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When arriving to Vienna International Airport, it can be unclear how to reach your final destination, or more generally, to the city centre. We, at Omio, have mapped out good things to know, facilities available when flying to Vienna International Airport and what to do when you get to the city.
A vacation in Vienna, Austria, is only enhanced by the city's efficient, affordable public transportation system. Comprised of buses, trams, the S-Bahn, and the U-Bahn, a valid ticket lets travelers transfer between any of these forms of transportation, so long as they're within the city limits. A particularly interesting detail to note about getting around the Vienna city center is that there are no turnstiles or automatic ticket checks. Instead, the transportation system works on the honor system, with passengers' tickets randomly checked by undercover monitors. This means all riders still need to be properly ticketed, lest they incur a fine-and to be sure, the folks checking for correct tickets have already heard every excuse in the book, so those won't cut it!
Traveling to Vienna International Airport from the Vienna city center is simple, thanks to several different public transportation options. Just keep in mind that the airport is technically outside the city limits, and each of these options has its own ticketing system. The fastest route to the airport is on the City Airport Train, known as CAT. The CAT leaves from a fairly large station called Wien Mitte (which translates to Vienna Center) and travels directly to Vienna International Airport in about 16 minutes. There's plenty of room for luggage on board. Cheaper but also a bit slower is the S7, one of the Schnellbahn, or S-Bahn trains. This train runs every half hour. For travelers embarking at Wien Mitte, the ride is 23 minutes. There are also other stops throughout the city. There are three different Vienna Airport Lines buses traveling to VIE, known as VAL1, VAL2, and VAL3. These leave every 30 to 60 minutes and offer pick-up points throughout the city, so it's best to check online to determine the most suitable route. Another bus option is the Air-Liner, which makes stops at Hauptbahnhof (the city's main station) and Vienna International Busterminal. From VIB, it's typically a mere 15 minutes to the airport. The priciest option is a taxi, which can be caught at the airport or booked in advance. Be sure to tip the driver, as it is customary to do so in Vienna.
The distance between central Vienna and VIE depends where the journey begins. From Hauptbahnhof to the airport, for example, the distance is just over 11 miles (18 kilometers). Between the Wien Mitte station and Vienna International Airport, it's just under 11 miles (17.3 kilometers). A quick cultural detour into Vienna is also quite easy thanks to the fact that the scenic MuseumsQuartier, where over 60 cultural institutions including the Hofburg Palace can be found, is only 12.2 miles (19.7 kilometers) from VIE.
Austria's largest airport and a hub for Austrian Airlines, the Vienna International Airport offers plenty of shopping and dining. The Fashion Gallery in Terminal 2 is where to find luxury goods from brands like Salvatore Ferragamo and Hugo Boss, while a range of souvenir, duty free, and gift shops can be found throughout the passenger terminals. For hungry travelers, the airport is a treat, with multiple restaurants from Jamie Oliver as well as juice bars and fresh buffets. For more traditional fare, travelers are also in luck. Enjoy Wiener schnitzel at Zugvogel, and for Kaiserschmarren (sweet shredded pancakes), don't miss Café Demel. The airport also offers practical amenities like VAT refund in Terminals 1 and 3. In terms of accessible travel, the airport offers designated parking spaces and step-free entry to the arrivals and departures halls. The airport's Apron Transfer service transports passengers who need it between their aircraft and terminal via specially equipped minibus.
For travel to Vienna International Airport from the Vienna city center, the City Airport Train is the best option. The CAT offers barrier-free access and on certain airlines, it's even possible to check in luggage when boarding the train, meaning baggage handlers will take over responsibility for larger bags. Though the CAT does not have accessible restrooms on board, there are barrier-free restrooms at both end points of the train's journey. Upon arrival, the airport itself is well-equipped with escalators and elevators, and entering and exiting the terminals is a step-free process.
While all of the options to get to and from VIE are fairly reliable and reasonably priced, most locals skip the taxi and opt for public transportation. The journey's starting point, of course, makes a big difference in terms of the most practical final choice. That said, the S7 is a favorite thanks to the range of stops it makes in the city, the fact that it runs early in the morning until late into the evening, and is cost effective. For those who already hold a Vienna City Card or Vienna urban area ticket, the supplemental ticket to get to the airport is inexpensive, as is a single-ride ticket comprising travel between the city center and airport.