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Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

Pune, India
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Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

We are a party of 5 visiting Austria for 15 days on a rather ambitious plan. After looking at the various transport options I am confused how to decide which ones to purchase. I looked at the RailEurope site for the Eurail Austria Pass but am not sure if that is effective for our plans. Could you please guide me on the possibility of individual tickets, or preferably some sort of pass/card which works on all transport options? I would prefer to avoid having to purchase 5 tickets everyday, so would love some sort of "pre-purchased" option. Thanks so much for your assistance.

Our plan is as follows - (these 3 destinations are a combination of IC, Railjet and local trams)

1. Vienna International airport to Salzburg (between 8-9am)

2. Salzburg to Mayrhofen

3. Mayrhofen to Vienna (not sure how to find out the closest train station to the hotel we have booked in)

Salzburg

1. We will be seeing the local sights

2. A day trip to Hallstat

3. May attempt Eagles Nest OR Salzkammergut - (by train - not tour operator)

4. Untersberg, Hohensalzburg Castle

Mayrhofen

1. Will either purchase the Zillercard or rent a car for local travel - so not an issue

Vienna

1. Ringstrasse, Museum quarter, Schonbrunn Palace, Imperial palace, Naschmarkt etc - (local tram / bus travel or train)

2. Day trip to Wachau (Melk by train and then cruise .. so probably need a separate combi ticket or some such thing, is that correct?)

Vienna, Austria
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1. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

Vienna Airport to Salzburg:

Take the airport express bus (8 or 9€) to Westbahnhof (= West Station) and take a train of the private railway operator WESTBAHN (www.westbahn.at) for 23.90€ each to Salzburg. Tickets are sold on board the train, a surcharge is not levied, so buying in advance isn't necessary at all. Alternatively, you can buy a ticket for 19€ with ÖBB in advance. Be aware that these cheap fares are subject to restrictions (no change, no cancellation). On board sale is NOT permitted on most ÖBB trains!

Salzburg to Mayrhofen:

Buy your ticket from Salzburg to Jenbach in advance from Austrian Railways ÖBB (www.oebb.at/en), from there continue using the local train line which is NOT operated or affiliated with Austrian Railways ÖBB why through ticketing from Salzburg is not available - at least I think so.

Mayrhofen to Vienna:

Apply the abovementioned in reverse, just use Vienna as destination (and not Salzburg of course)!

Ways and transport options from Salzburg to Hallstatt have been described in the respective travelguide available here on TA. Please also use the search function of the forum as advice on many topics (e.g. daytrip to the Wachau from Vienna) has been given many times! Thanks!

Edited: 10 April 2014, 20:26
Pune, India
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2. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

@Mikey Thanks.. A few more questions please.

I believe Eurail Austria pass tends to be more expensive than purchasing point to point tickets provided we purchase a Vorteils Card per person (99Euros). However, when I did a rough math for direct tickets vs the Saver Eurail pass, the difference in price is not that much. I am not convinced I have done the math correctly since the ticket prices differ widely based on the exact time of the journey. I am quite confused if I should go for the pass or tickets.

With the Eurail Austria pass, I think we will not be limited to the number of times we hop on and off transports in the day (breaks in the journey in 1 day).

But reading some of your posts I realize that even one way tickets purchased can have break journeys. Is that still the case?

I think the Eurail Austria pass will not limit us to specific train timings. Whereas, discounted point to point tickets could enforce that we catch only certain trains. Is my understanding correct?

In another post I read that it is better to purchase at stations before embarking on the journey vs purchasing online and boarding with printed tickets. Is that so?

Is there a way I can reach Austria, go to some manned counter at the airport where they could guide us and purchase all my tickets for the next 2 weeks? I would prefer to avoid a "Purchase your ticket project" every day that we need to travel.

Hence I was leaning towards the pass, even if it was a few euros more expensive. The convenience would more than pay for itself.

Would love some inputs. Am totally confused which way to err.

Thanks in advance.

Brno, Czech Republic
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3. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

You mention Rail Europe - do NOT use this company, it is a very expensive re-seller. Similarly Eurail - it is also not an operator, just a company that sells expensive passes.

Point-to-point tickets directly from the operator is the cheapest way to travel. Mikey outlines these above.

For Vienna to Salzburg you can use any of the Westbahn trains and you pay on board - total flexibility.

For the local journeys you can pay on the day/use Einfach-Raus-Tickets which would be massively cheaper than a pass and just as convenient.

Vienna, Austria
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4. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

No idea why you want to buy a Vorteilscard for 99€! The cheapest way to travel between the places mentioned was described in my post above. Considering your itinerary I can't frankly believe that a pass is cheaper! What would the pass cost? If you buy tickets (from ÖBB) at once, ensure that the correct dates are used/pre-selected! .

Pune, India
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5. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

A rough calculation of point to point tickets for 5 people taking into consideration only OBB modes (exclude ferry rides)

Day 1. Vienna Airport to Salzburg (via Westbahn with reservation since it's a Sunday) -- 172 Euros

Day 2. Salzburg to Hallstat and Return ticket (not counting ferry) - 240 Euros

Day 3. Salzburg to Innsbruck & Innsbruck to Jenbach (My final destination is Mayrhofen, but since I don't know the price of that ticket, I am not counting Zillertalbahn price) -- 70 +35 == 105 Euros

Day 4. Jenbach to Vienna (direct IC - SparSchiene ticket) -- 120 Euros

Day 5. Vienna to Melk & Krems to Vienna --- 80+85 == 165 Euros

Total for 5 days for 5 people = 802 Euros

Rail Europe Flexi Pass for Austria for 5 non consecutive days for 5 people = 709 Euros

So it appears like the pass may be cheaper for our trip. My understanding of the Austria pass is that it should be valid on all OBB operated transport, for unlimited travel at any time of the day. I suppose it may not be valid on the Westbahn rail, so we may need to take OBB options to reach Salzburg.

In Salzburg we can go for the Salzburger cards for local sightseeing and in Vienna, the Vienna card.

Am I missing something?

Vienna, Austria
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6. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

Check out this transport pass tailored for small groups (up to 5 persons) which can be used on LOCAL ÖBB trains only, so good for your day trips to Hallstatt (from Salzburg via Attnang-Puchheim) and Melk&Krems (from Vienna). Pass costs 35€ (for all of you), available from ÖBB ticket vending machines. It is easy to use but carefully read the conditions!!!

oebb.at/en/…index.jsp

Moreover, you do not need a reservation for your Vienna to Salzburg trip, especially for a Sunday morning service. Just board the train after it has arrived from Salzburg and all have disembarked.

Edited: 11 May 2014, 21:22
Pune, India
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7. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

GCEK had recommended the ERT but my research indicated that the ERT is limited to travel on certain trains & timings only. For eg.. For Hallstat, the ERT option was showing up only for a REX train at 10:39 from Salzburg. And today, it is not even showing up anymore.

Also I am not sure if the same ERT would be valid for both To and FROM journeys to Hallstat. Eg.. 35 for Salzburg to Hallstat and back if done on the same day? Or the pass is marked as used and I need another one for the Return.

There was a good article on the same, but once again it indicates that ERT is not valid on certain trains. We would be tied down with such limitations if we wanted to spend more or less time in a destination.

european-traveler.com/austria/…

Vienna, Austria
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8. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

It is a pass, so covers all rides on the day chosen. It is valid from 09:00 hours in the morning on weekdays, all day on weekends and public holidays. You can solve the issue that the first permitted connection out of Salzburg is rather late, obviously later than you would like to leave, by taking an express train to Attnang-Puchheim (instead of using the local service) and then continue on the 09:11am service to Hallstatt (which is a local service anyway). Trains between Attnang-Puchheim are all local ones. For the Salzburg - Attnang-Puchheim sector you would need to pay extra. On Westbahn (www.westbahn.at) this costs 7.50€ for an adult.

Edited: 12 May 2014, 07:51
Pune, India
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9. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

Thanks Mikey. A few more questions.

Transport in Salzburg

We reach Salzburg on Mon 9th June and will go from there to Mayrhofen on Fri 13th. I was thinking of getting the Salzburg card which we could use for all local transport within Salzburg + entry to many of the tourist places. However, I cannot understand how to pick the optimum time period. We would ideally need transport on all 5 days. Since I do not know upfront which day we would do a daytrip to Hallstat, not sure whether to pick the 24/48/72 hour card since it is contiguous days I presume.

Also, if we were to do another day trip to St Gilgen/Wolfgang - would the Salzburg card cover that transport?

Transport in Vienna

I was originally going to get the Vienna card. Then after reading the forums I realize there is a Vienna - weekly pass - Mon through next Mon 9am. We will be in Vienna Tue 17th- Sun 22nd June. So it makes more sense to purchase the Weekly Pass in Vienna especially since the discounts on the tourist places are not that much. In Vienna we plan to see Schonbrunn Palace, Park and Zoo, Hofburg Palace, St Stephens Cathedral, Ringstrasse, Rathansplatz, Naschmarkt, Kunsthistorisches Museum.

We also plan to do a day trip to Melk/Wachau for which the combi ticket is what I am leaning towards.

Any inputs? Thanks in advance. All your inputs have been very helpful in my planning.

Burnley, United...
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10. Re: Need guidance on selecting transport options within Austria

Your choice of the weekly pass is sensible!