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Vienna & Salzburg current travel situation

Hi.. I would like to know the current situation regarding the refugees in Westbahnhof and the Salzburg train stations. We are flying to Vienna from the UK in April. We will be visiting Salzburg and Hallstatt. What is the travel-by-train situation now? Are the tickets easily available at the train station? Read in an earlier topic where someone suggested to book tickets in advance. What do you guys suggest should we travel by train or rent a car?
Thank you.

Posted by
4690 posts

The current situation is that there are virtually no refugees transiting through Vienna. There are no refugees at Westbahnof and you probably won't see a single refugee (not that you would know who they are anyway). Travel by train is (and actually has been for months) normal.

You have two choices for train travel from Vienna to Salzburg - OeBB or Westbahn.

OeBB - It is always recommend to buy tickets on OeBB in advance, online for the fare of 19 Euro. This has nothing to do with refugees. At the window on the day of travel, the ticket will be at least double that rate. Trains stop at Hauptbahnhof and Wien Meidling and then onwards to Salzburg. http://www.oebb.at/en/ is the website.

Westbahn - These trains leave from Westbahnhof. You buy the tickets on the train for 25.50 Euro. There is free wifi. I prefer Westbahn. https://westbahn.at/ is the website. Travel time is essentially the same as OeBB.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you Emily for all the info. It will be so helpful. I just finished booking for the hotels 'n stuff. The only thing remaining are the train tickets. Just wanted to confirm if we will get the tickets on the train station. I think I will go with Westbahn too since you mentioned that the train travel is all normal. So excited to be visiting Austria..

Posted by
13532 posts

Austria like most of the countries in the region has begun border restrictions which will have an impact on the numbers. I did note that the Hungarian rail service still advises that trains from Salzburg to Munich are still not running direct. You have to get off, have your papers checked and then you board another train that crosses the border. How that impacts things in Salzburg might be a good question. Maybe not at all.

Posted by
12 posts

Sorry James E for the late reply. I had missed out on this message.

I am planning to buy the tickets on the train and haven't purchased online tickets. I read what you wrote about the trains not running direct from Salzburg to Munich. I hope that doesn't affect anything and I get a ticket on the train to Vienna and that my travel goes all smooth. Thank you for sharing the info x

Posted by
12 posts

What list of documents do I need to carry if I have to rent a car? Just in case I don't get a ticket on the train.
Thank you x

Posted by
13532 posts

I have absolutely no doubt that you will get a train ticket. There are plenty of trains running all day long. At most, go buy your ticket at the station the day you arrive in town, and relax and enjoy. Didn't mean to scare you. If anything does go on it will only be very minor and a part of the adventure. But my guess is it will all be business as usual. Enjoy!

Listen to Emily below and enjoy!!

Posted by
4690 posts

There is a zero chance that you will not be able to buy a ticket on Westbahn for Vienna to Salzburg. Even at the height of the refugee crisis in the fall, Westbahn trains were running as normal.

As I explained above, it is only Westbahn trains that offer the ability to purchase a ticket onboard. Westbahn trains leave from Westbahnhof for Salzburg. Westbahn has no ticket counters, so if you want to purchase a Westbahn ticket before you board the train, you have to purchase the ticket at a Tabak (a tobacco shop - they are everywhere in Vienna).

If you choose to take an OeBB train to Salzburg, then you must buy that ticket before boarding. You can either buy that ticket online, in advance, from www.oebb.at, or buy at the ticket counter at the train station. Note that tickets purchased at the train station ticket counter will be significantly more expensive. You cannot use a Westbahn ticket on an OeBB train.

As for renting a car, which you won't need to do anyway, you need a credit card and a driver's license. Legally, for a foreigner to drive in Austria, an International Driver's Permit is also required. It is unlikely that the rental agency will ask for your IDP, but the police will most definitely if you are stopped for a violation.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you James E and Emily for all the information. You've been very helpful.

Will buy the Westbahn ticket on the train since you also mentioned earlier that it offers free wifi.
Also, thanks for the list of documents. I travel everywhere with my credit card and IDP so it shouldn't be a problem (even though I may not need it at all).

Just one more thing. I have wifi in my hotel. But I want to buy a temp prepaid phone card which can provide me basic talk time and Internet. Is it possible to get one, once I land at the airport? What is the best & basic prepaid sim you guys suggest?

Thank you xx

Posted by
12882 posts

Hi,

You can spot the refugees out when you see them. There are ways. In Germany you can guess and spot out the asylum seekers, the Asylanten, likewise Last June in Germany I saw numerous of them in/outside the train stations... Hannover, Halle, Munich, etc.

Posted by
13532 posts

cathharris113 before you purchase cards or sims check out the TMobile international plan. Its dirt cheap, works well and is good almost everywhere imaginable.

Posted by
21049 posts

One thing about the T-Mobile international plan: It seems a viable alternative only for folks who already have monthly T-Mobile accounts. I'm a T-Mobile customer, but I use prepaid minutes since I don't use my cellphone very much. I checked yesterday and confirmed my suspicion that I'd have to sign up for a $50/month regular account in order to take advantage of the international plan. Guess I'm stuck with local SIMs plus Wi-Fi.

Posted by
13532 posts

$50 for unlimited data, text and 20 cent phone calls across all borders with great reception? Not unreasonable if you are going to use the phone a lot and didn't have to sign a long term contract. Otherwise, Plan B

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you Fred, James & Acraven. I will check out the phone plans here.
Thanks for all the info x