I am a UK citizen travelling on Austrian Airlines from London to Bangkok, with a connection in Vienna. I have a 7-hour layover.

I am thinking of using the time to visit Vienna itself. I believe that the train to the centre is quick, so I should get at least a couple of hours in the city.

Are there any administrative considerations? For example, if I were transiting through a US city, I would need an ESTA to do this sort of thing. As far as I can see, all I need is to ensure my passport is stamped as I leave the airport, so that when I return for my Bangkok flight, it is clear that I have complied with the Schengen 90-day rule.

  • 1
    Indeed, there's a direct train to the main station which takes about 20 minutes and runs at least every half an hour all day. On top of that there's the S-bahn, so travelling between the airport and the city centre is really straightforward in Vienna.
    – TooTea
    Jan 26 at 10:13
  • 2
    If you were transiting through a US city you'd need an ESTA whether or not you left the airport, as far as I know. Jan 26 at 20:19
  • 1
    @FreeMan - I believe my bags are checked through - single ticket, albeit with long layover. Just hand-baggage with me. So I was expecting to only need to clear security.
    – djna
    Jan 27 at 15:41
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    Always worth pointing out the obvious. It's the obvious that often is the easiest to overlook.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 27 at 15:47
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    Most importantly - Vienna is awesome! And yes that is plenty of time. I urge you to constantly eat and drink, don't bother with anything else.
    – Fattie
    Jan 27 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


Are there any administrative considerations?

No. As a UK citizen with a UK passport you can enter and leave Austria without any other documents required.

I believe that train to centre is quick

It is! There are actually three different types of trains: CAT (City Airport Train), RailJet and S-Bahn. CAT is dedicated airport transfer which makes it quite expensive (like the Heathrow Express) and that's why it's heavily advertised.

In my opinion the other two are better options: they are regular public transportation, and you can use the same ticket which is half the price of the CAT. Travel time and frequency of departure is roughly the same and you have more options of where to exit or enter in the city.

See https://www.wien.info/en/travel-info/to-and-around/airport-to-center

  • 2
    (+1) To be very specific, travel time to Vienna main station is the same as the time it takes for the CAT to bring you to Wien-Mitte but going to the main station might not be the best option for quick sightseeing. A S-Bahn to Wien-Mitte is 10 min longer than the CAT (25 min vs. 16 min). I always take regular trains but for a very short layover, maybe shaving 20 min off the transit time is worth it? That's especially true if you reach the station just after the departure of the previous S7, you're looking at 30+25 min vs. 10+16 min with the CAT.
    – Relaxed
    Jan 26 at 14:17
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    My recommendation would be: take whatever train leaves next. It makes no sense to wait 20 minutes for the CAT if the S-Bahn is right there and ready to go. Unfortunately you can't use the CAT ticket on the other trains (which is super annoying), so you have to make the call when you buy the ticket.
    – Hilmar
    Jan 26 at 15:29
  • yet in case you're considering Schönbrunn, Wien Mitte is a good choice because there's U4 metro running there and back directly with 11 minutes travel time every 5 minutes.
    – dlatikay
    Jan 26 at 18:46

As far as I can see, all I need is to ensure my passport is stamped as I leave the airport so then when I return for my Bangkok flight it is clear that I've complied with the Schengen 90 day rule.

Yes, nothing has changed and passports will still have to be stamped.

The planned Entry/Exit System (EES and the corresponding ETIAS registration) has, again, been delayed until (presently) the end of 2023.

  • Very informative answer
    – Fattie
    Jan 27 at 18:25

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