Prinzipalmarkt with St Lambert's church

Münster is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, in the west of Germany.


Münster originated as a monastery founded in 794 by the Frisian missionary Liudger to aid Charlemagne's campaign to gain control over the Saxons. In 805, Münster was made a bishopric and, in 1170, it obtained its town rights. In 1648, a peace treaty was signed at the Rathaus (city hall), marking an end to the Thirty Years' War.

Today Münster is a city of about 293 000 inhabitants known for its university and as an administration centre.

Get in

By train

Münster has decent train connections to the rest of Germany, mainly towards the north and south. Hourly intercity services connect Münster to Hamburg, the Ruhr and Cologne; intercity services to Frankfurt and Luxembourg call twice an hour; while other destinations are served more sporadically, though some as far-flung as Salzburg in Austria. Regional services are pretty good and provide hourly direct connections to most of the federal state. The central station (Hauptbahnhof) is to be found as Münster(Westf)Hbf in DB's booking system.

By plane

If flying, Düsseldorf Airport (IATA: DUS) is your most likely option. Direct flights land from most major European airports, interspersed with the occasional intercontinental flight. Trains take about 1 hour 40 minutes to Münster (on the RE2 line, hourly, €25). A taxi is likely to cost you €180 or more.

Münster's own airport, Münster-Osnabrück Airport (IATA: FMO), has grown significantly in recent years, offering flights throughout Europe including to London, Berlin and Amsterdam. It is a 40 minutes' bus ride from the city (buses S50 and R51, half-hourly, €6.40). Taxis cost €40–50, make sure to negotiate a fixed fare.

By car

By car, Münster can be reached by Autobahn 1 from both the north and the south and Autobahn 43 from the southwest. On Saturdays, traffic into the city becomes a nightmare, so park your car at one of the four free Park and Ride lots (located on the main axes into town and marked by P+R signs) and take the bus into the centre.

By bus

Intercity bus lines are growing fast in Germany (the market was recently deregulated) and are often significantly cheaper than trains. Münster is on the Meinfernbus Berlin—Hanover—Frankfurt line and the Flixbus Hamburg—Bremen—Düsseldorf—Cologne line. Some international destinations are served by Eurolines. Buses arrive at and leave from behind the train station.

Get around

By bike

Münster has a huge number of bikes which creates a really special atmosphere. The city is rather flat, and is home to about 50,000 students, so naturally traveling by bike and on foot are the key modes of transport. All sidewalks outside residential areas have a red-brick section reserved just for cyclists, and the entire city has a pedestrian/cycle path that surrounds it: The Promenade follows the route of the city's long-gone medieval walls, and it makes for a very nice walk, taking you past the lovely Aasee (a large artificial lake surrounded by a park). While both walking and cycling are perfectly save, some cyclists drive at a rather brisk pace and don't expect people to cross cycle routes without looking and getting hit by them can leave you seriously injured.

If you plan to stay within the centre, you can easily get around on foot. If you're venturing outside, don't be afraid to hire a bike. Münster is said to be one of Germany's most bike-friendly cities (along with Erlangen a town of similar size and a similar number of students), and bike paths are clearly marked and usually separated from other traffic. The best option for bike rental is Radstation:

By bus

Münster also has an efficient bus system operated by the Stadtwerke. Buses run between 05:00 and 01:00 on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends. Most lines run every 20 minutes, but lines tend to overlap which usually makes for a denser schedule. Due to the confusing city layout and numerous construction sites, the whole thing isn't altogether straightforward, which isn't helped by the fact that all lines change around 21:00 when the entire system is switched to night traffic. Late at night, buses can be up to 70 minutes apart, so check the schedule beforehand. All lines meet at Hauptbahnhof (the central station). Ticket machines are sparse, but you can purchase tickets from the driver at a surcharge. Neither accept cards, not even German debit cards. A single ticket (Einzelticket) costs €2.30/€2.60 (regular/onboard fare), but if you're making a return journey, buy a day pass (9-Uhr-Tagesticket) for €4.30/€5.30. Remember to stamp your ticket when you board.


Almost all the interesting sites are concentrated in the city centre, which is easily walkable.

Prinzipalmarkt at night
Castle of Münster (today used by the university)




Prinzipalmarkt, the main shopping district.


There is a huge choice of restaurants in Münster. The cuisine of almost every country in the world is represented.


Münster has a large student population so there are a range of bars such as Cafe Extrablatt and Markt Cafe (on the market square by the Cathedral). The Jüdefelder Strasse (located north west of the city centre) gathers many bars and pubs such as Gorilla, Die Rote Liebe, Davidswache, Destille and more. Alternatively, you can find a huge amount of bars in the "Hafen" area (south east of the city centre, behind the main train station). Prices are usually reasonable (starting at around €2 for a beer and €4/5 for a cocktail).


Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.