Most tourists arrive in Munich by either train or plane.  The Munich Airport (MUC) is 40km from Munich centre, and is served by the S-Bahn local trains. 

Please have a look here at the map of Munich's S-Bahn lines, the airport is serviced by the light-blue line S1 and the yellow line S8, the airport is in the top-right corner of this map: http://tinyurl.com/munich-metro2012

The Munich public transport authority is called MVV and you can look up connections on the English version of the MVV website.


NB* Unless you are saving well over 100 euro and/or the flight times are a lot more suitable, it is advisable not to fly in to Memmingen Airport if your final destination is Munich. Although this small airport does have a extremely pleasant character with an excellent Biergarten close by, the buses to Munich Central station (Hauptbahnhof) do not run that regularly and the trip takes almost two hours in total. If you book online in advance it's €16 each way, Thus, even though the flight may be cheaper, you are adding four hours to your travelling time and spending €32 on the bus.

Munich Airport has a direct S-Bahn railway link to the city which is fully integrated with the Munich underground (U-Bahn) and bus service. The extra cost to fly into Munich direct will usually be worth it.

There are two surburban-type railway train  (= S-Bahn) lines, S1 and S8, that get you into town in around 45 mins.
There is a train every 10 minutes. The trains run from 4am to 1:30am. 

Tickets can be purchased either at the manned counter in the central area between the two terminals, near the top of the escalators that lead to the tracks or from any ticket machine. 

You can buy either:

  • a single ticket for 1 person at 11€ (Single-Tageskarte-Gesamtnetz, in English: Single Day Ticket Entire Network or Single-Airport-City-Day-Ticket), or
  • a group ticket at 20€ (Partner-Tageskarte-Gesamtnetz, in English: Partner Day Ticket Entire Network or Partner-Airport-City-Day-Ticket), which allows up to 5 Adults (two children between 6-14yrs count as one adult, children under 6 travel free) to travel together on one ticket

Both tickets allow unlimited transportation on the MVV Network from the time they're stamped until 6 a.m. the next day. Airport-City-Tickets come out of the ticket machine already stamped and therefore are the only tickets that do not need to be stamped. 

Tickets can also be purchased for different zones of the MVV Network, should your hotel not be in the city centre.
For further information terms and conditions see http://www.mvv-muenchen.de/en/tickets...

These tickets cover not only S-Bahn trains, but also buses, underground trains (= U-Bahn), and trams (streetcars) within the MVV Network.

To find the S-Bahn train station at the airport, follow signs with a white "S" on a green background.
If arriving at the Star Alliance terminal 2, walk across a covered courtyard to get to the escalator down to the tracks, or continue above ground into the central area to the manned ticket counter.
You can also already buy your tickets in the terminal 2 itself from a ticket machine.
The train station is located in the central area (indicated by a "Z") between terminal 1 and terminal 2.
There is a manned counter where you can buy tickets at the top of the escalators which go down to the tracks in the central area. You can also buy tickets at one of the ticket machines there. All ticket machines have menus in major languages, including English.
They accept both credit cards (without the need of a PIN code) and euro cash in the form of coins or banknotes up to 20€.

Once purchased the ticket should be "cancelled" in one of the stamp machines (small blue box on a pedestal).
It only has to be cancelled once, before its first use, at the start of journey.

Alternative tickets for travellers who are traveling on to destinations outside of the MVV Network or for general travelling around Bayern (Bavaria):
They can use the Bayern Ticket: http://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/pri... 
The Bayern Ticket costs 22€ for the first passenger plus 4€ extra for each additional person (up to 5 people in total). Parents or 1 parent or grandparent(s) count as persons who have to pay extra, but any own (grand-)kids under 15, no matter how many, are free. Kids who are 15 and above count as persons who have to pay extra.
It is valid on all public transport in Bayern (with the exception of the ICE and IC Trains).
This includes all Regional Trains, Buses and City networks (e.g. includes MVV Network in Munich and similar networks in Augsburg and Nürnberg).
It can be purchased from all ticket machines at the airport, or for an extra service charge of 2€, from the manned counter.

The Bayern Ticket is also valid as far as Salzburg and Kufstein (both of which are in Austria). On the Innsbruck line via Garmisch, however, it is only valid to Mittenwald (Germany), not to Seefeld (Austria). Validity is from 0900 Mon-Fri until 0300 the following morning from day of purchase. Weekends and official holidays: valid from Midnight until 0300 the following morning from day of purchase

For further information see  http://www.bahn.de/i/view/DEU/en/pric...

Both S-Bahn lines from the airport will take you both to the main train station Hauptbahnhof, and to many intermediate stops, among them Munich's historic centre Marienplatz and Rosemheimer Platz in the Haidhausen district on the right-hand side of the river Isar.  
Please see here for a map of Munich's public transport lines: http://tinyurl.com/munich-metro2012

Many hotels frequented by tourists are within walking distance of the Hauptbahnhof or Marienplatz or Rosenheimer Platz, or other U-Bahn/S-Bahn stops, so a taxi is not necessary. A taxi would cost around 65€ and would take at least the same 45 minutes into Munich (sometimes more, depending on traffic).

Another option from the airport is the Airport Bus.  However, the bus only stops at the north cemetery (= Nordfriedhof) and the Hauptbahnhof: http://www.airportbus-muenchen.de/cms... 
For returning to the Airport, you can either use the Airport Bus or the S1 or S8 trains. 
                                                                                               NOTE:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you take the S1 train TO the Airport GET ON THE BACK-HALF OF THE TRAIN.  The train splits in two at Neufahrn with the front part continuing to Freising while the rear section goes to the Airport.   
Attention: The S-Bahn is not always punctual, so check the status on the MVV web page or take an earlier train just to be safe.

Warning: Be aware that the S Train tickets need to be validated on entering the station, or you may be subject to a fine. Also, the automated kiosks that sell them now have as their default pre-validated tickets that are valid for only 4 hours.  If you want to buy tickets in advance (for example when returning to the airport), you need to specially select non-validated tickets -- or the tickets will no longer be valid when you go to use them. The MVV who run the trains are quite unsympathetic, and it wil be impossible to get a refund for the unused expired tickets!

If you are flying into Munich Airport in order to travel North East, rather than in the direction of Munich City, you need to take the bus link to Freising station and catch a normal train there - do not take the S Bahn and especially do not go into the City in order travel back out in the same direction. Take the bus to Freising then the train to get to Regensburg, Passau, Deggendorf and the Bavarian Forest.

If you are staying longer in Munich, you need to decide how many days you plan to be in Munich, and which area of the city you plan to visit before purchasing tickets. 
There are also 3-day tickets available (both as single and partner versions) that cover just Munich city, these have "Innenraum" or "Inner district" in their name.
If you plan to visit Dachau, you will need a Munich-XXL-Ticket.