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Getting around in Vienna is simple and straightforward. The city centre is within half an hour of the outskirts of Vienna via the capital’s extensive, varied and efficient public transport system. With an abundance of cycling paths, Vienna is also an extremely bicycle-friendly city with many expats embracing the romance of cycling culture. Conversely, and as parking in Vienna is both expensive and difficult to find, most expats don't own cars.
Because many commuters use public transport, the city centre is not as congested by traffic as other European capitals. Within the city centre itself, getting around on foot is best.
Public transport in Vienna
The Weiner Linien public transport service operates a number of tram, bus and subway lines.
A single ticket is valid for travelling one way anywhere within Vienna, using any form of transport. Tickets can be purchased online, at ticket offices or at station ticket machines. For those who plan on using public transport regularly, there are other ticketing options available, such as for weekly or monthly travel. This can save money in the long run.
Vienna’s bus network is extensive, Most parts of the city are served adequately by the bus network. As in most major cities, travelling by bus can sometimes be slow during rush hour. There are night buses which operate when other transport options aren’t available.
The U-Bahn is Vienna’s subway system. It has an extensive network of lines throughout the city. This is the quickest and most popular way to get around the city.
Trains run regularly and usually arrive at 15-minute intervals, though this varies depending on the line being used and the time of day. U-Bahn services run less frequently at weekends and in the evenings.
The S-Bahn is a rapid-transit train system. S-Bahn lines extend beyond Vienna's city limits and are largely used for regional travel. However, there is a line known as the Vorortelinie (Vienna suburban line) which is entirely within the city and is frequented by commuters living along its route.
Trams are easily found throughout the city. Though they are probably the slowest way of travelling, trams are a fun way to get around Vienna in short hops or for sightseeing.
While the Viennese use trams on a day out, most people opt to use buses and the U-Bahn for regular commuting because they cover a more extensive area and are more efficient modes of transportation.
Taxis in Vienna
Generally reliable and affordable, taxis can be found at designated stations and taxi ranks throughout the city. Journeys in the city are charged according to the taxi meter. If expats are travelling to or from the outlying suburbs, they should consider booking a taxi ahead of time. This can be done online or by phone.
Ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft operate in Vienna. These are not only cheaper than regular taxis, but are also often more convenient.
Driving in Vienna
The city centre of Vienna is best avoided by drivers. It's not an easy area to navigate, and parking can be extremely expensive. There are a number of park-and-ride areas close to public transport where one can leave their car, which is a good alternative to driving into the city. It's easy to get around the city centre on foot or on public transport, and most visitors to the city find that a car is more trouble than it is worth. Some expats find owning a car beneficial, though, such as those with children or those who wish to explore the Austrian countryside.
Expats with a driver's licence from home can use it for up to six months in Austria. It's necessary to obtain an Austrian driver's licence before the six months is up. Some countries have exchange deals with Austria, meaning that expats can simply swap their foreign licence for a local one. In other cases, expats may be required to undergo practical and theoretical testing.
Walking in Vienna
The city centre in Vienna is compact and picturesque, with narrow cobblestone streets. Most people find that a combination of the U-Bahn and walking is the easiest way to get around the city.
Cycling in Vienna
The cycle network in Vienna comprises of more than 620 miles (1,000km) of bike paths and is continually growing. There are bike paths across Vienna and over 120 bicycle-renting stations. Bicycles can be hired from the public rental service WienMobil. Expats who intend to cycle a lot can easily purchase a new or second-hand bicycle.
Though bikes cannot be taken on buses and trams, they can be taken on the underground at certain hours of the day during weekdays and any time on weekends.
►Learn more about the lifestyle in Vienna.
"Public transport is incredible in Vienna. There are so many options and it’s all so efficient. I feel like I can get to almost anywhere in the city in about half an hour – it’s amazing. And the cost of a monthly ticket is so much less than London. You really do get your money’s worth. There’s no need to own a car, unless you frequently travel outside of the city."
Read more about UK expat Tessa's experiences in Austria.
Are you an expat living in Vienna?
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