Review: Taking the S-Bahn from Munich Airport to the City Center

By Jonathan Spira on 6 September 2019
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Although I’ve taken the S-Bahn S1 and S8 from Munich Airport to the city center for years, it only occurred to me to document this fast and convenient means of transportation in the magazine on a recent trip.  The “S” is short for Stadtschnellbahn or urban rapid rail and it has characteristics of both a rapid transit system such as the New York City subway and a commuter rail system such as the Long Island Rail Road, although it is cleaner and far more efficient than either of those.

The S-Bahn was introduced in Munich during the 1972 Summer Olympics in order to improve transportation for visitors.

S8 S-Bahn service to and from Munich Airport began in 1992 when the new airport opened, replacing München Riem, while S1 service to and from the airport began in November 1998.  Both the S1 and S8 operate at 20-minute intervals.

The one-class trains, operated by DB Regio Bayern, are fully integrated into the Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund, or MVV, the city’s transportation authority, and are interconnected with the city’s U-Bahn(Untergrundbahn or underground train) rapid transit system.

The S-Bahn trains are very modern, and feature comfortable cars with ample space for luggage as well as excellent views of the passing landscape during the trip.

From the airport, the S1 and S8 both travel to the city center, and run alternately approximately every ten minutes.  The S1 takes a westerly route while the S8 takes an easterly route, and the two lines share nine of the same stops including Karlsplatz, Marienplatz, and Münchner Hauptbahnhof although they approach these stops from opposite direction of travel.

Both S-Bahn lines offer easy connections to multiple U-Bahn lines along their routes. Both stop at the city’s Hauptbahnhof, where one can connect to long-distance trains to other parts of Germany, the Inter-City Express or ICE, and international service to multiple cities including Basel, Geneva, Milan, Paris, and Vienna.

Click here to continue to Page 2Buying an S-Bahn Ticket 

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