By train from Vienna in less than eight hours to every fourth EU capital

2023-06-28 08:27:33

According to the mobility organization VCÖ, one in four EU capitals can be reached by train from Vienna within eight hours, and one in three from Innsbruck. The train is therefore not only suitable for holidays in Austria. According to data from Statistics Austria, 3.36 million holiday trips were made by train from Austria in 2022, more than ever before and an increase of one third compared to the pre-corona year 2019.

“In addition to the increased environmental awareness, we also see a climate ticket effect here,” said VCÖ expert Michael Schwendinger on Wednesday. Because if you have an Austria-wide climate ticket, you can use it to go on holiday in Austria without additional travel costs. According to this, two thirds of the train vacation trips in the previous year were vacations at home.

The pandemic has also changed travel behavior: In the past three years, more vacation trips were made by train than by plane, according to the VCÖ. In 2022, the share of air traffic was 14.2 percent, that of the train 15.1.

For trips abroad, however, the share of the plane at around 30 percent was almost three times as high as that of the train at eleven percent. With Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Warsaw and Berlin, seven EU capitals and Zurich can be reached by train from Vienna within eight hours. According to the mobility organization, there are five EU capitals from Graz and nine from Innsbruck. In terms of frequency of trains, the capital closest to Vienna, Bratislava, is the undisputed leader with 40 direct connections per day, ahead of Budapest (16 connections) and Prague (11 connections).

You need significantly more patience for a number of other destinations: Within 24 hours you can reach 16 EU capitals as well as London, Bern and Zurich by rail from Vienna, the VCÖ reported. In the best-case scenario, that’s just regarding the case for Ireland: by train to Dublin, according to the experts, it takes 24 hours and two minutes, including five changes and the ferry. Other destinations that can be reached directly from Austria by night train include Venice, Florence, Milan, La Spezia, Ancona, Kraków, Brussels, Paris and Hamburg.

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Despite the improvements that have been made, there is a lot of catching up to do in cross-border rail connections. “The demand is greater than the supply. Europe needs more rails, also to be able to achieve the climate goals,” emphasized Schwendinger.

Some examples provided by VCÖ (from Vienna, travel time from station to station): According to VCÖ, it takes 0.44 to 1.09 hours to get to Bratislava, 2.37 to 2.42 hours to Budapest (16 direct connections), ideally 7.40 hours to Berlin ( a direct connection) or 11.19 to 11.45 hours (two night trains). You can get to Rome in 12.07 to 12.33 hours (two connections with one or two changes). It takes 33.33 to 34.17 hours to get to Madrid (two connections with three changes, incl. night train) or even 25.07 to 30.49 hours (two connections with up to seven changes). London seems closer, you can get there in 17.44 hours, for example (a connection with one change, including night trains three times a week).

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