Vienna is the main transport hub for Austria, but Graz, Linz, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Innsbruck all receive international flights. Flights to these cities are often a cheaper option than those to the capital, as are flights to Airport Letisko (Bratislava Airport), which is only 60km east of Vienna, in Slovakia. Bregenz has no airport; there are limited flights to nearby Friedrichshafen in Germany and much better connections at Zürich in Switzerland.
Airports & Airlines
Austrian Airlines (www.austrian.com) is the national carrier, based in Vienna; it's a member of Star Alliance (www.staralliance.com).
Among the low-cost airlines, Air Berlin and Niki fly to Graz; Air Berlin, Transavia, easyJet and Niki to Innsbruck; Eurowings and Ryanair to Klagenfurt; Ryanair to Linz; Air Berlin, Transavia, easyJet, Eurowings and Ryanair to Salzburg; and Ryanair to Bratislava (for Vienna). Air Berlin, easyJet, Niki and Eurowings fly to Vienna Airport.
Airport Bratislava Nine kilometres northeast of the centre. Connections to Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, UK cities and more.
Blue Danube Airport Linz Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Ryanair and Air Berlin are the main airlines servicing the Blue Danube Airport, 13km southwest of the centre. There are flights to Vienna, Salzburg and Graz, as well as to Berlin, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Zürich. Ryanair serves London Stansted.
Graz Airport Located 10km south of the centre and is served by carriers including Air Berlin and Niki.
Innsbruck Airport EasyJet and Niki fly to Innsbruck Airport, 4km west of the city centre.
Kärnten Airport Klagenfurt’s airport is 3km north of town and served by the low-cost airline Germanwings.
Salzburg Airport A 20-minute bus ride from the city centre, this airport has regular scheduled flights to destinations all over Austria and Europe.
Vienna International Airport Has good connections worldwide. The airport is in Schwechat, 18km southeast of Vienna.
Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.
There are numerous entry points by road from Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland. Liechtenstein is so small that it has just one border-crossing point, near Feldkirch in Austria. The Alps limit the options for approaching Tyrol from the south (Switzerland and Italy). All border crossing points are open 24 hours.
Travelling by bus is a cheap but less comfortable way to reach Austria from other European countries. Options include Eurolines, Busabout and ÖBB Intercity Bus.
Eurolines buses pass through Vienna, with stops in Austria including Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck. It also serves numerous cities in neighbouring Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary. For other destinations see www.eurolines.com.
London Buses connect London (Victoria coach station) and Vienna Erdberg (one-way/return €82/160, 24 hours); anyone under 26 or over 60 gets a 10% discount on most fares and passes.
Prague Buses (one-way/return €24/46, four hours) run twice daily.
Bratislava From Vienna 14 buses run daily (one-way/return €7.50/15, 65 to 80 minutes).
Eurolines passes are priced according to season: a 15-day pass is €225 to €320 for adults; a 30-day pass is €340 to €425 (cheaper for those under 26 and over 60). A pass covers 53 cities across Europe (including Vienna).
London-based Busabout offers hop-on/hop-off passes for travel to about 50 European cities from May to late October. It splits stops into various ‘loops’, which you can combine. The Northern Loop includes Vienna and Salzburg, as well as Prague, Amsterdam, Paris and several German cities. See its website for other deals.
ÖBB Intercity Bus
An ÖBB Intercity bus connects Klagenfurt via Villach and Udine with Venice (€26, 4¼ hours, three times daily).
Car & Motorcycle
To enter Austria by car, you'll need proof of ownership and third-party insurance, as well as a sticker on the rear of the vehicle clearly displaying the country of origin. You will also need a Vignitte (motorway tax) if you plan on using the autobahn.
All border crossing points are open 24 hours, and petrol stations are usually handily located nearby.
Austria benefits from its central location within Europe by having excellent rail connections to all important destinations. Passengers do not need to disembark at borders, but do need to ensure they have any necessary visas.
European Rail Timetable (www.europeanrailtimetable.eu) Contains all train schedules, supplements and reservations information. The monthly edition can be ordered online. A digital edition and app is also available.
ÖBB With national and international connections, plus online national train booking. The website also shows Postbus services.
Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.de) Useful for finding special deals to/from Germany or to check connections (but not prices and bookings) in Austria.
Extra charges can apply on fast trains and international trains, and it's a good idea (and sometimes obligatory) to make seat reservations for peak times and on certain lines. Prices we give for national and international trains can vary slightly according to the route and type of train.
- Express trains can be identified by the symbols EC (EuroCity, serving international routes) or IC (InterCity, serving national routes). RailJet national and international train services are faster than IC/EC trains and cost the same but have perks like free wi-fi (in many) and power outlets alongside all seats. The French Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) and the German InterCityExpress (ICE) trains are high-speed trains; surcharges are levied for these.
- Overnight trains usually offer a choice between a Liegewagen (couchette) or a more expensive Schlafwagen (sleeping car). Long-distance trains have a dining car or snacks available.
From London there are several good options. The fastest is by Eurostar to Brussels, then to Frankfurt, then Vienna, which can be done during the day (13¼ hours) or overnight (17 hours). An alternative is to take the Eurostar to Brussels, change there for Cologne, and take the overnight train from Cologne to Vienna (total trip 17 hours). There are also connections via Paris. See www.eurostar.com for the best deals and for booking the leg from London. Prices start at €39 one way. Expect to pay €69 to €116 one-way for Cologne to Vienna, and €69 to €136 for Brussels to Vienna via Frankfurt.
The website The Man in Seat 61 (www.seat61.com) also has helpful tips and details on booking trains across Europe.
9 (departs Vienna, changes in Würzburg for northern Germany)
3 (some services continue to Zagreb & Belgrade)
6 (via Salzburg)
International Rail handles bookings for a minimum UK£10 surcharge by telephone and also online; tickets from many different countries can be booked through the website. It's often cheapest to book the continental Europe leg, then find the best Eurostar deal.
Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.com) is also useful, especially for taking advantage of savings through early booking.
Vienna’s New Hauptbahnhof
With its diamond-shaped translucent glass-and-steel roof, Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is an architectural triumph. Opened in December 2015, it was designed and built by acclaimed Austrian firm Strabag. Up to 1000 trains per day carrying some 145,000 passengers now pass through the station, which also has 84 shops, bars and restaurants; parking for 600 cars; three bike garages; electric bike-charging points; and two Citybike Wien bike-share rental stations.
Located 3km south of Stephansdom, the Hauptbahnhof handles all international trains, as well as services to/from all of Austria's provincial capitals, and many local and regional trains.
S-Bahn S-Bahn lines S1, S2 and S3 connect Hauptbahnhof with Wien Meidling, Wien-Mitte and Praterstern.
U-Bahn U1 serves Karlsplatz and Stephansplatz.
Tram 0 to Praterstern, 18 to Westbahnhof and Burggasse/Stadthalle. Tram D connects Hauptbahnhof-Ost with the Ringstrasse.
Bus 13A runs through Vienna's Vorstädte (inner suburbs) Margareten, Mariahilf, Neubau and Josefstadt, all between the Ringstrasse and the Gürtel.
The Danube Tourist Commission (www.danube-river.org) has a country-by-country list of operators and agents who can book river tours, including companies in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and various European countries.
Ensure you have any necessary visa before entering Austria.
Avalon Waterways (www.avaloncruises.co.uk) is an international cruise operator with a branch in the UK, as well as Australia (www.avalonwaterways.com.au), Canada (www.avalonwaterways.ca), and the USA (www.avalonwaterways.com). It can also handle bookings from other regions.
Typical cruises include eight days from Budapest to Vienna (from US$1589), nine days from Vienna to Munich (from US$2739) and 15 days from Amsterdam to Budapest (from US$5547). All prices exclude air connections.
Twin City Liner Runs two-way service between Vienna and Bratislava (1¼ hours) three to five times daily from late March to early November. Ships dock at the Twin City Liner terminal on the Danube Canal.
LOD Slovakian ferry company with hydrofoils between Bratislava and Vienna (1½ hours), running five to seven days per week from late April to late October. Best value is on weekends and for return trips. Booking is online, unless you call the office in Bratislava to reserve and then pay cash on the ship.
DDSG Blue Danube Hydrofoil Vienna to/from Budapest (5½ to 6½ hours), running three to six times a week mid-May to late September.
It is not possible to travel here by sea.