Trains from Vienna

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This page explains how to travel by train from Vienna to other cities all over Europe, and how to buy tickets the cheapest way. Train information is current for 2020.

Departing from Linz?  All trains from Vienna westwards to Salzburg, Innsbruck, Germany & Switzerland call at Linz around 1h15 after leaving Vienna, you can pick up these trains there.  Eastbound, travel to Vienna and use the information below.

bullet pointBefore you buy your tickets...

Take a moment to read these tips for buying European train tickets.  They answer all the usual questions, "Do I need to book in advance or can I just buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just buy a €35 point-to-point ticket online?".  Click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

bullet pointEuropean train travel FAQ...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to Interrail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...

bullet point Which station in Vienna?

Vienna to Salzburg:  See the Vienna to Salzburg page...
Vienna to Hallstatt...

Option 1, the fastest & most direct route...

Option 2, the scenic route via the UNESCO-listed Semmering Railway... 

Vienna to Innsbruck, Hallstatt, Graz & other destinations within Austria...
A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A railjet about to leave Vienna.  Railjets are Austria's premier train...

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet arrived at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf spot on time.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

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Vienna to London...

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Vienna to Paris from €78...

Option 1, Vienna to Paris in a single day by high-speed trains - the high-speed daytime option... 

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

An ICE-T from Vienna, arrived at Frankfurt am Main Hbf...

1st class table for two on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the restaurant.  In 1st class you can choose to be served at your seat.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna...

Scenery from the train

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Vienna-Frankfurt ICE...

Option 2, using the Vienna-Brussels Nightjet sleeper train, 3 times a week - the fastest, most time-effective option, 3 times a week...

The Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna at Brussels

Step 1, Vienna to Brussels by Nightjet sleeper train.  Above, the inaugural southbound train is ready to leave Brussels the following night, the first scheduled sleeper train to leave Brussels in 16 years - naturally, the Man in Seat 61 was on board!  More information about Nightjet trains.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 2, Brussels to Paris by 300km/h (186 mph) Thalys train.  It takes just 1h22.  Above, a Thalys arrived at Paris Nord.  See panorama photos inside a Thalys trainMore info about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across the car.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Option 3, by Nightjet sleeper train & TGV-Lyria - another time-effective option, slightly slower than option 2, runs every day...

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

Step 1, take the Nightjet from Vienna to Zurich, overnight while you sleep.  This is a double-deck sleeping-car arrived at Zurich. Courtesy of DiscoverbyRail.com.

   

2-berth sleeper on lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

TGV-Lyria to Geneva at Paris Gare de Lyon

Step 2, take a TGV-Lyria from Zurich to Paris Gare de Lyon. These 200 mph double-deck trains now operate all TGV-Lyria services.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

The cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes...

 

2nd class seats, this is upper deck seating.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360Ί photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV-Lyria Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

1st class seats on the upper deck, with a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right. 360Ί photo.

 

A TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

Option 4, Vienna to Paris with overnight stop in Zurich, via the Arlberg Pass - the leisurely scenic route, watch the video!

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A railjet train about to leave Vienna...

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet arrived at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf spot on time.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

The mountains of Austria...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In railjet first & business class, the stewardess takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

The railjet clips a corner of Liechtenstein, passing non-stop through the little station of Schaan-Vaduz.  Once in Switzerland, the railjet runs alongside the Walensee, then the Zόrichsee...

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Vienna to Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Marseille...

Option 1, by sleeper from Vienna to Milan then a scenic coastal ride...

Option 2, by day trains with overnight stop in Verona - the scenic route, mountains & coastline...

Option 3, by day trains with afternoon & overnight stop in Venice...

Thello train from Marseille & Nice to Milan, at Marseille St Charles   1st class seats on Thello train from Nice to Milan

A Thello train to Nice about to leave Milan Centrale.  See more photos & information about these Thello trains...

 

1st class seats on Thello.  More space per person than 2nd, with seats arranged 2+1 across the car width.

2nd class seats on the Thello train from Nice to Milan   Cafe counter on the Thello train from Nice to Milan

2nd class seats on the Thello train.  Very comfortable, seat arranged 2+2 across the car width.

 

The small cafe-bar counter on the Milan to Nice & Marseille Thello train serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks.

Coastal scenery from the Thello train from Nice to Italy

Views from the train, along the Ligurian coast between Milan and Nice.  Photos courtesy of Lucas Martin.

Option 4, by direct Russian sleeper train every Friday...

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Vienna to Brussels & Bruges from €59.90...

Option 1, by direct Nightjet sleeper train from Vienna to Brussels, 3 times a week - the comfortable, time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna at Brussels

On 20 January 2020, the inaugural Nightjet left Brussels for Vienna, the first scheduled sleeper train to leave Brussels in 16 years.  Above, the inaugural southbound train is ready to leave Brussels Midi on 20 January - naturally, the Man in Seat 61 was on board!

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet...

Option 2, using the Vienna-Cologne Nightjet sleeper train - on days when the direct Vienna-Brussels sleeper isn't running...

Option 3, Vienna to Brussels in a single day - the high-speed daytime option...

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

An ICE-T from Vienna, arrived at Frankfurt am Main Hbf...

1st class table for two on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the restaurant.  In 1st class you can choose to be served at your seat.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna...

Scenery from the train

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Vienna-Frankfurt ICE...

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Vienna to Amsterdam from €49.90...

Option 1, Vienna to Amsterdam by direct Nightjet sleeper train - the most time-effective option.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna HbfMore information about Nightjet trains...

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train...

Option 2, Vienna to Amsterdam in a single day - the high-speed daytime option...

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

An ICE-T arrived in Frankfurt from Vienna...

1st class table for two on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the restaurant.  In 1st class you can choose to be served at your seat.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Germany...

Scenery from the train

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Vienna-Frankfurt ICE...

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Vienna to Luxembourg...

Option 1, using Vienna-Koblenz sleeper train - the time-effective option...

Option 2, by daytime trains...

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Vienna to Zurich, Basel, Geneva & Switzerland from €39...

Option 1, by daytime railjet train - the scenic option, through the beautiful Arlberg Pass...

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A railjet train about to leave Vienna...

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

The mountains of Austria...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In railjet first & business class, the stewardess takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

The railjet clips a corner of Liechtenstein, passing non-stop through the little station of Schaan-Vaduz.  Once in Switzerland, the railjet runs alongside the Zόrichsee, then along the Walensee...

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train - the safe, comfortable & time-effective option that saves a hotel bill...

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

The safe & comfortable Nightjet from Vienna to Zurich.  This is a double-deck sleeping-car arrived at Zurich HB. Courtesy of DiscoverbyRail.com.

   

2-berth sleeper on lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

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Vienna to Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome & Italy from €29...

Option 1, by nightjet sleeper train - the safe, comfortable, time-effective option.  Saves a hotel bill too...

The Nightjet train from Vienna to Venice, arrived at Venice Santa Lucia

The Nightjet sleeper train from Vienna, arrived at Venice Santa Lucia.  See more nightjet information, photos & video.

Nightjet deluxe sleeper, 2-bed   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   4-berth couchette compartment from Cologne to Vienna

2-berth deluxe sleeper.  More info about Nightjet trains.

 

...en suite toilet & shower.

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 2, by railjet train from €29 - the scenic option, via the wonderful Semmering railway...

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

The afternoon railjet to Venice, about to leave Vienna Hbf.  More photos & info about Vienna-Venice railjets.

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet boarding at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.

 

Economy class on railjet.

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

The railjet travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

Option 3, via the Brenner Pass from €39 - another scenic daytime option...

After running south through the Brenner Pass from Innsbruck, this EuroCity train has arrived at Verona.  You don't need to book a table in the restaurant car, just go along and sit down.  Dining on the move as the scenery glides by is one of the pleasures of travelling on trains like this.  More photos & information about these EuroCity trains.

Austrian second class seats   Austrian second class seats   Austrian first class seats

Second class seats, mostly in 6-seat compartments with side-corridor like this, but some cars are open-plan saloons...

 

First class leather seats.  On a few trains you'll find 6-seat compartments too....

Mountain scenery on the Brenner route...

Scenery (and vineyards!) on the Brenner route   Scenery on the Brenner route

Vineyards, mountains and castles south of Brenner as the train heads for Trento & Verona...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here.

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Vienna to Sicily

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Vienna to Barcelona, Madrid & Spain from €98...

By daytime trains with overnight stop in Geneva...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  Seen from the train and one of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline all the way from Girona to Perpignan...

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Vienna to Lisbon & Portugal...

It's perfectly possible to travel from Vienna to Lisbon or Porto or Faro by train, in great comfort.  The whole journey takes 3 nights.

Option 1, via Geneva & Barcelona...

Option 1, via Paris...

To Morocco by train...   En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet

The Sud Express, about to leave Irun on the Franco-Spanish frontier, bound for Lisbon...  Courtesy of Ron BakerSee panorama photo...

 

Gran Clase sleeper, in evening mode with the seats folded out...

 

....return from the bar & the attendant has made up the beds...

 

Gran Clase private toilet & shower...

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Vienna to Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Cologne & Germany from €27.90...

Option 1, by day trains to anywhere in Germany - the fast daytime option...

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

An ICE-T arrived in Frankfurt from Vienna...

1st class table for two on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the restaurant.  In 1st class you can choose to be served at your seat.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna...

Scenery from the train

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Vienna-Frankfurt ICE...

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train - the comfortable time-effective option...

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian Nightjet train from Cologne to Vienna...  More pictures & information about Nightjets.

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

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Vienna to Munich from €27.90...

Option 1, Vienna to Munich by railjet train - the fastest way...

  • Smart Austrian railjet trains run from Vienna Hbf & Linz to Munich Hbf every two hours from 06:30 to 18:30.  Vienna to Munich takes only 4 hours from city centre to city centre, with a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

  • Fares start at €27.90 in 2nd class, €37.90 in 1st class or €52.90 in deluxe Business class if you pre-book.  A reserved seat is optional and costs an extra €3-€4 - in business class seat reservation is compulsory but included in the fare.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket or simply show it on your smartphone or laptop screen.

    I recommend registering when prompted, rather than booking as a guest, so you can always log in and check or re-print all your bookings.

  • To book business class tickets at bahn.de, book 1st class then use the Show seats seat selection feature to select a seat in the low-density Business class car, usually seats 13-55 in car 27 - although they don't label it as business class so you have to engage brain!  It should then add the €15 Business class upgrade to the first class fare when you pay.  You can also buy using www.thetrainline.com.

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A railjet about to leave Vienna Hbf...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet arrived at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf spot on time.  More photos & information about Railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

Bistro-restaurant car...

Pleasant farmland scenery between Vienna & Salzburg...

View of Salzburg as the train crosses the River Salzach

This is the view of Salzburg's Fortress Hohensalzburg on your left hand side as the railjet crosses the River Salzach after leaving Salzburg station....

Pleasant Bavarian scenery between Salzburg & Munich...

Option 2, Vienna to Munich by Westbahn/Meridian - slower, but more flexible, cheaper at short notice...

  • The excellent railjet trains link Vienna to Munich in just 4h from just €29.90 if you book in advance and commit to a specific train with limited refunds & no changes to travel plans allowed.  What if you don't want to stay flexible & not commit to a specific departure way in advance?  Or all the cheap railjet tickets have sold out as you've left it too late?  On railjets, full-price paid on the day is around €100.  Ouch!

  • The solution?  Westbahn!

    Every hour, smart double-deck Westbahn trains run from Vienna Westbahnhof to Salzburg, connecting with an hourly Meridian regional train from Salzburg to Munich.

    The journey is slower at 4h28 overall but you pay just €33.50 for the Westbahn train (€1 more if you buy on board) and €25 for the Meridian using a Bayern Ticket valid any time weekends or anytime after 09:00 weekdays.  You can pay the Westbahn fare to the conductor on board the train, no reservation necessary, although it's €1 cheaper if you buy from the Westbahn ticket machines or buy online at www.thetrainline.com or www.westbahn.at.  Buy the Bayern Ticket at the station in Salzburg on the day or online as shown hereMore info on Bayern Tickets.

  • You can check Westbahn prices & times at www.thetrainline.com or www.westbahn.at.  You can check Meridian times and prices at www.bahn.de, the Meridians are the ones marked as M.  All these tickets have unlimited availability at these prices - they cannot sell out!

Westbahn train stairs to upper deck   Westbahn train to Salzburg at Vienna

Stairs to upper deck...

 

WESTbahn double-decker train to Salzburg at Vienna Westbahnhof...

Westbahn train buffet car   Westbahn train 2nd class seats on upper deck

Food vending area, 4 in each trainset...

 

Upper deck seats...

Option 3, Vienna to Munich by EuroNight sleeper train...

  • As the daytime journey only takes 4 hours, most people travel by day.  But to save both daytime hours and a hotel bill, there's also a sleeper.

  • The sleeper train Kalman Imre leaves Vienna Hbf at 23:36 and arrives Munich Hbf at 06:10.  This is a Hungarian sleeper train en route from Budapest, it has an air-conditioned Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, and an air-conditioned Hungarian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  See the Hungarian sleeping-car video & see photos of the sleeper & couchettes on this train in the Budapest to Munich section.

  • Fares start at €49.90 with couchette in 6-berth, €59.90 with couchette in 4-berth, €89.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper, or €129.90 with a bed in a single-bed sleeper.

  • Buy tickets for this sleeper train at www.thetrainline.com or www.oebb.at.  You print your own ticket.

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Vienna to Berlin from €37.90...

Option 1, Vienna to Berlin by ICE train Berolina departing 10:15 - a leisurely daytime option with restaurant car...

  • A superb German ICE train called the Berolina leaves Vienna Hbf every day at 10:15, arriving Berlin Hbf at 17:58.  The ICE train has a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, see the ICE information page.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

    Book at the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

    Tip:  Check Austrian Railways www.oebb.at as well, as although fares also start from €39 I've often seen significantly cheaper fares on oebb.at than bahn.de on a given date & train.  You also print your own ticket.

    Tip:  Consider a stopover in Nuremberg...

    The direct train goes via Nuremberg, but there are other trains between Vienna and Nuremberg, and between Nuremberg & Berlin.  In Nuremberg you'll find a pleasant old town, a railway museum and of course the infamous but thought-provoking Party Rally Grounds (take tram 9 from outside Nuremberg Hbf, it's well worth the trip). 

    To book a ticket with a stopover at www.bahn.de, simply click Add intermediate stops, enter Nuremberg and a duration of up to 48 hours (the maximum stopover possible with a cheap sparpreis fare) or up to 8 hours (the maximum you can stop off and still get from Vienna to Berlin in a day, if you catch an early train from Vienna then a late train from Nuremberg to Berlin).  You'll now get a cheap fare from €39.90 upwards from Vienna to Berlin with a stopover in Nuremberg.  There are left luggage lockers in Nuremberg for your bags.

Vienna to Berlin ICE train

The ICE Berolina...  On the first day of the new timetable, 9 December 2018, the southbound Berolina from Berlin to Vienna has arrived at Vienna Hbf spot on time.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler .

1st class table for two on the Vienna to Berlin ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Vienna to Berlin ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the Bordrestaurant.  I highly recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna...

Option 2, Vienna to Berlin by railjet train departing 13:10 - a leisurely daytime option with restaurant car...

  • A swish Czech railjet train will leave Vienna Hbf every day at 13:10 arriving Berlin Hbf 21:54.

  • This modern railjet train has 2nd class, 1st class, business class (= premium 1st class, just 6 luxurious seats) and a restaurant car.  There's free WiFi & power sockets at all seats.  Although it takes a bit longer than the direct ICE train in option 2 below, this train is routed via Prague & Dresden, and in summer when it's light the scenery along the Elbe river valley between Prague & Dresden more than makes up for that, see the scenery photos & video for the Prague to Berlin part of the journey here.

  • Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

  • Book at the German railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    Tip:  Check Austrian Railways www.oebb.at & www.thetrainline.com as well, as although fares also start from €39.90 I've seen cheaper fares on oebb.at than bahn.de on a given date & train.  You still get a print-at-home ticket.

Option 3, Vienna to Berlin by nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective overnight option, saves a hotel bill too...

  • An excellent nightjet sleeper train leaves Vienna Hbf at 22:10 every night arriving Berlin Hbf at 09:51 next morning.

    This comfortable nightjet has a Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3 bed standard compartments with washbasin, three 1, 2 & 3 bed deluxe compartments with en suite toilet & shower, there's a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in standard sleepers.  There are also 4 & 6 berth couchettes.  A light breakfast is included in the fare in both sleepers and couchettes.  See the nightjet sleeper train page for more photos, travel tips & information.

  • Fares start at €59.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €69.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.

  • Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at (same prices, a bit more fiddly, no booking fee).  Bookings open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click nj.

  • Tip:  If you have a sleeper ticket, you can use the ΦBB first class lounge at Vienna Hbf before boarding, with complimentary snacks & wine.

Vienna to Berlin Nightjet sleeper train

Nightjet to Berlin...  On the first day of the new timetable, 9 December 2018, the very first Vienna to Berlin Nightjet prepares to leave Vienna Hbf.  See the nightjet page for more photos, tips & informationCourtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Nightjet deluxe sleeper, 2-bed   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   4-berth couchette compartment from Cologne to Vienna

2-berth deluxe sleeper.  More info about Nightjet trains.

 

...en suite toilet & shower.

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 4, Vienna to Berlin by day trains with overnight stop in Prague from €39.90...

Czech restaurant car on a Berlin to Prague train   Lunch in the restaurant car between Berlin & Prague

So civilised!  A meal in the Czech restaurant car as the Berlin-Prague express snakes along the beautiful Elbe river south of Dresden.  Photo courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

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Vienna to Copenhagen, Stockholm & Scandinavia...

Option 1, Vienna to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg or Oslo with an overnight stop in Hamburg..

  • Day 1, travel from Vienna to Hamburg by luxurious ICE train with bistro-restaurant car & free WiFi leaving Vienna Hbf at 13:15 and arriving Hamburg Hbf at 21:53.  By all means take an earlier train if you like for a leisurely evening in Hamburg, but this is the ideal direct train, other departures require at least one change, usually in Wurzburg.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Book at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.

  • If you're going to Stockholm... 

    Travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 train.  If you take the 08:55 from Hamburg you'll make the 14:10 X2000 from Copenhagen arriving Stockholm Central at 19:38. 

    You should book from Hamburg to Stockholm as one transaction from €39.90 at www.bahn.de, looking for suitable departures with 1 change marked either 'ICE, X2' or 'EC, X2' (X2000s are shown as X2 on bahn.de for some reason).  

  • If you're going to Malmφ or Gothenburg...

    Travel from Copenhagen to Malmφ or Gothenburg by Φresund Link train, these run several times each hour to Malmφ, journey time 39 minutes, and once an hour to Gothenburg, journey time 3h53.  Book from Hamburg to Malmφ or Gothenburg as one transaction at www.bahn.de (Gothenburg is listed as Gφteborg Central).

  • If you're going to Oslo...

    Travel from Copenhagen to Gothenburg as shown above.  Trains then run several times per day from Gothenburg to Oslo, you can check times at www.bahn.de and buy at the station or at www.sj.se or (if you have any problems) www.acprail.com or www.snalltaget.se.

    Alternatively, sail overnight from Copenhagen to Oslo by direct cruise ferry with bars, restaurants and en suite cabins, booked at www.dfds.co.uk.  the ship sails around 16:30, don't risk any tight connections in Copenhagen.

Option 2, Vienna to Copenhagen from €69 by comfortable daytime trains with an overnight stop in Munich...

  • How much does it cost?  Fares work like air fares, book early for the cheapest prices...

    Vienna to Munich starts at €27.90 in 2nd class, €56.90 in 1st class.

    Munich to Copenhagen starts at €37.90 in 2nd class, €69.90 in 1st class.

  • How to buy tickets...  Step 1, book from Vienna to Munich at www.bahn.de looking for the direct EC train with 0 changes leaving at or around 13:35.  Step 2, book from Munich to Copenhagen at www.bahn.de looking for a convenient option with just 1 change.  You print out your own tickets.

Danish InterCity train at Copenhagen...   1st class seats on a Danish IC3 train

All Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are now Danish IC3 trains like this...

2nd class seats on a Danish IC3 train   IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg

2nd class seats on an IC3 train...

 

Boarding a train to Copenhagen in Hamburg.

125 mph tilting 'SJ2000' from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station SJ2000 2nd class seats

A Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train boarding at Copenhagen main station...

 

2nd class seats on an X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm.

SJ2000 train   SJ2000 buffet car seating area   SJ2000 self-service buffet car.

X2000 bistro car...

 

X2000 bistro car seating area...

 

Bistro self-service...

Winter scenery fro a Copenhagen-Stockholm train

Winter scenery from a train between Copenhagen & Stockholm. Courtesy of Radoslav Sharapanov

Option 3, using the Vienna-Hamburg sleeper train...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Hamburg by comfortable Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:13, arriving Hamburg Hbf 08:47.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There are toilets & a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    Fares start at €59.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €69.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at (same prices, a bit more fiddly, no booking fee).  Bookings open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, now take the 12:53 Danish IC3 intercity train from Hamburg Hbf to Copenhagen arriving 17:33  Fares from €27.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class at www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone.

  • If you're going to Malmφ or Gothenburg, travel from Copenhagen to Malmφ or Gothenburg by Φresund Link train, these run several times each hour to Malmφ, journey time 35 minutes, and once an hour to Gothenburg, journey time 3h48.  Book from Hamburg to Malmφ or Gothenburg as one transaction at www.bahn.de (Gothenburg is listed as Gφteborg Central).

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian nightjet train from Vienna to Hamburg...

Danish InterCity train at Copenhagen...   1st class seats on a Danish IC3 train

All Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are now Danish IC3 trains like this...

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Vienna to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, via Hamburg & Copenhagen - by train all the way...

Option 2, Vienna to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo Color Line cruise ferry - the most comfortable way to Oslo...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Kiel on any suitable train.  Check times & buy tickets at the German Railways site www.bahn.de.  You can catch a daytime train and stay overnight, or use the Vienna-Hamburg sleeper and connection to Kiel. 

  • In Kiel it's just a 5-6 minute walk from Kiel Hbf to the Color Line ferry terminal, but allow several hours between trains and ferry for the ferry check-in and in case of any delay.

  • Step 2, sail from Kiel to Oslo by luxurious overnight Color Line ferry, with a full range of en suite cabins, suites, bars, restaurants and lounges.  The m/v Magic or m/v Fantasy normally sails at 14:00 arriving Oslo at 10:00 next morning. 

    Check times & buy tickets at the seat61 Ferry Shop or www.colorline.com.

    Make sure you're on deck next morning as the ship sails through spectacular scenery up Oslo Fjord.  The ship docks at the modern Color Line terminal about 2 km from the city centre.  Color Line provide transfer buses to Oslo Sentral station costing 55 krone, or there are plenty of taxis.  If you have little luggage it's possible to walk.  See map of Oslo showing ferry terminal.

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

This photo is taken from the exit of Kiel station, so you can see how close the ferry is.  It's a 5-6 minute walk across the harbour, with a street lift up to a connecting walkway which takes you to the ferry terminal. If you have reserved one of what Color Line call their "5 star suites", check in at the desk rather than the machines and you'll be directed to a special lounge to wait with free tea, coffee, juice, snacks & WiFi.  You'll also have priority boarding of the ship.  Photos courtesy of Andrew Leo.

Boarding the ferry in Kiel

Boarding the Color Line ferry to Oslo in Kiel...

Kiel to Oslo ferry, Color Class suite   Kiel to Oslo ferry, restaurant

A 5 Star Suite on the ferry...

 

More cruise liner than ferry!  The restaurant.

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to this....

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Vienna to Helsinki...
  • Although you can travel to Stockholm then take a ferry to Helsinki, you'll probably find it easier to take a direct ferry from Germany to Helsinki.

  • First, check for Finnlines ferries from Travemόnde to Helsinki at www.finnlines.com.

  • Then use www.bahn.de to find connecting trains from Vienna to Travemόnde.  Allow plenty of time for a transfer to the ferry terminal and the ferry check-in.

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Vienna to Prague from €19...

Option 1, by daytime railjet trains in just 4h05...

Option 2, by competing RegioJet train

  • From December 2017 these railjets have been joined by 4 daily trains run by open-access competitor Regiojet with fares from just €15, free WiFi and at-seat service see the Vienna to Prague page for details.

Czech Railjet train to Vienna at Prague Hlavni station

A blue Czech railjet train from Prague to Vienna, seen at Prague Hlavni...

Option 3, by sleeper train.  This was discontinued from the timetable change in December 2018...

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Vienna to Českύ Krumlov for €11...
  • You can travel from Vienna to Českύ Krumlov in around 4h29, city centre to city centre from just €11 with two easy changes of train, at Ceske Velenice and Ceske Budejovice.  Departures are every two hours, leaving from Vienna's Franz Josef Bahnhof in the north of the city, see location map.

    The Austrian Regional Express (REX) train from Vienna to Ceske Velenice is 2nd class only, a comfortable City Shuttle train using ΦBB's double-deck air-conditioned Weasel trains.  Go upper deck for the best views!

    At Ceske Velenice you simply get off and walk a few feet across the same platform to the waiting Czech regional train to Ceske Budejovice, also 2nd class only but modern and air-conditioned - see the photo below.  If the Austrian train is a bit late the Czech train will wait.  Both Austrian & Czech trains have plenty of luggage space & toilets.  Bring food & drink with you if you want to.

    Incidentally, Ceske Budejovice might sound more familiar by its former Germanic name, Budweis.  That's right, where the name of the beer comes from!  The town is worth a look around in its own right.

    From Ceske Budejovice you take the little green-&-orange GWTR local train to Cesky Krumlov, a leisurely journey on a winding single track branch line past farmland & forest.  This runs every hour or so, taking 44 minutes.  The train has luggage space, a toilet, power sockets & free WiFi.

  • How much does it cost?

    (1)  Vienna to Ceske Budejovice only costs €9 if you book a cheap Sparschiene fare in advance (even booking just a day or two ahead), just remember that Sparschiene fares commit you to a specific departure, no refunds, no changes to travel plans.

    If you want to stay flexible, buy a Standard (GόnTar) ticket for around €38.20, this is good for any train on this route that day, unlimited availability so it cannot sell out, you can buy this ticket online or at the station on the day and hop on any train.  No reservations needed, you sit where you like.

    (2)  Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov by GWTR local train costs 40 Koruna (around €1.55), bought on the day.

  • To check train times & buy tickets...

    Go to Austrian Railways www.oebb.at and ask it for Vienna (just plain Vienna) to Cesky Krumlov.

    In the search results, look for journeys from Vienna Franz Josefs Bahnhof with 2 changes marked REX, Os and then a greyed out train symbol.  It'll specify via Ceske Velenice and Ceske Budejovice underneath.

    You'll also see journeys from Vienna Hbf routed via Linz (Donau) & Ceske Budejovice, this is a longer way round but the trains are faster so it doesn't take much longer.  The trains have 1st class on this route.  However, it's less frequent and more expensive with Sparschiene fares starting at €19, so I'd stick with the direct route unless leaving from the main Vienna Hbf is significantly more convenient for you.

    Whichever route you choose, www.oebb.at will show fares including Sparschiene tickets, but it will say Ticket for section only because ΦBB cannot sell tickets for the local train from Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov as this is run by private operator GWTR.  The fares shown are for Vienna to Ceske Budejovice, so go ahead and buy a cheap Sparschiene ticket, or you can buy the Standard Ticket (GόnTar) online or at the station on the day.

    You buy the GWTR local ticket from Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov either at Ceske Budejovice station from the distinctive green-&-orange GWTR ticket counter in the ticket hall or (if time is short) simply board the GWTR train and buy from the on-board ticket machine which accepts cask or (reportedly) contactless Visa & MasterCard.  Tickets cannot sell out, you sit where you like, it's just local transport.  Easy! 

    If you want to double-check GWTR local train times for any reason, see jizdnirady.idnes.cz/vlaky/spojeni, English button bottom right.

Changing trains at Ceske Velenice

Changing trains at Ceske Velenice.  That's the double-deck Austrian train from Vienna Franz Josefs Bahnhof arrived the right and the modern Czech regional train to Ceske Budejovice on the left.  Yes, all you have to do is walk across the platform!  Courtesy Colin Penfold.

New GWTR train from Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov

The small but distinctive GWTR local train from Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov...  Courtesy of @wanisbunes

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Vienna to Brno from €7...
  • The Vienna to Prague railjet trains call at Brno.  Departure from Vienna Hbf every 2 hours, journey time to Brno just 1h28.

  • Advance-purchase First Minute fares start at €7, limited availability, specific train only, no refunds, no changes.  The full-flex fare bought on the day is around €26, good for any train that day.

  • Book at Czech Railways www.cd.cz and print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.  You can also book at Austrian Railways www.oebb.at or at www.thetrainline.com, but the Czechs are usually cheaper for the same train.

  • The Vienna-Prague Regiojet trains also serve Brno.  Book at www.regiojet.com and print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.  Regiojet can be cheaper bat short notice, too.

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Vienna to Ostrava...
  • Several times a day, direct EuroCity trains link Vienna Hbf with Ostrava, journey time 2h50, you can check times at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.

    The final destination of these trains is usually Warsaw, carriages are usually supplied by Polish Railways, comfortable and air-conditioned, and there's usually a restaurant car and power sockets at seats.  You can see the train formation, on-board facilities and photos if you go to www.vagonweb.cz and search for the train number once you have found that at www.oebb.at.

  • Advance-purchase Sparschiene fares start at €19.90.

  • Book at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.  You can also book at www.thetrainline.com.

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Vienna to Bratislava for €11.20...
The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, about to leave from Vienna Hauptbahnhof.

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Vienna to Poprad-Tatry & Kosice...
  • A direct Intercity train leaves Vienna Hbf at around 14:42, journey time to Poprad-Tatry 4h55, to Kosice 6h.

    This direct train is composed of comfortable air-conditioned Slovakian cars and an excellent Slovakian Railways restaurant car (recommended!).  There are power sockets at all seats and (except in the restaurant car) free WiFi.  You can see the train formation and photos if you go to www.vagonweb.cz and search for IC45.

    Other journeys are available through the day with 1 easy change in Bratislava.

  • Advance-purchase Sparschiene fares start at €29.90.

  • Book at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.  You can also book at www.thetrainline.com.

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Vienna to Budapest from €9...
  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

Bistro-restaurant car...

Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   The morning RailJet from Munich has arrived in Budapest.

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with picture windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

 

A railjet from Vienna, arrived at Budapest Keleti spot on time.  More photos & information about railjet trains.

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Vienna to Sighisoara, Brasov & Bucharest from €58...

Option 1, by Dacia Express sleeper train from Vienna to Sighisoara, Brasov & Bucharest - the direct option...

  • The Dacia Express leaves Vienna Hbf every day at 19:42 arriving next day at Sighisoara 10:34, Brasov 13:35 & Bucharest Gara de Nord at 16:04.

    It has a modern air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, plus several deluxe compartments with en suite shower & toilet.  It has a Romanian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.

    A Hungarian restaurant car operates between Vienna and Budapest, treat yourself to dinner.  A bar-bistro is then attached in the morning between Arad & Bucharest, serving drinks, snacks and breakfast.  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat...

  • You can book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at which can sell cheap sparschiene fares from Vienna to Bucharest for as little as €49 with a couchette in a 6-berth compartment, €69 with a bed in a 3-berth sleeper, €89 with a bed in a 2-berth sleeper or €149 with a bed in a single-berth sleeper all to yourself.

    In the search results, look for the direct train marked D with no changes.  If it says not available you can't book it (booking may not have opened yet), but if a sparschiene fare is shown you can.  You collect tickets from  an ΦBB ticket machine in Vienna.

  • Tip:  If you like, you can check the consist for this train, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria, click D and look for Dacia.

Option 2, by railjet to Budapest then Ister sleeper train to Brasov & Bucharest - a good alternative...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Budapest by EuroCity train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 14:42 and arriving Budapest Keleti at 17:19.  By all means take an earlier train and spend a day or an afternoon exploring Budapest.

    Fares start at €19 each way in 2nd class, €29 in 1st class, €44 in business class.

    To check times and buy tickets use either www.thetrainline.com (easiest, accepts overseas cards) or Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, take the EuroNight sleeper train Ister leaving Budapest Keleti at 19:10 and arriving next day at Brasov at 09:54 & Bucharest Gara de Nord at 12:33.

    This comfortable train has 4 & 6 berth couchettes and a modern air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, also deluxe sleepers with 1 or 2 beds and shower/toilet.  Ister is the historic name for the river Danube.  There's no restaurant car so take a picnic and bottle of wine.  Enjoy the alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov & Bucharest.

    Fares from Budapest to Bucharest start at €39 with a couchette or €59 with a bed in a sleeper.  There's wonderful scenery in the morning over breakfast in Transylvania and through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest.

    To book the Budapest to Bucharest train, use the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, see advice on how to use mavcsoport.hu & how you collect your tickets from the yellow self-service machines at Budapest.  Click EN for English top right and use Bucuresti for Bucharest.  If www.mavcsoport.hu won't offer tickets for a 2-bed or 1-bed sleeper, simply book 3 tickets in a 3-bed sleeper to get sole occupancy.

Dacia Express at Vienna   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

The Dacia Express couchette car boarding at Vienna Hbf.  Always book a couchette, not just a seat.  Couchettes convert from bunks at night to seats by day.

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Sleeper on the Dacia Express   Dacia Express at Sighisoara

A 1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper with washbasin.  Larger photo.

 

The Dacia Express arrived at Sighisoara.  Sleepers convert from beds to private sitting rooms for day use.  Courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest  

Enjoy breakfast in the bar-bistro eastbound, or an evening beer westbound, as a bar-bistro is attached in Romania to both the Ister & Dacia ExpressBar-bistro photos courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Option 3, using daytime trains with overnight stop - if you prefer day trains & hotels to sleepers...

  • Day 1, take an air-conditioned railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, leaving Vienna Hbf at 18:42 and arriving Budapest Keleti at 21:19.  By all means take an earlier train if you'd like an evening or even a whole afternoon in Budapest.

    Book this train from just €19 in 2nd class or €29 in 1st class at either www.thetrainline.com (easiest to use, accepts overseas cards, you print your own ticket) or Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, you print your own ticket).

  • Stay overnight in Budapest.  For an inexpensive hotel with great reviews right next to Keleti Station, try the Royal Park Boutique HotelMore hotels in Budapest.

  • Day 2, take a daytime train from Budapest to Transylvania & Bucharest.  A comfortable air-conditioned InterCity train called the Traianus leaves Budapest Keleti at 07:10 and arrives Bucharest Nord at 23:44.  Another comfortable air-conditioned InterCity train leaves Budapest Keleti at 09:10 via Simeria & Sibiu arriving Brasov 22:54. 

    Book these trains from €29 (but no equivalent 1st class offer, so my advice is to stick with 2nd) at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, clicking EN for English top left.  You collect your tickets from the yellow ticket machines at Budapest Keleti station.

The 'Transylvania' train to Brasov about to leave Budapest

The morning train from Budapest to Bucharest at Budapest Keleti, with modern air-conditioned Romanian carriages...

The 'Transylvania' train to Brasov about to leave Budapest   2nd class Romanian InterCity coach

On the left, the daytime train to Bucharest is about to leave Budapest Keleti...

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats in an air-conditioned Romanian carriage.  Larger photo.

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Vienna to Ljubljana & Slovenia...
  • A direct air-conditioned EuroCity train called the Emona links Vienna with Ljubljana every day, leaving Vienna Hbf at 07:58 and arriving in Ljubljana at 14:08.

    The Emona has a Slovenian restaurant car serving inexpensive waiter-service meals, beer & wine.  Enjoy the fabulous scenery along the beautiful UNESCO-listed Semmering route through the mountains between Vienna & Graz.

    The Emona uses a mix of comfortable & spacious air-conditioned Austrian & Slovenian carriages with a choice of sitting in an open-plan saloon car (my own preference) or in classic 6-seater compartments with side corridor.  The Austrian cars have power sockets at seats, although the Slovenian ones don't.

    If you like you can check the train formation & see what the carriages are like at www.vagonweb.cz - Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria and click EC then look for the Emona.

  • Other departures are available leaving Vienna Hbf around 12:25, changing at Villach to arrive Ljubljana around 18:33, and leaving Vienna around 14:25, changing at Villach onto a train to Ljubljana arriving around 20:42.

  • Cheap sparschiene fares from Vienna to Ljubljana start at €24 in 2nd class or €34 in 1st class.

  • Buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com (quickest & easiest to use, accepts overseas cards, you print your own ticket) or at Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, you print your own ticket).  Suggested hotel in |Ljubljana.

Austrian 1st class car   Austrian 2nd class compartment

1st class open-plan seating as used on the Emona.  1st class seats in classic 6-seat  compartments are also available...

 

2nd class compartment as used on the Emona.  Seats in open plan cars are also available

Lunch in Slovenian restaurant car   Slovenian restaurant car

The Emona has a Slovenian restaurant car with inexpensive freshly-cooked meals, beer & wine...

Between Vienna & Villach the Emona travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Scenery in Slovenia, between Maribor & Zidani Most....

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Vienna to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik & Croatia...

Option 1, all year round...

  • A direct air-conditioned EuroCity train called the Croatia links Vienna with Zagreb every day, leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving in Zagreb at 22:36.

    The Croatia has an Austrian restaurant car, so treat yourself to dinner, and at least in summer enjoy the fabulous scenery along the beautiful UNESCO-listed Semmering route through the mountains between Vienna & Graz.

    The Croatia uses comfortable and spacious air-conditioned Austrian carriages, with power sockets at all seats with a choice of sitting in an open-plan saloon car (my own preference) or in classic 6-seater compartments with side corridor.

    If you like you can check the train formation & see what the carriages are like at www.vagonweb.cz - Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria and click EC then look for the Croatia.

  • Another good departure is available leaving Vienna Hbf around 08:25 by railjet train, changing at Villach onto a Croatian train to Zagreb arriving around 17:10.  And at 12:25, change at Villach, arriving 20:51.  This train also takes the UNESCO-listed Semmering route.

  • Cheap sparschiene fares from Vienna to Zagreb start at just €29 in 2nd class or €39 in 1st class.

  • Buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com (quickest & easiest to use, accepts overseas cards, you print your own ticket) or at Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, you print your own ticket).

  • For Split, either stay overnight in Zagreb and take a daytime train from Zagreb to Split next day (a great idea as it's a lovely scenic route well worth seeing by day) or take the overnight sleeper from Zagreb to Split.  The fare by daytime train is only around €20 in 2nd class.  See the Trains from Zagreb page for photos & full details.

    You can check times & buy tickets online at the Croatian Railways website www.hzpp.hr - though it's not usually a problem to get places on the day.

  • For Dubrovnik, take a bus from Split to Dubrovnik.  Buses leave every hour or even every half hour from Split bus station and take between 3h45 and 4h35 to Dubrovnik bus station.  There are various operators, the fare is between €13 and €17.  Buy at the bus station on the day, it's easy.

  • See suggested hotels in Zagreb & Split.

Austrian restaurant car

Vienna to Zagreb on the Croatia:  This is an elegant Austrian restaurant car of the type used on the Croatia, a very civilised & comfortable train...

 

1st class open-plan seating as used on the Croatia.  1st class seats in classic 6-seat  compartments are also available...

 

2nd class compartment seating as used on the Croatia.  Seats in open plan saloon cars also available

Between Vienna & Villach the Croatia travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Scenery in Slovenia, between Maribor & Zidani Most....

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Sevnica Castle, seen from the train between Zidani Most & Zagreb....

An ICN train to Splt at Zagreb station   1st class seats on the fast tilting ICN train from Zagreb to Split

Zagreb to Split by train:  These fast, tilting, air-conditioned ICN trains link Zagreb & Split once or twice a day through great scenery.  Above right, first class seats.  You can now buy tickets online at www.hzpp.hr.

Scenery seen from the Zagreb-Split train

Scenery between Zagreb and Split seen from the train...  Photo courtesy of Pαraic Maguire.

Option 2, using the Budapest-Split sleeper train Adria, runs in summer June-September...

  • Step 2, travel from Budapest to Split by direct sleeper train called the Adria.  This runs from mid-June to early September, leaving Budapest Keleti around 18:53 every evening arriving Split around 08:56 next morning.  It has a comfortable Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments and a couchette car with 4 & 6 bunk compartments.

    The fare is around €79 with couchette or from €92 with a bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper.

    Check to see if it is bookable online at the Hungarian Railways website www.mavcsoport.hu.  If not, you will need to book at the station or by phone with a ticketing agency in your home country.

  • For Dubrovnik, take a bus from Split.  There are buses every hour or even every half hour, run by several companies.  Journey time between 3h45 and 4h35, fare around €13-€17.  Buy a ticket at the bus station in Split.

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Vienna to Belgrade, Sofia & Montenegro...

Vienna to Belgrade via Zagreb, unaffected by engineering works...

  • This is a round-about route, but the direct Vienna-Budapest-Belgrade route is currently blocked by major track upgrading.

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Zagreb by an air-conditioned EuroCity train Croatia leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Zagreb Glavni Kolod (main station) at 22:42.  Book this from €29 in 2nd class or €39 in 1st class at www.thetrainline.com (easiest to use, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (same prices but a bit more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

    The Croatia has a restaurant car serving snacks, meals, beer & wine so treat yourself to dinner, and at least in summer enjoy the fabulous scenery along the beautiful UNESCO-listed Semmering route through the mountains between Vienna & Graz.

  • Stay overnight in Zagreb.  There are good hotels just a stone's throw from the station, I suggest the Esplanade Hotel, Palace Hotel or Central Hotel, all near the station with good reviews.

  • Step 2, travel from Zagreb to Belgrade by train.  Until 4 October 2020 it leaves Zagreb at 11:03 and arrives Novi Beograd at 18:00 & Belgrade Centar at 18:07.  From 5 October 2020 onwards it leaves Zagreb at 13:04 and arrives Novi Beograd at 20:17 & Belgrade Centar at 20:25.

    This train has air-conditioned Serbian carriages with comfortable 2nd class seats, but no 1st class.  There's no dining-car, so bring a picnic and some beer or wine.

    The fare is around €29 bought at the station in Zagreb or paid on board the train, but tickets cannot be bought online.

  • Step 4 for Sofia, stay overnight in Belgrade and take the train from Belgrade to Sofia next day (day 3) arriving in the evening.  See the Belgrade to Sofia page for schedule, fares & how to buy tickets.

  • Step 4 for Montenegro, transfer to Belgrade Topcider station and either take the overnight sleeper Lovcen to Podgorica and Bar arriving in the morning on day 3, or stay overnight in Belgrade and take the daytime train Tara next day.  See the Belgrade to Montenegro page for schedule, fares & how to buy tickets.

  • If you need to stay overnight in Belgrade, I recommend the historic Hotel Moskva.

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Vienna to Warsaw & Krakow from €42...

Option 1, Vienna to Warsaw by comfortable daytime train...

  • Two air-conditioned EuroCity (EC) trains with restaurant car link Vienna with Warsaw every day, city centre to city centre:

    The EuroCity Sobieski leaves Vienna Hbf at 06:06 and arrives Warsaw Centralna at 13:11.

    The EuroCity Polonia leaves Vienna Hbf at 14:10 and arrives Warsaw Centralna at 21:24.

    Take a good book and treat yourself to an inexpensive meal in the restaurant car with beer or wine, see the photos below.

    Tip:  You can check the train formation & see photos of the cars inside and out if you go to www.vagonweb.cz, Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria, click EC and locate your specific train.

  • Sparschiene fares start at €42 in 2nd class or from €52 in 1st class if booked in advance, including seat reservation.

  • Book online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.

Option 2, Vienna to Krakow by comfortable daytime train...

  • A direct EuroCity train leaves Vienna Hbf at 08:10 and arrives Krakow Glowny at 13:51, final destination Przemysl.

    This train consists of comfortable air-conditioned Austrian cars, some with side corridor and 6-seat compartments, some with open-plan saloon seating, see the photos below.  The 1st class car is normally one with 6-seat compartments.  An Austrian restaurant car is available as far as Bohumin.

    Tip:  Most people prefer the open-plan saloon seating car.  If you are a group of 5 or 6 family or friends you may prefer the compartment car.

    You can check the train formation & see photos of the cars inside and out if you go to www.vagonweb.cz, Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria, click EC then locate your specific train, the EuroCity Sobieski.

  • Later departures are possible with one simple change of train:

    Leave Vienna Hbf at 14:10, change trains at Katowice with time for dinner, arrive Krakow Glowny 22:20.

  • Sparschiene fares start at €42 in 2nd class or from €52 in 1st class if booked in advance, including seat reservation.

  • Check times and buy tickets at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  You print your own ticket.

Morning EuroCity train from Vienna to Warsaw

The morning EuroCity train from Vienna to Warsaw & Gydnia, at Vienna Hbf.  On these PKP Polish Railways cars, the green stripe above the windows indicates 2nd class.  Yellow indicates first class.  Red indicates the restaurant car.  Courtesy of Jennifer Delaney.

Restaurant car oin Vienna-Warsaw train   Breakfast on the morning Vienna to Warsaw train

Polish restaurant car on the morning EuroCity train from Vienna to Warsaw & Gydnia.  Courtesy www.discoverbyrail.com.

 

Breakfast in the Polish restaurant car between Vienna and Bohumin.  Courtesy www.discoverbyrail.com.

2nd class seats in an open-plan car   2nd class seats in 6-seat compartments

2nd class seats in an open-plan saloon.  Some of the Austrian Vienna-Krakow cars are like this.  See larger photo.

 

2nd class seats in a compartment.  Other Vienna-Krakow cars are like this. See larger photo.

Option 3, to Krakow or Warsaw by EuroNight sleeper train - the time-effective option...

  • A safe & comfortable EuroNight sleeper train called the Chopin leaves Vienna Hbf at 22:10 arriving Krakow Glowny at 05:41 & Warsaw Centralna at 08:33.

    This train has a comfortable and secure sleeping-car with 1, 2 or 3 beds per compartment.  It's air-conditioned and also has a couple of 1 or 2 bed deluxe compartments with shower & toilet, see the photos below. 

    In summer June-August and at Easter, Christmas & New Year the train also has economical couchettes in 4 & 6-bunk compartments.

  • Vienna to Krakow starts at €19 or Vienna to Warsaw at €29, these are the cheapest possible advance-purchase sparschiene fare, the price varies with limited availability at each price level.  You then need to add one of the following supplements to get a bed:

    €20 for a couchette in 6-berth, €30 for a couchette in 4-berth, €35 for a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €50 for a bed in a 2-bed sleeper, €100 for a bed in a single-bed sleeper, €70 for a bed in a 2-berth deluxe sleeper with shower & toilet, or €120 for a single-bed deluxe sleeper with shower & toilet (all per person, berths are sold individually).

  • Book this train online at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, happily accepts overseas payment cards) or the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly), you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If using www.thetrainline.com and no sleepers appear, try selecting Semi-Flex at the top instead of Cheapest.  If using oebb.at, if it says Please choose a different service when trying to select a couchette or sleeper, scroll back up to the fares section, click More services and select the higher-priced fare instead of the cheapest sparschiene price.  It means couchettes and/or sleepers are no longer available in conjunction with the cheapest sparschiene rates.

Modern Polish sleeping-car

Modern Polish sleeping-car of the type used Vienna-Warsaw.  Photo courtesy of WieselFahrer...

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

Standard sleeper in evening/morning mode with seats folded out.

 

Standard sleeper set up as a 3-berth.  It can also be sold as a single or double.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...

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Vienna to Kiev & Ukraine...

Option 1, by new direct sleeping-car from Vienna to Lviv & Kiev.  See Ukrainian news report showing the new Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car service.

  • A direct sleeping-car leaves Vienna Hbf at 16:42 every day, travels via Budapest & Chop and arrives next day at Lviv at 10:14 & Kiev at 17:21.

    Introduced in 2017, this train consists of one (or at peak times two) Ukrainian sleeping-cars with comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below.  At Chop on the other side of the border the through sleeping-car is jacked up to have its wheelsets changed from European standard gauge (4'8½") to Russian gauge used in Ukraine (5').

    A Hungarian restaurant car operates between Vienna and Zahony (on the Ukrainian border just before Chop), treat yourself to dinner.

  • Book the train from Vienna to Lviv or Kiev online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  This will only book one-way or round trip starting in Vienna because tickets need to be collected from an ΦBB station in Austria.  They cannot be collected in Ukraine.  Booking this way you pay no fee or mark-up, just the official fare.

    If you have any problems or want a one-way ticket starting in Ukraine, you can also book the Vienna-Kiev train via reliable agency www.polrail.com, with tickets posted or couriered to you for a small fee.  Polrail are based in Poland so charge in zlotys, but as they have access to Ukrainian ticketing system they are good for booking this train.

    The sleeper has become popular, it can sell out.

  • Booked through oebb.at:

    Vienna to Kiev costs €80.50 in a 3-berth sleeper, €90.50 in a 2-berth sleeper or €152.90 in a single sleeper.

    Vienna to Lviv costs €62.10 in a 3-berth sleeper, €70.10 in a 2-berth sleeper or €119.30 in a single sleeper.

  • Booked through Polrail:

    Vienna to Kiev costs around €138 in a 3-berth sleeper €149 in a 2-berth sleeper, or €241 in a single-berth sleeper.

    Vienna to Lviv costs around €120 in a 3-berth sleeper €129 in a 2-berth sleeper, or €207 in a single-berth sleeper.

  • Booked at the station in Ukraine, Kiev to Vienna costs around €80, Lviv to Vienna around €60, in both cases with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

Boarding the Vienna to Kiev sleeping-car at Vienna Hbf.  Photo courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Sleeper to Kiev about to leave Vienna   Ukrainian sleeper corridor   1, 2 or 3 bed Ukrainian sleeper compartment

The Vienna-Kiev sleeper about to leave Vienna Hbf... Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

A comfortable 1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car has its wheels changed at Chop

The Vienna-Kiev sleeper is jacked up to have its bogies changed at Chop on the Ukrainian border.  Photo Helmut Uttenthaler.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car arrived Kiev Pass.  Photos courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Option 2, using the Vienna-Lviv daytime connection, also useful to Kiev if the direct sleeper is full...

  • Step 1, travel from Vienna to Przemysl by EuroCity train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 08:10 and arriving Przemysl at 18:24.

    Fares start at €32, buy this ticket at www.oebb.at and collect at the station.

  • Step 2, travel from Przemysl to Lviv, leaving Przemysl at 18:59 and arriving Lviv at 22:40 and Odessa at 11:15 next day.  This train has 4-berth kupι sleepers.  The connection at Przemysl isn't long, but I understand this is a recognised connection.  Feedback appreciated.

    The fare to Lviv is about €12 in kupι, book this train at the Ukrainian Railways site booking.uz.gov.ua/en.

 Option 3, using the Budapest-Lviv daytime connection, also useful to Kiev if the direct sleeper is full...

  • Step 1, take any afternoon or evening train you like from Vienna Hbf to Budapest Keleti booked online at www.oebb.at from €19 in 2nd class or €29 in 1st class.  Trains leave every hour or two, journey 2h45.

  • Stay overnight in Budapest.  For an inexpensive hotel with great reviews next to Budapest Keleti, try the Royal Park Boutique HotelMore hotels in Budapest.

  • Step 2, travel from Budapest to Chop on the Ukrainian border by air-conditioned Hungarian intercity train Latorca, leaving Budapest Nyugati station at 07:23 every day arriving Chop at 13:40.

  • Step 3,  travel from Chop to Lviv & Kiev by Ukrainian train called the Desna, leaving Chop at 16:58, arriving Lviv at 22:18 and then travelling overnight to Kiev, arriving 07:27.

  • To buy tickets from Budapest to Lviv:

    Step 1, pre-book Budapest to Zahony on the 07:23 InterCity Latorca from Budapest Nyugati for around €17.50 at www.mavcsoport.hu.  You collect tickets from the blue or yellow machines in Budapest.

    Step 2, Zahony to Chop costs €2.50, you buy this at the station at Zahony.  The train spends an hour at Zahony station, so plenty of time!

    Step 3, pre-book Chop to Lviv for around €6 in a 4-berth sleeper or €12 in a 1st class 2-berth at the Ukrainian Railways website www.uz.gov.ua on train 81 Desna leaving Chop at 16:58.  Or book to Kiev if going there, obviously!

  • Feedback and any photos of the Hungarian or Ukrainian train inside or out would be most welcome, please email me if you travel this way!

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Vienna to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

Option 1, via Kiev - runs daily & avoids Belarus, the route I'd recommend.

  • Step 1, take the direct sleeper train from Vienna to Kiev, leaving Vienna Hbf at 16:42 and arriving Kiev at 17:21 the next day.  To book this, contact agency www.polrail.com or try contacting ΦBB (Austrian Railways) telesales via www.oebb.at - it seems tickets aren't being sold online.  See the photos & journey details in the section above.

  • Step 2, take one of the various Kiev to Moscow sleeper trains, for example one leaves at 19:36 arriving Moscow Kievskaya station at 10:09 the next morning.

    The fare is around €92 with a bed in 4-berth kupι or €180 with a bed in a 2-berth spalny vagon.

    You can ask www.polrail.com to book this for you too, or you can book tickets from Kiev to Moscow at the Ukrainian Railways site https://booking.uz.gov.ua/en/ booking from Kyiv to Moskva Kievskaya.  You collect tickets at the station in Kiev.  Feedback appreciated!

Option 2, by direct train, aboard the weekly Nice-Moscow Express...

Option 3, with a day in Warsaw, daily...

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Vienna to Athens & Greece...

Option 1, overland by train through the Balkans, an adventure...

  • Day 1, travel from Vienna to Belgrade by air-conditioned EuroCity train Avala as shown above from €34, booked as shown in that section.

  • Spend a night & day in Belgrade.  I recommend the excellent and well-located Hotel Moskva, at the end of Belgrade's premier pedestrianised shopping street.

  • Day 2, take the direct overnight train leaving Belgrade Centar station at 18:35 for Thessaloniki in Northern Greece as shown on the Trains from Belgrade page for €42 including couchette.  You can buy at this price at the station on the day if you like, there are almost always places available and it's not expensive.  This train now runs summer-only, from mid-June to mid-September.

The Macedonian couchette car on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki train   A 6-berth couchette compartment on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki train

The Belgrade to Thessaloniki couchette car...  Below, scenery between Thessaloniki & Athens...

2nd class on Greek InterCity train   More mountain scenery, and the Gorgopotamos Viaduct...

After leaving Thessaloniki, the InterCity train runs along the Aegean coast and past Mount Olympus (seen above, from the train), mythical home to the Greek gods...

 

Between Larissa & Athens, the train snakes through the mountains, over the famous Gorgopotamos viaduct, blown up by the British S.O.E. in WW2...

Great scenery from the train:  In the mountains between Athens and Larissa   More scenery on the train to Athens

Emerging from the mountains, the train descends a spectacular escarpment (above left), with the Greek plain laid out hundreds of feet below...

Option 2, by train to Italy then ferry...

  • Day 1, take the comfortable Nightjet sleeper train from Vienna to Venice as shown above from €59 with couchette or from €99 with a bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper or €139 in a single-bed sleeper, light breakfast included.  You could also take the earlier 19:23 sleeper from Vienna to Bologna instead, this works just as well.  Book this at www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.

  • Day 2, take a train from Venice (or Bologna) to Bari, booked at either www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com from just €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  I'd allow at least 60 minutes between trains in Venice.

  • Day 2, sail from Bari to Patras in Greece by cruise ferry.  The ferry usually sails daily except Sundays at 19:30, arrives Patras around 13:00 next day (day 3 from Vienna).  Fares from around €60 with a deck place, rising to over €120 or so if you want a cabin - check times, prices and buy tickets at www.superfast.com.  It's a wonderful journey, past Ithaca & Kefalonia on a ship with cabins, sun decks, bars & restaurants.  Then catch a bus from Patras to Athens.  You'll find more details about both the ferry and onward transport from Patras to Athens on the London to Greece page, just ignore the London to Bari part!

A 2 or 4 berth cabin on the Italy-Greece ferry  

2 or 4-berth cabin with private toilet & shower.

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

At sea, passing Cephalonia & Ithaca.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

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Vienna to Istanbul & Turkey...

Option 1, via Budapest & Bucharest...

  • Take an afternoon railjet train from Vienna to Budapest in 2h41 from €19 bought at www.oebb.at

  • Then pick up the overnight sleeper train Ister from Budapest to Bucharest and the onward train from Bucharest to Istanbul as explained in detail in this section on the London to Turkey page, buying tickets as shown on that page.  It's a 2-night journey.

Option 2, via Belgrade & Sofia...

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bullet pointRailbookers custom-made tours

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, the people to talk to are Railbookers.  Railbookers can tailor-make a train trip around Europe to your own specification.  Just tell them what you want and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels.  They get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  They now have offices in the UK, North America and Australia.

UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk.

US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

Canadian flag  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website.

New Zealand flag  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

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bullet pointHotels in Vienna

Suggested hotels near Vienna Hbf...

Suggested hotels in the city centre...

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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