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Questions about Austria rail pass

I have been researching the Austria rail pass to see whether it would be a good value for my trip. It looks like U-Bahns in Vienna are included, as well as trains between cities. Are the U-Bahns counted toward the days used in the pass, or is this on top of the 3, 5, etc. days purchased? Also, I am starting my trip toward the end of a month. Am I right to assume that the month of the pass does not necessarily have to be a calendar month?
Thanks!

Posted by
16835 posts

I don't see where U-Bahns are covered. S-Bahns are, but they will count as a pass day. Better would be to buy a Vienna multiday transit pass.

Posted by
16883 posts

The one month validity need not be a calendar month. It could be Nov. 20 - Dec. 19, for instance. It is only S-Bahn, not U-Bahn, that's covered, and only on the counted travel days, same as other trains.

Posted by
63 posts

Thanks for the replies. It looks like the pass may not be as much of a bargain as I had hoped. (I am not sure that there will really be any savings over purchasing individual tickets, but I'll read up on it a bit more.) I haven't traveled to Austria, but it looks like using and paying for public transportation really isn't difficult, even if I buy tickets as I go.

Posted by
21083 posts

Rail passes are rarely bargains. If you're able to pin down your itinerary and buy non-refundable/non-changeable rail tickets well in advance, that will be far cheaper than a rail pass.

Explore point-to-point ticket costs on the OBB webpage.

Posted by
4690 posts

Would you mind sharing your itinerary? It will be easier to help you if we know where you plan to go. Thanks so much!

Posted by
63 posts

Sure.

Arrival in Vienna, train immediately to Salzburg;
4 nights in Salzburg, including day trip to Wolfgangsee (bus);
train back to Vienna, 7 nights there, including day trips to Wachau Valley (train and bus) and to Eisenstadt (train or bus);
train to Graz/Styria for a couple days and then train back to Vienna for flight home.

If I use the bus (instead of train) to Eisenstadt, I would have five separate "train days" and could buy the 5-day pass. I'm not sure that the expense would warrant doing that. I would mainly walk in Vienna, but I will need public transportation or Uber for some sites.

Posted by
16835 posts

If you buy a 5 day Austria Flex Pass, it costs $272, $54.40 per day. The cost of a ticket from Vienna to Eisenstadt is 11.60 EUR each way. That is 23.20 EUR for the day, equal to about $27. So you would not want to spend an expensive pass day for this anyway.

Are you by yourself or traveling with someone? Two people can travel with an Einfach Raus ticket for 34 EUR total round trip if you leave after 9 am on weekdays.

Posted by
1492 posts

There is absolutely no need for a rail pass. If you book well in advance you can get the "Sparschiene" bargain tickets for the long distance rides (Salzburg, Graz).

If you choose the right trains you can go from Vienna International Airport directly to Salzburg (and from Graz to the airport).

Vienna is not as small as you might think, and the sights are not always close together. Better than wasting time by walking use public transport in Vienna. It is available everywhere, it is safe (even by night), and easy to use. There are trams, subways (U-Bahn), busses, S-Bahn, etc., all to be used with one ticket. (Which ticket is best for you depends on the weekday you will arrive.)

Delve into Vienna's public transport network:
https://www.wienerlinien.at/eportal3/ep/downloadTracker.do/path/media/files/2018/gesamtnetz_271270.pdf?oid=82853&type=pdf

If you get acquainted, you will like it.
Most Americans cannot imagine that it is possible to survive in a big city without having a car. :-)

Posted by
16835 posts

The walk up price for the direct Railjet from Vienna airport to Salzburg is 59.40 EUR, about $68 US. That is not a whole lot more than the $54.40 per day you are paying for a pass. That is likely to be your most expensive ticket. Sparschiene tickets Vienna to Graz are as low as 9 EUR if you book a few months in advance.

Posted by
1492 posts

The walk up price for the direct Railjet from Vienna airport to Salzburg is 59.40 EUR

The Sparschiene ticket is €19 so it is worth booking in advance.

Posted by
16835 posts

Except that you are arriving on an airplane with an uncertain arrival time and an undetermined time getting through immigration and receiving luggage. The direct Railjets are at least every hour, and often every half hour. Either leave an adequate cushion, 2 or 3 hours say, or pay up and take the next available train.

Posted by
63 posts

Yes, for that reason I am considering the option of using Westbahn for that route. What's everyone's thoughts on Westbahn vs. OeBB for Vienna to Salzburg? Thanks!

Posted by
16835 posts

Only that you have to change trains in Vienna. You could take the S7 or regional train to Wien Mitte for 4.20 EUR, then take the Westbahn train to Salzburg for 28.90 EUR. Westbahn trains go hourly from Mitte at 59 past the hour.

Posted by
12898 posts

When I travel between Austria and Germany and in Germany itself, I use a rail Pass, but I would not suggest that with your itinerary.

Between Salzburg and Vienna I ride the Westbahn, more convenient since I stay in the Westbahnhof area, aside from being cheaper than the OeBB train. Taking the Westbahn is a direct connection. No reserved seats on Westbahn trains, just board and buy the ticket from the conductor. After 1900 hrs the cost of a ticket in one Euro more than the same ticket prior to that time.

Taking the U-Bahn is not covered by the rail Pass. Yes, you're right about duration of a month not necessarily corresponding to a calendar month.

Posted by
1492 posts

Only that you have to change trains in Vienna. You could take the S7 or regional train to Wien Mitte for 4.20 EUR, then take the Westbahn train to Salzburg for 28.90 EUR. Westbahn trains go hourly from Mitte at 59 past the hour.

Just take the next train to the city, either the S7 as described to Wien Mitte (center station) or the RJ (RailJet) to Wien Hbf (main train station). Westbahn trains to Salzburg depart from either train station hourly.

Should you arrive at Wien Mitte just having missed the train to Salzburg, you may take the U3 subway (orange line) directly to Wien West (western station) - a ride of 9 minutes - and take a Westbahn train from there.

Posted by
63 posts

Ha! I wouldn’t have thought about station-hopping to chase the Westbahn! Thank you for the info!

Posted by
5697 posts

FYI, if you or anyone in your party is senior age, there is a special 2-for-1 transport ticket in Vienna.

Posted by
1492 posts

if you or anyone in your party is senior age, there is a special 2-for-1 transport ticket in Vienna.

This applies to single ride tickets, only. It is not exactly 2-for-1, but reduced to €1.50 instead of €2.40 regular price.
Senior is defined as older than 63 in 2018, and older than 64 effective 2019.

It is not very easy to find the cheapest ticket variant as there are 30+ different tickets. It depends heavily on the weekday you arrive and depart respectively, because the cheapest ticket is the calendar week pass. Single ride tickets are the most expensive way to use public transport. If you want to save money then you will have to do some math.

Posted by
541 posts

Also, if traveling on heavy traffic days (Friday in particular) you may also require reservations on some of the routes from Vienna to Salzburg (and back). Make sure you check this and reserve/purchase in advance.