Austria train travel - cheap, cheerful and always charming
Austria is all about the B-word when it comes to train travel: Beautiful, Baroque and Bergs - all at Bargain prices. Bargain because the country’s national operator, ÖBB, has one of Europe’s most impressive initiatives in terms of great value fares, which we sell. Known as Sparschiene tickets, these are available on set routes, at set times but with little or no flexibility. It does mean, however, that you can travel from Vienna to Graz for not much more than a Stiegl beer or to Linz for the price of a schnitzel.
Travelling within Austria
Vienna is, unknown to many, one of the most connected cities in Europe, boasting direct train connections with most of the great European capitals. However, its domestic rail network is also second to none. From Vienna you can head to the Unesco city of Salzburg by train where Mozart, mountains and magnificent architecture proffer cultural and natural heritage at every turn. In 2020, Salzburg celebrates the 100th anniversary of its world renowned Festival between 18 July- 30 August 2020.
Also big news for 2020, Vienna celebrates the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, with many concert celebrations including the Festival of Joy on 8 May 2020. The National Library also has an exhibition of original manuscripts, including pages from the 9th Symphony, on until 19 April 2020.
Austria is also home to a Unesco rail route, known as the Semmering Railway, which is one of the most celebrated Alpine journeys in the world. One that you can book at a price that doesn’t mean forking out on a pricey tourist train with panoramic pampering at every turn. This is just an ordinary passenger train through far from ordinary landscapes. Taking this route from Vienna to Graz or Klagenfurt is definitely ‘one of our favourite things’. For some more Edelweiss moments, head to the winter sports hub at Innsbruck or the ultimate chocolate box town of Kitzbühel.
Hohe Tauern, Austria’s largest national park, is for hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Access it by train to Lienz, then a 30min bus connection to the gateway town of Matrei. Then climb every mountain.
International routes from Austria
As well as being able to buy tickets throughout Austria with us, you can also buy great value fares between Austria and many other countries. These include Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia. Which means that our booking map is crossing more and more borders, all thanks to a forward-thinking Austrian rail operator.
The most popular, direct international routes are between the classic capitals of Budapest to Vienna, Prague to Vienna or Bratislava to Vienna as well as a new daily route between Berlin and Vienna. The international Semmering Railway also has stiff competition from the Arlberg route in terms of mountain landscapes, as this is the main west to east route through the Alps between Zurich and Vienna. It is also worth noting that you can travel from London to Vienna by train with only two changes, albeit a long journey of just under 13 hours. In 2020, a new daily Railjet service between Graz and Berlin Charlottenburg station in Germany was introduced. Bargain prices as low as £35 are to be had on this long route of over 11 hrs which takes you all the way through the Czech Republic.
Schlaf gut, sleep well
Sleeper trains run by ÖBB are the cream on the Austrian train kuchen and we are pleased to be able to sell these tickets. Book to travel between Vienna and Rome or Vienna and Hamburg on board a Nightjet train, with Sparschiene bargain tickets also available on these journeys. You can also head from dusk in Vienna to dawn in Berlin, Bregenz, Brussels, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Milan, Venice, Warsaw or Zurich. Our blog on European sleeper trains for details of other nighttime train adventures to be had, many of which are operated by ÖBB as they zoom through Austria. And the night.
As well as offering plenty of bargain prices, we’d like to give a big shout out for ÖBB’s 98% punctuality rate as well as the fact that their trains are 100% powered by renewable energy. In addition, in our Great Train Comparison report, they were given full marks for the fact that some of their trains still have the traditional carriages divided into separate compartments. As well as providing superb bikes-on board-facilities. In short, ÖBB - you are Overall Blooming Brilliant.
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