Getting around Austria with babies and toddlers
Trains and Buses
Austria is well connected by train and this is a great option for older toddlers as you do not have to worry about car seats and they can move around freely. The scenery from the train is also better! Trains are the best and most common form of public transport in Austria. Comfortable and moderately priced, trains connect major cities and many towns and buses serve less significant towns and lakes.
There are baby changing facilities onboard the trains and you will be able to stow your stroller and luggage towards the front of the train carriage. Many of the stations are also stroller accessible with elevators and train carriages level with the platform however you may need to carry your stroller up or down steps from the platform in some stations.
Tickets – The ÖBB sell domestic tickets using a price based only upon distance travelled, regardless of when you buy the ticket and which train you take. Base fare is rather expensive, but Austrian Railways offer some discounts if you buy your tickets in advance. Under 4’s travel free.
Driving in Austria
Rural or sparsely populated regions in Austria are easier to explore by car as bus services can be infrequent. Renting a car for a couple of days is a good way to go off the beaten track. Driving in Austria is normally quite pleasant as the country is small and the roads are in good condition, not congested and offer fantastic scenery.
Austrian law requires all passengers to wear seatbelts at all time. Children under 14 years of age have to use a child safety seat until they are at least 150 cm (approx. 59 inches) tall. Click here for further information on EU car seat laws.
Parking in Austrian Cities
- Parking in cities is subject to fee on work days. Usually those parking zones are marked by blue lines on the street. Some cities (such as Vienna) have area-wide zones not denoted by blue lines.
- Fees vary from town to town as do the fines.
- Tickets can be usually bought from kiosks, some cities (such as Graz) have ticket machines on the street.
- A cheap alternative is to park your car a bit outside of the town in a Park and Ride, which can be found in bigger cities.
- Travelling on Austrian motorways (Autobahnen) or Schnellstraßen means you are liable to pay tolls.
- The speed limits are 130 km/h on Autobahn and 100 km/h on Schnellstraßen and Bundesstraßen. Expect limits otherwise of 50-80 km/h.
Driving in Austria During Winter
- Icy roads kill dozens of inexperienced drivers every year. Avoid speeding and driving at night and make sure the car is in a good condition.
- Motorway bridges are particularly prone to ice so slow down to 80 km/h when going over them.
- Winter tires are strongly recommended. When there is snowfall, winter tires or snow chains are required by law on some mountain passes, and occasionally also on motorways. This is indicated by a round traffic sign depicting a white tire or chain on a blue background.
- It is always a good idea to take a pair of snow chains and a warm blanket in the boot. Problems normally encountered relate to ice and steepness, not unevenness. When driving downhill the only remedy against sliding are snow chains.
It is possible to travel by plane within Austria. Domestic flights normally cost in the region of €300-500 return and Austrian Airlines offers limited tickets for €99 (Redtickets) but they have to be booked usually 2-3 months in advance. Since the country is small, the total journey time is unlikely to be shorter than by rail or car.