Text by Eduarda Vogau
Public transport is one of the many things Austrians can be very proud of. Either in a big city or somewhere in a rural area, public transport is equally fast, efficient, frequent, and always comes on time. Transportation types vary across the different regions of Austria, in this blog post, we would like to tell you more about the ways to commute around the country’s 9 states. Be ready to get some tips on how to move around Vienna for free and how students can travel in summer cheaper!
Let’s start with the capital of Austria. You need to buy a ticket from Wiener Linien in order to use the city public transport. Tickets are available online, using the Wiener Linien mobile app, in the Wiener Linien offices, or in one of the many ticket machines that you can find on every metro station and in some trams. The prices vary from €2.40 for a single trip to €51 for a monthly ticket and €365 for a one-year ticket. You can also choose to buy the yearly ticket and pay €33 monthly, for a total of €396 per year. With this last option, you can also end your commitment at any point by paying around €20 of “termination fees”.
- Do not forget to stamp your physical tickets on the entrance at the metro stations or while getting inside of a tram – even if you have just purchased one, it is not valid without the stamp, so you might still be fined! And we do not recommend to free-ride: even though ticket controls happen rarely, paying a €103 fine is not worth it, trust us.
- Keep in mind that weekly/monthly tickets in Vienna are only valid starting from the first day of the week/month, and cannot be adjusted to your purchase date! So if you buy your ticket in the middle of the week, you can only use it for the remaining half of the week.
Vienna is the only Austrian city with a metro (the local name for it is «U-Bahn»). Consisting of five metro lines, it covers the whole territory of Vienna and is designed in such a way that you can quickly and comfortably travel around the city. The U-Bahn operates daily from 05:00 till 01:00 with intervals of 2 or 5 minutes. On Friday and Saturday nights as well as on the nights before holidays, the subway runs 24 hours.
The other available transportation types include buses (also night buses), trams, and S-Bahns. The latter ones were designed by ÖBB to connect the surrounding areas of Vienna with the capital. It is also a perfect way to reach the main train station (Hauptbahnhof). Taking the S7 train, you can reach the Vienna airport in less than half an hour. However, this route is not covered by the regular transport tickets and requires purchasing a separate one.
Pay attention to the type of ticket you buy: usually, the regular tickets are only valid within the city core zone (Kernzone). If you get outside of the designated area, you need to purchase a separate ticket.
Lower Austria (Niederösterreich)
People living in the hometown of the famous composer Mozart can take advantage of eco-friendly trolleys and buses powered by electricity. Ticket prices vary in between €6.40 for a 24-hour pass (€4.30 if you buy the ticket in advance, online or using a vending machine), €59 for a monthly pass, and €365 for a yearly one. You can check out all the prices on the official website of Salzburg Verkehr. Keep in mind that the tickets are only valid for one of the regions of Salzburg state. Make sure to get a new pass if you go to another region!
The Salzburg state also has a well-working S-Bahn network. Within the core zone of the state’s capital city, tickets for buses are also valid for train rides. You can use Salzburg Verkehr-App to check out the best connections to your point of destination.
Operated by Kärntner Linien, many bus routes are available for visitors and citizens of Carinthia. You can purchase a single trip ticket right from the bus driver. Carinthia consists of 50 zones. Depending on the number of zones you’re going to be crossing, individual trip ticket prices start from €1.90 and are only valid for a single bus trip (no bus change allowed). You can also purchase tickets using the mobile app. Visit the Kärntner Linien official website to plan your route and find out the ticket price for your journey.
A monthly pass is €32.50 (€22 for students) within a single zone. The annual pass would cost you €325 for one zone and the price would increase with more zones to cover.
Styria is also divided into several tariff zones and the ticket price will depend on the number of zones you will be crossing to reach your destination. Verbund Linie offers its passengers access to network tickets – passes that are valid for all means of transport in the purchased zones – and you will not have to buy another ticket once switching bus/train. Transport types of Styria include suburban, regional, and REX trains, regional buses, urban transport, and night buses.
There are different network ticket types available for purchase. You can buy hourly tickets (for 1 to 6 hours), where a one-hour network ticket would cost you €2.50 within one zone. A monthly pass costs €54.10 for one zone, while an annual pass is available for €490 within a single zone. Get to know more about the ticket types and different discounts on the official website of Verbund Linie. All tickets are available for purchase from the bus drivers, at vending machines in trams, and at the train stations, or at the ticket offices. You can look up the necessary connection using the online route planner «BusBahnBim».
Verkehrsverbund Tirol (VVT) offers many different pass options to its passengers depending on one’s needs. You can choose between the city, region, and the whole of Tyrol territory tickets or select a specific route, and then buy a single-trip, weekly, monthly, or one-year ticket. For example, if you would like to purchase a yearly pass for the whole state territory, it would cost you €509.40. A single trip from Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof to Inssbruck Westbahnhof costs €6 by S-Bahn, tram (Strassenbahn) or by bus. The specific prices can be found at VVT’s online ticket shop.
You can download the VVT SmartRide App for route planning and real-time connections checking. With VVT TimeView App you can check out the departure times for buses, trams, and trains to never be late.
Vorarlberg would be a perfect place for ski-lovers to save money on public transport: people holding a ski-pass have free access to all ski buses. The ticket prices outside of the ski season are well displayed in the following table. You can choose between «domino» (only for selected tariff zones) and «maximo» (the whole Voralberg territory) pass types. «Domino» ticket price depends on the number of zones you will cross. For example, if you take a single ride within one zone only, it will cost you €1.60 for an individual trip. A one-year «domino» ticket within a single zone costs €178. The «maximo» pass for the same period costs €385, and you can use it to travel around all zones of Vorarlberg. You can use the «cleVVVer Mobil» app to use a route planner or just use their official website.
Upper Austria (Oberösterreich)
The public transport company in Upper Austria OÖVV offers its passengers a useful OÖVV INFO App which recommends you the best way to reach your destination point. It includes all means of transportation starting with buses and trams and ending with an indication of the Park & Ride, Kiss & Ride, and bike rental services locations. Tickets can be also easily bought online using the app.
Those who travel to Linz can find many different ticket options. MINI-Karte is used for short-distance rides of a maximum of 4 stops from the boarding point and costs €1.30. With MIDI-Karte you can go on longer one-way rides for €2.50. MAXI-Karte for €5 allows you to use public transport for 24 hours. Monthly pass costs €50.10, while a yearly one would cost you €285. All passes are available at the ticket machines, ticket offices, and in the LinzMobil App.
Be aware that there are many ticket discounts available. Those who are above 18 years old and have their permanent address in Linz can apply for an Aktivpass card which allows you to access a variety of discounts. Using the Aktivpass, you can get the monthly ticket for €14 (instead of €50.10). There are also reduced ticket fares for students, kids, pupils, trainees, working people, and seniors. You can learn more about the prices on the official website of LINZ AG LINIEN.
Wels and Steyr
Eisenstadt, Neusiedl am See, Parndorf and other towns of Burgenland can be comfortably reached by ÖBB trains from Vienna. A one-way ticket from Vienna to Neusiedl am See or from Vienna to Eisenstadt Bahnhof costs €12.20. You can check all of the transport connections via the ÖBB route planner.
Bikes are a popular form of transport in Burgenland. Bike rental service nextbike offers fair prices for riders. One hour of bike usage would cost you only €1, and you can also rent a bike for 24 hours for €10. The rental procedure is quick and easy and is done via the nextbike-App. The bike rental service also operates in Lower Austria and in Klagenfurt.
ÖBB is the national railway company that provides train, bus, and tram connections across the Austrian territory as well as many international train rides. You can easily purchase train tickets online via their official website or using their ÖBB mobile app. You can reserve a seat for an extra 3 euros. We recommend doing so during public holidays and weekends due to excessive traveling. On the normal days, however, you can usually find a free spot without having to pay any extra.
If you are planning to travel by train regularly, we definitely recommend you to check the ÖBB customer cards «Vorteilscard». Using ÖBB Vorteilscard 66, ÖBB Vorteilscard Classic, ÖBB Vorteilscard Family, ÖBB Vorteilscard Jugend or ÖBB Vorteilscard Senior you can get significantly reduced prices on train tickets and save a lot of money while exploring the Austrian beauties! For example, the Vienna-Neusiedl am See round trip will cost you €12.20 (instead of €24.40) with an ÖBB Vorteilscard Jugend, so you can save up to 50%!
WESTbahn is a private train company operating in Austria. It offers its passengers regular train connections from Vienna to cities such as St. Pölten, Linz, Wels, and Salzburg. You can also use an ÖBB Vorteilscard for WESTbahn trains in order to purchase discounted tickets. You can get your tickets online, in tobacco stores with ticket machines, in WESTshops, and even inside of the trains.
And now let’s talk about the tips you all have been waiting for!
How to move around Vienna for FREE?
The bike rental service in Vienna «CityBike Wien» offers the citizens and guests of the Austrian capital an amazing eco- and budget-friendly opportunity to travel within the city. The first hour of use is totally free for everyone and — thanks to the well-thought-out system of stations allocation and highly developed infrastructure for bicycle drivers— this is more than enough to arrive at your final destination with ease. The registration is also very simple and quick. If the weather is nice and sunny — get yourself out on a ride and explore the wonderful city of Vienna!
How to travel cheaply around Austria as a student?
ÖBB offers an awesome traveling opportunity for students in Austria. From the 3rd of July and until the 12th of September students can enjoy their trips with a summer ticket (Sommerticket). This ticket gives you a whole month of traveling anywhere in Austria only for €39 (if you are under 20 y.o.) or €69 (for people from 20 to 26 y.o.)! Taking into account that a regular one-way ticket from Vienna to Salzburg costs €56.50, Sommerticket is definitely an amazing deal!
In order to get the Sommerticket you need to hold an ÖBB Vorteilscard Jugend which is available for only €19 per year. This card will be useful also later on when reserving a train seat (you can pay €1 instead of €3) and while purchasing an airport ticket for a discounted price.
As of the 26th of October 2021, the Austrian national and regional governments announced the initiative “Klimaticket”, with this special annual ticket, you can travel through the whole country for 3€ a day. Get to know more about this here.
We really hope that you have found this blog post informative and now you feel ready to explore Austria using our tips!
Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.