If you're already on the Continent, you might want to drive to Vienna. That is especially true if you're in a neighboring country, such as Italy or Germany; however, arrangements should be made in advance with your car-rental company.
Inaugurated in 1994, the Chunnel running under the English Channel cuts driving time between England and France to 35 minutes. Passengers drive their cars aboard the train, Le Shuttle, at Folkestone in England, and vehicles are transported to Calais, France.
Vienna can be reached from all directions on major highways called autobahnen or by secondary highways. The main artery from the west is Autobahn A-1, coming in from Munich (466km/291 miles), Salzburg (334km/207 miles), and Linz (186km/115 miles). Autobahn A-2 runs from the south from Graz and Klagenfurt (both in Austria). Autobahn A-4 comes in from the east, connecting with route E-58, which runs to Bratislava and Prague. Autobahn A-22 takes traffic from the northwest, and Route E-10 brings you to the cities and towns of southeastern Austria and Hungary.
Unless otherwise marked, the speed limit on autobahnen is 130kmph (81 mph); however, when estimating driving times, figure on 80 to 100kmph (50-62 mph) because of traffic, weather, and road conditions.
As you drive into Vienna, you can get maps, information, and hotel bookings at Information-Zimmernachweis at the end of the A-1 (Westautobahn) at Wientalstrasse/Auhof (tel. 01/211140).
Because of the excellence of rail service funneling from all parts of the Continent into Vienna, bus transit is limited and not especially popular. 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. Buses depart from London at 8:15am every Friday and Sunday, traverse the Channel between Dover and Calais, and are equipped with reclining seats, toilets, and reading lights. The one-way fare is 52€ to 72€ ($83-$115); a round-trip ticket costs 80€ to 104€ ($128-$166). 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 Sunday and Friday at 7:45pm, arriving at Victoria Coach Station about 29 hours later.
To arrive in Vienna with flair befitting the city's historical opulence, take advantage of the many cruise lines that navigate the Danube. One of the most accessible carriers is DDSG Blue Danube Shipping Company, Donaureisen, Fredrick Strasse 7, Vienna (tel. 01/588-80; fax 01/5888-0440; www.ddsg-blue-danube.at), which offers mostly 1-day trips to Vienna from as far away as Passau, Germany. It also serves Vienna from Bratislava, Budapest, and beyond, depending on the season and itinerary. Extended trips can be arranged, and cruises are priced to meet every budget.