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TRANSPORT

Ten destinations by direct night train from Austria

Want to explore Austria’s neighbouring countries? Then consider travelling by night train to some of Europe’s most exciting destinations.

Ten destinations by direct night train from Austria
Travellers no longer need to show a 3G proof to enter Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The return of the night train in Europe has been a welcome development for many people that like to travel but are concerned about the impact of flying on the environment.

Plus, with Austria’s convenient Central European location, there are currently around 30 night train routes in every direction out of the country and from several different Austrian cities. 

As Covid-19 travel restrictions across the continent start to relax and we edge closer to spring, here are ten European cities that can be reached by night train from Austria.

The timetables and ticket prices mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing but could change. All ticket prices are for a one-way journey.

Berlin

The Nightjet overnight service by ÖBB (Austria’s national railway system) has a direct route from Vienna to Berlin in Germany. The service takes around 12 hours departing from Vienna Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) at 10.10pm, arriving in Berlin at around 10am the next morning.

The train travels north east out of Vienna to the border with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, before transiting through Poland and into Germany.

Ticket prices range from €90 for a Sitzwagen (a seated carriage) to €140 for a Schlafwagen (sleeping carriage).

Paris

From Vienna, travellers can reach Paris Gare de l’Est train station in 14 hours with the Nightjet. The service runs on Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 7.40pm and ticket prices range from €110 to €195.

This route travels west out of Vienna and stops at Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Linz and Salzburg before crossing into Germany.

Rome

The Nightjet runs daily from Vienna to Rome with stops at Wien Meidling, Wiener Neustadt, Bruck, Leoban, Knittelfeld, Friesach, Klagenfurt and Villach. The train leaves Vienna at 7.23pm and arrives in Rome at 9.10am.

Ticket prices start at €40 for a seat and go up to €130 for a sleeping carriage.

ÖBB also runs a Nightjet service from Munich to Rome that picks up passengers in Salzburg at 10.02pm and arrives in Rome at 9.10am. Ticket prices for this route range from €70 to €150.

A woman walks her dog past the Colosseum in Rome on May 8, 2020.

Rome can be reached by night train from Vienna and Salzburg. Photo by: Alberto Pizzoli / AFP.

Zurich

The ÖBB Nightjet service to Zurich in Switzerland operates daily, leaving Vienna at 9.27pm and arriving in Zurich at 8.20am the next morning. Ticket prices range from €45 to €140.

This service stops at several other train stations in Austria, including Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Amstetten, Linz, Wels, Attnang-Puchheim, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Landeck-Zams, Bludenz and Feldkirch.

Alternatively, Magyar Államvasutak (MÁV) – Hungary’s national rail operator – runs an overnight service between Vienna and Zurich, which leaves Vienna at 11.27pm and arrives in Zurich at 8.20am. There are no sleeping carriages on this route and ticket prices start at €50.

Similarly, a Nightjet service runs daily from Graz Central Station to Zurich. The train leaves Graz at 10.26pm and arrives in Zurich at 9.20am. This route includes the option to load a car or motorbike on the train between Graz and Feldkirch from €39.90.

Brussels

Overnight train services operate between Vienna and Brussels Midi (the main train station in Brussels) on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The train leaves Vienna at 8.13pm and arrives in Brussels at 9.54am, stopping at Brussels Nord seven minutes earlier.

Before leaving Austria, the service stops at Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Linz and Wels. The train then travels through Germany before reaching Brussels.

Ticket prices start at €70 and go up to €160.

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Ljubljana

The Nightjet train service from Salzburg Central Station to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city, is operated by HŽ Putničkim prijevozom, Croatia’s national rail operator. The final destination is Zagreb in Croatia.

Trains between Salzburg and Ljubljana run daily, setting off from Munich, and the service stops at Schwarzach-St.Veit and Villach before crossing into Slovenia. It leaves Salzburg at 1.40am and arrives at Ljubljana at 6.20am. 

Ticket prices start at €19.90 for a seated carriage. There are no reclining or sleeper carriages on this route.

Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is just five hours from Salzburg by night train. Photo by: Blaž Gostinčar / Pexels.

Amsterdam

From Kufstein in Tyrol, travellers can take the Nightjet service to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The train leaves Innsbruck at 8.44pm and stops in Kufstein at 9.35pm before crossing into Germany. It arrives in Amsterdam at 9.59am.

Additionally, a daily Nightjet service leaves Vienna at 8.13pm and arrives in Amsterdam at 9.59am. This route stops at Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Linz and Wels.

Ticket prices range from €100 to €170.

Split

From June 3rd to September 23, a Nightjet service connecting Vienna and Split in Croatia will operate on Tuesday and Friday, including vehicle transportation. Travellers in Austria can also board the train at Wien Meidling, Wiener Neustadt, Bruck/Mur and Graz.

The route is operated by Slovenske železnice (Slovenian Railways) and offers both seating and sleeper carriages. Ticket prices range from €40 to €120.

Hamburg

Overnight trains between Vienna and Hamburg run daily. The service departs Vienna at 8.13pm and arrives at Hamburg Central Station at 8.50am. The route stops at Wien Meidling, St. Pölten, Linz and Wels before crossing into Germany.

This service offers seating, reclining and sleeper carriages with ticket prices ranging from €80 to €180.

Krakow

A daily Nightjet service runs between Vienna and Krakow in Poland, leaving Vienna Central Station at 10.10pm and arriving in Krakow at 5.46am. Vienna is the only stop in Austria for this route.

The service is operated by Polskie Koleje Państwowe (Polish State Railways). Ticket prices start at €49 and go up to €84.

Essential German words for train travel

Hauptbahnhof – main train station

Zug – train

Sitzwagen – seated carriage

Schlafwagen – sleeping carriage 

Liegewagen – reclining (chair) carriage

Einzelfahrschein – one-way ticket

Rückfahrschein – return ticket

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

It’s always good to know your legal rights when living as a foreigner in Austria - including if you get in trouble with the police.

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

Getting arrested is probably not high up on a list of must-dos for international residents in Austria, but it’s not a bad idea to know what would happen if you did.

In a nutshell, the process in Austria is similar to most other countries in that you have to be suspected of committing a crime to be arrested.

But what happens next? What are your rights? And how long can someone be held in custody?

Here’s what you need to know.

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When can someone be arrested in Austria?

If someone is suspected of being a criminal, they can be arrested by the police and taken to a police station for questioning. 

Under the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure, suspects must be informed of their rights as soon as possible, or at the very least before being interrogated by the police.

They also have a right to remain silent or to make a statement, as well as consult a lawyer.

According to Vienna-based attorney Evert Vastenburg, the initial detainment after arrest can last up to 48 hours while a judge decides whether a person should remain in custody or not.

A suspect can then be released on bail or under certain conditions, such as handing over a passport to police.

However, those suspected of serious crimes that typically lead to a prison sentence of 10 years or more (if found guilty) are almost always remanded in custody.

READ MORE: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

When is someone remanded in custody?

To be refused bail and remanded in custody, there must be serious suspicion that another crime could be committed. 

The judge also must believe there is no other way to deal with the suspect. For example, he/she needs to be readily available to the authorities for questioning.

Another valid reason to keep someone in custody past the initial 48 hours is the risk of someone absconding. In fact, Vastenburg says a flight risk is often assumed with people that do not live and work in Austria.

Other reasons to deny a suspect release are a risk that evidence will be destroyed, witnesses will be contacted, or there is a possibility that further crimes will be committed.

What happens if bail is denied?

If bail is denied and a person must be held in custody for more than 48 hours, they have to be legally represented by a lawyer.

If a suspect can’t afford to hire a lawyer, they will be appointed a Verfahrenshilfe (public defender) by the state.

The case will be then reviewed by a judge on a regular basis to decide if custody should continue.

The first review will take place after 14 days, then at one month and every two months, but a suspect can petition for release at any time.

READ ALSO: Six tourist scams to be aware of in Austria

How many foreigners are in Austrian prisons?

According to data from the Austrian Judiciary, the number of foreigners in Austrian jails as of June 1st 2022 was 4,332 – almost 50 percent of all prisoners.

In relation to the statistics, the Austrian Judiciary states: “The high proportion of foreigners is one of many challenges for the Austrian penal system. 

“In particular, with regard to successful rehabilitation, the fastest possible transfer to the countries of origin is encouraged.

The most common nationality of foreign prisoners in Austria is Romanian, followed by people from the former Yugoslavian states, Hungary, Nigeria and Turkey.

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