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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.
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.
Vienna’s bus network is extensive and most parts of the city are served adequately by the bus network. However, travelling by bus can sometimes be slow during rush hour.
Vienna’s commuters make use of the bus lines but tourists tend to stick to a combination of subway, tram and foot to get around. 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 and is the most popular and quickest way to get around the city.
Trains run regularly and arrive at 15-minute intervals, depending on the line being used and the time of day. It is important to note that 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.
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.
Although not as popular as they are in other European cities, ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft operate in Vienna. These services generally cost the same as taxis, but some expats prefer the control that these apps give them over their route.
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.
Those who do decide to drive in Vienna should ensure they have a valid international drivers' licence.
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
There are bike paths across Vienna and over 120 bicycle-renting stations. Bicycles can be hired at and returned to any station in the city. Otherwise, expats who intend to cycle a lot can easily purchase a new or second-hand bicycle.