Although Vienna is serviced by a number of European airlines, most flights coming from the Western Hemisphere require a transfer in other European cities such as London or Frankfurt.
If you're planning to travel to western Austria -- Innsbruck, Salzburg, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, and parts of Land Salzburg -- keep in mind that these destinations are closer to Munich than to Vienna. It might be easier to fly to Munich and then rent a car or take a train to your final destination.
Also, if your destination lies somewhat off the beaten track, note that more connections are possible into the secondary airports of Austria from Frankfurt than from any other non-Austrian city. These connections are usually made by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, or Tyrolean Air, or on flights maintained cooperatively by some combination of those three.
Most flights from London to Vienna depart from London's Heathrow Airport. The flight takes 2 hours and 20 minutes.
From the U.S., you can fly directly to Vienna on Austrian Airlines (tel. 800/843-0002 in the U.S. and Canada; www.austrianair.com), the national carrier of Austria. There's nonstop service from New York to Vienna (approx. 9 hr.) and from Washington and Toronto to Vienna.
British Airways (tel. 800/AIRWAYS in the U.S. and Canada; www.britishairways.com) provides excellent service to Vienna. Passengers fly first to London -- usually nonstop -- from 23 gateways in the U.S., five in Canada, two in Brazil, and one each in Bermuda, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires. From London, British Airways has two to five daily nonstop flights to Vienna from either Gatwick or Heathrow airports.
Flights on Lufthansa (tel. 800/645-3880 in the U.S. and Canada; www.lufthansa.com), the German national carrier, depart from North America frequently for Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, with connections to Vienna.
American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300 in the U.S. and Canada; www.aa.com) funnels Vienna-bound passengers through gateways in Zurich or London.
If you're traveling from Canada, you can usually connect from your hometown to British Airways (tel. 800/AIRWAYS in Canada; www.britishairways.com) gateways in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Separate nonstop flights from both Toronto's Pearson Airport and Montreal's Mirabelle Airport depart every day for London, and flights from Vancouver depart for London three times a week. In London, you can stay for a few days (arranging discounted hotel accommodations through the British Airways tour desk) or head directly to Vienna on any of the two to five daily nonstop flights from either Heathrow or Gatwick.
There are frequent flights between London and Vienna, the majority of which depart from London's Heathrow Airport. Flight time is 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Austrian Airlines (tel. 0870/124-2625 in London; www.austrianair.com) has four daily nonstop flights into Vienna and two daily nonstop flights to Innsbruck from Heathrow. British Airways (tel. 0870/850-9850 in London; www.britishairways.com) surpasses that, offering three daily nonstop flights from Heathrow and two from Gatwick, with easy connections through London from virtually every other part of Britain.
If you're traveling from continental Europe and don't want to fly, there are several other options for getting to Austria. If you're coming over from Britain and have arrived at a Channel port in France, by either ferry or the Chunnel, Vienna is about 1,285km (799 miles) away; Salzburg is about 1,030km (640 miles). It's faster to travel on the motorways going through Frankfurt, Cologne, Passau (Germany), and Linz (Austria). One of the main roads into Austria is the Autobahn from Munich via Salzburg to Vienna. From Switzerland, the main arteries are via Feldkirch to Innsbruck (capital of Tyrol), or from Basel via Karlsruhe to Munich and then on the busy Autobahn to either Salzburg or Vienna.
If you plan to travel a lot on the European or British railroads on your way to or from Vienna, you'd do well to secure the latest copy of the "Thomas Cook European Timetable of Railroads." It's available online at www.thomascooktimetables.com.
Vienna has rail links to all the major cities of Europe. From Paris, a train leaves the Gare de l'Est at 7:49am, arriving in Vienna at 9:18pm. From Munich, a train leaves daily at 9:24am (arriving in Vienna at 2:18pm) and then again at 11:19pm (arriving in Vienna at 6:47am). From Zurich, you can take a 9:33pm train that arrives in Vienna at 6:45pm.
Rail travel within Austria is superb, with fast, clean trains taking you just about anywhere in the country and going through some incredibly scenic regions.
Train passengers using the Chunnel under the English Channel can go from London to Paris in just 3 hours and then on to Vienna . Le Shuttle transports passengers along the 31-mile journey in just 35 minutes. The train also accommodates passenger cars, charter buses, taxis, and motorcycles through a tunnel from Folkestone, England, to Calais, France. Service is year-round, 24 hours a day.
Rail Passes for North American Travelers -- If you plan to travel extensively in Europe, the Eurail Global Pass might be a good bet. It's valid for first-class rail travel in 20 European countries. With one ticket, you travel whenever and wherever you please; more than 100,000 rail miles are at your disposal. Here's how it works: The pass is sold only in North America. A Eurailpass good for 15 days costs $795; a pass for 21 days is $1,029; a 1-month pass costs $1,279; a 2-month pass is $1,809; and a 3-month pass goes for $2,235. Children under 4 travel free if they don't occupy a seat; all children under 12 who take up a seat are charged half-price. If you're under 26, you can buy a Eurail Global Pass Youth, which entitles you to unlimited second-class travel for 15 days ($519), 21 days ($669), 1 month ($835), 2 months ($1,179), or 3 months ($1,455). Travelers considering buying a 15-day or 1-month pass should estimate rail distance before deciding whether a pass is worthwhile. To take full advantage of the tickets for 15 days or a month, you'd have to spend a great deal of time on the train. Eurailpass holders are entitled to substantial discounts on certain buses and ferries as well. Travel agents in all towns and railway agents in such major cities as New York, Montreal, and Los Angeles sell all of these tickets. For information on Eurailpasses and other European train data, call RailEurope at tel. 877/272-RAIL, or visit it on the Web at www.raileurope.com.
Eurail Global Pass Saver offers a 15% discount to each person in a group of three or more people traveling together between April and September, or two people traveling together between October and March. The price of a Saverpass, valid all over Europe for first class only, is $675 for 15 days; $875 for 21 days; $1,089 for 1 month; $1,539 for 2 months; and $1,905 for 3 months. Even more freedom is offered by the Saver Flexipass, which is similar to the Eurail Saverpass, except that you are not confined to consecutive-day travel. For travel over any 10 days within 2 months, the fare is $608; for any 15 days over 2 months, the fare is $800.
The Eurail Select Pass offers unlimited travel on the national rail networks of any 3, 4, or 5 bordering countries out of the 23 Eurail nations linked by train or ship. Two or more passengers can travel together for big discounts, getting 5, 6, 8, 10, or 15 days of rail travel within any 2-month period on the national rail networks of any three, four, or five adjoining Eurail countries linked by train or ship. A sample fare: for 5 days in 2 months you pay $505 for three countries. Eurail Select Pass Youth for travelers under 26, allow second-class travel within the same guidelines as Eurail Selectpass, with fees starting at $329. Eurail Select Pass Saver offers discounts for two or more people traveling together, first-class travel within the same guidelines as Eurail Selectpass, with fees starting at $429.
Rail Passes for British Travelers -- If you plan to do a lot of exploring, you might prefer one of the three rail passes designed for unlimited train travel within a designated region during a predetermined number of days. These passes are sold in Britain and several other European countries and can be used only by European residents.
An InterRail Global Pass (www.interrail.com) allows unlimited travel through Europe, except Albania and the republics of the former Soviet Union.
Adults purchasing an InterRail global Pass can travel first or second class. In first class prices are $329 for 5 days in 10 days; $489 for 10 days in 22 days; $629 for 22 days continuous, or $809 for 1 month. In second class, the cost is $249 for 5 days in 10 days; $359 for 10 days in 22 days; $469 for 22 days continuous, and $599 for 1 month continuous.
An InterRail Global Youth Pass is also sold and is available only in second class. A youth is defined as those travelers ranging from age 12 through 25 years of age. The cost is $159 for 5 days in 10 days; $239 for 10 days in 22 days; $309 for 22 days continuous; and $399 for 1 month continuous.
For information on buying individual rail tickets or any of the just-mentioned passes, contact National Rail Inquiries, Victoria Station, London (tel. 0845/748-4950; www.nationalrail.co.uk). Tickets and passes are also available at any of the larger railway stations as well as selected travel agencies throughout Britain and the rest of Europe.
Because of the excellence of rail service from all parts of the Continent into both Salzburg and Vienna, bus transit into Austria is not especially popular. But there is some limited service. Eurolines, part of National Express Coach Lines (tel. 0871/781-8181; www.nationalexpress.com), operates two express buses per week between London's Victoria Coach Station and Vienna. The trip takes about 29 hours and makes 45-minute rest stops en route about every 4 hours during the transit through France, Belgium, and Germany. Buses depart from London at 8:15am every Friday and Sunday, and are equipped with reclining seats, toilets, and reading lights. The one-way London-Vienna fare is £52 to £72 ($104-$144). If you opt for a round-trip fare, priced at £80 to £104 ($160-$208), you won't need to declare your intended date of return until you actually use your ticket (although advance reservations are advisable), and the return half of your ticket will be valid for 6 months. The return to London departs from Vienna every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:45pm, arriving at Victoria Coach Station about 24 hours later.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.