Despite the trains from Wien/Vienna to Frankfurt spending less than 5% of the journey travelling on a high speed line, swish ICE trains are used on this route.
Final Destination: Frankfurt (Main) or Dortmund
All trains also call at: Passau, Regensburg, Nurnberg amd Wurzburg
Departing from Wien/Vienna:
If your journey in Vienna is commencing in the south west corner of the city, or the area on the ring road around the Opera House - then it's likely that you'll have a faster and more convenient journey if you join the train at Wien-Meidling station.
Wien Meidling is connected to line U6 of the Vienna Metro, which serves the western side of the city centre.
Though we particularly recommend opting to make reservations for this journey if you want to join these trains at Wien-Meidling as they become busy on departure from Wien Hbf.
The alternative direct train
There is now also a Railjet train service from Wien to Frankfurt (Main) which is scheduled to depart at 09:55, but it is best avoided for a journey between these two cities, as it takes a different longer route, so has a journey time of close to twelve hours.
6 x trains per day
Online bookings open: up to 6 months ahead of the travel date
This booking period tends to be shorter when looking up journeys between mid August and mid October.
It can be worth comparing prices on the different ticket agents, the cheapest 'Europa Spezial' tickets can still be available on DB, the German railways website, when the most heavily discounted 'Sparschiene' tickets are sold out on OBB, the Austrian railways website.
And the reverse can be true, cheaper Sparschiene tickets can still be available on OBB, meaning that DB can be more expensive.
There is a 4 hour gap between departures of these direct trains between around 11:15 and 15:15.
That is because the train that departs Wien at 13:15 will be heading to Hamburg; and this train has an 8 min connection at Wurzburg into a train on to Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.
Book this journey and miss the connection, due to the train from Wien running late, and tickets/reservations can be swapped at the DB Reisezentrum desk in Wurzburg station to a later train on from Wurzburg.
There should be another ICE train departing from Wurzburg to Frankfurt (Main) around 30mins later.
A choice of tickets on the DB website
Three types of tickets are always available: Sparpreis and Super Sparpreis and Flexpreis.
A key difference between these types of tickets is refunds:
The other key difference is that both types of Sparpreis tickets are only valid on the specific departures selected when booking, but the Flexpreis tickets live up to their name, as they can be used on any departure on your travel date.
Note that none of the tickets can be exchanged to a different departure.
There's no need for this to be available for Flexpreis tickets, as they aren't train departure specific.
If you book a Sparpreis ticket and want to travel by a different departure you can refund it and then use the travel voucher towards the cost of the new booking.
Super Sparpreis tickets can't be exchanged or refunded.
When travelling to and from the major cities, the Sparpreis and Flexpreis tickets also include 'City tickets', which can be used on public transport on from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.
Seat reservations are optional on ICE trains.
They cost €4.90 when travelling in 2nd Class and €5.90 when travelling in 1st class.
When a journey involves two or more trains on which seat reservations are available, the fees when first booking, cover all trains.
Specific seats can be selected from seating plans - you don't have to accept the seat(s) that you will be automatically offered.
They are included within the cost of booking 1st class Flexpreis tickets.
Though despite seats being automatically assigned when booking these three types of ticket - and these tickets being valid on any departure, you will need to pay to re-book the reservations, if you subsequently decide to travel on an alternative train.
So because you won't save by booking these types of tickets in advance, it can be a good idea to wait until you are sure when you will want to travel.
When booking Super Sparpreis, Sparpreis and 2nd class Flexpreis tickets, you have the option of purchasing seat reservations later.
It can be worth re-looking up a journey a week or two ahead of travel, because the DB website will indicate how busy a departure will be.
Though in general reservations are highly recommended for this journey, particularly if you'll be travelling 2nd class; it's worth it to ensure that you have an assigned seat for the entire trip.
1st Class tickets
No matter what type of ticket booked, if you choose to travel 1st class, you will have access to the same seating areas on the train, ICE trains do not have Business or Executive lounges.
Though only those who have booked 1st class Flexpreis or Flexpreis Plus tickets can access the DB Lounges at the major stations.
Booking on the DB website
To see all the combinations of trains and journey options, some of which may be cheaper, take off the 'fastest connections' default.
Booking on the OBB website
The discounted tickets are the 'Sparscheine' tickets and they can be booked online up until the day of departure, but they CAN'T be booked at stations, so booking last minute at the station is always more expensive.
Though you'll usually need to book the 'Sparscheine' tickets at least a couple of days ahead to obtain them at the cheapest possible price.
Book a Sparschiene ticket and it will be specific to the departure you selected when making a booking and it can't be refunded at all if you subsequently change your travel plans and it also can't be exchanged to an alternative, later departure.
Trains departing at different times can also be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares
It can pay off to take a look at the guide to Austrian train tickets - it should help you save time and money and confusion.
Seat reservations are optional, but they're particularly recommended for this journey.
Rail pass users:
As explained on our guide to using rail passes on German trains, a tick in the box for travelling by ICE trains, is that you won't have to make a seat reservation.
However, irrespective of whether you will be travelling with a 1st class or 2nd class pass, we recommend opting to make the reservation on these trains, if you want to be sure of having a stress-free journey.
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Until December 10th all trains on this route will be ICE-T trains, but the plan is to replace them on some departures with ICE 4 trains.
From Wien/Vienna until Wels the train will travel at up to 230 km/h (close to the high speed threshold) on the main Western Railway which crosses Austria.
On departure from Wells the train will head towards the border with Germany and to the south of Passau, the railway takes a charming route on the east bank of The River Inn, which can be seen on left.
Then between Passau and Regensburg the River Danube is on the right.
Between Regensburg and Nurnberg the train rushes across a delightful rolling landscape and then until Wurzburg the train remains on the conventional railway.
On departure from Wurzburg comes a part of the journey with a wow factor, the train will be on the high speed line for less than 15 minutes, but there are some nice views as the train crosses some long viaducts; in particular look out for when the train will burst out of a tunnel and then immediately cross the River Main.
Between this river bridge and Aschaffenburg comes another scenic part of the trip when the railway winds through some valleys.
As the train will spend less than 3% of its journey on the high speed line, it didn't see right to put this journey in the high speed (partial) category.
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