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The train from Brussels to Munich takes about 7 hours covering 601 km, including a transfer in Frankfurt.
Train travel in Germany is so convenient because you don’t need to make a reservation in advance.
Of course, this can create some difficulties but we’ll share some tips – and German words – to make sure you have a convenient, comfortably train trip from Brussels to Munich.
Brussels to Munich Train
In a nutshell – the Brussels to Munich train:
- takes about 7 hours covering 601 km including at least 1 stop on the way in Frankfurt
- The fastest journey time by train from Brussels to Munich is 6 hours and 32 minutes.
- Prices begin from €39
- We travelled with a Eurail pass – there is no reservation fee (€0) – you can simply hop on!
- There is no direct train from Brussels to Munich. Transfer in Frankfurt.
- The first train from Brussels to Munich leaves at 06:33. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
- The last train from Brussels to Munich leaves at 21:52. Time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.
German Railways (DeutscheBahn) utilize their ICE high-speed trains on the Brussels to Munich route.
From Brussels you will travel to Frankfurt (approximately 3 hours) where you will transfer to a different train from Frankfurt to Munich. Sometimes the transfer time is as little as 10 minutes, which is doable but rushed.
Take a train to Munich
Unlike the train from London to Brussels, there is no need to check-in at least 30 minutes prior to boarding the train to Munich from Brussels.
In fact, we’ve transferred in less than 10 minutes between arriving in Brussels and catching the train to Frankfurt, which is the first leg of the journey.
If you travel with Eurail, it is not even necessary to reserve a ticket before boarding the train to Munich. Simply pre-fill your Eurail card, hop on and take a seat.
During the train ride conductors will walk up and down the train checking passengers’ tickets. Show them your completed Eurail pass and you’re done!
The journey from Brussels to Munich is very picturesque as you pass through the Belgium medieval town of Liege, spy the imposing 157 metre tall spire of the Cologne Cathedral and gaze at emerald coloured freshwater lakes along the way.
Of course you can take in all these sights from the air conditioned comfort of your sight while sipping a traditional Paulaner beer from a stein.
What’s on Board – ICE First Class vs Second Class
On the ICE high-speed trains you will find:
- large, comfortably padded seats with more legroom than you’ll find on any flight
- power sockets in each seat so you can use a laptop uninterrupted
- food, drinks and snacks available for purchase
- quiet zones, or if you prefer to talk – mobile phone friendly zones
In 1st Class German carriages, staff to take your order and deliver food and beverages to your seat (no meals or drinks are included).
On German First Class trains you can expect “worry-free” internet access according DeutscheBahn. This means unlimited internet which can be used to watch videos or listen to music. We clocked it at 1.5 Mbps upload / download which is hardly blazing but very welcome. We’re used to WiFi not working during most of our travels, so having functional access was very good.
The seat configuration varies from train to train. On ours, the majority of first class seats were divided 2 x 1 (two seats together > aisle > 1 single seat). Most seats face forward, however, you will also find one or two single seats and double seats facing each other, separated by a table.
The quiet zones also feature 2 – 3 seats per side, facing each other separated by a table. The quiet zones have a glass door to minimize outside noise.
We travelled First Class, so we don’t have first hand information.
However, one interesting observation we made was that on this journey first class was more thoroughly booked out than second class.
So if your budget doesn’t stretch to First Class, don’t despair because you’ll have a good journey anyway.
There is free wifi on 2nd Class German trains, however, there are data limits.
Follow these tips to make your train trip from Brussels to Munich much easier.
- If you travelling to Munich from London the transfer-time between the Eurostar arriving in Brussels Midi and the train departing to Frankfurt can be as little as 10 minutes. It is possible to make this connection. We recommend avoiding the queues by taking the elevator downstairs where you can follow the signs to platform 3 where the Frankfurt train usually departs from. This transfer can take as little as 2 – 3 minutes.
- If you want to avoid the risk of having to give up your seat halfway through your journey – make a seat reservation ahead of time.
- The first class carriage is usually towards the front of the train. To find the front of the train walk up the stairs to platform 3 which is roughly opposite to the entrance to the “Channel Tunnel trains” (face the entrance sign and then turn around and follow the signs towards platform 3). Most people walk the opposite way up the ramp which will lead you towards the middle to back of the train.
- The seats have power plugs which, being German trains, have the European 2 round prongs. Make sure you have your travel adapter handy.
- If you have the option of taking the train from Brussels Midi or Brussels Nord (north), consider taking it from Midi (or make a seat reservation) because most seats are occupied when it arrives in Brussels Nord.
- Trains usually depart from the same platform each day, which you can find in advance by searching the journey in Google e.g. “Frankfurt to Munich train” which will show the train usually departs from Platform 7. However, it’s not uncommon for trains to be assigned a platform with only 10 minutes to go.
- If you are unsure where to go, we found there were always plenty of English-speaking staff in Brussels, Frankfurt and Munich to help out. Don’t be afraid to ask.
What does ggf. freigeben mean?
“ggf freigeben” means “vacate as the case may be”. Seats on German trains can be reserved up to 10 minutes before departure, however, sometimes there is insufficient time to mark the seat as “ggf reserviert” which means reserved.
In German, ggf means “as the case may be”. Freigeben means “to vacate”. Reserviert means – you guessed it – “reserved”.
The trade-off for the convenience of not needing to reserve a seat in advance on German trains is the nervous moment you’ll endure when you board the train and try to find a seat.
Look for the seats which have ggf freigeben and cross your fingers no one has made a last-minute reservation. We never had a problem without making an advanced reservation.
Arriving in Munich (Central Station | München Hauptbahnhof)
Like most cities in Europe, the main train station in Munich is centrally located. From Munich central station you can easily reach lots of interesting sights by foot:
- Marienplatz – Central square including the Glockenspiel: a cuckoo bird-like tower clock featuring jousting characters. 15 minutes walk
- Hofbräuhaus München – a 3 floor beer haus dating back to the 16th century where you can feast on delicious Bavarian cuisine including the famous pork knuckle. Washed down with fine Bavarian beer. 20 minutes walk
- St. Michael’s Church – a 16th century Jesuit church with Baroque architecture and a fascinating history – 12 minutes walk
Most trains in Belgium and Germany don’t require any physical ticket (except your Eurail ticket if you have one). However, if you do need to print a ticket there’s an internet cafe called Sabhan Callshop 2 minutes walk from the station. Head out the exit towards Eden Hotel, cross the road and turn left. Walk about 50 metres past subway and keep an eye out for the Lebara sign near the doorway to the convenience store/internet cafe. Or find it on Google Maps here.
How to Book
We travelled from Frankfurt to Munich using a Eurail Global Pass. In Germany you don’t need to make a reservation, which is super convenient.
We enjoyed the flexibility of knowing we could jump on any train without making a reservation, giving us flexibility to sight see as much as we wanted.
Find out more information about Eurail and book a pass on their website https://www.interrail.eu/en/interrail-passes/global-pass.
If you do wish to reserve a seat, book on the Eurail website at least 8 business days prior to departure to allow time to post tickets to you. You may also make a seat reservation in person at the train station.
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Disclaimer: We were invited as guests with Eurail. However, this does not affect our views and opinions. As always, all opinions are our own.