This article comes with an asterisk attached; it is written for those who appreciate the beauty of mass transit. Vienna has a very interesting public transport history. There are several sections of the network which have been kept faithful to the designs of Vienna’s most prominent Art Nouveau architect, Otto Wagner.
Wagner was responsible for much of Austro-Hungarian Vienna’s nascent urban rail planning (as well as the stations), which was to become known as the ‘Wiener Stadtbahn’. Vienna saw itself as a major world centre of culture, and it was strongly felt that a functional yet elegant transport system was essential. The S45, for example, showcases some of the best Art Nouveau station architecture to be found, especially at Hernals, Gersthof and Ottakring.
Happily, much of it survives today. Some sections of the network have become what we now know as the S45 stretch, and the U6 and U4 ‘underground’ lines. Thanks to this fantastic guide by Horst Prillinger, it is easy to explore all surviving stations. The tour can be truncated or elongated; exit at the U3 station Ottakring for the abridged version, or go on to the U4 station Hütteldorf and take the U4 back to town for the longer ride. Alternatively, in the warm spring weather, the route can transport you to other beautiful areas of Vienna, including the ‘Wienerwald’ and the Danube. For aficionados of train transport, this little revelation will be a dream.