Vienna's Public Transport System

One of the things I like best about Vienna is that Otto Wagner, one of the most famous architects in the world at the turn of the century, developed a plan for much of the system and designed many of the stations. The station above is the Karlsplatz station designed by Wagner.

Karlsplatz U-Bahn Station by Otto Wagner
Karlsplatz U-Bahn Station by Otto Wagner is now a small museum of Wagner’s work.


Getting to/from Vienna Airport

It’s easy to get to and from Vienna Airport. Here are some ways (note: check the costs, these are current in December 2012):

  • Vienna Airport S-Bahn (regional train) – The S-Bahn runs approximately every half hour and costs approximately 4 Euro (this includes travel on all public transport in the city of Vienna for about 1.5 hours). The train takes 26-minutes to reach Wien Mitte, the station closest to the city center where you can transfer to Vienna’s subway (U-4 and U-3 lines).
  • CAT – Vienna City Airport Train – The CAT also runs every half hour non-stop between the airport and Wien Mitte station. It takes 16-minutes and costs about 12 Euro (not including any public transit service within the city of Vienna, you need to buy another ticket for this). The main advantage of the CAT is that it’s 9-minutes faster than the S-Bahn and you can check your baggage and get your boarding pass at the CAT terminal in Wien Mitte. Also all the trains are air conditioned. If you want to save money you can just take the S-Bahn, it’s almost as good for a much lower price. Note that the airport is a partner in the CAT service, so you’ll see lots of signs for CAT and not so many for the S-Bahn, but both are in the same station, just different tracks.
  • Vienna Airport Buses – There are buses to/from many main points in the city (Westbahnhof, Schwedenplatz, etc.). These cost about 6 Euros and do not include public transport in the city of Vienna.
  • Taxi – If you are arriving or departing late or early consider taking a taxi, they are not outrageously expensive (if you pre-order they cost about 32 Euros from the center city … although you should add 2-3 Euro tip). Taking a taxi is comfortable and is a good use of money. Taxis take about 30-minutes to the city center without congestion.

The best advice is to choose which type of transport based on where you are going – all the options above serve particular places better than others.


Public Transport

The Wiener Linien, Vienna’s local public transport operator is a great way to get around the city. The U-Bahn (subway), Trams (streetcars) and buses go everywhere and come frequently. Here are links for information:

  • WienerLinien – journey planner, general information, maps, etc.
  • qando – the WienerLinien smart phone app is very good, could not find an English language website, but the qando app itself comes in German, English and Italian (here’s the qando information page in German);

Public transport is generally inexpensive in Vienna. You can buy a ticket for one trip (about 1.5 hours) for about 2 euros, or a 24-hour ticket for about 5 euros.

There are also several tickets that might make sense if you are staying for a few days. The weekly ticket (From Monday morning to Sunday Night) costs only xx euros. There is also an 8-day ticket (Streifen ticket) that costs xx euros (several people can use the same ticket when travelling together, you just need to validate it once for each person), also note that this is not a 24-hour ticket, but a day ticket meaning it is good on the day it is validated only.

You can buy tickets at tabacco stores (Tabak), ticket machines located in the U-Bahn (subway) stations and at Wiener Linien shops located in the larger U-Bahn stations (Karlsplatz, Stefansplatz, xxx).


Walking in Vienna

Vienna’s a great city for walking. It’s filled with interesting neighbourhoods to explore and you can even go hiking in the Vienna Forest (Wiener Wald) … naturally all easily accessible by public transport!

More to come!


Biking in Vienna

I’ll admit to being a little bit of a nervous nelly when it comes to biking in the city. Sure I do it, but I’m not a happy camper. Still, the city is expanding its bike network, they were one of the first to offer city bikes and you can take your bike on the U-Bahn lines (subway). And, of course, there is the Donau Insel, 22-km of auto free park in the middle of the Danube River (take the U-1, U-6 or U-2 subways to conveniently located stations on or adjacent to the island).

More to come!

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