I’ve spent a lot of time in Vienna over the years. Back in 2010, I started teaching English in Austria and was often placed in the capital for a week or two at a time over the subsequent five years that I continued doing that job. In all that time, I almost never spent any time there in summer; usually I was teaching there in winter or spring months, locked away in my Vienna hotel to protect myself from the cold.
After my recent trip to southern Germany and Austria by train with Interrail though, I realise how beautiful Vienna is in the summer and that I need to spend some more time there soon.
Like in much of central Europe, people end up living their lives outside during the long, hot summer days, and in Vienna this is clearly where it’s at. Walking from Wien Mitte station into town through the Stadtpark on a late June afternoon, everyone was out enjoying the sun, playing games and picnicking.
There are much bigger parks to enjoy on warm summer days too, such as the gorgeous gardens at Belvedere Castle, the wide open Augarten and the forested Pratergarten, all just outside the central ring of old Vienna.
I actually spent an evening with friends at Donauvorstadt, some way out of the centre of Vienna, by the old Danube river. Watching the sun set over the river with the silhouetted skyscrapers on the horizon while listening to the gentle lapping of the water was pure heaven. The river is definitely clean enough to go swimming in too, if you’re in the mood! One thing I’ve always loved about Austria is that even in the cities, you don’t have to go far out to be in nature.
Vienna’s annual pride parade (locally known as the Regenbogenparade) is also in June, and is a great time to see the city covered in rainbows and all the city assemble to celebrate diversity. Like some smaller pride events in Europe, it’s a family event and it seems that everyone takes to the streets, queer or not, to take part, making for a wonderful inclusive atmosphere.
Of course, hot weather calls for ice cream, and Vienna may in fact have some of the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever eaten. The highly successful chain, Veganista, now with four branches spread throughout the city, has a huge range of innovative flavours with soy, oat, rice and nut based milks used. For more vegan eats in Vienna, check out my vegan guide to the city.
So basically with a super walkable centre, great vegan food, a cool queer scene and beautiful sunny, Vienna might just now be one of my favourite cities to visit in summer!