Essential Munich

Essential information for people moving to Munich (and Germany, in that regard)

Last updated: June 24, 2020

Transportation

Public Transport

There are two rapid-transit systems: the “U-Bahn” (covering the city region) and the “S-Bahn” (connecting the city to the outskirts). Within the city, there are additional light rail (“Tram”) and bus services. The monthly ticket is called “IsarCard”. It costs 55,20€ for the M-Zone, which covers most of Munich. Recommended apps for calculating the routes are “MVG Fahrinfo” and “MVV App”. Both apps can be set to English.

S-Bahn Stammstrecke

The core section of the S-Bahn is called “Stammstrecke”, because all S-Bahn lines go through here: Ostbahnhof, Rosenheimer Platz, Isartor, Marienplatz, Karlsplatz (Stachus), Hauptbahnhof, Hackerbrücke, Donnersbergerbrücke.

Official plans also count Hirschgarten, Laim, and Pasing to the Stammstrecke, although not all (but most) lines go through them.

While the concept of a “Stammstrecke” is nice for people having to board or get off one of these stations, it has turned into a bottleneck. As there is only one tunnel in each side, if something happens to one line, all lines will be affected and have delays. The problem is set to be solved by the “2. Stammstrecke” in 2028.

Background Knowledge

U-Bahn, Tram, and Bus service inside Munich is provided by the MVG. S-Bahn is provided by the DB (Deutsche Bahn). Both MVG and DB are member of the MVV, an association of transportation groups to provide service for Munich and around.

Car

Contrary to cities like London, there are no extra fees for driving a car in the city. The only extra cost is parking. Either you have free parking in the streets where you live (less likely in the inner city), your house-provided garage spots (around 100€/month), or you apply for a resident parking permit (“Anwohner-Parkausweis”; very cheap at around 60€/year), which gives you the right to use the parking spots in the streets near where you live. Application for an “Anwohner-Parkausweis” here.

Generally, the allowed maximum driving speed inside the city is 50km/h, outside the city 100km/h, and on the Autobahn unlimited (with a recommended speed of 130km/h). Always except otherwise noted.

Munich has two major ring streets. The “Mittlerer Ring” with a general driving speed of 60km/h, and the “Autobahnring”.

Flying

Munich Airport (also “Flughafen Franz Josef Strauß”, shortcode: MUC) is the second-busiest airport in Germany afer Frankfurt, and frequently one of highest-rated airports worldwide. It is reachable by S-Bahn (S1, S8) and by car. Lufthansa also offers an airport bus with a one-way price of 10,50€ (two-way: 17€). It is available to customers of all airlines, not just Lufthansa. easyJet & Eurowings are notable budget airlines that frequent this airport.

At Memmingen “Allgäu Airport” (also: “München West”, shortcode: FMM), Ryanair offers cheap flights. There are regular shuttle bus transfers between Munich and Memmingen that take around 1.5h.

Bike

Munich is bike-friendly and is constantly working on making cycling more attractive. Many streets have bike lanes, many one-way steets may be used in both directions by cyclists (special street sign required). You can find information & rules for cyclists in this info document (German) by the ADFC (General German Cycling Club).

The MVV offers a nice bike route calculation website: http://rad.mvv-muenchen.de The bike option in Google Maps is also pretty good.

The official city website muenchen.de has a list of bike route suggestions through Munich.

With MVG Rad, the MVG offers bike sharing services (for use with the “MVG More” app). There are bike stations, but bikes can be rented and returned outside of stations (inside the city radius).

Other means of transport

The main car sharing providers are Share Now and Sixt Share. For long-term car rentals, you can compare prices on Check24 or billiger-mietwagen.de. There are taxi services, as well as both Uber and Free Now (formerly “MyTaxi”) ride hailing services available. Additionally, several e-scooter companies are competing for market share.

Shopping

Living

Finances

Banking

Taxes

For filing tax reports, you can use the free government-provided software ELSTER. Alternatively, there exists paid software like WISO Steuern that helps optimizing the tax report.

Insurances

In Germany, there are two mandatory insurances: Health insurance, and car insurance in case you are owning a car. Generally recommended are “Haftpflichtversicherung” (often mentioned as “should definitely have it”), “Hausratversicherung”, and “Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung”.

Health Insurance

Germany has a two-class health insurance system: There is the statutory health insurance (“gesetzliche Krankenversicherung”), and private health insurance.

Statutory health insurance is the default, there is a legally fixed fee (x% of your salary, capped at a certain amount). Although the fee is the same and the whole statutory insurance industry is heavily regulated, there are multiple offerers for statutory health insurance. They distinguish themselves mostly by some extra benefits and services, and differences in a small additional fee that they are free to set. The most popular one is “Techniker Krankenkasse”. But you cannot go too wrong with either.

Only people making more than 60k€/year or who are self-employed are allowed to switch into private health insurance. In contrast to statutory insurance, the monthly fee is not a percentage of your salary, but a fixed fee depending on your age and which services should be covered to what extend. Private health insurance services can be customized to a great extent (in both directions: very good coverage, or very cheap fee). When you are young, private health insurance is generally much cheaper than statutory health insurance. But as fees increase with age, it is not clear whether you will save money in the long run. The switch back to statutory insurance is not easily possible - you likely need to again earn less than 60k€ to switch back.

Internet & Phone

News

Süddeutsche Zeitung with headquarters in Munich is a world-class newspaper, arguably the best German daily newspaper. They took part in uncovering the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers. Their online presence is on https://www.sueddeutsche.de/. They also have really good coverage what is happening locally in Munich: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen

The local newspapers are Abendzeitung, tz, and Münchner Merkur.

Leisure

Notable parks

Notable regular events

Others

Sports

Work in Progress - Contributions are Welcome!

Entertainment

TV & Radio

Movies

Concerts

Day trips