If you are coming from the South of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia or Italy or from certain routes in Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary, then the chances are that you'll travel to the Südbahnhof. The Sudbahn, which terminates here heads out towards Graz, with routes off towards Italy branching off at Brück an der Mur. The Südbahnhof is many people's first point of arrival in the city.
Fortunately it is well served by public transport - in particular with the D tram (heads in to the centre), the 13A bus route (goes through the 4th-9th districts including stopping on Mariahilferstrasse). There are a number of shops, plenty of places to grab food and drink at the station as well as the airport lines buses too. If you inadvertently arrive here rather than the Westbahnhof, then the 18 tram will take you there in about 20 minutes.
Getting to Wien by train is the easiest solution to avoid stress. There are direct day- and night-trains from many European countries. In Italia you can take Eurocity or Euronight trains from Venezia, Milano or Roma. In some period of the year there are also express trains, like the one my parents and I took to go there. You see it here.
The S-Bahn (Fast Train) is an important rail service within the city, especially along the north-southwest trunk line the S7 to the airport. The normal public transport tickets used for bus, tram, and underground travel are valid on S-Bahn trains. All three major S-Bahn stations are accessible by public transport.
Vienna has several main railway lines that link up to most major European destinations.
Vienna has three main railway stations.
From Westbahnhof, trains head mainly to Western Europe (Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary); there are also good links to tram and underground lines (U3, U6).
Trains from the Südbahnhof head mostly eastwards (Croatia, East Germany and Italy) while the Franz-Josef-Bahnhof has train connections to Berlin, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Transit between train stations is easy by public transport.
If you have a Eurail Pass, go to the ticket counters (they speak English) numbered 1 thru 5. Then, to make reservations, go to the counters numbered 11 and 12. They are very helpful, patient and courteous in assisting you with reservations throughout Europe.
Trains are quiet cheap and the Austrian Railways offer many rebates (e.g. 2nd person for 2-way tickets is 50%).
The motorways are not similar to german streets. They are worse. If you go by car and if you come from the west, leave at melk and drive along the danube. After a beatiful landscape, you will enter vienna in the quiet north.
Public transport is nearly perfect and cheap. Buy the 8 days 'öko tiket' for 8 single days for 24 Euro which can be shared among more than one person.
Austria and Vienna is in the middle of Europe. There is excellent train connection here from west or east. I did not use the train this time as I came by flight but even in this case it was useful as I took the local S train from / to the airport.
If you're planning on spending a week or so in Austria and going from one end of the country to the other then the railpass is a good buy. From Bregenz to Salzburg it's about $50 and then from Salzburg to Vienna another $50 so you almost get your money's worth in two trips. You also receive some bonuses such as: Danube river trips with DDSG Blue Danube: scheduled trips Melk - Krems, Vienna - Dürnstein- Vienna (on Sundays only), sightseeing trips by boat in Vienna: 20% reduction
Danube river trips with Wurm & Köck (Linz to Passau): Reduced rates.
'Swarovski Crystal Worlds' in Wattens, Tirol: Special prices.
ÖBB-lounges in Wien Sued station, Wien West station and Salzburg Hbf for 1st class pass holders
3 days in 15 days (1st class) $164.00 (second class) $112.00
Additional Rail Days $22.00 $16.00
It is extremely easy to get to Vienna by train. Trains arrive and depart nonstop to Ljubljana, Budapest, Zagreb, Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Venice, Zurich, Bregenz, and many other surrounding cities. You'll find the Austrian trains very efficient and comfortable and many have onboard restaurants that are reasonably priced. Below, you will find a website that lists schedule, fares, and other pertinent information.
If you are interested in buying a railpass for Austria, try www.raileurope.com. They can come in handy if you expect to cover long distances and plan on staying a week or longer.
I took a train from Prague to Vienna. It was almost a 5 hour ride. Getting into Vienna by train is very easy and very reasonably priced from nearby cities.
There are 3 major international train stations in Vienna. Sudbahnhof is the station on the south side which I arrived into and departed from Vienna. Westbahnhof is on the west side, and Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof on the north side.
Once you arrive at any of these stations, it will be easy to get into the city via public transportation. For example, at Westbahnhof and very near Sudbahnhof, there is a subway station.
As part of our journey we were tavelling to Bratislava in Slovakia by train.
We had to use the SudBahnhof for this. The station is efficiently run and well organised. It is however a lite bit off the beaten path and best accessed by Taxi.
The OBB, Austria's train system, is very good, efficient, and clean. Eurail passes and Eastpasses are valid in Austria. Vienna has 2 main internation train station, and three additional stations that service mainly domestic, but a few international trains as well.
The two main international stations are Wien Westbahnhof and Sudbahnhof.
Wien Westbahnhof services mainly: Amsterdam, Berlin, Bregenz, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Munich, Paris, Salzburg, and Zurich.
Wien Sudbahnhof services mainly: Budapest, Graz, Krakow, Prague, Rome, and Venice.
The three other stations include: Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof, Wien Nord, and Wien Mitte. Franz-Josefs and Nord each have one train to Prague per day.
Listed below are Austria's OBB website and, what I found to be the best of all, Germany's Die Bahn site. Both give excellent time tables and some prices, if the trains are in either of the countries. I just find Germany's easier to navigate.
Vienna is also well linked to the rest of Europe by train (Austrian Federal Railway). There are 3 main stations: Westbahnhof, Südbahnhof and Nordbahnhof /western, southern and northern train terminal)
We took a train from Prague to Vienna using our Eurail ticket (but we also had to pay for a section in the Czech Republic. The train ride took about five hours and it was a very interesting trip scenery-wise.
Then from Vienna we went to Salzburg by train. That trip took almost three hours.
There are two mains station: Westbahnhof (U3/U6, trams 6,18 - for trains to Western Europe, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Serbia and Austria) and Südbahnhof (trams D, O, 18, buses 69a and 13a or Schnellbahn or U1 Südtirolerplatz and a 5 minute walk - for trains to the East and South such as Italy).
For more info on timetable either go to the information counters in the stations or look at their website: www.oebb.at