

Around special holidays (Christmas, Whitsun, etc), I’ve even seen people without a seat reservation being prevented from boarding. Since trains run every couple of minutes, it’s not the worst of the worst but still….

If you own a Eurail Pass, you can hop on any time you prefer. That being said, a seat reservation is still recommended.

Important: If you are traveling with big suitcases, I absolutely recommend picking a Railjet. They have special areas near your seats where you can put your luggage. The German regional trains (like BRB or WESTbahn trains) are less comfortable, take longer, and have NO dedicated areas for the luggage.

the luggage storage inside the railjet express to salzburg

Consider arriving a bit earlier because even the Railjet luggage storage units fill up quickly. There’s an overhead compartment (think carry-on sized luggage) – the rest will have to be parked in the aisle.

Also important: Consider securing your luggage with a simple external lock to the posts of the luggage compartment (like the ones for kids’ bikes etc). Sadly, luggage thefts have become very frequent in recent years. At the very least, keep an eye on it whenever the train stops at a station.

Bus station in front of Salzburg main station
The bus station in front of Salzburg main station

Be aware that Salzburg Central Station is quite a bit away from the old town. While the walk can be pleasant, there is a bus station right in front of the exit that will get you there in no time (I typically walk, though. Takes like 20 minutes)

Is first class worth it?

If you ask me, not really. The seats in the second class are comfortable enough – especially for such a short distance. Bigger/taller people might still enjoy the extra space in first class (2nd class has a 2-2 configuration, 1st class a 1-2 seat configuration).

The only advantage of booking first class is more solitude. Especially on weekends and during holidays, the second class can be very busy with all seats being taken and people standing in the aisles. Add to that a lot of tourists talking loudly, and locals on the phone, it can be a bit overwhelming for some. Finding a place to store your luggage can also be a problem.

That’s why I personally prefer to sit in first class whenever that is the case. For example, when I visit my parents around Christmas and Easter, I will always buy a first class ticket. On a random day in April, I’ll stick to the second class.

Panorama of Salzburg

The cheaper alternative: Flixbus

If you don’t mind traveling by bus and being subject to possible traffic jams, the bus can be a very viable alternative to get from Munich to Salzburg. Flixbus currently offers three connections early in the morning.

If you get on the bus at 7:00 am, you’ll be in Salzburg by 8:50 am. Or you take the bus one hour later and arrive at 10:00 am. All buses are direct buses and tickets cost around 17 Euro only – so quite a bit cheaper than the Railjet and only marginally slower.

Be aware that the bus will stop in “Salzburg South”. So you will have to take a regional train to get to the city center (it takes another 13 min). That being said, Salzburg Central Station is not near the tourist attractions either. So, you’d have to take public transport or a taxi either way.

Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, Austria

Anyway, that’s how to get from Munich to Salzburg. Comment below if you have any questions.

munich to salzburg by train- pinterest image

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