A lone protest vote against the uniformity of colour is a bright yellow tram circling the Ring boulevard. The Ring is where many of Vienna’s “must-see” buildings live and this is the municipal transport authority’s “sightseeing tram” – the Vienna Ring Tram.
On board, you enjoy a 20-25 minute guided tour around the Ring, courtesy of headphones in your choice of various languages (including English). This is not a hop-on, hop-off opportunity: it starts and ends at Platform C at the Schwedenplatz station (see map below), with two starts an hour.
You can buy tickets on board, at station ticket offices or online. At the time of writing (late 2015), a ticket cost €8 for adults and €4 for under 15s, with under 6s going free.
So is it worth it?
If you have the time and energy, you’re better off seeing the Ring on foot for a true appreciation of the majesty of Hapsburg Vienna. You also travel part way around the Ring on normal trams, so can use these with standard tickets and get on and off as you desire. And the hop on, hop off sightseeing buses offer more comprehensive tours.
If you’re pressed for time (or out of energy), then this is an easy way to get a swift look at many of the things you’re supposed to have seen in Vienna, with a brief guide so you know what you’re looking at. You also get to go on a yellow tram (yay!) and the conductor was very friendly and accommodating when we did our trip.
Quick travel tips
- The tram travels the Ring on the right, so the right side of the tram as you face forward has less chance of having a view blocked by an inconvenient bus. But note that the top sights are on both sides of the Ring, so picking your side isn’t critical.
- Switch the language to the German channel on your headphones, then again to the local Vienna dialect for an interesting insight into the linguistic differences.
- In the winter months and nearer Christmas, take the latest tram you can and enjoy the lights – some of the hotels along the Ring put up delightful displays and you’ll pass the Rathausplatz in all its seasonal splendour.
The official website has more information and timetables.