VIENNA - GETTING AROUND

Walking

Vienna is a city to explore and discover on foot. Many historic attractions can be found within the compact Innere Stadt and are easy to reach with just a sturdy pair of walking shoes. But if you are interested in exploring some of the more remote districts, the city`s public transportation will get you where you need to go.

By Rail (Subway)

Vienna`s suburban rail network is often overlooked by tourists. It comprises three types of trains: S-Bahn, which mostly serve inner suburbs and stop at all stations with few exceptions, Regionalbahn, which are generally more long-distant than the S-Bahn and make limited stops on parallell S-Bahn routes, but otherwise all stops, and RegionalExpress, which mostly serve the outermost suburbs and make very limited stops in the inner suburbs (although not all RegionalExpress trains are suburban trains). The network also stretches over the borders of the neighboring countries.

Stammstrecke trains (i.e. Meidling-Südtirolerplatz-Südbahnhof-Rennweg-Mitte-Praterstern-Florisdorf) run every 2-5 min (the right platform goes northbound and vice versa). This is not a line itself but rather the result of the bunch of lines using the same stretch.

S45 runs in the northwest of the city every 5-10 min along a beautiful railway built by architect Otto Wagner.

Rail trips to the suburbs of Vienna (in Vienna city all rail stations start with `Wien`) require an extra ticket. These are available as zones in VOR (Austria`s Eastern Transit Region) or as point to point tickets from the railways. It is easiest to buy extra zones from the edge of the city. If you have a Vorteilscard a railway ticket will be cheaper; if you are planning to transfer to a bus the VOR-ticket is also valid for it, with-in the same zone.

By U-Bahn and S-Bahn

The Wiener Linien operates a subway system (the U-Bahn), which services the city and a speedy light-rail system (the Schnellbahn or S-Bahn) that services the suburbs. Fares and transfers are the same for the U-Bahn and S-Bahn as they are for the buses and streetcars, and you can use the same tickets on all forms of public transportation.

The U-Bahn runs daily from 6am to midnight and is the fastest way to get across town or into the suburbs. It consists of six lines that criss-cross the city. Stations are prominently marked with blue `U`signs. Karlsplatz, in the heart of Innere Stadt, is the most important underground station for visitors: lines U4, U2, and U1 converge here. The U2 traces part of the Ringstrasse, the U4 goes to Schönbrunn, and the U1 stops in Stephansplatz. The U3 also stops in Stephansplatz and connects with the Westbahnhof station.

The S-Bahn city trams reach areas of Vienna where the U-bahn does not.

By Bus

Bus lines are denoted by a number that ends in letter (i.e. 3A, 80B). You are unlikely to need to take a bus, but it is safe to assume if you see one that you can get on and it will take you to some higher form of transportation like the U-Bahn. Cheaper tickets (€1) are available for most `B` buses; regular tickets and passes are also valid.

By Tram

Riding the red and white trams (strassenbahn) is a practical way to get around as well as a great way to see the city. Tram stops are well marked and each line bears a number or letter. Lines 1 and 2 will bring you to all the major sights on the Ringstrasse. Line D skirts the outer Ring and goes to the Südbahnhof, and line 18 goes between the Westbahnhof and the Südbahnhof. Trams run daily.

Night Service

The regular trams, trains and buses run until about 12:30 am. Most of the commuter rail is shut between 1 am and 4 am. On Friday and Saturday (as well as on nights before holidays), the entire U-Bahn network runs all night. Additionally, a dense network of night buses, called `NightLiners` is available every night of the year. Regular tickets are valid. Most buses terminate at `Kärntner Ring, Oper`, which allows for easy interchange. Intervals are every 15-30 min. Daytime service resumes at 5 am.

By Bicycle

Vienna has more than 155 miles of marked bicycle paths within the city limits. You can take bicycles on specially marked U-Bahn cars for free, Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm and 6:30pm to midnight, during which time you`ll pay half the full ticket price to transport a bike. On weekends in July and August, bicycles are carried free from 9am to midnight.

Rental stores are plentiful at the Prater park and along the banks of the Danube Canal, which is the favorite bike route for most Viennese. One of the best bike rental shops is Pedal Power, Ausstellungsstrasse 3 (tel. 01/729-7234), which is open March through October from 8am to 7pm. The Vienna Tourist Board can also supply a list of rental shops and more information about bike paths. Bike rentals begin at about 27€ per day.

By Taxi

Taxis are easy to find within the city center (taxi stands are marked by signs). Fares are set to a meter price, but if you prefer, you can always negotiate a fare. Always negotiate when traveling to the airport or outside of the city limits as fares are not set to those places. Pedicabs, horse-drawn coaches and the like are also available.

By Car

We do not recommend driving a car in Vienna. The city is a maze of congested one-way streets, parking is extremely limited - almost to the point of being nonexistent; and public transportation is too convenient to endure the hassle of driving. If you are renting a car we suggest you pick it up as you depart the city to avoid excessive rental/parking expenses.

If you must have a car while in the city then your hotel may offer a car park (for a fee), but your best bet is one of the public garages. Parking garages are scattered throughout the city and most of them charge between 3.60€ and 6€ per hour. Some convenient 24 hour garages within the 1st District include Garage Am Hof, Parkgarage Freyung and Tiefgarage Kärntnerstrasse.

When curbside parking is available at all, it`s within one of the city`s `blue zones` and is usually restricted to 90 minutes or less from 8am to 6pm. If you find an available spot within a blue zone, you`ll need to display a kurzpark scheine (short-term parking voucher) on the dashboard of your car. They`re sold at branch offices of Vienna Public Transport Information Center and within tobacco/news shops. Be warned that honking car horns is forbidden everywhere in the city and towing of illegally parked cars is not an uncommon sight here.

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VIENNA - GETTING AROUND

Walking

Vienna is a city to explore and discover on foot. Many historic attractions can be found within the compact Innere Stadt and are easy to reach with just a sturdy pair of walking shoes. But if you are interested in exploring some of the more remote districts, the city`s public transportation will get you where you need to go.

By Rail (Subway)

Vienna`s suburban rail network is often overlooked by tourists. It comprises three types of trains: S-Bahn, which mostly serve inner suburbs and stop at all stations with few exceptions, Regionalbahn, which are generally more long-distant than the S-Bahn and make limited stops on parallell S-Bahn routes, but otherwise all stops, and RegionalExpress, which mostly serve the outermost suburbs and make very limited stops in the inner suburbs (although not all RegionalExpress trains are suburban trains). The network also stretches over the borders of the neighboring countries.

Stammstrecke trains (i.e. Meidling-Südtirolerplatz-Südbahnhof-Rennweg-Mitte-Praterstern-Florisdorf) run every 2-5 min (the right platform goes northbound and vice versa). This is not a line itself but rather the result of the bunch of lines using the same stretch.

S45 runs in the northwest of the city every 5-10 min along a beautiful railway built by architect Otto Wagner.

Rail trips to the suburbs of Vienna (in Vienna city all rail stations start with `Wien`) require an extra ticket. These are available as zones in VOR (Austria`s Eastern Transit Region) or as point to point tickets from the railways. It is easiest to buy extra zones from the edge of the city. If you have a Vorteilscard a railway ticket will be cheaper; if you are planning to transfer to a bus the VOR-ticket is also valid for it, with-in the same zone.

By U-Bahn and S-Bahn

The Wiener Linien operates a subway system (the U-Bahn), which services the city and a speedy light-rail system (the Schnellbahn or S-Bahn) that services the suburbs. Fares and transfers are the same for the U-Bahn and S-Bahn as they are for the buses and streetcars, and you can use the same tickets on all forms of public transportation.

The U-Bahn runs daily from 6am to midnight and is the fastest way to get across town or into the suburbs. It consists of six lines that criss-cross the city. Stations are prominently marked with blue `U`signs. Karlsplatz, in the heart of Innere Stadt, is the most important underground station for visitors: lines U4, U2, and U1 converge here. The U2 traces part of the Ringstrasse, the U4 goes to Schönbrunn, and the U1 stops in Stephansplatz. The U3 also stops in Stephansplatz and connects with the Westbahnhof station.

The S-Bahn city trams reach areas of Vienna where the U-bahn does not.

By Bus

Bus lines are denoted by a number that ends in letter (i.e. 3A, 80B). You are unlikely to need to take a bus, but it is safe to assume if you see one that you can get on and it will take you to some higher form of transportation like the U-Bahn. Cheaper tickets (€1) are available for most `B` buses; regular tickets and passes are also valid.

By Tram

Riding the red and white trams (strassenbahn) is a practical way to get around as well as a great way to see the city. Tram stops are well marked and each line bears a number or letter. Lines 1 and 2 will bring you to all the major sights on the Ringstrasse. Line D skirts the outer Ring and goes to the Südbahnhof, and line 18 goes between the Westbahnhof and the Südbahnhof. Trams run daily.

Night Service

The regular trams, trains and buses run until about 12:30 am. Most of the commuter rail is shut between 1 am and 4 am. On Friday and Saturday (as well as on nights before holidays), the entire U-Bahn network runs all night. Additionally, a dense network of night buses, called `NightLiners` is available every night of the year. Regular tickets are valid. Most buses terminate at `Kärntner Ring, Oper`, which allows for easy interchange. Intervals are every 15-30 min. Daytime service resumes at 5 am.

By Bicycle

Vienna has more than 155 miles of marked bicycle paths within the city limits. You can take bicycles on specially marked U-Bahn cars for free, Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm and 6:30pm to midnight, during which time you`ll pay half the full ticket price to transport a bike. On weekends in July and August, bicycles are carried free from 9am to midnight.

Rental stores are plentiful at the Prater park and along the banks of the Danube Canal, which is the favorite bike route for most Viennese. One of the best bike rental shops is Pedal Power, Ausstellungsstrasse 3 (tel. 01/729-7234), which is open March through October from 8am to 7pm. The Vienna Tourist Board can also supply a list of rental shops and more information about bike paths. Bike rentals begin at about 27€ per day.

By Taxi

Taxis are easy to find within the city center (taxi stands are marked by signs). Fares are set to a meter price, but if you prefer, you can always negotiate a fare. Always negotiate when traveling to the airport or outside of the city limits as fares are not set to those places. Pedicabs, horse-drawn coaches and the like are also available.

By Car

We do not recommend driving a car in Vienna. The city is a maze of congested one-way streets, parking is extremely limited - almost to the point of being nonexistent; and public transportation is too convenient to endure the hassle of driving. If you are renting a car we suggest you pick it up as you depart the city to avoid excessive rental/parking expenses.

If you must have a car while in the city then your hotel may offer a car park (for a fee), but your best bet is one of the public garages. Parking garages are scattered throughout the city and most of them charge between 3.60€ and 6€ per hour. Some convenient 24 hour garages within the 1st District include Garage Am Hof, Parkgarage Freyung and Tiefgarage Kärntnerstrasse.

When curbside parking is available at all, it`s within one of the city`s `blue zones` and is usually restricted to 90 minutes or less from 8am to 6pm. If you find an available spot within a blue zone, you`ll need to display a kurzpark scheine (short-term parking voucher) on the dashboard of your car. They`re sold at branch offices of Vienna Public Transport Information Center and within tobacco/news shops. Be warned that honking car horns is forbidden everywhere in the city and towing of illegally parked cars is not an uncommon sight here.