Vienna (Wien in German) is the capital of Austria, considered by many to be the cultural capital of Europe. Rising on the banks of the Danube, the uniqueness of Vienna lies in combining strict Habsburg imperial traditions with the atmosphere of a modern European metropolis. A real gem for music and history lovers, Vienna offers prestigious museums, imperial palaces, grandiose parks, sumptuous theatres, concert halls and numerous cafés where you can taste a slice of the very famous Sacher cake.
Vienna is the main railway hub of Central Europe and connections to other Austrian and European cities are frequent and punctual. The main railway station is called Wien Hauptbahnhof (often abbreviated to Wien Hbf) and is located 10 minutes by subway from the historic centre, in the south part of the city. It is a new and modern station, inaugurated in 2015. The station has 12 lines with trains operated by state-owned Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB) and private company WESTbahn. Inside you can find ticket machines as well as ticket offices, waiting rooms, toilets, facilities to support passengers with reduced mobility, counters for car rental and a shopping arcade in the basement with numerous shops and bars. Inside the station, there is a subway stop Sudtiroler Platz (line U1) that in a few minutes reaches the city centre.
The second biggest city station is located in the west and is called Wien Westbahnhof. This station is the main terminal of the private WestBahn company and is mainly used by commuters and the Intercity service which connects the capital to Salzburg. Wien Westbahnhof is connected to the Wien Hauptbahnhof station by the U3 and U6 underground lines and by the S50 railway line.
The international airport Wien Flughafen be easily reached by train thanks to a train station at the airport. The Wien Flughafen station consists of 3 tracks, for the use of the city's light rail with the S7 line and the City Airport Train which connects the city centre to the airport in just 16 minutes with non-stop service. Inside the Wien Flughafen station, you can find automatic ticket machines, waiting rooms, toilets and facilities to support passengers with reduced mobility.
Vienna has five metro lines, 29 tram lines including the famous Ring tram and hundreds of city buses. A single urban ticket costs € 2.40 while a public ticket for 24 hours costs € 8. Each ticket is valid until the destination is reached, including any change of line. Individual city tickets can also be purchased on trams at the price of € 2.60. The subway lines are running from 05.00am until about 00.30am and all night over the weekend.
Finally, we point out the Vienna City Card which allows free use of all public transport and discounted admission to numerous attractions. The Vienna City Card can be valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours and costs € 13.90 / € 21.90 / € 24.90 respectively.
The historic centre of Vienna, rich in museums and imperial palaces, expands on the right bank of the Danube and is located within the "Ringstrasse" or a ring road that follows the route of the ancient medieval walls. In the historic centre, the nineteenth-century architecture has a stately charm and marries well with the numerous Gothic and Baroque churches that populate the city such as St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom in German) which also houses the catacombs.
The museum district called MuseumsQuartier hosts several museums and exhibitions such as MUMOK , the museum of modern art with works by Andy Warhol and Picasso, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum with works by Canova, Klimt and Michelangelo. The Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn in German) is the imperial palace located about 20 minutes by subway from the centre of Vienna (U4 station Hietzing); you can visit all the rooms of the palace and the magnificent park that surrounds it, full of fountains and statues. Another imperial residence not to be missed is the Belvedere Castle (Schloss Belvedere), a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, located in the district of Landstrasse just a few steps from the historic centre of Vienna.
Vienna is a real paradise for lovers of classical music. The Staatsoper is Vienna's most famous opera house which offers a rich program of concerts and operas. In the square in front of the Staatsoper it is possible to watch on a big screen most of the concerts and theatrical performances that take place inside the theatre transmitted in real time. The House of Music (Haus of Musik) is a five-story interactive museum that explores sound in all its facets and includes a piano dedicated to the main classical composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler and Strauss.
Finally, every year from mid-November to 26 December, the centre of Vienna hosts spectacular Christmas markets and offers many outdoor activities such as concerts, street food and a grandiose skating rink in the town hall square (called Rathaus). Whilst in Vienna, you cannot pass up the chance to taste some of the typical dishes like the Wienerschnitzel, breaded cutlet similar to the Milanese schnitzel, the traditional Sauerkraut, the Gulash soup and finally the typical sweets like the strudel and the Sacher cake.
The Austrian railways operate a night train called NightJet with daily departures from the main Italian cities. These are the daily connections active in 2018:
Prices for seats start at € 29 each way, a bed in a 6-seater bunk starts at € 49, while a single-bed car departs from € 129 for a single journey.