Vienna is a stunning city, definitely one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe. It isn’t small, but luckily many of the main attractions are close to each other.
You can do a lot by foot, but if you want to save some energy or even reach somewhere further away, like the Schönbrunn Palace, you might want to consider buying a travel ticket to save money.
In this article, I’m going to explain how the public transport in Vienna works and what you can do to avoid spending more money than you have to.
The public transport here is one of the best in the world, simple, but really good. The network includes bus, tram, subway, and train. I didn’t have to wait for a long time, 10/15 minutes max at late evening.
Train and subway
The direction of the train/subway you will take can be a bit tricky (we were kinda lost on our first day in Vienna). So, I’ll be explaining this to you guys and you won’t waste your precious time in the city.
The subway/train would usually have the last station in that line as the final destination, that’s what we were expecting, but things aren’t like that in Vienna and we didn’t have a decent map to consult (we had a horrible app, which didn’t help at all).
Sometimes the train goes to the direction you want to go, but it doesn’t stop at all stations on the way there or the destination isn’t the last one in the line, so you need to check if that is really the train you’re supposed to take. So, to make your life a bit easier I found this map of the train/ subway network in Vienna.
“Ok, but how can I know if the train stops at the station I wanna go?”, there are tv’s in the stations, so you just have to search your train there and wait to read the name of all stations where it’ll stop.
We had an app, but the app wouldn’t indicate the train right in front of us, which would stop in the station we wanted to go. Instead, we had to wait 15 minutes for another…and it just didn’t make sense. So, we deleted it and used a map. We were definitely better off with it.
By the way, U means underground (subway) and S means Stadtschnellbahn (train).
If you’re following the itinerary from my three-days in Vienna guide, this list below can help you with the names of the stations, in case you have to use public transport.
Also, know that if you’re visiting other Austrian cities (many people go on a day trip from Vienna to Salzburg), the easiest way to do so is by train.
How to get to the city center from the Vienna Airport?
There are two options to get to the center of Vienna, both using the train, but one is a little more expensive than the other (and faster too).
The first option is the CAT, a non-stop train that goes directly to the center in 16 minutes, the single ticket costs € 11 (around USD 13,20).
The second option is the express train line S7 to Floridsdorf. Go to Wien Mitte station, from there you can take the subway to your destination. The ride takes around 20/25 minutes, it isn’t long at all! The single ticket costs € 1,70 for the zone up to Vienna city limits and € 2,20 for the Vienna city zone, BUT if you buy a short-term ticket (24/48/72 hours, etc) you only pay the €1,70, cause then you already paid to travel in the city zone, got it? Quite a difference, right?
You can buy the ticket from the machines or from the train tourist information at the airport. There are a lot of signs there, it’s hard to miss!
How to get there: Main touristic attractions
- Albertinaplatz: between U3 orange/ U1 red – Stephansplatz station and U1 red/ U4 green/ U2 purple Karlsplatz station;
- City Center: U3 orange/ U1 red – Stephansplatz station;
- City Hall: U2 purple Rathaus;
- Hofburg: It’s really close to the Herrengasse station U3 orange, but you can easily reach it from Stephansplatz and Museumsquartier;
- Museum Quarter: the station Museumsquartier U2 purple is the closest to the Leopold Museum and to the Art History Museum, while the station Volkstheater U2 purple is the closest to the Mumok and Natural History Museum;
- Naschmarkt: between station Karlsplatz lines U1 red/ U4 green/ U4 purple and station Kettenbrückengasse U4 green;
- Parliament: U2 purple/ U3 orange Volkstheater;
- Schönbrunn Palace: there are three options, the Schönbrunn station U4 Green, tram lines 10 and 60 or bus 10A Schönbrunn station;
- St. Charles’ church: lines U1 red/ U4 green/ U4 purple Karlsplatz station;
- United Nations: Go to Kaisermühlen-VIC station U1 red, then follow the signs to Gate 1 of the VIC (Vienna International Centre);
- Upper Belvedere: You have a few options here, you can either get to the line U1 red Südtirolerplatz/ Hauptbahnhof station and walk around 15 minutes to the palace or go to Quartier Belvedere station train lines S1, S2, S3, S4, bus 69A, tram 18 or O;
- Walk down through the garden to the Lower Belvedere or if you want to start there take the tram line 71 to Unteres Belvedere or 2 to Schwarzenberplatz or tram line D and walk around 9 minutes to the palace;
Public Transport Tickets:
A single journey in the city costs € 2,20 or € 2,30 if you buy them on board in the bus/ tram. But if you’re spending a few days in the city, you might want to consider a Travel Card. There is a whole variety of tickets you can choose.
- 24 hours, € 7,60 (USD 9,10)
- 48 hours, € 13,30 (USD 16)
- 72 hours, € 16,50 (USD 19,80)
- Weekly, € 16,20 (from Monday to Monday)
Or you can buy the Vienna City Card and you get not only free access to the public transport but also discount in many attractions in the city! I really think this is a pretty good deal if you plan to visit a few museums, palaces, etc. If you’re planning to visit quite some places I recommend you buy the Vienna Pass because it gives you free entrance and skip-the-line to the main attractions (it’s not a travel card, though).
All these tickets can be used for unlimited travel on Vienna’s public transport network during the selected period.
So, getting around Vienna isn’t difficult, right? Do you have any funny story to share or tips? Write in the comments below!
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