For all its grandiosity, Vienna is surprisingly compact: the centre is just a kilometre across at its broadest point, and you can travel from one side of the city to the other by public transport in less than thirty minutes. Although the Danube is crucial to Vienna's identity, most visitors see very little of the river, whose main arm flows through the outer suburbs to the northeast of the centre.
The city's international airport
, Flughafen Wien-Schwechat ( www.Viennaairport.com
), lies around 20km southeast of the city. It's connected to the centre by S-Bahn line S7; trains
leave every thirty minutes between 5am and 10pm, taking thirty minutes to reach Wien-Mitte, where most people alight, and terminating at Wien-Nord. This is the cheapest way of getting into town, costing just öS38/?2.76 for a single ticket, or öS19/?1.38 plus the price of a travel pass for the central zone, which you can buy at the same time. Buses
from the airport to the City Air Terminal bus station underneath the Hilton Hotel
(adjacent to Wien-Mitte), are faster and more frequent, leaving every twenty minutes from 6.30am until 11.30pm, and every thirty minutes throughout the night; they take around twenty minutes to reach the city centre, and cost öS70/?5.09 one way. There are also hourly buses to the Südbahnhof and Westbahnhof (see below). For more information on the buses and trains to and from the airport, visit the Web site www.oebb.at/regional/wien/wien4.html
to the centre take twenty minutes or so and charge around öS400/?29.07.
Arriving in Vienna by train from the west, you'll end up at the Westbahnhof , just west of Stephansplatz in the city centre. Trains from the east, Italy and the Balkans terminate at the Südbahnhof , to the south of the city centre; you can either walk five minutes west to Südtiroler Platz U-Bahn station, or hop on tram #D into town. Of Vienna's other stations, Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof , in the northern suburb of Alsergrund, serves as arrival point for services from Lower Austria and the odd train from Prague (take tram #D into town), while Wien-Nord (U-Bahn Praterstern), in Leopoldstadt, is used exclusively by local and regional trains, including the S-Bahn to the airport (see above).
The telephone code
for Vienna is 0222 from the rest of Austria and 01 from outside the country.
International, long-distance buses arrive at Vienna's main bus terminal beside Wien-Mitte, on the eastern edge of the city centre (U-Bahn Landstrasse). If you arrive on one of the DDSG boat services ( www.ddsg-blue-danube.at ) from further up the Danube, or from Bratislava or Budapest, you'll find yourself disembarking at the Reichsbrücke, some way northeast of the city centre; the nearest station (U-Bahn Vorgartenstrasse) is five minutes' walk away, one block west of Mexicoplatz.