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Reaching Vienna

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Flights to Vienna land at Vienna International Airport, situated in the suburb of Schwechat. Vienna International Airport is the hub for Austrian Airlines as well as its charter-flight subsidiary, Lauda Air. All of the major international airlines serve Vienna. North American and Asian airlines generally fly direct to Vienna. If you fly to Vienna with a European airline other than Austrian Airways, you can expect your flight to be routed through the airline's main hub. If you fly British Airways, you will probably have a connecting flight at Heathrow. KLM routes its flights to Vienna through Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam, and Lufthansa connects to Vienna through Frankfurt.

A cab ride into the inner city from Vienna International Airport takes about half an hour and is quite expensive. Shuttle buses, which depart from the main terminal every 15 minutes during the daytime, are much more economical and are no slower than a cab. The least expensive option is the commuter railway, although you may have to wait up to half an hour for a train. Trains depart from the Schwechat station, which is within walking distance of the airport. You can purchase a train ticket from a vending machine at the station or, for a higher price, directly from the conductor after you board the train.

For about double the price of a ticket on the ordinary commuter train, you can opt for the City Airport Train, which travels directly to the inner city without making any intermediate stops. The City Airport Train takes about 15 minutes, compared to 25 minutes for the commuter train. Both the commuter train and the express service depart at half-hour intervals.

If you are traveling within Europe, the best way to reach Vienna is by railway. International train service to and from Vienna is convenient, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive. Vienna has two international train stations, the Südbahnhof (Southern Train Station) and Westbahnhof (Western Train Station). Both are well served by Vienna public transport, with several streetcar and subway stops in the immediate vicinity of each train station. The subway will take you from either train station to the inner city within minutes.

If you are planning an excursion to Vienna during a ski vacation in the Alpine half of Austria, you might like to consider renting an automobile. All of the international car-rental companies have cars for hire at airports and at major train stations in the Austrian urban centers of Salzburg, Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Klagenfurt, and of course in Vienna. Be forewarned that many cars for hire, especially the most economical models, come with manual transmissions. If you can only drive automatic, make sure you inquire about the transmission beforehand.

A car rental can also be a sensible option for a day trip from Vienna to one of the nearby Eastern European capitals. The capital of the Slovak Republic, Bratislava, is less than an hour's drive away. The Hungarian capital, Budapest, can be reached in about two hours, and the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, in three hours. You won't be delayed at any border crossing, because all three of these Eastern neighbors have open borders with Austria.

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