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Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East

How to Travel by Train in Austria
By:Vanessa Padgalskas

Austria is located in central Europe and borders Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Germany, and Switzerland. The best way to travel in Austria and the rest of Europe is to purchase a train pass. The trains in Austria are clean and almost always on time. The train stations are centrally located in the cities, so you will be within walking distance or a short cab ride away from major attractions. The train is a comfortable way to travel and allows you to see the Austrian countryside and the Alps.

Decide which Eurail pass is best for your trip. If you are only traveling in Austria, you can purchase a single-country pass. If you are traveling throughout Europe, you can buy a Global pass that is valid in over 20 countries; Select pass that is valid in three to five bordering countries of your choice; or Regional pass that is valid in regions selected by Eurail. Austria is included in the following Regional passes: Austria, Croatia, Slovenia; Austria and Hungary; Austria and Czech Republic; Austria and Germany; and Austria and Switzerland.

You can also purchase an Austrian Rail Pass, which is separate from any Eurail pass, that is good for three to eight days of rail travel over a 15-day period. This pass is good on all Austrian rail lines.

Purchase a Eurail pass through the Eurail website or a travel agent. If you purchase the pass online it will be shipped to you. You can buy the Austrian Rail Pass online through the Rail Europe website.

Plan a route through Austria by clicking on the link "Austria Train Timetables" under "References" at the bottom of this page. Enter your departure and arrival destinations, and the website will tell you when the train arrives and where you need to switch to a connecting train, if applicable. One of the major cities, Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck, will serve as a central starting point for reaching smaller cities in the Austrian countryside. Graz, which is located near the Slovenian border, is another main city where many trains depart.

Make train reservations, if necessary. Most trains do not require reservations, but you should get a reservation if you are traveling overnight or during peak travel times. The fast trains in Austria that link Vienna, Linz and Salzburg in the northern part of Austria require a reservation, but the normal train lines do not require a reservation. There is a reservation fee that varies depending on the train. Book reservations at a train station in Austria or another European country once you arrive in Europe.

Validate your Eurail pass or Austrian Rail Pass at any train station ticket window in Austria before boarding your first train. Your pass will get stamped again by a conductor on the first train ride of each day you ride the train. If you have a three-day pass, you can ride the train as many times as you want for three days. The three days can be nonconsecutive throughout a month for the Eurail pass or 15 days for the Austrian rail pass.

Arrive on time for each train, because the trains only stop for a few minutes at each station. If you miss a train, do not worry. Another train will most likely arrive within 30 minutes to an hour later.

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