The big day has arrived; you are finally coming to Graz. There are several ways of getting into the city. In case you do not have a buddy or your buddy cannot pick you up, here are some tips for your first steps in Austria.
Arrival by plane
Even though Austria is a fairly small country, we have got a couple of international airports. The most convenient airport for you to fly to is of course Graz Airport (Graz-Feldkirchen), but you may also consider coming to Vienna Airport (Schwechat).
Graz Airport: If you are flying to Graz Airport, how do you get into the city? If you are tired, you might consider to take a taxi which costs about 20-30 € into the city centre, but it is not necessary because public transportation in and around Graz generally works very well. You may take the train which takes about 15 minutes to Graz main train station which is not far from the city centre. To reach the train station you need to leave the terminal and follow the signs for about 300 m. There you take the train in northern direction (Graz). The train (S5) leaves at least once an hour; you can check the time table online. Please note that you need to buy a ticket at the machine on the platform before boarding the train. A one-way-ticket to the city center costs 2,20€ (7/2015). You can find out more about public transport in Graz under the section “How to get around”. Coming to Graz for the first time, you may want to get off the train at Graz main train station (Graz Hauptbahnhof) and continue from the city centre from there. At the train station you can get a map which will help you from there onwards. If you prefer to take the bus, you may do so as well. The buses leave directly outside the terminal and are easy to find. The number of the bus you want to take is 630/631 to Graz. It takes about 20 minutes to the city centre (Jakominiplatz) and also costs 2,20€ one-way (7/2015). You can buy the ticket from the driver. For more information on Graz airport please visit: www.flughafen-graz.at.
Vienna Airport: Vienna Airport is probably the cheapest airport to fly to, because it is served by several low-cost airlines in addition to all other major airlines. The airport lies somewhat outside the city of Vienna in a place called “Schwechat” and was recently remodelled. The best way to get from Vienna to Graz is by train. However, there is no train that goes from the airport directly to Graz which is why you will have to change trains some place in Vienna. You may want to consider getting a so-called “Sparschiene” ticket, which comes as cheap as 9€ from Schwechat to Graz. You can buy it online from the ÖBB website (see “How to get around"). The ticket will provide you with the information on which trains you need to take. Please note that because these tickets are cheap, they have some restrictions; you are not allowed to take other trains than mentioned on the ticket and you have to change trains 2-3 times. We recommend that especially if you have a lot of luggage you take the Vienna Airport Shuttle to Wien Meidling train station. It leaves directly from outside the terminal, takes about 30 minutes and costs 8€ one way (1/2015). From there you can take a train to Graz (you can also get a Sparschiene ticket from Wien Meidling to Graz which also costs from 9€ onwards). You will arrive at Graz main train station from which you can continue to Graz city centre. The journey from Vienna Airport to Graz city centre will easily take you 3-4 hours so you might want to eat something at the airport before you leave and get something to drink, especially in the summer. In case you are not getting a Sparschiene ticket for some reason, please note that a train ticket from Wien Meidling to Graz costs about 30 € (one-way). The trains which travel between Vienna and Graz (RailJets) are fairly modern and also have wifi on board. Another tip: when coming from Vienna by train, try to get a seat on the left hand side of the train (in travel direction) as it will give you a beautiful view of the mountain scenery on the way to Graz. For more information on Vienna Airport please visit: http://www.viennaairport.com.
Other airports: As mentioned, there are several other airports in Austria, but they are only served by a limited number of airlines. However, if you prefer, you can fly to Salzburg, Klagenfurt, Innsbruck or Linz. Because Austria is a fairly small country, you may also consider flying to airports around the border, e.g. Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary), Munich (Germany), Maribor (Slovenia); just consider that it will take significantly longer to get to Graz if you chose to fly to any of these airports.
Arrival by train
As mentioned above, coming to Graz by train is fairly easy and convenient. The main train station is called “Graz Hauptbahnhof” and serves trains coming from Zurich, Zagreb, etc. In some cases you might have to change trains in Vienna. The best way to find out, how to come to Graz by train is to check on the ÖBB website. As mentioned above: when coming from Vienna by train, try to get a seat on the left hand side of the train (in travel direction) as it will give you a beautiful view of the mountain scenery on the way to Graz.
Arrival by car
If you are driving yourself to Austria, there are a few things which you need to take into consideration. On the map you can see the Autobahn network in the country, which is the fastest way to go where you want to go. If you want to use the Autobahn you need to buy a so-called “Vignette” and put it on your windshield before driving onto the Autobahn. This rule is strictly enforced. You may buy the Vignette at a gas station before the border or at the border directly. It costs about 80€ for one year, 25€ for 2 months or 9€ for 10 days.
In addition, you should probably stick to the speed limits, which in general are like this:
- Autobahn 130 km/h
- Country roads: 100 km/h
- Cities: 50 km/h
Source (picture): Wikimedia Commons
As you can see from the map, the easiest way to get into Graz is to follow the Autobahn. Take A9 coming from the South and Northwest or A2 when coming from Vienna or Klagenfurt. When you are coming from the North (via S35), you want to exit the Autobahn at “Graz Nord” and continue from the city centre from there. When coming via A2 from Vienna, you should exit at Graz-Ost, when coming from Klagenfurt at Graz-West. When you come from the south, the exit is simply called Graz. More information on driving in Austria can be found here.