train transportation

My friends and I want to travel by train from Vienna (Int'l) to Rothenberg, Germany. We are all in fairly good shape but in our early 60's so not as spry as we used to be. Should I use the DB Bahn web site and order tickets from them before we go at the end of July? I am confused about the number of train changes we will have to make. I am not sure we will be able to make the mad dash, if necessary, to get from one train to the next. On the site it states times such as 12 min. to make change. Does that mean we need to get off the train and figure out where we need to be to catch the connecting train in 12 min? Finally, do we buy a ticket from Vienna to Rothenberg that will include the connections or do we have to purchase the tickets at each stop? We plan on being there for a couple of days and then taking the train to Amsterdam. So the same questions apply for that trip as well.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11069 posts

You can't book this trip on a single ticket from Deutsche Bahn because some legs of the trip operate entirely outside of Germany. You would have to book it from Austrian State Railways, ÖBB. Generally speaking, 12 minutes is more than enough time to transfer trains at all but the largest rail stations (ie, Berlin and Antwerp). Tracks run parallel to another, it's simply a matter of walking a short distance. Often, before the train pulls into the station, they will tell you the track number of connecting trains over the intercom system, both in German and English. If you miss this information, just look at the departure board real quick when you exit the train. So, there's the straight forward answers to your questions. But, let's reconsider what you're trying to do here. Do you realize that the trip from Vienna to Rothenburg odT lasts anywhere from 6 to 9 hours? Are you sure that's what you want to do? My usual comment is that despite all the attention it gets, Rothenburg isn't nearly unique as advertised, except for all the tour buses and trinket shops. It's worth visiting if your travels take you within a 90 minute radius of the town. Anything longer, you are inevitably going too far out of your way and bypassing plenty of other well-preserved historic German towns. I would suggest at a minimum stopping somewhere else first to break up the trip.

Posted by Russ
2694 posts

Hi, Louise. I'm driving through Oroville today. Small world. "Should I use the DB Bahn web site and order tickets from them before we go at the end of July?" Contrary to Tom's comments about this, you absolutely CAN buy tickets at DB for Vienna - Rothenburg or for other destinations in Germany. DB has seats available for this route for 69€ each on dates I checked. That said, I would 2nd Tom's concerns about making Rothenburg a destination. There are many other interesting and well-preserved villages that aren't crawling with international tourists. Nearby Bad Windsheim, for example, is quite nice itself and has a fantastic outdoor museum called the Fränkisches Freilandmuseum where dozens of ancient buildings from the region have been relocated. Here are some photos of Bad Windsheim itself. Other villages in the area like Nördlingen, Weissenburg, and Iphofen are also quite nice without all the heavy-handed tourism. For a larger city, Bamberg is an excellent old-world choice. And yes, DB sells tickets from Vienna to all these places. And from these places to Amsterdam as well.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
14146 posts

I think the key here is "from Vienna (Int'l). The Bahn website shows a station "Vienna Internati.(U)". That's apparently is the "Kaisermühlen VIC" (Vienna International Center) U-Bahn station in Vienna. From there to Wien Westbahnhof takes two U-Bahn connections, which cannot be ticketed on the Bahn webstite. If you use Wien Westbahnhof (or just Wien) to Rothenburg, you will get fares, and can purchase tickets, between those stations. Buy the U-Bahn tickets to Westbahnhof in Vienna. If by Vienna (Int'l) you mean Vienna International Airport, then the same thing applies. There are a series of local transportation connections (CAT, U-Bahn) between the airport and Westbahnhof which have to be purchased locally. Austrian Rail also does not sell a complete ticket because the last connections are completely in Germany.

Posted by Louise
Oroville, CA, USA
2 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions. I will indeed look into other towns to visit in Germany. This part of the trip is actually coming on the tail end of a longer trip through the western part of Germany. We wind down from Frankfurt to Munich and on to Vienna. We wanted to spend a little more time in Germany but also wanted to end our trip in Amsterdam. Hence the winding around. I will check out the web sites suggested. And Russ, yes, it truly is a small world!!