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I'm planning a trip to the Austrian Alps, probably Gesaeuse National Park, or maybe Kalkalpen, leaving from Vienna. Does anyone have any tips on how to get there (the mountains) most easily using public transport?

I've been looking mostly at the OBB train site, which has an English version, but I'm sure I'll need buses at some point, too, in order to get into the mountains and to the "rifugios".

Despite being in English, the OBB site offers tickets with erratic prices- I've found it often initially offers prices about twice as high as what's available, and by looking for earlier trains I find something that takes the same amount of time for half the price. Sometimes the cheaper train is literally only a few minutes before, but you don't see it in the "default" screen.

Also, is it important to get train tickets ahead of time? (i.e., do prices rise later on?)

Any other public-transport-across-Austria-to-the-mountains tips?

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The OBB search engine includes some buses (not sure how many are missing, though) –  gerrit Jun 15 '13 at 17:13
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Once in winter/spring, I traveled to Kitzbühel by public transport. That was no big deal: They have a regular train station. I booked my ticket in advance using Deutsche Bahn's site, because I was traveling from Germany.

Getting to the top of the mountains from Kitzbühel is easy: Being a ski resort, they have a good infrastructure of cable cars. But, in fact, hiking up is more fun.

Concerning prices, if it's similar to Germany, it's a good idea to book long distance trains in advance, because tickets then usually are cheaper. For regional trains, however, I expect it doesn't matter when you book.

According to Wikipedia's German ÖBB article (as of June 2013):

  • Long distance trains: RJ, ICE, ÖBB-IC, IC, EC, EN, D, IC-BUS

  • Regional trains: R, REX, S, EZ

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Definitely better to book in advance- around a week before travel time, the minimum price of Vienna-Gaishorn am See via OBB (Rex + RJ) more than doubled from 30 to 70 euros. –  Eyal Jul 16 '13 at 21:18
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