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Getting around Vienna

Public transport

The Vienna Transport Authority, Wiener Linien (tel: +43 1 790 9100; www.wienerlinien.at), operates the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (commuter rail), Strassenbahn (tram) and bus network. After midnight, half-hourly night buses radiate out from Schwedenplatz, Schottentor, and outside the Staatsoper.

Vienna has one of the largest tram networks in the world. The trams are affectionately referred to as 'Bims' - a reference to the 'bim-bim' signal bell.

Tickets are available at Wiener Linien ticket offices and service centres, vending machines and tobacco/newsagent outlets. The Vienna Card (www.wienkarte.at) allows for 24, 48 or 72 hours of travel on the U-bahn, trams and buses as well as discounts to attractions. 

Taxis

Taxis are equipped with meters. There is also a small calling fee for licensed taxis such as Taxi 31300 (tel: +43 1 31300), Taxi 40100 (+43 1 40100) and 60160 Taxi (+43 1 60160). There is also a small surcharge for hailing a taxi from a Taxistandplatz. A tip of 10% or rounding up to the nearest Euro is common.

Driving

While pedestrians may appreciate the jumble of tiny streets in the Innerestadt, motorists will find it a nightmare. The area is best avoided and even at night it can be almost impossible to find a parking place on the street. Car parks are often located underneath squares and parking is expensive. Short-term street parking is available in districts one to nine and 20 of Vienna's 23 districts.

Car hire

A national driving licence is sufficient for nationals of EU states - other nationalities should obtain an International Driving Permit. The minimum age for hiring a car is 21 years, although many firms have a surcharge until 25 years. Third-party insurance is mandatory in Austria.

Major car hire firms include Avis (tel: +43 1 600 5651; www.avis.at), Europcar (tel: +43 1 866 1614; www.europcar.at) and Hertz (tel: +43 1 512 8677; www.hertz.at).

Bicycle hire

There's a network of well-marked bicycle paths in Vienna, but riders should take care in the Innerestadt and along major routes. The Rad Weg, a booklet available from bookshops, shows all the cycle routes.

The city's bikeshare scheme, Citybike Vienna (www.citybikewien.at), has more than 100 bike stands scattered throughout the city. You can pay using a credit card or a Tourist Card, available from Pedal Power (see below). The first hour is free.

Private hire companies are principally located near the banks of the Danube River. These include Pedal Power, at Austellungsstrasse 3 (tel: +43 1 729 7234; www.pedalpower.at), who can deliver and collect bikes to your address.

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Hotel Haydn

Just a 15-minute walk from Westbahnhof station, HotelHaydn is an affordable hotel in the heart of Vienna. This family-friendly hotel isn’t far from popular tourist sites such as the Naschmarkt and the House of the Sea as well as shopping centres and a variety of restaurants.

Palais Coburg

Once a royal residence, this glorious palace in the heart of the city has been transformed into a hotel that is the epitome of luxury and modern convenience. Its 35 suites are individually decorated and come with plenty of add-ons, such as a full kitchen, flat-screen TV, and high-speed Internet access. The Coburg also holds nine function rooms of palatial quality, a health spa, an enormous wine cellar, and one of Vienna's finest restaurants.

Hotel Das Tyrol

Hotel Das Tyrol is a charming and friendly small hotel, on Vienna's longest shopping street and right next to the MuseumsQuartier. Enjoy a tasty and healthy start to the day in the attractive dining area decorated with contemporary art.

Le Méridien

Set on the Ringstrasse, a short stroll from the Vienna State Opera and the Hofburg Palace, this modern addition to the city's list of top-end hotels combines history and contemporary style, with 294 "Art +Tech" rooms equipped with all mod cons, an excellent fitness suite with spa, and the ultra-trendy Shambala Bar.

Pension Pertschy

In the heart of town, this 4-star pension was formerly the Palais Cavriana (1734). It boasts 55 spacious grand and well-equipped rooms. There is a free Internet terminal in the hall. Enjoy the start to the day with the extensive Viennese breakfast buffet.

Nosseck Pension

The 30-room Nosseck Pension is about as central as you can get, opening directly onto the pedestrianised Graben. This is an extremely attractive accommodation for its price and location, with large and elegantly furnished en-suite rooms. No credit cards.