Vienna has a perfect public transport system, which includes train, S-Bahn, metros, trams and buses. The underground is very efficient and will take you to within a few minutes walk of anywhere you are likely to want to visit. The subway alone has the second highest passenger numbers in the world, and that is not accounting for the 27 tram lines, dozens of train lines or numerous buses.
Note: Google Maps (April 2017) does still NOT work with all of the public transport, including the main underground. You can see the stations on the map, but it will not connect your journey for you.
Vienna International Airport (Flughafen Wien-Schwechat, VIE) is located just outside the city limits of Vienna, and a few miles southeast of the suburb of Schwechat.
To get to the city center you simply take the trains that can be found underneath terminal. The S-Bahn S7 line to Vienna is available between 5:00 and 24:00. These provide the cheapest and most convenient connection to the city centre, and the single fare is €4.40. Take a train bound for Floridsdorf, which departs twice an hour, and get off at Wien-Mitte station on the eastern edge of the city centre (25 min). From there the U-Bahn line U3 connects to Stephansplatz right in the core of the city centre. You need a Vienna Zone 100 ticket (€2.20) + one extra VOR ‘Außenzone’ (outside zone) (€2.20) since the airport is outside of the city. More about tickets down below.
Direct trains (IC and Railjet services) are running between Flughafen Wien and Wien Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) every half an hour. The trip costs the same as the S-Bahn (2 x 2.20 for two zones) and only takes 16-18 minutes. At Main Station, there is connection to the underground line U1 and to several tram and bus lines.
The City Airport Train (CAT) has trains every 30 minutes from the airport non-stop to the city centre (Wien Mitte). Travel time is 16 Minutes. A ticket costs €11 (€19 return). CAT does not accept the regular VOR tickets, so you have to buy an additional ticket to continue your journey on metro, tram or bus once you arrive in Vienna. They do offer suitcase check-in on Wien Mitte for most airlines.
Vienna AirportLines Bus, (just outside arrivals), run as well between 5:00-24:00. These direct buses drive frequently between Vienna International Airport and assorted points in Vienna. The service is operated by Postbus. Tickets can be purchased with cash from the operator: One way €8, Round-trip €13
Tram: Wiener Linien
Public transport in Vienna is under the responsibility of one transport company: Wiener Linien. The tickets you buy are therefore valid for both the train, the metro, the tram and the bus. With one ticket you can switch from one means of transport to another. Tickets can be purchased at vending machines at the metro stations and at one of the 850 tobacco shops in the city (Tabak traffic). You must first stamp it with a stamp machine to make it valid. Stamping machines are located at the entrance of subway stations and trams and busses. You can also buy a ticket from the bus driver or tram driver, but then you have lost a little more money. More about tickets down below.
There are 29 different tram lines in Vienna, which makes the tram network the fifth largest in the world. In 1865 the first trams began to drive. The inhabitants of Vienna call their trams ‘Bims’, derived from the word ‘bimmeln’ – ringing the bell as a tram goes by.
For the tourists there’s also a yellow ringtram (Vienna Ring Tram), but the tickets are a lot more expensive than for regular trams.
Bus: Wiener Linien
Wiener Linien maintains about 90 bus lines in Vienna. There are 24 for night buses. The city buses all have a number consisting of a number and the letter A or B (for example, bus line 4A). The night buses start with the letter N.
Vienna is the first city to operate these trendsetting fully-electric vehicles on a complete bus service route in the city centre as from autumn 2012. The electric bus of the Wiener Linien is a low-floor vehicle with an average floor height of 350 mm, so that the bus can be boarded from street level at a height corresponding to one step. The technology is specially designed for this project and currently 12 buses are fully operational on a daily basis. The buses charge over night at a depot, and during daytime operations stop at existing tram stations to recharge. To connect to the existing infrastructure, the buses use a pantograph located on the roof of the bus.
Tram: Wiener Lokalbahn
The Wiener Lokalbahn is a special tram/train service starting in the city center of Vienna and ending in the little town of Baden bei Wien.
The tram/train runs from Monday to Sunday in the every 15 minutes between Wien Opera and Baden Josefsplatz. The train runs from Wien Opera to Wiener Neudorf every 7 1/2 minutes in the rush hours. The stops Wien Oper, Matzleinsdorfer Platz, Bahnhof Meidling and Baden Viadukt provide you with convenient transport options for other public transport.
Starting from Wien Oper, the service uses the tracks of Vienna’s tram network as far as the Schedifkaplatz tram stop near Meidling. From Schedifkaplatz to Leesdorf in Baden and between Leesdorf and Josefsplatz, the train service has its own infrastructure what is more a light-rail service at a max of 80 km/h.
Most train sets currently in use are the class 100 (old) high-floor units built between 1979 and 1993. It does look a little bit like a Museum piece on this route. With the order of the new class 400 low-floor series between 2000 and 2010 it becomes a more accessible transport method. Most 400 series trams are couplet together with an old class 100 to serve the amount of passengers on this route and an accessible service.
Since this services travels outside of Wien the extra costs from the city boundary Vienna to Baden is for a single ticket 5.50 Euro and a day ticket which allows stops and switches 12.10 euro.
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn
The metro in Vienna is the most ideal way of transport for travellers. Over the years, a fine-tuned U-Bahn network has emerged, with five lines and more than 100 metro stations. By metro you can easily reach all of Vienna’s attractions. You don’t have to wait long by day, a new metro will drive by every few minutes. During weekends and public holidays, the metro also runs at night.
When you leave the train, check the black row just above the station name to take the correct exit. Be aware that most stations have two of more exits; on the street level these can be more than 300 metres apart, so picking the correct exit is absolutely crucial. If you want to change to other metro, tram or bus lines, make sure you take the exit marked with the respective underground, tram or bus symbol.
Wien Hauptbahnhof: ÖBB
Vienna has a network of city trains: S-Bahn (Stadtschnellbahn). These trains run in high frequency and are a popular means of transport for commuters in Vienna. There are nine S-Bahn lines connecting the Austrian capital to the suburbs. There are about 50 stations for the S-Bahn. They also connect to major train stations, from which you can travel further. All tickets are valid on this route, but keep the borders of the of the zones in mind.
Wien Westbahnhof: Westbahn
Some years ago Westbahn began there service between Vienna and Salzburg. Now, years after it seems to be a booming business. Striking features:
- Per Double-Decker carriage a friendly conductor
- Tickets for sale on the internet, local tobacco stores or on the train (by the conductor) at the same rate
- In each train there are four bistros “WESTcafés” for small snacks and warm drinks.
- Reservation is possible but not necessary
- Wi-Fi throughout the train and power sockets between the seats
- Comfortable and high quality chairs for everyone
- Lower rates than the ÖBB
- Choice of single trips, subscriptions, mileage books and offers
- Separate WCs for ladies, gentlemen and handicapped people
- Bikes are allowed for 5 euro (10 when bought on train) and dogs for only 1 euro.
- Accessible to wheelchairs and strollers without any hassle due to the low floor entry.
- Due to the small management overhead customers can have a lot of contact with every member of the WESTbahn team!
- Frequent timetable (and upgrading even more)
- A bonus system for frequent travellers
Of course Interrail is included on this trains as well, and if you’re about to just buy your tickets, I can truly recommend these services!
Westbahn Plus is there upgrades ‘first class like’ service what offers a little bit more above the already first class feeling in the whole train. Each six-part train set offers 5 coaches running as „WESTbahn“ category and coach 600 as „WESTbahn PLUS“. Westbahn PLUS offers you a second seat for your comfort, a welcoming gift, a free of charge daily newspaper as well as guaranteed service at your seat. Priced for 19,90 euro normal or 9,90 euros for 1st class Interrailers.
All public transport in the area around Vienna has joined together in the Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region (VOR). This means that any ticket having the VOR symbol on it, can be used on every means of public transport in the area. You can use the same ticket for a journey that involves trips by bus, tram, metro and/or train within the city boundaries, and you can change as often as you have to without having to buy a new ticket.
If you aren’t leaving Vienna, you don’t need to worry about distances, there’s just one ticket price within the city of Vienna. Only if you leave Vienna (Wiener Lokalbahn for example) you do have to pay for an additional ticket. This concerns tourists on it’s way to the airport since it’s outside Vienna.
Fares quoted below are valid as of January 2017.
|Valid for one journey within one zone. You can change as often as is necessary, but you may not travel on a circular route or go back to your starting point.|
|Half price ticket for children and dogs||€1.10||Valid for one journey within one zone.|
|Vienna Shopping Ticket||€6.10||Valid for unlimited travel within Vienna on the day of validation between 8:00am and 8:00pm. Not valid on Sundays and public holidays. (Cheaper than 24h)|
|Valid for unlimited travel for one adult within Vienna. Valid 24, 48 or 72 hours from the time of validation.|
|Valid for unlimited travel for one adult and one child under 15 years within Vienna for 24, 48 or 72 hours, plus discounts or benefits at museums, sights, theatres, concerts, shops, restaurants and cafes. Available at hotels, Tourist Information Offices, at Vienna Transport (Wiener Linien) sales counters and information offices.|
|8-day ticket||€38.40||Each strip on this ticket is valid for unlimited travel in Vienna for one person on the day of validation until 1:00am of the following day. This means that the ticket can be used by more people, provided they stay together and validate one strip per person. This is not a 24-hour ticket!|
|Weekly travel pass||€16.20||Valid for unlimited travel in Vienna within the specified calendar week (Mon-Sun). This is not a 7-day ticket!|
|Monthly travel pass||€48.20||Valid for unlimited travel in Vienna within the specified calendar month.|
|Annual travel pass||€365||Valid for unlimited travel in Vienna within 12 calendar months. A passport picture is required, and the ticket must be ordered from the Vienna Transport head office.|
Vienna maps and routing
Planning your trip around Vienna can be quite difficult. Most tourists use Google Maps to get around (like myself) but that isn’t available in Vienna. I can recommend the Qando app by Wiener Linien. This app provides all information needed to travel around the city fast and easy.
Travel information isn’t quite open in Austria, so if you want to travel further than Wien, Qando won’t help you and you’ll need to find your information by the company you’re travelling with.
Update: May 2017