Trains to Austria
National rail operator
Facts about Austria
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Timezone: 1+ UTC
- Language: German throughout; Slovene and Croatian enjoy official status in specific areas
Austria is a perfect destination for rail travellers. Getting to Austria by train is easy from many parts of Europe. Once there you’ll find trains that are fast, frequent and punctual. The country benefits from a dense network of rail routes, and rail-bus connections, especially in rural regions, are well coordinated. This is a country which takes public transport seriously. The principal national operator is the ever-reliable Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB), which these days is facing some competition from a new generation of entrepreneurial market entrants - eg. from WESTbahn on the important Salzburg to Vienna axis.
Yet ÖBB is no laggard; it has itself aggressively developed new routes. New services for 2019 include an expanded overnight offering from Vienna to western Poland and eastern Germany, new direct daytime trains from Vienna to Halle and Berlin (both in Germany), to Cluj-Napoca (in Romania) and from April 2019 also to the Polish city of Kraków.
Austria boasts several celebrated routes through picturesque Alpine scenery. One of the best is the Tyrolean route which runs west from Innsbruck; it's used by all direct trains from Vienna and Salzburg to Switzerland. Another favourite is the Semmering Railway which runs south-west from Vienna towards Graz and Klagenfurt. Don’t expect high speed on these scenic mountain routes. These journeys are a chance to sit back and savour the landscape. With a national rail network that extends to remote valleys, often serving small communities, there is plenty of opportunity to take the pulse of rural life across Austria.
Vienna is particularly well served by night trains from across Europe, the majority of which run under ÖBB's Nightjet brand. There are nightly direct services to Vienna from a dozen German cities (including Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin) and a wide choice of Italian cities (including Rome, Venice and Milan). There are also overnight sleeper trains entirely within Austria, linking stations like Bregenz and Feldkirch in the westernmost parts of the country with the capital.
Note that national operator ÖBB also runs a number of express coach services (eg. from Klagenfurt to Graz or Villach to both Trieste and Venice). These bus links are fully integrated into the national rail ticketing system, and can thus be booked on Loco2.