Taking the train from Vienna to Salzburg

The train from Vienna to Salzburg takes roughly 2.5 hours, making Salzburg an easy day trip to add into your Vienna itinerary. Close to the German border, Salzburg is a popular choice for those who love music (especially The Sound Of…), art, and hiking. If you’re thinking of heading out for a day (or for longer!) here’s what’s good to know.

Taking the train from Vienna to Salzburg

Options for your train

There are several options for taking the train from Vienna to Salzburg. Make sure when you’re boarding at either station that you have the right provider. Many of the trains run in a similar time table, but the tickets are not interchangeable. If you board the wrong train, you will definitely be kicked off and then forced to figure out your way home from there. (I can speak from experience on that point—whoops!)

Tickets for all three providers listed below can be purchased at the station, online, or via the respective apps.

  • ÖBB: the official train of Austria, can be more expensive that the other options
  • Westbahn: an alternate to ÖBB, offering slightly more competitive fares
  • Flixtrain: one of Europe’s newest transit options offering the cheapest fares. We booked on FlixBus, but both of our trains were operated by Westbahn. Shame really, because I was looking forward to riding on the lime green train.

Vienna Central Station

Vienna Central Station is modern and exceptionally clean. There aren’t many seating options, but if you get there early, there are plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants to keep you occupied and well-fed. It’s connected to the main city by the U1 Bahn line, although our Airbnb in Wieden was located close enough to walk.

The ride from Vienna to Salzburg

…is fairly pretty, especially if you have a seat on the train’s upper deck. The upper deck does sway more, though, so if you’re prone to motion sickness you’ll fare better down below.

Salzburg Central Station

This station, like Vienna, is also clean and modern. There are souvenir, press and paper shops and several options for grabbing food. There isn’t much of a waiting area, but it’s close enough to town that you don’t need to get there too early.

Getting to the sights

Salzburg train station is about a twenty min walk to the main sights. You can choose which of the picturesque bridges you want to take you into the heart of the city. I particularly like the love locks bridge. My favorite way to kick off my Salzburg day trip itinerary is through the Mirabell Gardens, a shooting location for The Sound of Music.

Check out my list of things to do in Salzburg here!

Food at the Salzburg train station

There are several food kiosks and a Spar market at the station, which gives you plenty of options to stock up for your train back to Vienna. Alcohol is permitted on the train, so why not treat yourself to a cold beer or bottle of wine?

Additionally, there’s a touristy restaurant located just outside, serving traditional Viennese cuisine. That said, I recommend eating in Salzburg proper or waiting until you get back to Vienna.

Bathrooms at the Salzburg train station

Though most of the trains from Vienna to Salzburg will have bathrooms, I advise you go before you board. The bathrooms at both train stations are extremely clean, but they do cost money to visit.

And that’s pretty much everything you need to know about taking the train from Vienna to Salzburg! If you’re looking for things to do in Salzburg on your day trip, check out my post here. If you’re curious how the rest of our 7-day Vienna itinerary looked, I’ve got all the details for you here!