Public transport in Austria offers travelers various options for getting around and exploring the country’s cities and towns. Austria has a particularly well developed public transit system making it relatively straightforward to get from A to B on a visit to the country.
This article introduces the different forms of public transport available in Austria’s most visited cities and when exploring the country. It also examines the costs of traveling on trains and busses in Austria and some of the most important things to know before taking a trip on Austrian public transport.
Traveling by Train in Austria
Austria has an extensive train network. Vienna is notably a stop on the world-famous Orient Express and the country boasts a wide variety of rail options for visiting tourists. It is possible to get to almost all the country’s towns and cities via train. Austria’s rail network also connects up with many of the surrounding countries making international rail travel relatively simple.
Most local Austrian’s use trains to travel cross-country and traveling by train can be relatively cheap if tickets are booked in advance (falling as low as around €25 for international tickets). There are also numerous national and international travel passes available to make train travel around Austria and the EU quite cost-effective.
Austria’s International Train Services
Austria borders 8 other countries and the national rail network of the country makes it easy to travel to many of these neighboring states. Austria and all of its neighbors are part of the Schengen free-travel area, meaning visitors won’t need a passport or an Austrian visa to enter the country from an adjacent country by rail.
There are four main services with international train routes to Austria’s neighbors and other European countries beyond:
- RailJet: To Budapest and Prague
- ICE International: To Munich and Frankfurt
- Eurostar: To Brussels and London
- TGV: To Marsailles and Lyon
Regional Trains in Austria
It is also easy to find many train providers operating nationwide and suburban services across Austria. These vary from fast intercity services to slower local and regional trains.
There are 3 main national train services to choose from:
- Eurocity: Long-distance fast trains for intercity travel.
- REX: Regional train service calling at more smaller villages and towns.
- S Bahn: Suburban train services for big cities like Vienna and Salzburg.
Buses and Trams in Austria
Austrian cities are well connected with both local bus and tram services. These run daily between 5 am to 11 pm in most of the country’s biggest cities. Tickets can be purchased for city transportation at railway and metro stations, on trams and buses and also at most tobacconists (marked “Tabak Trafik”).
Most residents and visitors to the country use the train service to travel to other parts of the country but there are also intercity and international bus services that run between the biggest cities and Austria’s neighboring countries. This is also the best way to reach smaller more inaccessible villages in Austria’s remotest regions.
Taking the Metro in Vienna
Vienna, Austria’s capital city, has its own city-wide metro system. The Metro, or U-Bahn as it’s known locally, compliments the city’s bus and tram network to link up the biggest local attractions and help commuters travel easily around the country’s most visited and populous city. A single ticket costs just €2.40 and it is free to use for children under 5.
Taxis in Austria
Taxis in Austria are relatively inexpensive, costing only approximately €5-8 for a basic 1km journey, depending on the city the service operates in. Be aware, however, that a 10% tip is normally expected by the driver when using a taxi in Austria.
Whilst most Austrians usually hire taxis by phone, app or at taxi ranks, it is also possible to flag down a cab on the street too as is common in the US and other European cities.
What to Remember When Using Austrian Public Transport
- Trains in Austria are very punctual and often leave at the point of departure precisely on time.
- Tickets must be bought prior to travel on most forms of public transport in Austria.
- There are many seats reserved for elderly, pregnant and disabled people on public transport. These are usually marked with a sticker or sign.
- Smoking is not permitted on Austrian public transport.
Like many European countries, Austria is very easy to navigate in its entirety via public transport. There are many different options available for tourists visiting for a short vacation or a longer stay in the country to navigate and enjoy this beautiful alpine nation.
If you’re entering Austria from outside the EU or Schengen you could require an Austria visa to visit the country. If this applies to you, be sure to check online the type of visa you will need prior to travel, in order to arrive safely and securely to Austria.