Information For Train Spotters
In Austria most railways run electrically. Most electric trains get their power from a single-phase AC network. This network uses its own power lines run with 15 kV. In contrast to normal power lines, these employ a number of conductors that is not divisible by 3 - most power lines for the single phase AC grid of the traction power grid have four conductors. There are many interesting mountain railways of all types and trains from around central Europe.
Bus is not always the cheapest way to travel though deep discounts for advanced bookings are being introduced for long-distance travel as far as from Warsaw to Austria for €4. The bus may also be the cheapest option if you want to travel at short notice or if you have large amounts of luggage. Bus travel is especially interesting for those coming from the East as there are many buses into Vienna and they are often faster than trains. Information about their assorted services and pricing is can be found in that section.
Eurolines Austria (http://www.eurolines.at) is the largest operator and organizer of bus travel in Austria though many services are not included in their schedules.
There are 6 airports in Austria with scheduled flights. The most important international airport is Vienna which has connection to all major airports of the world. Other international airports include Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, and Salzburg which provide domestic flights as well as connections to some European countries. Those airports are particularly popular with cheap airlines such as Ryanair. For travelling to the western states it is recommended to use the very close Munich airport.
The most common airports to visit Vorarlberg are Altenrhein Austrian, Friedrichshafen Ryanair, Intersky and Zurich Swiss.
If visiting Austria for winter sports, choose airport considering cost and duration for the whole trip plane+transfer, not always Vienna and even likely not in Austria.
Unlike many countries, getting in to Austria for skiing shouldn't imply flying to the capital city first. Vienna itself is a 4 hour drive away from the nearest medium-sized resort, and longer by public transport. See more in GetIn section of Winter sports in Austria.
Austrian Airlines: Baby strollers weighting over 10kg should be checked in as a luggage; strollers below 10kg are allowed up until the aircraft board, and taken by personnel right at the entrance to the aircraft. See also a dedicated page on flying by Austrian with children: .
Austria has plenty of connections with all its neighbours daily. Every neighbouring country even Liechtenstein have trains at least hourly. Many Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland even more frequently. The ÖBB Austrian Railways operate high-speed ICE and RailJet trains from cities like Zurich, Munich,Frankfurt, Passau, and Budapest. Eurocity trains are the next fastest trains available as well as the trains connecting the bigger Austrian cities called Intercity. Regional trains called EURegio and simply Regionalzug are also available from all 8 of Austria's neighbours.
Vienna is a the largest railway hub but day and night trains from most Central European countries travel to many stops across Austria. Day trains are normally much quicker than night trains. Tickets can be purchased from certain locations to Austria via the ÖBB website. Always compare fares from the departure or even transit countries' railways as there may be price difference even for the same train. ÖBB offers discount 'SparSchiene' tickets to and from destinations like Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, and Switzerland for a flat-rate i.e. €29 for a one-way seater, €39 for a couchette, or €59 for a sleeper. There are a limited number of tickets at this price. At peak times you need to book in advance. Additional offers are available to all countries in Central Europe, although many cannot be booked online.
Austria and all its neighbouring countries are Schengen members so in theory there are no border controls. For using the Autobahnen or Schnellstrassen, a vignette, or tax sticker, must be purchased. Costs are approx €70 for one year, €20 for 8 weeks, or about €8.50 for 10 days.
On some Saturdays in July and August expect traffic jams on the motorways between Germany, Austria and Italy when millions of German tourists head south at the beginning of school vacations. A delay of about 2 hours is not unusual. The motorway A10 between Salzburg and Villach is especially notorious. It's best to avoid those Saturdays.