How to Get to Salzburg from Vienna

For many, Salzburg competes with Vienna itself as Austria's most beautiful city. So leave the capital for a few hours to visit it.

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

6 min read

How to Get to Salzburg from Vienna

Vienna Castle | ©Leyre

If you are preparing your trip, you probably already have some idea of what to see and do in Vienna. But if you're going to be in Vienna for four days or more, I recommend that you consider a trip to another town in the country that has nothing to envy: Salzburg.

About 280 kilometers from Vienna, Salzburg is listed as a World Heritage Site on its own merits. Mozart's hometown, located in the Eastern Alps, offers so many attractions that it is capable of enchanting anyone. Ideally you should spend a couple of days there, but if you don't have time , a one-day visit is enough. Here's how to get there from the capital without any problems.

1. The best way to get to Salzburg from Vienna: an organized excursion

In Salzburg| ©Diego Cambiaso
In Salzburg| ©Diego Cambiaso

Vienna is very well equipped so that its visitors are never bored. Among the activities on offer are organized excursions to Salzburg, the most convenient way to visit this beautiful city.

This is undoubtedly one of the best excursions you can take from Vienna. Among the advantages of opting for the organized excursion is not having to be aware of schedules to get there and back.

The guide, on the other hand, is another aspect that makes the difference. Not only will he take you directly to the most interesting places (Mozart's house, Mirabell Palace or the places where the movie The Sound of Music was filmed), but he will also give you information so that you can get the most out of the experience.

Practical information about the excursions

  • Price: from 131 €.
  • Total duration: about 13 hours.
  • Why I like this option: it is the easiest and most comfortable way to visit Salzburg from Vienna.
  • Recommended if: you are going to spend several days in Vienna and want to get to know the fantastic city of Salzburg in a comfortable way.

2. Going from Vienna to Salzburg by train, the best way to go on your own

Train in Vienna| ©Paul Korecky
Train in Vienna| ©Paul Korecky

The relative proximity between Vienna and Salzburg means that you can also travel on your own by train. Although you will not have the help of the guide and you will have to find your own tickets.

One of the positive factors of this option is the number of trains that make the journey and the length of the schedule: The first train leaves Vienna around 5:30 a.m. and the connection continues throughout the day with departures every half hour. To return, you will find trains until 22:00 hours.

To catch it in Vienna you will have two different options: from the central station (Wien Hauptbahnhof) or Wien Mitte (near the center). And you will arrive at Salzburg's only train station, the Hauptbahnhof, about 15 minutes from the center.

Practical information for train travel

  • Price: from 25 € each way.
  • Total time: about 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why I like this option: for the comfort, flexibility of timetables and the beauty of the landscape through which the train passes.
  • Recommended if: you want to go on your own to Salzburg in a comfortable and relaxed way.
  • Tip: check the website for train schedules.

3. Bus from Vienna to Salzburg, the most economical option

Bus to Salzburg by FlixBus| ©Cali
Bus to Salzburg by FlixBus| ©Cali

The bus is another great option to travel from Vienna to Salzburg, whether you want to spend the night in Salzburg or return to the capital after a full day of sightseeing. You'll find departures starting at 5:40 a.m. and return trips until approximately 7:50 p.m.

There are several companies that operate this route. If you are looking for the best possible price, the most interesting is Westbahn. Their buses leave from Vienna Westbahnhof (Vienna Westbahnhof).

FlixBus also operates this route, but in this case their prices are considerably higher.

Practical information for going by bus

  • Price: from 14 € each way.
  • Total time: about 3 hours counting the departure from Vienna.
  • Why I like this option: it is the cheapest way to get from Vienna to Salzburg and there is enough time to visit the main attractions of the city.
  • Recommended if: you are trying to save on transportation to spend on other aspects of the trip such as food or entrance fees.

4. The car, perfect if you want to stop along the way

Traveling by car| ©tobi
Traveling by car| ©tobi

The car has the advantage of offering great flexibility, both in terms of schedules and stopping anywhere along the way. Between Vienna and Salzburg, moreover, there is no shortage of such places. My recommendation is to make at least a short stop at Melk Abbey, Hallstatt and Sankt Gilgen.

In case you have made your trip with your own car, you must buy a vignette and stick it on the front windshield. It costs about 10 €, but it will be valid for 10 days. If you don't buy it you can receive a fine of about 120 €.

You can also rent a car. The prices in Austria are not too low, but maybe you will be lucky and find a good offer. Try to pick up the car at an office at the train station or at other points in the center so you don't have to go to the airport.

  • Vienna Car Rental: the prices are not very high. The problem is that in many models they do not let you rent for a single day, but you can always try.
  • Zippy 7: the rent for one day starts from 100 €.
  • Sur Price: sometimes they have promotions that can allow you to rent a car for less than 35 € per day.

Practical information to go by car

  • Price: gasoline + transport vignette (about 10 ¤) + car rental if necessary (from about 50 ¤ per day).
  • Total traveltime: about 3 hours, but I recommend stopping along the way.
  • Why I like this option: for the flexibility it offers.
  • Recommended if: you want to take advantage of the trip from Vienna to Salzburg to get to know one of the most beautiful regions in Europe.

Summary of the different options to get from Vienna to Salzburg

  • Excursions
  • From 131 € + entrance fees
  • Advantages: transport included and guide included
  • Disadvantages: less flexibility
  • Train
  • About 25 € each way
  • Advantages: comfort and scenery
  • Disadvantages: having to be aware of the return timetable
  • Bus
  • About 14 € each way
  • Advantages: very comfortable vehicles
  • Disadvantages: you have to organize everything yourself
  • Car
  • Fuel + vignette + rental car from 50 € per day
  • Advantages: you can stop anywhere along the way
  • Disadvantages: the driver does not enjoy the scenery much

What is the best option to go from Vienna to Salzburg?

Road Trip| ©Oleksandr Pidvalnyi
Road Trip| ©Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

It is difficult to say which option is the best among those available for you to go from Vienna to Salzburg, each of them has advantages and disadvantages, so you will have to see the type of trip you want to do to make the final decision.

  • The organized excursion is the most comfortable option. You will not have to worry about anything and besides, having a guide to explain what you are seeing is always a plus. As for the disadvantages, going with a group you will have a little less flexibility to visit the places.

  • On the other hand, the car is a great option if you intend to turn the day into a complete visit to the region between Vienna and Salzburg. There are many places to stop, but you will always have to keep an eye on the time if you don't want to return to the capital after dark.

  • Public transport also has its advantages. The high frequency of trains is very convenient to extend your stay in Salzburg, while the bus is the best option if your budget is not very tight. However, in both cases you will have to buy your own tickets and make sure you don't miss your return trip.

A brief summary of Salzburg

Hohensalzburg Fortress| ©Trishhhh
Hohensalzburg Fortress| ©Trishhhh

Once you arrive in Salzburg you will have to try to make the most of the hours you spend there. The city is home to a large number of interesting places and, even if you go with a guide, it is always a good idea to have an idea about them beforehand:

  • Hohensalzburg Fortress: built in 1077, it is considered one of the best preserved on the continent. Its interior stands out for its medieval decoration and for the small torture museum it houses.
  • Mozart's Birthplace: its museum has been open since 1880. An essential visit for music lovers.
  • Salzburg Cathedral: undoubtedly one of its most emblematic buildings. Its facade and dome are worth a visit by themselves.
  • Hellbrunn Palace: do not just look at the architectural beauty of this seventeenth-century building, as its wonderful surroundings do not detract at all.