Travel to Vienna without flying.
There are two different ways to get to Vienna in Austria which don’t involve going anywhere near an airport:
- The direct Eurostar train between London and Brussels Midi; followed by the Nightjet night train between Brussels Midi and Vienna Central Station.
And as both trains connect in the same train station in Brussels (Brussels Midi), the connection is very easy. Plus, there are plenty of restaurants near Brussels Midi where you can enjoy dinner before boarding the night train to Vienna.
If you are arriving in London by train from other parts of the UK and need to travel across London first, see the Getting To London St.Pancras International From Other Major London Railway Stations article;
- A FlixBus coach from London to Vienna (30-32 hours). This is NOT an accessible option though (yes, some coaches are accessible, but until coaches have accessible toilets too, they’re to be avoided – 32 hours is a long time to cross your legs).
Option 1a (Accessible): Eurostar Train from London to Brussels
The direct London to Brussels Eurostar train takes just 1 hour 53 minutes (just under 3 hours to Brussels when you include the time difference).
However, you’ll need to be at London St.Pancras Station by around 5pm at the very latest, to catch a London to Brussels train that will get you to Brussels in time to catch the Brussels to Vienna night train (and even earlier if you want to leave enough time to have dinner in Brussels).
There’s a real benefit for wheelchair travellers travelling on Eurostar trains:
Wheelchair spaces are indeed available. But these wheelchair spaces are only available in the pricier Standard Premier and Business Premier class carriages.
They are sold to wheelchair using passengers at a discounted Standard Class rate.
And, although your companion/assistant also has to buy a ticket too (no free companion tickets here I’m afraid), they also travel at this same reduced rate.
Option 1b (Accessible): Nightjet night train from Brussels to Vienna
Probably the biggest advantage of taking the Nightjet night train between Brussels and Vienna, is that the train journey is overnight (so you arrive in Vienna ready to go on your first day).
A night train may seem like a more expensive option, but it also saves you on a night’s hotel accommodation (which will be the best part of £100 – even more so if you decide to overnight in a London hotel first).
Plus, because the night train doesn’t leave Brussels until after 9pm, you can take a London to Brussels Eurostar train that departs London by 5pm.
An accessible compartment is available on the Brussels to Vienna Nightjet night train which has two berths (one for the wheelchair traveller and one for an accompanying person). The accessible compartment is also adjacent to an accessible toilet.
The wheelchair compartment can only be booked directly with the ÖBB customer service people though, by telephoning (0043 5 17175), at least 36 hours before departure.
To obtain boarding assistance, simply complete the online request form (mobility assistance) – again, at least 36 hours before travel – plus, you must be at the agreed meeting point (which you choose when booking the accessible compartment) at least 20 minutes before the train’s departure time.
Option 2: Flixbus Coach from London to Vienna (NOT Accessible)
This is the budget option.
You’ll be sitting on a coach for 30-32 hours though. And you will have to make one change (the location varies depending on the bus you take).
The coach is NOT an accessible option for getting to Vienna though.
Yes, some coaches are accessible, but until coaches have accessible toilets too, they’re to be avoided (unless you’re happy crossing your legs for up to 32 hours).
Public Transport in Vienna
The public transport networks in Vienna are pretty extensive – and will take you to just about anywhere you want to visit in Vienna.
There are three options for buying tickets for the metro, trams and buses:
- Buy separate tickets (before each journey), and just validate the ticket as you enter either enter a Vienna metro station, or board a Vieena tram or bus (tickets bought from the driver on board Vienna trams and buses are already validated).
This is probably going to be the cheapest option if you only intend to use Vienna’s public transport one or two times during your visit to Vienna;
- A much more flexible, and convenient, option is to buy a 24-hour, 48-hour or 72-hour travel pass, and just swipe it (to validate it) whenever you travel on either the metro, the trams, or the buses in Vienna (but note – this is a travel pass only). You can buy these passes online (before you even head to Vienna), and just print a PDF, or show the ticket on your mobile device; buy them via the WienMobil app (available for both iOS and Android devices); or just wait until you get to Vienna and buy it from any Wiener Linien ticket office or ticket machine;
An even better option is to buy a Vienna City Card for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
Think of the Vienna City Card as being a Travel Pass +.
For as well as being valid on all public transport in Vienna, the Vienna City Card also gives you more than 210 discounts at museums and sights in Vienna, theatres and concerts, and in shops, cafés and restaurants in Vienna – for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
This is the easiest and most practical option (it’s also the most expensive option too though – but depending on how much of Vienna you plan to see during your visit, it might actually make financial sense as well). The Vienna City Card can also be bought online before you head to Vienna, or can be bought in the main train station when you arrive on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet night train.
The accessibility of trams, trains and buses in Vienna is simply wonderful. Plus, over 95% of all tram and bus stops in Vienna are now accessible too – as well as ALL underground stations.
Vienna Hotels / Vienna Hostels / Vienna Apartments
Where in central Vienna is the best place to look for a hotel?
Hmmm? As you will be arriving in Vienna at Vienna Central Train Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof), and as you will also be departing from there at the end of your visit to Vienna – then it would make sense to stay as close as possible to there.
As well as there being plenty of hotels near Vienna Central Station, “Wien Hauptbahnhof” (as Vienna’s central train station is known as locally) is THE major public transport hub in central Vienna. All of the best visitor attractions can be accessed from Vienna Central Train Station.
The following hotels are moments away from Vienna Hauptbahnhof (the hostel is a bit further away – but is still easily accessible using the Metro in Vienna). And all three receive seriously good reviews:
Hotel Schani Wien
Vienna Central Station
Just 300 meters from Vienna Central Station
Vienna’s tram (line D) stops in front of the hotel
Accessible Rooms Also Available
Just 300 meters from Vienna Central Station, so ideal for your night train from Brussels to Vienna
Accessible Rooms Also Available
Wombat's City Hostel
5-minute walk from the U4 metro stop Kettenbrückengasse
Free WiFi. Free city map. Popular bar.
Dorms & Private Rooms Available
Accessible Vienna Hotels, Hostels & Apartments:
Finding a truly accessible hotel, hostel or apartment anywhere can be a bit of a nightmare.
But the accessibility filters on the Booking.com Vienna Hotel search (simply scroll down on the left), make it much easier.
There’s a wee trick though:
By default, the filters are a bit limited. So, ignore the filters initially, simply enter your desired dates, and make an initial search. You will then be presented with ALL properties that are available on your desired dates – and much more detailed filters (on the left – keep scrolling down until you see the “Property accessibility” and “Room accessibility” filters). NOW, filter the results as required. As I need step-free access & a roll-in shower as a minimum, I select BOTH of the “Wheelchair accessible” Property and “Roll-in shower” Room filters.
IMPORTANT: Always specify that you MUST have an accessible room, in the “Comments” during the hotel booking process.
DIY Walking Tours of Vienna
There are currently two different DIY Walking Tours of Vienna (all Vienna DIY Walks start out from Vienna Central Train Station/Wien Hauptbahnhof):
- Vienna DIY Walking Tour (the main Vienna city centre walking route). About 6.5km (4 miles) walking distance. You could dash round in a couple of hours – but I would really expect to spend a full day (there’s just so much to see & do on this Vienna DIY Walk).
Points of Interest: Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna Central Train Station) > St. Stephen’s Cathedral > Spanish Riding School > Austrian National Library > Albertina > Vienna State Opera > Maria-Theresien-Platz > Kunsthistorisches Museum > Museum of Natural History > Leopold Museum > Heldenplatz > Hofburg > Volksgarten > Rosengarten > and the Austrian Parliament Building;
- Vienna Rathaus DIY Walking Tour – As it’s less than 1 km (an easy 1 hour stroll), this is a recommended evening walk – as this area of central Vienna is best seen when lit-up in the evening:
Points of Interest: Rathaus > Rathausplatz > Burgtheater > Volksgarten.
Both DIY Walking Tours of Vienna are completely accessible/step-free.
Dropped kerbs are always available where needed in central Vienna.