Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by gregor
Vienna is a beautiful city that offers a rich history, beautiful architecture, and a vibrant culture. Getting around the city can be a challenge, especially if you are not familiar with the public transportation system. In this post, we will take a look at Vienna’s public transportation system and provide you with tips and tricks to help you get around the city like a local.
Vienna’s Public Transportation System – An Overview of Getting Around in Vienna
Vienna’s public transportation system is extensive, efficient, and affordable. It comprises buses, trams, U-Bahn (subway), and S-Bahn (commuter trains). The transportation system operates 24/7 and covers almost all parts of the city, including the suburbs.
How to Buy Tickets and Fares – Which Tickets should you buy
To use the public transportation system in Vienna, you will need to purchase a ticket. There are several ticket options available, depending on your needs and the length of your stay in the city.
Vienna City Card
The most popular ticket option is the Vienna Card, which offers unlimited travel on all forms of public transportation, as well as discounts on various attractions and restaurants. The Vienna Card is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours and can be purchased at any of the city’s tourist information centers or online.
This 24, 48 or 72-hour network travel card for the city also qualifies you for various discounts. In fact, just about anywhere you’re likely to visit, watch or see offers some kind of small reduction with the Vienna City Card.
Weekly or Monthly Pass
If you are staying in Vienna for an extended period, you may want to consider purchasing a weekly or monthly pass. These passes offer unlimited travel on all forms of public transportation and can be purchased at any of the city’s ticket offices or online.
- 24/48/72-hour network card (24/48/72 Stunden Wien): The relevant time period starts from the moment you first validate the ticket (or the time you specify if buying online). In that period, you can go where you like, as often as you like, within the city limits.
- Weekly network pass (Wochenkarte): Entitles you to city-wide travel for a seven-day period with a starting day you choose (if bought online) or from Monday to 9am the following Monday in a specific week (if bought offline).
- Monthly network pass (Monatskarte): Entitles you to city-wide travel for a 31-day period with a starting day you choose (if bought online) or for the relevant calendar month, plus the first two days of the subsequent month (if bought offline).
- HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED TO VISIT VIENNA?
If you only need to travel a short distance, you can purchase a single ticket. These tickets are valid for one journey on any form of public transportation and can be purchased from ticket vending machines, ticket offices, or directly from the driver on buses and trams.
Single ticket (Einzelfahrschein): Once validated at or for point A, lets you travel to any point B within Vienna. The only restriction is the journey must be direct, with no pause. You can change buses, trams, and trains as you need, provided you’re taking a continuous journey to your destination.
Using Public Transportation in Vienna
U-Bahn – The Subway System
The most popular form of public transportation in Vienna is the U-Bahn. The subway system is clean, efficient, and easy to use. There are six U-Bahn lines in Vienna, and they cover most parts of the city. The U-Bahn operates from around 5:00 am until midnight, with trains running every 2-7 minutes, depending on the time of day.
S-Bahn – Commuter Train System (Schnellbahn)
The S-Bahn is a commuter train system that operates within the city and the surrounding suburbs. The S-Bahn connects Vienna with neighboring cities, including Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague. The S-Bahn operates from around 5:00 am until midnight, with trains running every 15-30 minutes, depending on the time of day.
The Tram System (Straßenbahn)
The tram system in Vienna is also extensive and covers most parts of the city. The trams operate from around 5:00 am until midnight, with trams running every 5-15 minutes, depending on the time of day. Trams are a great way to explore the city, especially if you want to take in the sights and sounds of Vienna at a more leisurely pace.
Buses in Vienna
Buses in Vienna are also a great way to get around the city, especially if you need to travel to areas that are not covered by the U-Bahn or tram systems. The buses operate from around 5:00 am until midnight, with buses running every 5-15 minutes, depending on the time of day.
If you have children, those under six do not need a ticket. Trams, buses, and subway also remain free until the end of the academic year when the child turns six. Those under fifteen qualify for reduced-price single tickets.
TRAVEL ZONE VALIDITY
The concept of travel throughout the entire city is quite simple. The Vienna city zone encompasses virtually all the places one would typically visit as a tourist. The only time you may venture outside this zone is if you plan to explore the adjacent towns or villages. (see also Day Trips from Vienna)
Note, however, that Vienna airport is outside the city transport zone. For details, see:
- BEST WAYS TO GET FROM VIENNA AIRPORT TO THE CITY CENTER
- GETTING TO THE VIENNA AIRPORT FROM THE VIENNA CITY CENTER
Top Tip: I suggest that you purchase either one of the networks passes or the Vienna City Card. These options can help you save money if you take multiple trips within a day and provide convenience for your travels.
Tips and Tricks for Using Public Transportation in Vienna City
- Plan your route in advance: Before you set out, make sure you have a clear idea of where you are going and which form of public transportation you need to take. You can use the Wiener Linien website or app to plan your journey and get real-time information about the public transportation system.
- Validate your ticket: When you purchase a ticket, make sure you validate it before you board the train, tram, or bus. There are validation machines located on all forms of public transportation, and failure to validate your ticket can result in a fine.
- Use the night bus: If you plan to explore Vienna’s nightlife, be sure to use the night bus system. The night bus operates from midnight until around 5:00 am and covers most parts of the city.
- Be mindful of rush hour: Vienna’s rush hour is typically between 7:30 am and 9:30 am and between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm. If you can, try to avoid using public transportation during these times, as trains and buses can be crowded.
- Be aware of pickpockets: Unfortunately, pickpocketing can be a problem on Vienna’s public transportation system, especially during peak times. Be sure to keep your belongings close to you and be aware of your surroundings.
- Take advantage of bike-sharing: Vienna offers a bike-sharing system called WienMobil Rad, which allows you to rent a bike for a short period of time. This is a great way to explore the city on your own terms and at your own pace.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you are ever unsure about which form of public transportation to take or how to get to your destination, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most locals are friendly and happy to assist tourists.
Top Attractions to Explore Using Public Transportation in Vienna
- Schönbrunn Palace: This beautiful palace and its surrounding gardens are a must-see when visiting Vienna. You can take the U-Bahn to the Schönbrunn station, or the tram to the Schönbrunn Palace stop.
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral: This stunning cathedral is located in the heart of Vienna’s city center. You can take the U-Bahn to the Stephansplatz station, or the tram to the Schwedenplatz stop.
- Belvedere Palace: This beautiful palace is home to a stunning collection of art, including works by Gustav Klimt. You can take the tram to the Schwarzenbergplatz stop, or the U-Bahn to the Südtiroler Platz station.
- Vienna State Opera: This world-renowned opera house is a must-see for music lovers. You can take the U-Bahn to the Karlsplatz station, or the tram to the Opernring stop.
- Naschmarkt: This bustling market is a great place to explore and try some of Vienna’s local cuisine. You can take the U-Bahn to the Kettenbrückengasse station, or the tram to the Naschmarkt stop.
Vienna’s public transportation system is extensive, efficient, and affordable. With a little planning and some insider tips, you can explore the city like a local. Remember to validate your ticket, be mindful of rush hour, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. With so many top attractions accessible via public transportation, you can easily discover the best of what Vienna has to offer.