To check train times & fares in Austria, see the official Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.

I want to go from Vienna to...

      

       Click here for journeys starting in another city.

       Train information is current for 2017.

This page explains how to travel by train from Vienna to other European cities and how to buy the cheapest tickets, usually online direct from the operators with print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets & no booking fees.  It doesn't matter where you live, in Europe, Asia, the USA or Australia, you can buy train tickets as shown below and save money over expensive railpasses or travel agent mark-ups.  On the other hand, if you'd rather someone sorted out your whole trip for you, see here.

Information about Vienna Hbf & ÖBB first class lounge

Before you buy your tickets...

Take a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  They answer all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a €35 point-to-point ticket?".  And most important, click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

European train travel FAQ...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to InterRail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...

Which station in Vienna?


Vienna to Salzburg:  See the Vienna to Salzburg page...
Vienna to Innsbruck, Hallstatt, Graz & other destinations within Austria...
The morning RailJet train has arrived in Vienna.   Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train

RailJet trains...  Railjets are ÖBB's premier trains, running on the Vienna-Salzburg-Innsbruck and Vienna-Graz axes.  More railjet info.

 

Business class costs €15 more than normal 1st class...

 

Economy class on RailJet, comfortable open saloons with large picture windows.  Some seats are around tables, some unidirectional.


Vienna to London...

Vienna to Paris from €54...

Option 1, Vienna to Paris in a single day by high-speed trains - the high-speed daytime option... 

   

Leaving Vienna by ICE...

 

Breakfast on board...

 

First class seats on the Vienna to Frankfurt ICE train...

Scenery from the train

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Vienna-Frankfurt ICE...

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train & TGV-Lyria - the civilised & time-effective option...

    The sleeper to Vienna, about to leave Zurich

2-berth sleeper.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

1. By sleeper train from Vienna to Zurich...

TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon   TGV bar car

2. By TGV-Lyria from Zurich to Paris.  There's no check-in, you just walk up to it & get on..

 

The cafe-bar, serving tea, coffee, beer, wine, hot & cold snacks & microwaved hot dishes....

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

Option 4, Vienna to Paris with overnight stop in Zurich, via the Arlberg Pass - the leisurely scenic route, watch the video!

The morning RailJet from Munich has arrived in Budapest.   Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train

Railjets are ÖBB's (Austrian Railways) premier trains...  More photos, video & information about Railjets.

 

Economy class on RailJet, in open saloons with picture windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

Bistro-restaurant car...

The mountains of Austria...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In Railjet first & business class, the stewardess takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

The Railjet clips a corner of Lichtenstein, passing non-stop through the little station of Schaan-Lichtenstein.  Once in Switzerland, the Railjet runs alongside the Zürichsee, then along the Walensee...


Vienna to Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Marseille...

Option 1, by sleeper from Vienna to Milan then a scenic coastal ride...

Option 2, by day trains with overnight stop in Verona - the scenic route, mountains & coastline...

Option 3, by day trains with afternoon & overnight stop in Venice...

Option 4, by direct Russian sleeper train every Friday...


Vienna to Brussels & Bruges from €58...

Option 1, Vienna to Brussels in a single day - the high-speed daytime option...

   

Leaving Vienna by ICE...

 

Breakfast on board...

 

First class seats on the Vienna to Frankfurt ICE train...

Scenery from the train

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Vienna-Frankfurt ICE...

Option 2, Vienna to Brussels using the Vienna-Cologne Nightjet sleeper train - the comfortable time-effective option...

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Vienna   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian Nightjet train from Vienna to Cologne.  More information about Nightjets.

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Cologne & Frankfurt   ICE3 second class ICE3 first class
Step 2:  Cologne to Brussels by ICE.  More ICE info.  

ICE3 2nd class.  ICEs are perhaps the most comfortable trains in Europe...

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Seats in both classes have power sockets.


Vienna to Amsterdam from €58...

Option 1, Vienna to Amsterdam in a single day - the high-speed daytime option...

   

Leaving Vienna by ICE...

 

Breakfast on board...

 

First class seats on the Vienna to Frankfurt ICE train...

Scenery from the train

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Vienna-Frankfurt ICE...

Option 2, using the Nightjet sleeper train from Vienna to Cologne then luxurious ICE train to Amsterdam - the time-effective option.

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Vienna   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

Step 1, take a Nightjet sleeper from Vienna to Cologne.  This is a Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on the Nightjet train from Vienna to Cologne...

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Cologne & Frankfurt   ICE3 second class ICE3 first class
Step 2:  Cologne to Amsterdam by ICE.  More ICE info.  

ICE3 2nd class.  ICEs are perhaps the most comfortable trains in Europe...

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Seats in both classes have power sockets.


Vienna to Luxembourg...

Option 1, using Vienna-Koblenz sleeper train - the time-effective option...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Koblenz by Austrian Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:39 and arriving in Koblenz at 07:05 next morning.

    This train has modern Austrian couchettes and a sleeping-car, see the Nightjet sleeper train page. You can book this train at the Austrian railways website www.oebb.at from €59 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69 with a couchette in 4-berth, €99 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €139 in a single-bed sleeper. You print your own ticket.

    Enjoy the run along the Rhine Valley between Mainz & Koblenz (06:04-07:05), past the legendary Lorelei Rock and many castle, vineyards & river boats as a light breakfast is served in your sleeper compartment, included in the fare.

  • Step 2, now book a ticket from Koblenz to Luxembourg at the German railways website www.bahn.de or you can just buy at the station when you get to Koblenz.  The standard price for Koblenz to Luxembourg by regional train is around €41, but you can do this with a Rhineland-Pfalz+Luxembourg day ticket for €30, as shown when you use www.bahn.de.

Option 2, by daytime trains...

  • Alternatively, you can travel from Vienna to Luxembourg by daytime trains in a single day with as few as one change at Koblenz. 

  • For the best price, split the booking like this:  Go to www.bahn.de and book from Vienna to Trier from €49.  Now add a regional train ticket from Trier to Luxembourg for a fixed-price €17 or so, also at www.bahn.de.  The reason you split the booking is that Trier is in Germany, and cheap sparpreis fares are only available for journeys to or from Germany.


Vienna to Zurich, Basel, Geneva & Switzerland from €29...

Option 1, by daytime Railjet train - the scenic option, through the wonderful Arlberg Pass...

  • There are four or five daily Railjet trains from Vienna Hbf to Zurich in Switzerland between 05:30 and 15:30, journey time 7h50, with restaurant car, free WiFi and power sockets at all seats.  The scenery through the Tirol via the Arlberg pass is superb, watch the Arlberg Pass video to see for yourself.

  • Fares from Vienna to Zurich and other Swiss cities start at €29 in 2nd class, €59 in 1st class or €74 in Business Class.  Book ahead for the cheapest prices, on the day, the full-flex price from Vienna to Zurich is over €90.

  • You can buy tickets from Vienna to almost any Swiss station at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.

  • Going beyond Zurich, for example to Geneva, Zermatt, Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen or anywhere else in Switzerland?

    www.oebb.at can sell you a through ticket between Vienna and almost any town or city in Switzerland (in either direction) from €29 upwards, one inclusive price covering both the Railjet to Zurich and onward Swiss trains.  Indeed, you'll often find that Vienna to Interlaken, Chur, St Moritz, Geneva, Lucerne or wherever costs the same as a ticket to Zurich!

    Incidentally, I get a lot of people who think they will save money by using their Swiss Pass for the Swiss part of the journey.  But if (let's say) oebb.at gives you a price of €39 from Vienna to Zurich and exactly the same price from Vienna to Lucerne, €39, (as budget train fares are no more related to distance than budget air fares are), then using up an expensive day on a Swiss Pass to cover the Zurich-Lucerne part of the trip is potentially saving you a big fat zero!  So check prices before wasting a Swiss Pass day!

The morning RailJet from Munich has arrived in Budapest.   Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train

Railjets are ÖBB's (Austrian Railways) premier trains...  More photos, video & information about Railjets.

 

Economy class on RailJet, in open saloons with picture windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

Bistro-restaurant car...

The mountains of Austria...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In Railjet first & business class, the stewardess takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

The Railjet clips a corner of Lichtenstein, passing non-stop through the little station of Schaan-Lichtenstein.  Once in Switzerland, the Railjet runs alongside the Zürichsee, then along the Walensee...

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective option...

  • An excellent comfortable Nightjet sleeper train called the Wiener Walzer leaves Vienna Hbf at 21:25 arriving Zurich HB at 08:20, featuring double deck sleeping-cars with 1 or 2 bed deluxe compartments with en suite shower & toilet, 1, 2 & 3 bed standard compartments with washbasin, and (single-deck) 4 or 6 berth couchettes.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.

  • Book this sleeper train at www.oebb.at with fares from €59 with a couchette in a 6-berth compartment, €69 with a couchette in a 4-berth compartment, €99 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €139 in a single-bed sleeper.  You print your own ticket. 

  • Going beyond Zurich?  www.oebb.at can sell you a through ticket to almost any town or city in Switzerland (in either direction) for one inclusive price covering both the sleeper train to Zurich and onward Swiss trains.  It's usually much cheaper than buying a separate onward ticket!

    The sleeper to Vienna, about to leave Zurich

2-berth sleeper.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

The sleeper train between Vienna & Zurich...


Vienna to Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome & Italy from €29...

Option 1, by excellent Nightjet sleeper train - the safe, comfortable & time-effective option.  Saves a hotel bill too...

  • A Nightjet sleeper train called the Allegro Tosca leaves Vienna Hbf every day at 19:23 for Florence SMN (arriving 06:19) & Rome Termini (09:22) with another portion going to Milan Centrale (arriving 09:10).

  • A Nightjet sleeper train called the Vienna-Venice Express leaves Vienna Hbf at 21:27 every day arriving at Venice Santa Lucia on the banks of the Grand Canal at 08:24.

  • These trains have Austrian couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments and modern sleeping-cars with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin plus several deluxe compartments with en suite toilet & shower, see pictures & information about these Nightjet trains.  There's a shower at the end of the sleeping-car corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeper fare includes a complimentary sparkling wine on departure and breakfast served in your compartment.  The couchette fare includes a light breakfast.

  • Fares start at €59 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69 with a couchette in 4-berth, €99 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper, or €139 with a bed in a single-bed sleeper.

  • Buy tickets direct from Austrian Railways at www.oebb.at, add the type of couchette or sleeper you want and print out your own ticket.  If it won't let you select the couchette or sleeper you want, try choosing a different fare.  Booking usually opens up to 180 days ahead.

  • Do not use Trenitalia.com to book these trains if your journey starts in Austria, as tickets have to be collected at a Trenitalia station in Italy.

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Vienna   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as used on the Austrian Nightjet trains from Vienna to Italy.  More pictures & information about these Nightjets.

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen.  Couchettes are the economical option, flat bunks with rug & pillow.

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families...

Option 2, by direct EuroCity daytime train from €29 - the cheapest option, and scenic too...

  • A comfortable daytime EuroCity train leaves Vienna Hbf every day at 06:25 arriving Venice Santa Lucia on the banks of the Grand Canal at 14:05.  Snacks & refreshments are available from a trolley on board, or bring your own picnic and maybe a bottle of wine along - there's no restaurant car on this train.  The mountain scenery along the classic UNESCO-listed Semmering route through the mountains between Vienna & Villach is wonderful, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

    Be warned that later daytime departures between Vienna and Venice involve a bus between Villach and Venice, best avoided.  If you want a later departure, travel via the Brenner as shown on option 3 below.  Or use the sleeper as explained in option 1 above.

  • Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class if you book in advance.  Booking opens up to 180 days ahead.

  • Buy tickets direct from Austrian Railways at www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.

  • Onward tickets from Venice to Florence, Rome, Naples and other Italian destinations should be booked separately at either www.italiarail.com (easy to use, recognises English place names, the small booking fee will be refunded if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your PNR) or Italian Railways own website www.trenitalia.com (much more fiddly to use, requires Italian language place names, no booking fee, read this advice on using it first).  High-speed trains in Italy are ticketless, you simply quote your booking reference on board the train.  I'd allow at least 45 minutes in Venice to make a connection, in case of any delay.

The Vienna to Venice train uses Austrian coaches   InterCity 2nd class   InterCity 1st class (6-seat compartment type)

Austrian EuroCity coaches.

 

2nd class seats, either in 6-seat compartments or open-plan seating.

 

1st class, open-plan.  Sometimes in 6-seat compartments.

Option 3, via the Brenner Pass from €39 - another scenic daytime option...

  • You can also travel to Italy via Innsbruck & the scenic Brenner Pass, see the Brenner Pass video, although it's a significantly longer way round than the direct route via Semmering.

  • You take a fast Railjet west to Innsbruck and change for one of the EuroCity trains running south through the Brenner Pass to Verona, with one a day continuing to Bologna, one of two per day continuing to Venice.

  • To buy tickets, first use www.oebb.at to book from Vienna to your Italian destination (Venice, Rome, Florence and so on) but click via to the right of the origin/destination box and enter Innsbruck. 

    It will give you times & prices, but it may say Ticket for section only.  That's because the fare shown covers the Austrian train from Vienna to Innsbruck and the Austrian EuroCity from Innsbruck to Verona, Bologna or Venice (depending on the service), but not any Italian domestic train, which will be greyed out.  The Austrian Railways website cannot sell tickets for Italian domestic journeys.

  • So you just need to book this Italian domestic section separately at www.italiarail.com (easy to use, recognises English place names, the small booking fee will be refunded if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your PNR) or Italian Railways own website www.trenitalia.com (much more fiddly to use, requires Italian language place names, no booking fee, read this advice on using it first).  High-speed trains in Italy are ticketless, you simply quote your booking reference on board the train.  I'd allow at least 40 minutes in Verona or Bologna between trains.

  • For example the 07:30 from Vienna, change at Innsbruck, will get you to Venice Santa Lucia at 18:10.

  • Or take the 09:30 from Vienna, changing at Innsbruck and Verona, getting to Venice Santa Lucia at 21:40.

  • Like I said, it's a longer way round then the direct route via Semmering!  But the scenery is just as good,,,

Mountain scenery on the Brenner route...

Scenery (and vineyards!) on the Brenner route   Scenery on the Brenner route

Vineyards, mountains and castles south of Brenner as the train heads for Trento & Verona...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here.


Vienna to Barcelona, Madrid & Spain from €98...

Option 1, by sleeper train & TGV via Geneva - the most time-effective option...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Zurich on the excellent Nightjet sleeper train Wiener Walzer leaving Vienna Hbf at 21:25 arriving Zurich HB at 08:20.  Change in Zurich for a half-hourly Swiss domestic train to Geneva, arriving around 11:42. 

    The sleeper train has double-deck sleeping-cars with 1, 2 & 4 bed compartments with washbasin, 1 & 2 bed deluxe compartments with shower & toilet, 4 & 6 berth couchettes.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes.

    Book from Vienna to Geneva at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at from €59 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69 with a couchette in 4-berth, €99 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €139 in a single-bed sleeper.  You print your own ticket.  Booking through from Vienna to Geneva includes the Swiss domestic train on the same ticket, which is usually a lot cheaper than buying a separate Zurich-Geneva ticket.

  • Step 2, travel by TGV from Geneva to Barcelona.  There's usually a 200mph double-decker TGV Duplex leaving Geneva at 12:41, change trains at Valence (arrive 15:10, depart 16:21) onto another TGV Duplex arriving Barcelona Sants at 20:34, but times can vary. 

    Book this at www.loco2.com (anyone, no booking fee), www.raileurope.com (US & Canadian residents), www.raileurope-world.com (residents of Australia, Canada, Asia, Africa, South America) or www.trainline.eu (anyone from any country, no booking fees, with seating options).  If the journey involves two TGVs, you print your own ticket.

  • What's the journey like?  Between Valence & Barcelona you'll follow the same interesting & enjoyable route taken by the Paris-Barcelona TGVs, see the photos & video on the Paris to Barcelona page.  You'll pass the Chateau de Montfaucon, Béziers cathedral, flamingos on the lakes in the South of France between Montpelier and Perpignan, the historic Catalan-built Fort de Salses right by the tracks, and get great views of the massive Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees, visible all the way from Perpignan to Girona.

  • Step 3, stay overnight in Barcelona (see suggested hotels near the station) and book onward high-speed trains from Barcelona to Madrid, Seville, Malaga, Alicante etc, using www.loco2.com (easy to use, in € or £, no fee) or www.petrabax.com/renfe (easy to use, in $, small mark-up) or Spanish Railways own website www.renfe.com (in €, can be fiddly, see this advice).

Option 2, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Zurich or Geneva - if you prefer day trains & hotel...

  • Step 1, take a smart Austrian Railjet train from Vienna to Zurich through the wonderfully scenic Arlberg Pass, with restaurant car available.  There are several to choose from through the day, leaving Vienna Hbf at 09:30, 13:30 or 15:30, journey time 7h50.  Put your feet up and enjoy the ride, have lunch or dinner in the restaurant car - watch this video to see how good the scenery is.

    Book this train from €29 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, either stay overnight in Zurich and travel onwards by half-hourly Swiss train to Geneva next morning, or travel onwards in the evening and stay overnight in Geneva, find hotels in Geneva near the station.  I recommend heading for Geneva the same day, as it's usually significantly cheaper to book Vienna to Geneva as one same-day through journey at www.oebb.at.

  • Step 3, travel by TGV from Geneva to Barcelona.  There's usually a TGV leaving Geneva at 12:41, change trains at Valence (arrive 15:10, depart 16:21) arriving Barcelona Sants at 20:34.

    Book this at www.loco2.com (can be used by anyone from any country, no booking fee, recommended), www.raileurope.com (US & Canadian residents), www.raileurope-world.com (residents of Australia, Canada, Asia, Africa, South America) or www.trainline.eu (anyone from any country, no booking fees, with seating options).  You usually print your own ticket.

  • What's the journey like?  Between Valence & Barcelona you'll follow the same interesting route taken by the Paris-Barcelona TGVs, see the photos & video on the Paris to Barcelona page.  You'll pass the Chateau de Montfaucon, Béziers cathedral, flamingos on the lakes in the South of France between Montpelier and Perpignan, the historic Catalan-built Fort de Salses right by the tracks, and get great views of the massive Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees, visible all the way from Perpignan to Girona.

  • Step 4, stay overnight in Barcelona (see suggested hotels near the station) and book onward high-speed trains from Barcelona to Madrid, Seville, Malaga, Alicante etc, using www.loco2.com (easy to use, in € or £, no fee) or www.petrabax.com/renfe (easy to use, in $, small mark-up) or Spanish Railways own website www.renfe.com (in €, can be fiddly, see this advice).

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  Seen from the train and one of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline all the way from Girona to Perpignan...


Vienna to Lisbon & Portugal...

It's perfectly possible to travel from Vienna to Lisbon or Porto or Faro by train, in great comfort.  The whole journey takes 3 nights.

Option 1, via Geneva & Barcelona...

Option 1, via Paris...

To Morocco by train...   En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet

The Sud Express, about to leave Irun on the Franco-Spanish frontier, bound for Lisbon...  Courtesy of Ron Baker See panorama photo...

 

Gran Clase sleeper, in evening mode with the seats folded out...

 

....return from the bar to find the attendant has made up the beds...

 

Gran Clase private toilet & shower...


Vienna to Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt & Germany from €29...

Option 1, by day trains to anywhere in Germany - the fast daytime option...

  • Luxurious German ICE-T trains link Vienna Hbf with Nuremberg (4h33) & Frankfurt (6h44) from €29 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class.

  • Smart Austrian Railjet trains link Vienna Hbf with Munich in 3h55 with fares from €29 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class - for Munich, also consider option 3 below.

  • You can buy a ticket from Vienna to anywhere in Germany using the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can always log in and check or re-print all your bookings. 

  • It's also worth checking prices on the Austrian Railways site www.oebb.at as I have often found them cheaper for exactly the same train.

   

Leaving Vienna...

 

Breakfast on board...

 

First class seats on the Vienna to Frankfurt ICE-T train.

Scenery from the train

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Vienna-Frankfurt ICE...

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train - the comfortable time-effective option...

  • There are excellent direct Nightjet sleeper trains from Vienna to Munich, Frankfurt Flughafen, Cologne, Dusseldorf & Hamburg.

    Vienna Hbf depart 20:39, Frankfurt Sud arrive 05:24, Frankfurt Flughafen 05:36, Koblenz 07:05, Cologne Hbf 08:15, Düsseldorf 08:42.

    Vienna Hbf depart 20:39, Hamburg Hbf arrive 08:36.

    Vienna Hbf depart 23:25, Munich arrive 06:10 - this is a Hungarian sleeper train, not a Nightjet.

  • These sleepers have 4 & 6-berth couchettes and a sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, breakfast included, plus a limited number of deluxe sleepers with 1, 2 & 3 beds with en suite toilet & shower.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes on Nightjets, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet information page.

  • Fares start at €59 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69 with a couchette in 4-berth, €99 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper, or €139 with a bed in a single-bed sleeper.

  • You can book these online at www.bahn.de or www.oebb.at - check both sites as one can be cheaper than the other.  You print your own ticket.

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Vienna   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian Nightjet train from Cologne to Vienna...  More pictures & information about Nightjets.

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 3, Vienna to Munich by Westbahn+Meridian - slower but more flexible & cheaper at short notice...

  • The excellent fast Railjet trains link Vienna to Munich in just 3h55 from just €29 if booked in advance at either www.bahn.de or www.oebb.at.  But what if you have left it too late to get a cheap ticket?  Full-price on the day costs over €90.  No problem!  Simply use the hourly double-decker Westbahn trains from Vienna Westbahnhof to Salzburg connecting with the regional Meridian trains from Salzburg to Munich

  • The journey is slower at 4h28 overall but the total fare is only around €35 (or €26 if you are aged over 60) any day, any train, even bought on the day - just hop on any train and pay the conductor on board, easy!  In Salzburg it's usually an easy same-platform or cross-platform interchange. 

  • For details & timetable see www.westbahn.at.

Westbahn train 2nd class seats   Westbahn train stairs to upper deck   Westbahn train to Salzburg at Vienna

Westbahn double-deck train on the Salzburg-Vienna route.

Click here for virtual tour of a Westbahn train


Vienna to Berlin from €39...

Option 1, Vienna to Berlin by daytime trains from €39...

  • The German Railways website www.bahn.de sells train tickets from Vienna to Berlin from just €39 in 2nd class or €69 in 1st class.  You print your own ticket.  In the search results, look for an easy journey with just 1 change.

    Some journeys (usually the ones marked RJ, EC) take you via Prague, just 3h56 from Vienna to Prague by smart modern Railjet train then 4h29 from Prague to Berlin by EuroCity train with restaurant car.  Other journeys (usually marked ICE) take you through Germany with a change in somewhere like Fulda.

    The route via Prague is the nicest, taking you along the scenic Elbe river valley between Prague and Dresden, see the Prague to Berlin page for scenery photos, a video & more information.  Make sure you sit on the right hand side of the train going north from Prague towards Dresden.

  • Tip 1:  How about a stopover in Prague? 

    At www.bahn.de, simply click Add intermediate stops, enter Prague and a duration of up to 48 hours (the maximum stopover possible with a cheap sparpreis fare) or up to 7 hours (the maximum you can stop off and still get from Vienna to Berlin in a day, if you catch the first train from Vienna and last train from Prague to Berlin).  You'll now get a cheap fare from €39 upwards from Vienna to Berlin, but with a stopover in Prague included.  Bargain!  A stopover in Dresden is also possible, instead of or in addition to Prague, booked in the same way.

  • Tip 2:  Check Austrian Railways www.oebb.at as well, as although fares also start from €39 I've often seen significantly cheaper fares on oebb.at than bahn.de on a given date & train.  You also print your own ticket.

Option 2, Vienna to Berlin by day trains with overnight stop in Prague from €39...

Czech restaurant car on a Berlin to Prague train   Lunch in the restaurant car between Berlin & Prague

So civilised!  A meal in the Czech restaurant car as the Berlin-Prague express snakes along the beautiful Elbe river south of Dresden.  Photo courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Option 3, Vienna to Berlin by direct EuroNight sleeper train - the comfortable time-effective option...

  • There's a direct sleeper train from Vienna to Berlin, leaving Vienna Hbf at 22:50 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 09:07.

  • It has a modern air-conditioned Czech sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed deluxe sleepers with shower & toilet, 1, 2 & 3 bed standard sleepers with washbasin, and a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  The sleeping-car has a shower at the end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers, and morning tea or coffee is included in the fare in the sleepers.

  • Prices start at €49 with a couchette in 6-berth, €59 with a couchette in 4-berth, €89 in a 2-bed sleeper or €129 in a single-bed sleeper.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de looking for the direct EN train with 0 changes.  Booking normally opens 92 days in advance and you print your own ticket.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Prague

A Czech sleeping-car of the type used on this train.  Photo courtesy of Shaiq Ali Khan

City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper   City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   City Night Line deluxe sleeper, private toilet & shower   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.

 

The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.

 

Deluxe sleepers are similar to standard ones, but with a bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet instead of washstand.

 

Just like a hotel, the corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car.  There's a shower at end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers.


Vienna to Copenhagen, Stockholm & Scandinavia...

Option 1, Vienna to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg or Oslo with an overnight stop in Hamburg..

  • Day 1, travel from Vienna to Hamburg by luxurious ICE train from €39 in 2nd class or €69 in 1st class booked at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  There are various departures throughout the day with just 1 change, usually at Wurzburg, but there's one ideal direct ICE train with bistro-restaurant car leaving Vienna Hbf at 12:50 and arriving Hamburg Hbf at 21:53.  But by all means take an earlier train if you like for a leisurely evening in Hamburg.

  • Stay overnight in Hamburg.  Suggested hotels in Hamburg next to the Hauptbahnhof with good reviews include (starting with the cheapest) the Hotel Continental Novum, Hotel Furst Bismarck, Hotel Europaischer Hof, Hotel Atlantic Kempinski.

  • Day 2, travel from Hamburg to Copenhagen by comfortable ICE-TD or EuroCity train.  From mid-March to late October there's an 07:25 EuroCity train from Hamburg Hbf arriving Copenhagen at 12:22.  Or have a leisurely breakfast and leave Hamburg Hbf by ICE-TD train at 09:28 arriving Copenhagen at 14:22, this departure runs all year.

    If you're only going as far as Copenhagen, book from Hamburg to Copenhagen from €29 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

    The Hamburg to Copenhagen trains go onto a ferry between Puttgarten & Rødby, one of the few places in Europe where trains still get shunted onto ferries, a fascinating experience in its own right - you must leave the train and go upstairs into the ship's passenger accommodation during the 50-minute crossing, although you can leave your luggage on the train.

  • If you're going to Stockholm... 

    Travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 train.  If you take the 07:25 from Hamburg you should reach Stockholm Central at 17:39.  If you take the 09:28 from Hamburg you'll make the 16:34 X2000 arriving Stockholm Central at 21:39, with time for lunch in Copenhagen. 

    You should book from Hamburg to Stockholm as one transaction from €39 at www.bahn.de, looking for suitable departures with 1 change marked either 'ICE, X2' or 'EC, X2' (X2000s are shown as X2 on bahn.de for some reason).  

    If you want the 09:28, book Hamburg to Stockholm departing 09:28 using this special link which I have set up with the necessary parameters.

  • If you're going to Malmö or Gothenburg...

    Travel from Copenhagen to Malmö or Gothenburg by Öresund Link train, these run several times each hour to Malmö, journey time 52 minutes, and once an hour to Gothenburg, journey time 4h05.  Book from Hamburg to Malmö or Gothenburg as one transaction at www.bahn.de (Gothenburg is listed as Göteborg Central).

  • If you're going to Oslo...

    Travel from Copenhagen to Gothenburg as shown above.  Trains then run every couple of hours from Gothenburg to Oslo, you can check times at www.bahn.de and buy at the station or at www.sj.se or (if you have any problems) www.acprail.com or www.snalltaget.se.  You can make Hamburg to Oslo in a single day if you use the 07:25 March-October departure.

    Alternatively, sail overnight from Copenhagen to Oslo by direct cruise ferry with bars, restaurants and en suite cabins, booked at www.dfds.co.uk.  the ship sails around 16:30, don't risk any tight connections in Copenhagen.

Option 2, Vienna to Copenhagen from €68 by comfortable daytime trains with an overnight stop in Munich...

  • Day 1, travel from Vienna to Munich by Railjet train with restaurant car, leaving Vienna Hbf at 18:30 and arriving Munich Hbf at 22:31.  These Railjets run every couple of hours, so by all means book an earlier one to have a leisurely evening in Munich.

  • Stay overnight in Munich...  Try the Sofitel Munich Beyerpost, Eden Hotel Wolff, InterCity Hotel or (budget) the Pension Locarno, all right next to the station with great reviews.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Copenhagen by EuroCity train with 1 easy change in Hamburg.  There are several possible departures, for example at 06:17 arriving Copenhagen 18:22, or at 09:05 arriving Copenhagen 20:22, or at 10:48 arriving Copenhagen 22:22.

    The Hamburg to Copenhagen train goes onto a ferry between Puttgarten & Rødby, one of the few places in Europe where trains still get shunted onto ferries.  It's an interesting experience in its own right - you must leave the train and go upstairs into the ship's passenger accommodation during the 50-minute crossing, although you can leave your luggage on the train.

  • How much does it cost?  Fares work like air fares, book early for the cheapest prices...

    Vienna to Munich starts at €29 in 2nd class, €59 in 1st class.

    Munich to Copenhagen starts at €39 in 2nd class, €69 in 1st class.

  • How to buy tickets...  Step 1, book from Vienna to Munich at www.bahn.de looking for the direct EC train with 0 changes leaving at or around 13:35.  Step 2, book from Munich to Copenhagen at www.bahn.de looking for a convenient option with just 1 change.  You print out your own tickets.

Danish InterCity train at Copenhagen...   InterCity train at Copenhagen about to leave for Esbjerg...

Most Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are now Danish IC3 trains like this, although one departure in each direction is a Danish-owned German-designed ICE-TD train.

125 mph tilting 'X2000' from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station 2nd class seats on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm The self-service buffet on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm...

A 125 mph X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm.

 

2nd class seating on the X2000.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

 

Self-service buffet car on the X2000 to Stockholm.

More info on X2000 trains

Option 3, using the Vienna-Hamburg sleeper train.  The most time-effective way!

  • Step 1, take the Austrian Nightjet sleeper train from Vienna to Hamburg, Vienna Hbf depart 20:39, Hamburg Hbf arrive 08:36.  This train has 1, 2 & 3 bed sleepers and 4 & 6 bunk couchettes.  Fares from €59 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69 with a couchette in 4-berth, €99 with bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper or €139 in a single-bed sleeper.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes.  Book this at German Railways www.bahn.de or Austrian Railways www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, now take the 09:28 ICE-TD from Hamburg to Copenhagen arriving 14:22.  Fares from €29 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class at www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket.

    This train goes onto a ferry between Puttgarten & Rødby, one of the few places in Europe where trains still get shunted onto ferries.  It's an interesting experience in its own right - you must leave the train and go upstairs into the ship's passenger accommodation during the 50-minute crossing, although you can leave your luggage on the train.

  • If you're going to Stockholm, travel onwards from Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 train.  If you take the 09:28 from Hamburg you'll make the 16:34 X2000 arriving Stockholm Central at 21:39, with time for lunch in Copenhagen.  You should book from Hamburg to Stockholm as one transaction from €39 at www.bahn.de, looking for suitable departures with 1 change marked either 'ICE, X2' or 'EC, X2' (X2000s are shown as X2 on bahn.de for some reason).   Book Hamburg to Stockholm departing 09:28 using this special link which I have set up with the necessary parameters.

  • If you're going to Malmö or Gothenburg, travel from Copenhagen to Malmö or Gothenburg by Öresund Link train, these run several times each hour to Malmö, journey time 35 minutes, and once an hour to Gothenburg, journey time 3h48.  Book from Hamburg to Malmö or Gothenburg as one transaction at www.bahn.de (Gothenburg is listed as Göteborg Central).

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Vienna   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian Nightjet train from Vienna to Hamburg...

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Frankfurt

ICE 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

The Hamburg-Copenhagen ICE on board the Puttgarden-Rødby ferry.  More info on ICE.


Vienna to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, Vienna to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo Color Line cruise ferry - the most comfortable way to Oslo...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Kiel on any suitable train.  Check times & buy tickets at the German Railways site www.bahn.de.  You can catch a daytime train and stay overnight, or use the Vienna-Hamburg sleeper and connection to Kiel. 

  • In Kiel it's just a 5-minute taxi ride or 15-minute walk from Kiel Hbf to the Color Line ferry terminal, but allow several hours between trains and ferry for the ferry check-in and in case of any delay.

  • Step 2, sail from Kiel to Oslo by luxurious overnight Color Line ferry, with a full range of en suite cabins, suites, bars, restaurants and lounges.  The m/v Magic or m/v Fantasy normally sails at 14:00 arriving Oslo at 10:00 next morning. 

    Check times & buy tickets online at the seat61 Ferry Shop or www.colorline.com.

Option 2, via Hamburg & Copenhagen - by train all the way...


Vienna to Helsinki...
  • Although you can travel to Stockholm then take a ferry to Helsinki, you'll probably find it easier to take a direct ferry from Germany to Helsinki.

  • First, check for Finnlines ferries from Travemünde to Helsinki at www.finnlines.com.

  • Then use www.bahn.de to find connecting trains from Vienna to Travemünde.  Allow plenty of time for a transfer to the ferry terminal and the ferry check-in.


Vienna to Prague from €19...

Option 1, by daytime Railjet trains in just 3h56...

Czech Railjet train to Vienna at Prague Hlavni station

A blue Czech Railjet train from Prague to Vienna, seen at Prague Hlavni...

Option 2, by sleeper train...

  • With daytime trains now taking only 3h56, it's hardly worth taking the sleeper.  But for those who want to save a hotel bill, there's also a sleeper train leaving Vienna Hbf at 22:50, arriving Prague Hlavni just after 04:00 (ouch!) with a sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments and couchettes with 4 & 6 bunk compartments.

  • You can book it at Austrian Railways www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.


Vienna to Český Krumlov for €43...
  • You can travel from Vienna Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof to Český Krumlov in 4h26 with two simple changes of train, at Ceske Velenice and Ceske Budejovice.

  • Departures are roughly every couple of hours, you can check times at either the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at or Czech Railways site www.cd.cz/eshop.  Just avoid any departure shown with 'bus' or a bus symbol.

  • The full-price unlimited-availability one-way fare is around €43 bought online from CD or €51 bought online from ÖBB - so it's a no-brainer to buy from www.cd.cz and print out your own ticket any time before departure.


Vienna to Bratislava for €15...
  • Regional Express trains link Vienna Hbf with Bratislava Hlavna every hour through the day, journey time 1h06.

  • Just buy a ticket at the station for a fixed price of €15, no reservation is necessary or even possible.  Just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.

  • Tip:  As you can see in the photo below, there's usually one smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle regional carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo below right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!

  • There's also an hourly regional train from Vienna to Bratislava Petrzalka, but Bratislava Petrzalka is a secondary station, Bratislava Hlavna (Hlavna = main) is better for the city centre and has more facilities.

  • River trip?  Also consider a river trip along the Danube, Vienna-Bratislava fast ferries and hydrofoils runs at least once a day in winter, up to 5 times a day in summer, 80 minutes.  At least two companies operate, see www.twincityliner.com or www.lod.sk.

The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, about to leave from Vienna Hauptbahnhof. 

Tip:  Behind the locomotive there's usually a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!


Vienna to Budapest from €19...
  • Every hour or two, a smart Austrian Railjet train or air-conditioned EuroCity train links Vienna Hbf with Budapest Keleti station in only 2h40.

  • Advance-purchase sparschiene fares start at €19 in 2nd class, €29 in 1st class or €44 in luxurious Business class.  Sparschiene fares mean taking the specified train only, limited or no changes or refunds.

    Alternatively, you can buy Vienna-Budapest tickets on the day but you'll then pay the full-flex price, €39.20 in 2nd class, this price has unlimited availability, no prior reservation is needed and it cannot sell out.

  • Which station in Vienna?  Vienna Hbf is the best place to board, although many trains also serve Vienna Meidling.  www.oebb.at will default to Vienna Hbf if you just select 'Vienna'.  Since December 2015 mainline trains no longer serve Vienna Westbahnhof.

  • How to buy tickets:  You can buy tickets at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.  oebb.at can book tickets for this route in either direction.

  • Seat reservation is optional on Railjet & EuroCity trains, for a small extra fee, about €3 per seat. 

    Adding a seat reservation is a good idea if you plan to travel at busy times or if there's a small group of you and you want to be sure of seats together, but it's by no means essential and when travelling solo I don't usually bother.  The electronic display on the wall next to each seat shows which seats are available and which reserved. 

    However, a seat reservation is compulsory on the evening EuroNight (EN) train which continues to Bucharest, oebb.at will include this reservation  automatically if you choose this train.

  • Business class:  If you want a luxurious business class seat, book as if buying a first class ticket and look for the option to make a seat reservation.  Then select a business class seat for an extra €15.  Railjet Business class is undoubtedly an extravagance, but a highly-recommended one that I'm rather partial to!  About business class.

  • Save €6 on a round trip!  If you're making a round trip, the easy option is to book both legs as a round trip at www.oebb.at from €19 each way.  But as cheap fares from Budapest to Vienna start at only €13 if bought from Hungarian Railways (don't ask me why) you can save €6 by buying the outward leg from www.oebb.at and the return leg from www.mavcsoport.hu.  If you don't mind getting to grips with another site, of course!

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

Bistro-restaurant car...

Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   The morning RailJet from Munich has arrived in Budapest.

Economy class on RailJet, in open saloons with picture windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

 

A RailJet from Vienna, arrived at Budapest Keleti spot on time.  More photos & information about Railjet trains.


Vienna to Sighisoara, Brasov & Bucharest from €58...

Option 1, by sleeper train Dacia Express from Vienna to Bucharest - the easy direct option, but not usually the cheapest...

  • A direct train called the Dacia Express leaves Vienna Hbf every day at 19:39 arriving next day at Brasov at 13:16 and Bucharest Gara de Nord at 16:00.  It has comfortable Romanian sleeping-cars and couchettes.  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat...

  • You can book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at - but cheap advance-purchase fares may or may not show up, as the test bookings I've done recently only show €100+ undiscounted full-price.

    You can try and contact ÖBB telesales by phone or email via their website to see if there's a cheap fare available if none show up online.  Failing that, option 2 below is usually cheaper.

Option 2, by Railjet to Budapest then sleeper train to Bucharest - easily booked online and usually the cheapest option...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Budapest by EuroCity train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 14:39 and arriving Budapest Keleti at 17:19.  By all means take an earlier train and spend a day or an afternoon exploring Budapest.

    Fares start at €19 each way in 2nd class, €29 in 1st class.

    To check times and buy tickets use the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, take the EuroNight sleeper train Ister leaving Budapest Keleti around 19:10 and arriving next day at Sighisoara at 06:56, Brasov at 09:30 & Bucharest Nord at 12:00.

    This comfortable train has a restaurant car (great if it's attached, but sometimes it's missing, so take some provisions and a bottle of wine or a beer or two just in case), 4 & 6 berth couchettes and a modern air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, also deluxe sleepers with 1 or 2 beds and shower/toilet.  Ister is the historic name for the river Danube.

    Fares from Budapest to Bucharest start at €39 with a couchette or €59 with a bed in a sleeper.  There's wonderful scenery in the morning over breakfast in Transylvania and through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest.

    To book the Budapest to Bucharest train, use the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see advice on how to use mavcsoport.hu & how you collect your tickets.  For Bucharest, enter Bucuresti .

The Romanian sleeping-car on the Dacia Express to Bucharest, at Vienna   Vienna-Bucharest 2-berth sleeper   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

The Dacia Express about to leave Vienna for Bucharest.  The Romanian sleeping-car attendant greets passengers at the door...

2-berth sleeper with washbasin on the Vienna-Bucharest Dacia Express...

 

4 or 6 berth couchette compartment on the Dacia Express...

Option 3, using daytime trains with overnight stop - if you prefer day trains & hotels to sleepers...

  • Day 1, take an air-conditioned Railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, leaving Vienna Hbf at 18:42 and arriving Budapest Keleti at 21:19.  By all means take an earlier train if you'd like an evening or even a whole afternoon in Budapest.

    Book this train from just €19 in 2nd class or €29 in 1st class at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.

  • Stay overnight in Budapest.  For an inexpensive hotel with great reviews right next to Keleti Station, try the Royal Park Boutique Hotel More hotels in Budapest.

  • Day 2, take a daytime train from Budapest to Transylvania & Bucharest.  A comfortable air-conditioned InterCity train leaves Budapest Keleti at 07:10 running via Timisoara and arriving Bucharest Nord at 22:56. 

    Another InterCity leaves Budapest at 09:10 via Simeria & Sibiu arriving Brasov 22:45.  Or if you get up early, the 05:55 goes via Cluj and arrives Brasov 21:57. 

    Book these trains from €29 (but no equivalent 1st class offer, so my advice is to stick with 2nd) at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, clicking EN for English top left and using Bucuresti if you want Bucharest.  You collect your tickets from the yellow ticket machines at Budapest Keleti station.

2nd class Romanian InterCity coach   Romanian InterCity seating coach

Air-conditioned 2nd class used on the Traianus from Budapest to Bucharest.


Vienna to Ljubljana & Slovenia...
  • Other departures are available leaving Vienna Hbf around 12:25, changing at Villach to arrive Ljubljana around 18:31, and leaving Vienna around 15:58, changing at Maribor onto a train to Ljubljana arriving around 21:53.

  • Fares start at €24 in 2nd class or €34 in 1st class booked online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  You print your own ticket.


Vienna to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik & Croatia...
  • Another departure is available leaving Vienna Hbf around 08:25 by Railjet train, changing at Villach onto a Croatian train to Zagreb arriving around 17:13.  And at 12:25, change at Villach, arriving 20:53.  This train also takes the UNESCO-listed Semmering route.

  • Fares start at just €29 in 2nd class or €39 in 1st class booked online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  You print your own ticket.

  • For Split, change in Zagreb.  Scenic daytime trains and an overnight sleeper link Zagreb with Split.  You can check times at www.bahn.de and just buy tickets at the station in Zagreb, it's not usually a problem to get places on the day.  I'd suggest a day train if you can as the scenic Zagreb-Split train ride is a real treat.

  • For Dubrovnik, take a train to Split from where there are frequent buses taking just 4 hours from Split to Dubrovnik.


Vienna to Belgrade from €34.  Vienna to Sofia from €74...

Option 1, by daytime trains to Belgrade then overnight sleeper to Sofia...

  • An excellent direct daily air-conditioned EuroCity train called the Avala leaves Vienna Hbf at 08:39 and arrives at Belgrade main station at 20:15.  It uses smart air-conditioned Hungarian carriages and there's a Hungarian restaurant car serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks and inexpensive full meals.

  • To buy tickets you'll need to split the booking, as unfortunately the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at only sells expensive full-flex tickets for the Vienna-Belgrade EuroCity train, even though in theory there are cheap advance-purchase fares from €39 if you were able to get to an ÖBB sales outlet somewhere in Austria in person a few weeks or months in advance, which most of us can't.  You could try phoning or emailing ÖBB telesales to get the cheap fare, I suppose that might work.  But here's the easy solution...

    Step 1, use www.oebb.at to pre-book a cheap €19 advance-purchase ticket from Vienna to Budapest on this 08:39 departure, train EC345.  You collect your ticket from any ÖBB ticket machine at any station in Austria, including Vienna Hbf.

    Step 2, now use the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu (see this advice on using it & collecting tickets) to book a cheap €15 ticket from Budapest to Belgrade on the same train, the 12:05 EuroCity train EC345 from Budapest Keleti to Belgrade arriving 20:15.

    Tickets booked at mavcsoport.hu have to be collected from the yellow ticket machines installed at all main Hungarian stations including Budapest Keleti, they cannot be printed at home.  But don't worry, this train arrives at Budapest Keleti at 11:19 and doesn't leave again until 12:05 - it's a terminus, so the train changes direction and they have to attach another locomotive at the other end.  So you have plenty of time to nip to one of the yellow ticket machines located around the station a few yards from your train.

    Incidentally, don't bother with 1st class on this route, 2nd class is absolutely fine.  There is no 1st class equivalent of the €15 fare between Budapest and Belgrade therefore the Hungarian Railways site won't sell you anything in 1st class as it only sells special fares not regular fares.  It is simply not worth buying a €70 1st class ticket at the station on the day to get 2" more legroom when you can buy a €15 ticket for 2nd class in advance online.

  • If you're heading to Sofia, spend the night in Belgrade - I recommend the excellent and historic Hotel Moskva 10 minutes walk from the station - and take the daytime train called the Balkan to Sofia next day, leaving Belgrade station at 09:25 and arriving Sofia Central Station at 20:10.  Buy this ticket at the station for around €22, there are always places available, even on the day.  It cannot be booked online, and there's no need.  2nd class seats only.  There's no catering car so bring your own picnic and wine or beer.  Important, please click here to check for updates about the Belgrade-Sofia train.

Option 2, Vienna to Belgrade with overnight stop in Budapest: 

  • Day 1, take any train you like from Vienna Hbf to Budapest Keleti in 2h40 from €19 in 2nd class or €29 in 1st class booked at www.oebb.at with print-at-home tickets.

  • Stay overnight in Budapest.  For an inexpensive hotel with great reviews right next to Keleti Station, try the Royal Park Boutique Hotel More hotels in Budapest.

  • Day 2, take the EuroCity train Ivo Andric on day 2, leaving Budapest Keleti at 08:05 and arriving Belgrade station at 16:32.  Book this for €15 at Hungarian Railways www.mavcsoport.hu.  This is an unlimited-availability special offer, it is available at that price even at the station on the day, although seat reservations are required on both the 08:05 & 12:05 trains from Budapest Keleti to Belgrade.  The 08:05 Ivo Andric uses Serbian air-conditioned cars (comfortable enough if the air-con works) but there's no catering car so bring your own provisions and a beer or two - the later 12:05 Hungarian Avala is the better train and has a Hungarian restaurant car.  Don't bother with 1st class on this route, as there is no 1st class equivalent of the €15 2nd class special fare.  A 1st class ticket would have to be bought at the station on the day for perhaps €70, a lot extra to pay for a mere 2" more legroom!

Serbian air-conditioned coach   1st class seats in a Serbian air-conditioned train

The morning Serbian train from Budapest to Belgrade, seen at Budapest Keleti.  Just €15!

Option 3, using the Budapest-Belgrade sleeper...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Budapest by smart Austrian Railjet train leaving Vienna Hbf at 17:42 arriving Budapest Keleti around 20:19.  Have dinner in Budapest, perhaps at the Baross restaurant on platform 6.  Fares start at €19 booked at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at, you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Budapest to Belgrade on the sleeper train Beograd, leaving Budapest Keleti at 22:25 & arriving Belgrade station at 06:13 

    The fare from Budapest to Belgrade is just €15 if you book at the Hungarian railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, clicking EN for English top left.  A couchette is an extra €8 in 6-berth or €10 in 4-berth.  A bunk in a 4-berth is recommended as it gives you a lot more space per person.  You collect your tickets from the yellow ticket machines at Budapest Keleti station.  There's usually no sleeper on this train these days.

  • Step 3, travel from Belgrade to Sofia on the Balkan, leaving Belgrade station at 09:25 and arriving Sofia Central Station at 20:10.  Buy this ticket at Belgrade station for around €30, there are always places available, even on the day.  It cannot be booked online, and there's no need.  2nd class seats only.  There's no catering car so bring your own picnic and wine or beer.

A Serbian sleeping-car on the Belgrade to Budapest train   Serbian 2-bed sleeper   Serbian 6-berth couchettes

The Budapest to Belgrade night train...

 

Serbian 2-bed sleeper...

 

Elderly Serbian 6-berth couchettes...

Morning train from Belgrade to Skopje   1st class compartment on day train from Belgrade to Skopje

Belgrade to Sofia by train...

 

Old-school but comfortable compartment.

If you're heading for Montenegro...

  • Travel to Belgrade as shown above.

  • Then take either the daytime train Tara or the sleeper train Lovcen from Belgrade to Podgorica & Bar in Montenegro.  It's one of the most scenic lines in Europe, for times, fares & photos see the Belgrade to Montenegro page.

  • Change at Podgorica for regular buses to Budva or Kotor.

  • If you need to spend the night in Belgrade, I recommend the historic Hotel Moskva.


Vienna to Warsaw & Krakow from €39...

Option 1, by daytime train...

  • A direct afternoon Vienna-Warsaw EuroCity train leaves Vienna Hbf around 14:10 arriving Warsaw Centralna around 21:01, from €39 in 2nd class or from €49 in 1st class.  There's a restaurant car for dinner - treat yourself to an inexpensive meal with beer or wine.

  • Book this train online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and collect tickets from an ÖBB ticket machine in Vienna.

Option 2, by overnight sleeper - the safe, comfortable & time-effective option...

  • A daily sleeper train called the Chopin leaves Vienna Hbf at 22:50 for Warsaw Centralna (arriving 07:05) and Krakow Glowny (arriving 07:08). 

    It has a comfortable and secure sleeping-car with 1, 2 or 3 beds per compartment.  The Vienna-Warsaw sleeping-car is air-conditioned and also has a couple of 1 or 2 bed deluxe compartments with shower & toilet.  What's the Vienna-Krakow sleeping-car like?  The train also has economical couchettes in 4 & 6-bunk compartments.

    Vienna to Krakow starts at €39 plus €26 supplement for a bed in a 3-bed sleeper or €39 for a bed in a 2-bed sleeper (per person, berth sold individually).

  • Book this train online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and collect tickets from an ÖBB ticket machine in Vienna.

A Polish sleeping-car as used the Warsaw to Budapest & Warsaw to Prgaue trains   A newly-refurbished sleeper compartment as used on the Vienna to Kraow train

The Vienna to Krakow train has a smartly-refurbish Polish sleeping-car like this, with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin.

 

Cosy 2-bed sleeper with washbasin...

The Jan Kiepura EuroNight train from Amsterdam to Warsaw   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

The Vienna to Warsaw train has a modern air-conditioned sleeping-car with standard & deluxe compartments like this one.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...


Vienna to Kiev & Ukraine...

Option 1, via Warsaw...

Option 2, via Budapest...

The Kiev Express   1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment   Each compartment has a washbasin

The Budapest-Kiev train... Courtesy of Alessandro

 

A sleeper compartment...

 

...with washbasin.


Vienna to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

Option 1, by direct Russian Railways sleeping-car twice a week...

  • For Moscow, a direct Russian sleeping-cars with 1, 2 and 3 bed compartments with washbasin which link Vienna with Moscow twice a week, leaving Vienna Hbf around 18:09 on Thursdays & Saturdays, arriving Moscow Belorussky around 22:30 next day.

    The train uses modern Austrian-built sleeping-cars with 2 & 4 berth compartments, see panorama photo inside one of these new sleepers.

  • For St Petersburg, there is a direct Russian sleeping-car leaving Vienna Hbf on Saturdays at 18:09 arriving St Petersburg 2 nights later at around 07:23.

    Or take the Vienna to Moscow car and change in Moscow, taking either a Sapsan daytime train in 3h50 or an overnight train, see the train travel in Russia page.

  • You can check times & days of running and buy tickets online at the Russian Railways website www.rzd.ru - see my tips for using rzd.ru in English here.  You print your own ticket.  For Vienna you need to type Wien.

  • These cars pass through Belarus, so don't forget your Belarus transit visa.  To travel to Moscow avoiding Belarus, first go Vienna to Kiev as explained here, spend the afternoon in Kiev, then take a Kiev-Moscow overnight train.

One of Russian Railways new international sleeping-cars   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

The direct Vienna to Moscow sleeping-cars are new, built in Austria in 2014.  Each compartment converts from comfortable sofas to equally comfortable beds and can be used as either 1st class 2-berth with two lower berths or as 2nd class 4-berth with all four berths in use.  There are a shower and toilets at the end of the corridor.  Compartments have electronic key-card locks, and the cars are very smooth-riding.  The sleeper attendant can serve lovely Russian tea for around €0.50 a glass.  Highly recommended!

Option 2, by direct train, aboard the weekly Nice-Moscow Express...

  • You can also travel from Vienna to Moscow on the Nice-Moscow Express.  This leaves Vienna Hbf around 16:41 on Sundays arriving Moscow around 22:00 on Monday.  This is the Nice-Moscow Express run by RZD Russian Railways.  It's identical to the Paris-Moscow train shown here.  You can book it online at the Russian Railways website www.rzd.ru and print your own ticket - see my advice for using rzd.ru.

Option 3, by daily trains with a day in Warsaw...

  • Step 1, take the daily overnight sleeper from Vienna to Warsaw as shown in detail above, booking this train online at www.oebb.at.

  • Spend the morning and much of the afternoon exploring Warsaw.

  • Step 2, then take the sleeper train Polonez leaving Warsaw Centralna around 18:40 and arriving Moscow Belorussky at 15:39 (April-October) or 16:20 (November-March) next day.  The Polonez uses modern air-conditioned Russian sleepers, with 1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 4-berth compartments with washbasin, toilets & shower at the end of the corridor.  This train passes through Belarus, so you'll need a Belarus transit visa.  Fare around €111 in a 2-berth sleeper.  See panorama photo inside one of these new Russian sleepers.

  • You can try booking the Polonez online at www.voyages-sncf.com, this may or may not work for this train, it has in the past.  Alternatively, anyone can contact highly-recommended Polish train ticketing agency www.polrail.com (their booking system is at http://booking.polrail.com), who can arrange train tickets for international trains starting in Poland with tickets collected in Warsaw or (at extra charge) shipped to any address worldwide.


Vienna to Athens & Greece...

Option 1, overland by train through the Balkans, an adventure...

  • Day 1, travel from Vienna to Belgrade by comfortable air-conditioned EuroCity train Avala with restaurant car as shown above from €34, booked as shown in that section.

  • Spend a night & day in Belgrade.  I recommend the excellent and well-located Hotel Moskva 10 minutes walk from the station

  • Day 2, take the direct overnight couchette train from Belgrade to Thessaloniki in Northern Greece as shown on the trains from Belgrade page for €42 including couchette.  You can buy at this price at the station on the day if you like, there are almost always places available and it's not expensive.

    Note that engineering work in Serbia means this train won't run in winter 2016/17 from September until Spring 2017, though you can still go to Vienna-Sofia and then Sofia to Thessaloniki.

The Macedonian couchette car on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki train   A 6-berth couchette compartment on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki train

The Belgrade to Thessaloniki couchette car...  Below, scenery between Thessaloniki & Athens...

2nd class on Greek InterCity train   More mountain scenery, and the Gorgopotamos Viaduct...

After leaving Thessaloniki, the InterCity train runs along the Aegean coast and past Mount Olympus (seen above, from the train), mythical home to the Greek gods...

 

Between Larissa & Athens, the train snakes through the mountains, over the famous Gorgopotamos viaduct, blown up by the British S.O.E. in WW2...

Great scenery from the train:  In the mountains between Athens and Larissa   More scenery on the train to Athens

Emerging from the mountains, the train descends a spectacular escarpment (above left), with the Greek plain laid out hundreds of feet below...

Option 2, by train to Italy then ferry...

  • Day 1, take the comfortable overnight sleeper from Vienna to Venice as shown above from €59 with couchette or from €99 with a bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper or €139 in a single-bed sleeper, light breakfast included.  You could also take the earlier 19:23 sleeper from Vienna to Bologna instead, this works just as well.  Book this at www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.

  • Day 2, take a train from Venice (or Bologna) to Bari, booked at either www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com from just €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  I'd allow at least 60 minutes between trains in venice.

  • Day 2, sail from Bari to Patras in Greece by cruise ferry.  The ferry usually sails daily except Sundays at 19:30, arrives Patras around 13:00 next day (day 3 from Vienna).  Fares from around €60 with a deck place, rising to over €120 or so if you want a cabin - check times, prices and buy tickets at www.superfast.com.  It's a wonderful journey, past Ithaca & Kefalonia on a ship with cabins, sun decks, bars & restaurants.  Then catch a bus from Patras to Athens.  You'll find more details about both the ferry and onward transport from Patras to Athens on the London to Greece page, just ignore the London to Bari part!

A 2 or 4 berth cabin on the Italy-Greece ferry  

2 or 4-berth cabin with private toilet & shower.

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

At sea, passing Cephalonia & Ithaca.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!


Vienna to Istanbul & Turkey...

Option 1, via Budapest & Bucharest...

  • Take an afternoon Railjet train from Vienna to Budapest in 2h45 from €19 bought at www.oebb.at

  • Then pick up the overnight sleeper train Ister from Budapest to Bucharest and the onward train from Bucharest to Istanbul as explained in detail in this section on the London to Turkey page, buying tickets as shown on that page.  It's a 2-night journey.

Option 2, via Belgrade & Sofia...


Railbookers custom-made train travel & hotels

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, the people to talk to are Railbookers.  Railbookers can tailor-make a train trip around Europe to your own specification.  Just tell them what you want and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels.  They get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  They now have offices in the UK, North America and Australia.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.co.uk.

  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website.

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.


Find hotels in Vienna & other cities

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

  • www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

  • www.booking.com is my own preferred hotel booking system (Hotels Combined being a search/comparison system).  It has a simple interface, a good selection in most countries worldwide, useful online customer reviews of each hotel, and decent prices, usually shown inclusive of unavoidable extras such as taxes (a pet hate of mine is systems that show one price, then charge you another!).

Backpacker hostels...

  • www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.


 


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