By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: We’ve got a lay-over at the Munich Airport in May. We will be there for nearly six hours. As first-timers to this place, we were hoping you could give us some information on what we can do during that time

A: The Munich Airport is Germany's second largest airport and ranks eighth among European passenger airports. When it was completed in the early 1990s, it was the talk of the country. They added a mall known as the München Airport Center for both air travellers and the local community.

According to airport representatives, the prices at the shops are the same as downtown making it a big time saver if you wish to shop in the over 170 shops. Germans take their beer drinking so seriously they even had a special beer garden constructed in the airport which brews its own airport brew, Airbräu.

If you’re not interested in shopping or hanging out at the beer garden, the Munich Airport has other diversions fit for history and architecture buffs, and movie lovers. Hop aboard a bus for a 50-minute airport tour for a fascinating look on all the operational procedures. The bus tour price is 8.50Euros for an adult. Watch aviation-related films at the Visitor’s Centre Cinema.

There is even a simulated film that has you feeling like you are riding aboard a speed train beside the famous Autobahn en route to the airport. Called the BMG, the Bavarian Maglev Railway Preparatory Company has converted an original Transrapid maglev engine into an information center to present the plans for a Transrapid maglev rail link to the airport.

The three minute film is free and is open daily 10am to 8pm. View historic aircraft such as the Douglas DC-3, a Junkers from 1937 and a Lockheed L-1049 G Super Constellation from 1955 on display at the Visitor’s Park.

For a trip into Munich, you could use public transit which is about a 40-minute ride from the airport. Dubbed the S-Bahn for Schnellbahn, these electric cars are clean and easy to use.

For fares, you can purchase them at the S-Bahn's vending machines, or at the railroad ticket counter. Free maps of the transit system are available at the ticket kiosks. The train makes several stops along the way. For Munich the Hauptbahnhof (main railroad station) and the Marienplatz (near the city hall and tourist office) are good options to start your quick city tour.


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