Many parts of Europe have an extensive transportation network. It is therefore easy to get from one part of Europe to another. This is also the case in Austria. Transportation is very easy, with the train being the easiest means of transportation. The fastest way to get between big cities is by train and buses also do a good job in the city.
Transportation by train in Austria:
The train is a fast way to get around, but it is the most expensive mode of transportation. Let’s take a look at the train companies operating in Austria. You can also buy tickets online from these companies. In Europe, there is a large state-owned company responsible for train services. Just like TCDD in Turkey, there is ÖBB in Austria. It is the abbreviation of Österreichische Bundesbahnen, which means Austrian Federal Railways. It is the main train operator of Austria, as well as providing international service in cooperation with other state railways. When planning your trips to Austria in advance, you can visit the official website of ÖBB and find out the train schedules, routes and make reservations in advance.
With ÖBB you can reach the main destinations such as Salzburg, Linz, Graz, Vienna and Klagenfurt. The website is very clear to use. In the form field at the top you enter your travel date, destination and departure city and the system gives you all train options. After typing the information, the system offers us two options. It asks if we want to buy a one-way ticket or a day ticket or a monthly or weekly ticket.
Since we will be traveling for a short time, we prefer one-way tickets and we are presented with train options with timetables. In this list, you can see the departure time, departure and arrival points, duration of the journey, transfer stop, if any. You can also see the train type.
Trains in the ÖBB can be of different types. Let’s take a look at these types.
- RAILJET (RJ) : Traveling at 230km/h, these sleek, high-speed trains are one of the most luxurious and high-tech in Europe. They offer free Wifi, ergonomic seats and three classes of service with Economy Class, First Class and Business Class.
- INTER-CITY (IC) : You may see Intercity trains as IC or ÖBB IC. They are mostly used domestically, but also serve as international trains.
- EURO CITY (EC) : This type of train is used for international journeys. But it also performs the duties of Railjet and Inter City when needed.
- INTER-CITY-EXPRESS (ICE) : High-speed trains used for international routes.
- REGIONAL EXPRESS TRAINS (REX) : This type of train is used when going to city centers or nearby places. There is also a non-express version (REGIONAL TRAINS (R)). While the Express stops on the main lines, the R type stops at many stops.
- SCHNELLBAHN (S) : S-Bahn trains are the subway as we know it. It is the public transportation that provides transportation within the city. You can go to the point you want to go by trains such as Railjet and you may need to transfer by taking the S1 subway.
Another alternative to ÖBB is Westbahn. But it only allows travel between Vienna and Salzburg. St. Pölten, Amstetten, Linz, Wels, Attnang-Puchheim are intermediate stops where the train stops. When I looked for tickets from Vienna to Salzburg for the same day, ÖBB was selling tickets for 54€ while WESTBAHN was selling tickets for 26€. If you have a clear travel plan, try to buy your ticket in advance, there can be serious price differences. You can get much cheaper train tickets with offers called Sparschiene.
Bus transportation in Austria:
Buses have advantages over trains as they can reach remote areas, villages, ski resorts and high altitude hills that cannot be reached by train. Bus schedules are usually timed according to train schedules, so bus transfers are not a problem. The WESTBAHN train company used to have its own bus company, WESTBUS. This company was later connected to Flixbus and Flixbus has a very wide transportation network. It is actually a company that provides transportation throughout Europe. It takes you from Vienna to Salzburg for 20,50€. However, the bus takes longer, reaching Salzburg in 7 hours. Flixbus also serves as a night bus. Instead of staying in one place, you can combine transportation and sleep at the same time. You can buy tickets online, with the help of a mobile app or directly from the bus driver in cash. The advantages of Flixbus buses include wifi internet at LTE speed and an outlet where you can charge your mobile devices.
We try to explain the details of city transportation in Austria on the pages of the relevant city. But to give you a rough idea, the big cities have no problems in terms of urban transportation. All public transportation vehicles depart on time according to the times written on the bus stops. You can buy tickets for city transportation from buses or cheaper ticket machines. There are also 24-hour and 48-hour options for these tickets. If you are buying a special sightseeing card for the city, check out their public transportation options. Public transportation is usually free with the cards. Public transportation was not included in the ViennaPass card, but it was included when I bought a SalzburdCard.
Renting a car in Austria:
Renting a car gives you the freedom to be where you want, when you want. When you consider the time you’ll spend on trains and buses and the points you’ll miss, you’ll understand the advantage of renting a car. Austria is not cheap when it comes to renting a car, but when you get a few people together it can be an unavoidable experience.
Most of Austria is made up of the Alps. If you have an eye for heights, the famous Alpine roads are closed in winter and sometimes you may need snow chains. For the most part, you cannot enter the Old Towns by car and many times you will have to leave your car in a paid parking lot if you are traveling on foot.
If you want to drive your own car to Austria, you need to buy a Vignette to use on the highways. You may also hear it called a toll sticker. You need to stick this vignette neatly on the windshield of your car. You can find them at gas stations, post offices, newsstands or border crossings. With ASFINAG you can also buy these stickers online. In Austria, vignettes are divided into 10-day, 2-month and 1-year vignettes. For motorcyclists, the 10-day sticker costs €5.20, for 2 months €13.10 and for a year €34.70. For cars, the 10-day sticker costs €9, for 2 months €26.20 and for a year €87.30.