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Transport in Austria

Getting There
While there are international airports in Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg, the majority of flights from outside Europe fly into Vienna Airport which lies about twenty kilometres from the city centre. It is also worth noting that if you wish to travel to some of the bigger western cities, it is probably more convenient to fly to Munich and commute from there as it is a shorter journey than that from Vienna. Also while a lot of flights into the capital arrive directly from their starting point, many more will require a transfer in another major European city, usually London in the UK or Frankfurt in Germany.

Austrian Airlines operates direct flights to and from New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington. For all other US cities, a connection is necessary. Delta airlines also fly directly to Vienna from New York and Atlanta. British Airways operates flights from North and South America and Canada stopping off in London. Lufthansa has a service from the US to Frankfurt and Munich with connecting flights to Vienna.

Rail connections between Austria and the rest of Europe are excellent. The national rail service Austrian Federal Railways (Österreichische Bundesbahnen) operate connections from Vienna to Moscow via Warsaw in Poland, Kiev in the Ukraine and Minsk in Belarus; to Venice, Rome and Milan in Italy, Athens in Greece, Istanbul in Turkey via Belgrade in Serbia; to Bucharest in Romania via Budapest in Hungary and to Berlin in Germany.

Finally, while travel by bus is slower and not nearly as comfortable it is much cheaper and both Busabout and Eurolines offer a direct service from Austria to the major European cities. The former serves St. Johann, Salzburg and Vienna while the latter only travels to the capital.

Getting Around
The good news for those of you wishing to travel by rail within the country is that both Eurail and Interrail passes can be used on all trains. And as well as these the national service also has its own discount passes. The Austrian Railpass allows three days of unlimited second-class travel within a fifteen-day period. It also allows a fifty per cent discount on bicycle rental at any train station and on Danube steamers. And for group travel, the Kilometre Bank which involves buying a certain number of kilometre’s worth of travel can be used by up to six people for both first and second class travel.

While bus travel in the country is a lot slower and almost as expensive as rail travel it does serve many destinations which are not covered by rail connections. Railpasses are not valid on the national bus service, Bundes Buses, but you can buy avail of a discount by purchasing a Mehrfahrtenkarte which will get you six tickets for the price of five.Bicycle travel is also extremely popular in Austria with most rail stations hiring bikes for about S150 or S90 with a valid ticket or pass. What makes this method of transport even more popular is the fact that once you hire a bicycle at one station you can return it at any participating station.

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