Munich’s airport was one of the busiest in Europe in 2019. It has seen constant expansion since it opened in the early 90s and today boasts two terminals containing around 60 restaurants and cafés as well as 150 shops. We’ve put together some useful information on how to get there as well as a selection of useful tips to help you while you are there.
Riem airport was Munich’s main airport for over 50 years before closing in 1992. The new airport "Franz Josef Strauß", situated around 30 kilometres north of Munich on the Erdinger Moos moorlands, opened the same year with a single terminal.
Much has changed since then: Terminal 2 was added in 2003, and the airport, which spans some 1618 hectares, is now one of the busiest air travel hubs in Europe. In peak years, up to 48 million passengers a year passed through Munich airport. It has also won many awards – for example, it was voted “Europe’s best airport” in the 2020 World Airport Awards. The airport has set itself the goal of being climate neutral by 2030.
Whether you’re just touching down in Munich or flying back home, it’s good know the various ways you can get to and from the airport. Firstly, of course, you can reach the airport easily by car: it is connected directly to Munich by the A92 autobahn. There are taxi ranks at Terminal 1 and also at the exit of Terminal 2, with fares ranging between 50 and 80 euros depending on whether you’re travelling to the north or south of Munich or to the city centre.
If you prefer to use public transport, you can take the S1 or the S8. Good to know: both S-Bahn lines lead along the main train, passing all of the stations along the way, including the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), Stachus and Marienplatz. The train journey from the airport to Munich Hauptbahnhof takes around 40 minutes, with both S-Bahn lines running at 20-minute intervals at offset times. Stopping at Münchner Nordfriedhof cemetery and at the Hauptbahnhof, the Lufthansa Express Bus also departs every 20 minutes and is a convenient, comfortable alternative for your journey to or from the airport.
Taking the S-Bahn to and from Munich airport: all you need to know
Munich airport is home to around 150 shops, including various international labels as well as traditional Munich brands such as Aigner and Käfer. If you need to quickly grab a gift or souvenir, you might find what you’re looking for at the Deutsches Museum shop – the popular store also operates a branch at the airport. Football fans should also be sure to stop by the FC Bayern store! And there are also a great many practical shops: a Deutsche Post branch, a great many newsagents and various supermarkets and electronics shops.
If you’re hungry, you’re sure to find something you like at the airport with around 60 restaurants, cafés and bistros to choose from: gourmets can spoil themselves at the Dallmayr Bistro, Käfer and Schuhbecks, or if you fancy some hearty Bavarian food (and drink!), the Hofbräu Bistro, the Paulaner or the Airbräu are bound to hit the spot. The Hilton Hotel’s two Mountain Hub restaurants are new additions: the Social Dining restaurant at the front of the building serves traditional Alpine dishes in a cosy setting, while in the rear gourmet restaurant you get star cuisine. The Guide Michelin awarded the Mountain Hub Gourmet 2022 as the only starred restaurant at a German airport.
For those who want to just fall into bed straight after eating or who have an early flight to catch, the airport has two hotels on site – the five-star Hilton Munich Airport and the three-star Novotel beside the Visitors Park. You can also grab forty winks in one of the “napcabs” in Terminal 2, however – these are small, lockable cabins which you can rent out for a few hours of undisturbed sleep or work.
If you take the S-Bahn heading towards the airport, you will automatically pass the stop at the Visitors Park. This is also where Munich Airport employees get out. The site is connected to the main building via a bridge. The Visitors Centre houses an exhibition and a cinema as well as a number of historic aircraft to admire. The famous Visitors’ Hill (Besucherhügel), from which visitors can watch the runways, is located just next to it, and is also a popular destination for many Munich residents at weekends.
The main airport building is divided into Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 which are connected by Munich Airport Center. The Airport Center is a memorable structure, particularly thanks to its airy glass roof, that contains offices, a conference centre, but also various gastronomic outlets such as the well-known Airbräu, boasting its own in-house brewery. Most guests arrive at Munich Airport Center because it is the location of the S-Bahn station as well as a number of drop-off areas for cars as well as car park shuttle and taxi stops.
Terminal 1 is the older part of the airport and is home to airlines such as Air France, British Airways, Condor and Eurowings, while Terminal 2 was built in 2003 and was planned and constructed in collaboration with Lufthansa – which is why departures from it are mainly for partners of the Lufthansa Group and Star Alliance.
Terminal 2 was voted the best terminal in the world in 2017 as part of the London-based Skytrax Institute’s World Airport Awards – and that is hardly surprising: the ultra-modern building boasts a wide selection of shops and restaurants.