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TRANSPORT

Ten destinations by direct night train from Austria

Want to explore Austria’s neighbouring countries? Then consider travelling by night train to some of Europe’s most exciting destinations.

Ten destinations by direct night train from Austria
Travellers no longer need to show a 3G proof to enter Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The return of the night train in Europe has been a welcome development for many people that like to travel but are concerned about the impact of flying on the environment.

Plus, with Austria’s convenient Central European location, there are currently around 30 night train routes in every direction out of the country and from several different Austrian cities. 

As Covid-19 travel restrictions across the continent start to relax and we edge closer to spring, here are ten European cities that can be reached by night train from Austria.

The timetables and ticket prices mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing but could change. All ticket prices are for a one-way journey.

Berlin

The Nightjet overnight service by ÖBB (Austria’s national railway system) has a direct route from Vienna to Berlin in Germany. The service takes around 12 hours departing from Vienna Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) at 10.10pm, arriving in Berlin at around 10am the next morning.

The train travels north east out of Vienna to the border with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, before transiting through Poland and into Germany.

Ticket prices range from €90 for a Sitzwagen (a seated carriage) to €140 for a Schlafwagen (sleeping carriage).

Paris

From Vienna, travellers can reach Paris Gare de l’Est train station in 14 hours with the Nightjet. The service runs on Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 7.40pm and ticket prices range from €110 to €195.

This route travels west out of Vienna and stops at Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Linz and Salzburg before crossing into Germany.

Rome

The Nightjet runs daily from Vienna to Rome with stops at Wien Meidling, Wiener Neustadt, Bruck, Leoban, Knittelfeld, Friesach, Klagenfurt and Villach. The train leaves Vienna at 7.23pm and arrives in Rome at 9.10am.

Ticket prices start at €40 for a seat and go up to €130 for a sleeping carriage.

ÖBB also runs a Nightjet service from Munich to Rome that picks up passengers in Salzburg at 10.02pm and arrives in Rome at 9.10am. Ticket prices for this route range from €70 to €150.

A woman walks her dog past the Colosseum in Rome on May 8, 2020.

Rome can be reached by night train from Vienna and Salzburg. Photo by: Alberto Pizzoli / AFP.

Zurich

The ÖBB Nightjet service to Zurich in Switzerland operates daily, leaving Vienna at 9.27pm and arriving in Zurich at 8.20am the next morning. Ticket prices range from €45 to €140.

This service stops at several other train stations in Austria, including Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Amstetten, Linz, Wels, Attnang-Puchheim, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Landeck-Zams, Bludenz and Feldkirch.

Alternatively, Magyar Államvasutak (MÁV) – Hungary’s national rail operator – runs an overnight service between Vienna and Zurich, which leaves Vienna at 11.27pm and arrives in Zurich at 8.20am. There are no sleeping carriages on this route and ticket prices start at €50.

Similarly, a Nightjet service runs daily from Graz Central Station to Zurich. The train leaves Graz at 10.26pm and arrives in Zurich at 9.20am. This route includes the option to load a car or motorbike on the train between Graz and Feldkirch from €39.90.

Brussels

Overnight train services operate between Vienna and Brussels Midi (the main train station in Brussels) on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The train leaves Vienna at 8.13pm and arrives in Brussels at 9.54am, stopping at Brussels Nord seven minutes earlier.

Before leaving Austria, the service stops at Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Linz and Wels. The train then travels through Germany before reaching Brussels.

Ticket prices start at €70 and go up to €160.

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Ljubljana

The Nightjet train service from Salzburg Central Station to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city, is operated by HŽ Putničkim prijevozom, Croatia’s national rail operator. The final destination is Zagreb in Croatia.

Trains between Salzburg and Ljubljana run daily, setting off from Munich, and the service stops at Schwarzach-St.Veit and Villach before crossing into Slovenia. It leaves Salzburg at 1.40am and arrives at Ljubljana at 6.20am. 

Ticket prices start at €19.90 for a seated carriage. There are no reclining or sleeper carriages on this route.

Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is just five hours from Salzburg by night train. Photo by: Blaž Gostinčar / Pexels.

Amsterdam

From Kufstein in Tyrol, travellers can take the Nightjet service to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The train leaves Innsbruck at 8.44pm and stops in Kufstein at 9.35pm before crossing into Germany. It arrives in Amsterdam at 9.59am.

Additionally, a daily Nightjet service leaves Vienna at 8.13pm and arrives in Amsterdam at 9.59am. This route stops at Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Linz and Wels.

Ticket prices range from €100 to €170.

Split

From June 3rd to September 23, a Nightjet service connecting Vienna and Split in Croatia will operate on Tuesday and Friday, including vehicle transportation. Travellers in Austria can also board the train at Wien Meidling, Wiener Neustadt, Bruck/Mur and Graz.

The route is operated by Slovenske železnice (Slovenian Railways) and offers both seating and sleeper carriages. Ticket prices range from €40 to €120.

Hamburg

Overnight trains between Vienna and Hamburg run daily. The service departs Vienna at 8.13pm and arrives at Hamburg Central Station at 8.50am. The route stops at Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Linz and Wels before crossing into Germany.

This service offers seating, reclining and sleeper carriages with ticket prices ranging from €80 to €180.

Krakow

A daily Nightjet service runs between Vienna and Krakow in Poland, leaving Vienna Central Station at 10.10pm and arriving in Krakow at 5.46am. Vienna is the only stop in Austria for this route.

The service is operated by Polskie Koleje Państwowe (Polish State Railways). Ticket prices start at €49 and go up to €84.

Essential German words for train travel

Hauptbahnhof – main train station

Zug – train

Sitzwagen – seated carriage

Schlafwagen – sleeping carriage 

Liegewagen – reclining (chair) carriage

Einzelfahrschein – one-way ticket

Rückfahrschein – return ticket

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For members

CYCLING

Cycling in Austria: 7 rules you can be fined for breaking

The rules of the roads aren’t just for motorists – they apply to cyclists too. To avoid being fined by the police, here’s what you need to know about cycling in Austria.

Cycling in Austria: 7 rules you can be fined for breaking

Cycling is a great way to get around in Austria as it’s environmentally friendly, cheap and healthy. But it’s not without risks, especially when it comes to breaking the rules.

This is because cyclists are subject to the Road Traffic Act and so have to obey road signs, drink driving laws and have the right equipment.

FOR MEMBERS: What you need to know about cycling in Austria

Failure to do so – either by mistake or on purpose – can result in a financial penalty. So here are the main rules to follow when cycling in Austria and how much you can be fined if you break them.

Disclaimer: the details below refer to the Organmandat (an on-the-spot fine). The amount can vary across the different Austrian states, so in most cases the minimum fine has been referenced.

Drink-cycling – €800 to €5,900 fine

Just like with driving, cycling while under the influence of alcohol is not allowed in Austria. So if you are caught over the limit, you will be fined.

In fact, cyclists are only allowed up to 0.4mg of alcohol per litre of breath. If a breathalyser detects more alcohol in your system, you will be fined based on how much you have consumed.

  • From 0.4mg: €800 to €3,700 fine
  • From 0.6mg: €1,200 to €4,400
  • From 0.8mg: €1,600 to €5,900 
  • Refusal to test: €1,600 to €5,900

As well as a fine, cyclists can end up losing a driving licence if caught cycling while drunk. According to the federal government, this is because “riding a bicycle while intoxicated can be an indication of a lack of traffic reliability”. Because of that, authorities may determine that you are no fit to drive and, therefore, revoke your drier’s licence. 

READ ALSO:  Five European cities you can reach from Austria in less than five hours by train

Failure to stop – €50 to €70

Cyclists have to obey traffic lights when riding on the roads in Austria and the fine for going through a red light is at least €70. But it can go up to €726, depending on the situation.

The same applies to ‘STOP’ signs. The fine for failing to stop (as a cyclist) is at least €50, but it can be between €70 and €726.

However, turning right at a red light as a cyclist is now allowed in Austria and will not result in a fine – as long as it does not endanger road safety. 

Not having the right equipment – €20

According to the Bicycle Ordinance in Austria, a cyclist is required by law to have certain equipment, like lights (for cycling in the dark), functioning brakes and reflectors. 

You can be fined €20 for each missing piece of equipment and it’s not unknown in cities like Vienna to be chased down by the police for failing to have lights on at night.

READ NEXT: How to exchange your foreign driving licence for an Austrian one

Cycling on the pavement – €30

In Austria, cyclists are supposed to stay on the road, unless on a designated cycle path. So if you are caught cycling on the pavement, you can expect to pay a €30 fine. 

But if you also endanger pedestrians by cycling on a pavement, then the fine is €50.

Wrong way down a one-way street – €50

One-way street rules apply to all road users, including cyclists. As a result, it will cost you €50 if caught cycling the wrong way down a one-way street.

Cycling in a pedestrian zone – €30

A pedestrian zone is exactly that – an area for people to walk, which means bikes are not allowed. If you are caught cycling in a pedestrian zone in Austria you can expect to pay a fine of at least €30, but it can go up to €70.

Using a phone while cycling – €50

Speaking on the phone while cycling in Austria is only allowed with a hands-free device. The fine for not following this rule is €50. 

Similarly, taking both hands off the handlebars (for any reason) is also forbidden and you can be fined €30 if caught by the police.

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