Is Vienna Walkable? A Guide to Getting Around Vienna, Austria in 2023
Vienna, Austria is a wonderful capital city- full of green parks, ornate palaces, and more museums than you can handle in one visit! But, is Vienna walkable? The good news is that the center of Vienna is flat and extremely walkable. Here’s your complete guide to getting around Vienna- from walking around town to bikes, public transportation, and even renting a car.
We visited Vienna as part of our Family Gap Year (what is a Family Gap Year?) when our kids were 5 and 8. We spent over a month walking, tramming, and generally exploring this wonderful city. We also took day trips to Bratislava and Salzburg.
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At the bottom of this post, download a free guide: 6 Safety Tips for Traveling with Kids: What You Should Know Before You Travel.
How to Get Around Vienna, Austria
There are many, easy ways to get around Vienna, including walking, trams, buses, metro, ride-sharing apps, and rental cars.
Google maps will easily show you which combination of trams, buses or trains will get you where you want to go, though sometimes it’s just as fast to walk!
You may wonder, is Vienna Safe? Yes, Vienna is a very safe city, in fact, it is one of the safest in the world. Many residents ride Vienna public transportation at all hours and report feeling very safe. The police are quick to respond to any situation, and the transportation network is well monitored.
Travel Tip: Start your visit with a small group walking tour or a bike tour!
Walking in Vienna
Walking is one of the best ways to get around Vienna. The city center is flat, and easy to navigate. Many of the central areas are pedestrian-only, so you’ll need to walk, and won’t need to worry about traffic. These areas are especially great for kids, as they can wander a little more freely.
In fact, you’ll probably find yourself walking along the same streets or through the same grand archways several times!
The government wants to encourage walking, and so has created 11 city hiking paths to encourage residents and tourists to walk the city. Vienna has a lot of green space- in fact, more than 50% of the city! That’s a lot of parks and gardens to explore.
The Best Walking Tour in Vienna
This walking tour of Vienna is two hours that will show you all the highlights of the city center, and orient you to both the layout and the history of the city. From the Hapsburgs days with Empress Sisi and Emperor Franz Joseph to the Anschluss, Hitler’s speeches, and the bombs of WWII, there is a lot of history to absorb. You’ll see many locations that you’ll want to back to and explore in-depth, like the Opera House and the State Library.
On this small group tour, you’ll have a maximum of 15 travelers. This tour is not recommended for young children due to the in-depth history that is discussed.
Some things past travelers had to say:
“This tour is great value. Our guide was informative and entertaining. This was an excellent introduction to Vienna. Easy walking, flat terrain, suitable all age groups. It was a plus that the tour was done with a small group . Highly recommend.”
“Herbert was very knowledgeable and we would thoroughly recommend this trip to others. It gave us an excellent grasp of Vienna and is well worth doing on your first day.”
👣 Book Now: 2 Hour Walking Tour of Vienna
Biking in Vienna
Biking is a great way to get around Vienna, there are many bike lanes, with their own stoplights. Because Vienna is flat in many sections, biking is easy and very common. In fact, as a pedestrian, you need to learn to watch for cyclists!
WeinMobil Bike Rentals
Use the WeinMobil app to rent bikes from many locations in Vienna, and return them at another station. Use the app to unlock and bike, you’ll be charged just €.60 for every thirty minutes. Debuting in August 2022, there are 3,000 bikes and 85 bike stations to choose from. You’ll need to register online, then use the provided app.
The Best Biking Tour of Vienna
A biking tour of Vienna is a great way to see the highlights of the city! This three-hour tour includes bikes, and takes you around the city, including the Vienna State Opera, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Albertina. The minimum age is 12 years.
Some things past travelers had to say:
“We loved our bike tour experience! There was 14 of us which was a good group size and our guide Horst was awesome – very knowledgeable and passionate about the city. It was a rainy day and we still had an amazing time. Highly recommend this tour! Learning more about the history of the city makes it even more beautiful. :)”
“Great tour with good mix of historical sites, information and riding along the canal and in the park. High quality bikes in great condition. There were about 12 people in our group and it was raining for most of the tour. Our guide did a great job of keeping the group together and out of the rain at our stops.”
🚲 Book Now: Best Bike Tour of Vienna
Trams Around Vienna
Trams run in many set routes around Vienna, this is the primary way that many tourists get in and out of the city’s center. You’ll quickly learn which routes around your accommodation run to the places you’ll be heading over and over. Trams run quite frequently, and signs at each station will indicate when the next tram for each route will arrive, usually in 7 minutes or less.
Buses in Vienna
Buses are a great way to get around the outskirts of Vienna where the tram network is less extensive. We rarely used buses during our time in Vienna, but they use the same transit ticket as other public transportation, so they are an option if they take you where you’d like to go!
The Vienna U-Bahn is the metro system that runs underground throughout the city. Not to be confused with the S-Bahn which is the commuter rail train system. The U-Bahn uses the same transit tickets as buses and trams. Be sure to validate before entering the platform, sometimes the machines are located in the station at the start of walkways, sometimes at the top of stairs or escalators. There are no validating machines on the metro platforms.
Uber and Taxis in Vienna
Both Uber and street taxis are available in central Vienna. However, taxis can be hard to hail on the street, or even call.
During our first week in Vienna, we were in an office building picking up tickets and asked the people there to call a taxi for us. They called several companies, but since it was a Friday evening none of the taxi companies were able to send a car, nor were we able to flag down on the street.
Uber, however, showed up in five minutes. We used Uber quite often in Vienna and always had a car within about five minutes. Uber is quite expensive compared to other methods of getting around Vienna, but also quite convenient.
The S-Bahn is the above-ground commuter rail system in Vienna which has been running since 1962. The “S” stands for “Schnellbahn”, or commuter rail. The same transit tickets work on the S-Bahn as on buses and trams as long as you remain in the core Vienna city zone. Within the city, you can use it interchangeably with the U-Bahn, whichever will get you to your destination more efficiently.
Renting a Car in Vienna
There is little need for a car within the city center of Vienna, but you may find a car useful if you are outside the city center, or wish to explore more of Austria on your own schedule.
We love using Discover Cars for car rentals, as they give us a variety of options, with clear, upfront pricing.
🚗 Book Now: Rental Car from Discover Cars 🚗
Types of Transit Passes in Vienna
There are several types of transit passes available in Vienna, from a standard one-journey ticket to monthly passes. All tickets work across the various methods of public transportation, so you are free to transfer from the tram to bus to S-Bahn as needed. Tickets are valid for one continuous journey (defined as over 90 minutes), in one direction.
Single Use Transit Tickets
There are two types of single-ride transit tickets “for immediate use” which are in a larger printed format, and do not need to be validated, and “use later” tickets which are single-use small pieces of paper that need to be validated just before or at the start of your trip.
Single-use transit tickets are available for regular fare (€2.40), a reduced fare for kids (€1.20, ages 6-15), and senior fare (€1.50, ages 62+).
Day Transit Passes
A 1-day pass is available for adults for €5.80, valid until 1 am on the day after validation. There are no reduced-price day passes for kids or seniors.
There is also an 8-day ticket for €40.80. This includes 8 separate day passes- you can validate two lines on the pas to use it for two people as long as you are traveling together. Each line is valid until 1 am on the day it is used. It is not meant for 8 consecutive days. If you are traveling more than three times per day on public transportation, this option will save you money.
Validating Transit Tickets
Transit tickets must be validated on the colored striped edge, to pay for your ride. You’ll find small validation boxes (usually blue) on trams and buses, and at the entrance to metro stations.
Look for these before you enter the station- usually at the top of stairs or escalators. There are no validation machines on the S-Bahn or U-Bahn trains. You must validate your ticket BEFORE you enter the train.
For buses and trams, you validate once you are on the vehicle. On most trams, you will find a machine to actually buy a ticket if you need to though there is a small surcharge (approx. .20 euros).
Where to Buy Transit Passes in Vienna
There are several places to buy transit tickets in Vienna including machines, tabaks, and even on trams and buses.
Transit ticket machines are located near major stations, though we found the interface difficult to use. We accidentally bought one ticket for four people, as opposed to 4 tickets we could use at different times. Be sure to check the options carefully- selecting “Use Now” or “For Later Use”.
These machines are very useful for buying single tickets to a specific destination (such as the airport) but less useful for buying a handful of transit tickets.
Tabaks, which are often indicated by a red circle with a line through it, sell transit tickets for cash only. You can request whichever tickets you need- for example 10 regular tickets, and 10 reduced tickets for kids.
Some of the paper tickets come with two sides to stamp (can be used twice), while others can only be used once. Tabaks are also the only place to buy the 8-day tickets, which come on a sheet with 8 validation lines.
On the Bus or Tram
If you are running late (or it’s Sunday and the local Tabak is closed), you can buy tickets on trams and buses, though you will pay slightly more for each ticket.
Kids Fare on Public Transportation in Vienna
Kids under 15 ride free on public transportation on Sundays and school holidays. You can check for school holidays on this calendar.
Kids under 6 travel for free at all times and do not need a transit pass. On other days, children will need a “Reduced fare” ticket, which is only available as single tickets.
Traveling with kids? Don’t miss our family travel tips for travel with kids, or our complete safety guide to traveling with kids!
Should I Get the Vienna Pass?
The Vienna Pass is available for 1, 2, 3, or 6 days, and includes entrance to over 70 of the main attractions in Vienna (one time each), and unlimited access to the Vienna Hop-On Hop-Off Bus.
The Vienna Pass also includes “skip-the-line” access at 22 attractions including the Belvedere, the Schonbrunn Zoo, and the Albertina Museum.
Interested in the history of the Hapsburg Empire? Next time you visit Croatia, don’t miss a visit to Lokrum Island, frequented by Maximillian (Emperor Franz’s brother), and his wife Charlotte.
Prices for the Vienna Pass range from $97 for the 1-day pass, a 2-day pass for $138, up to a 6-Day pass for around $210.
So, is the Vienna Pass worth it? It depends on the pace of your travel. Since we stayed for a month in Vienna, it didn’t make sense to pack all of our sightseeing into 6 or fewer days. However, if you are spending a weekend in Vienna, and want to see as much as possible, the Vienna Pass gives you a lot of freedom to hop around between museums, palaces, and other sights without worrying about paying admission or pre-booking tickets for a specific time.
Do the math for your expected trip- for those traveling at a slower pace with young kids, who will only visit one or two attractions in a day, it won’t be worth the investment. However, for those packing a lot of sites into a short time, the Vienna pass will save you substantial money and hassle.
💥 Check Availability: Vienna Pass
Getting from the Vienna Airport to Central Vienna
There are easy connections from the Vienna Airport to the city center via train. You can either take the City Airport Train or the S-Bahn/Rex train which makes more local stops.
Please note that the airport is not in the same zone as central Vienna, so you cannot use a regular transit ticket to make the journey. You must have a one-time, immediate-use ticket specifically to or from the airport to your destination.
When you exit the airport, you’ll see signs pointing you to the City Airport Train. There you can buy your tickets to central Vienna on either of the train options from machines. There are usually lots of staff on hand to help you if you need it.
The City Airport Train
The City Airport Train (CAT) travels nonstop from Vienna Airport to Wein Mitte Station in 16 minutes. Once you are in Wein Mitte, you can connect to the U3 or U4 lines. Tickets are €14.90 one way for adults, children under 15 ride free. Use the green CAT machines for tickets.
The S-Bahn/Rex Train
The S-Bahn train makes the same trip to Wein Mitte in 25 minutes on the S7 line. The S-Bahn is much less expensive than CAT, coming in at €4.30 for adults. This ticket is also good for transfers to the U-Bahn once in central Vienna. Use the red OBB machines for tickets.
Is the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Worth it in Vienna?
Some families really love the Hop-On Hop-Off buses, we have never found them very useful, as we prefer to walk as much as possible in new cities. By walking, we get a better sense of the city, and the kids get exercise, which makes them better behaved, and helps them sleep better!
If you opt for the Vienna Pass, unlimited rides on the HOHO bus are included, so give it a try!
When is the Best Time to Go to Vienna?
Vienna is wonderful year-round! The spring and fall bring the best weather, and the lowest crowds- these seasons are great for exploring Vienna’s many green spaces and parks. You’ll also get more daylight to walk around Vienna.
However, Vienna is also a wonderful winter destination, known for its Christmas markets, concerts, and festive cheer around the holiday season. Most Christmas markets open in Mid-November and last through Christmas Eve, with a few staying open until New Years. We loved Vienna in December! There is ice skating, Christmas concerts, markets full of delicious food, and lots of holiday cheer.
FAQ: Is Vienna Walkable: Getting Around Vienna
Have questions about whether Vienna is walkable, or how to get around Vienna? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about getting around Vienna, Austria.
No, the metro in Vienna is not free. None of the public transportation in Vienna is free, you must have a valid transit ticket. Called the U-Bahn, the underground metro in Vienna uses the same transit tickets as the buses and trams. If your transit ticket is randomly checked, you will be fined if you do not have a ticket or have not been correctly validated.
Yes, there is Uber in Vienna, and it works quite well. My parents visited us in Vienna and were unable to walk far in the cold weather. They used Uber several times a day and never had a bad experience. They were picked up for rides within 6-8 minutes, even on busy days.
The only downside to Uber is it can be quite expensive- easily $20-30 for a ten-minute drive. Public transportation is a significantly less expensive option.
Yes, the old town in Vienna revolves around the Hofburg Wein palace complex which is now several museums and gardens as well as the pedestrian walkways of Graben and Kärntner around Stephansplatz.
Florence, Italy is the world’s most walkable city! We loved exploring Florence, but sure to check out where to eat, the best day trips, and all the things to do in Florence. According to Tourlane, Venice, Italy ranks number 2, and Vienna ranks a disappointing 44th on the list.
There You Have It: Is Vienna Walkable, a Guide to Getting Around Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria is a wonderful city that is easy to get around- Vienna is walkable, and the tram system is easy to understand, relatively inexpensive, and frequent. From options connecting the city center to the airport to one transit ticket that works on buses, trams, and the metro, getting around Vienna is simple and efficient.