Where To Find The Best Parks & Gardens In Vienna
When it comes to the magic of Vienna – in my humble opinion – this picture-perfect city has two main drawcards which bring tourists here from around the world. First is the most obvious, which has to be the magnificent architecture and culture that can be found in every direction you look, from the countless churches, museums and galleries, to the historic cafes, and the fascinating beauty of the government buildings which are scattered throughout the city’s 1st District.
The second – and often overlooked by many visitors to the city – is the pristine gardens and parks which can be found throughout the inner districts, and of course on the outskirts of Vienna, where the residential sprawl dissipates, and blends into the world-famous Viennese Woods, or the “Wienerwald” as the locals call it.
For me personally, I just can’t get enough of the green parklands that are on offer here, as it is a very rare occurrence that you will find a city the size of Vienna, with so many opportunities to experience untouched nature and perfectly manicured gardens, at the level and quality which can be seen so often here. In this blog I will list the many places that I find to be the best in Vienna, when it comes to relaxing in nature, often away from the hustle-and-bustle of the mainstream tourist attractions.
I highly recommend you take the time to experience at least one – or many – of the fantastic locations listed below. You won’t regret it, I guarantee you that!
VIENNA CITY PARK (STADTPARK)
Located right in the centre of Vienna, just outside the Ringstrasse which encloses the city’s 1st District, the green municipal space known as the Vienna City Park (Stadtpark) is bustling with energy and excitement. Come and enjoy the lush gardens and open fields as you take in the sun, or picnic by the water’s edge. There is space for activities of all varieties, both sporting and relaxing, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for when you get hungry. With such a large number of visitors to the park each day, you could spend hours on end watching the world pass you by.
The Donau Park of Vienna is located on the outskirts of the inner-city, between the Danube Canal and the Old Danube River, and is the perfect place to escape the overbearing tourist crowds for the day, or even for just a few hours. While getting here may take a short while, once you have arrived you will be rewarded with some of the most stunning parklands in the city of Vienna. Home to the famous Danube Tower, this 99-hectare park is filled with amazing wildflowers in every direction you look, and consists of endless lush meadows to relax in and let life’s stresses drift away.
SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE GARDENS (SCHLOSS SCHÖNBRUNN)
In such an historical city as Vienna, the use of the description “magnificent” becomes common. But when visiting the Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn), this description severely understates its beauty and significance. The architecture of this enormous, long, and symmetrical palace, will astound you, and as you tour the 40 rooms, each with their own story, you will be drawn into the power and opulence of more than three historic centuries.
Once you have finished exploring the majestic interior of the palace, it will be time to turn your attention to the magnificent gardens in which it resides. The gardens were originally opened to the public around 1779, later being named a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1996, so it is no wonder they attract so many visitors from all corners of the earth, year after year. The grounds are a wonderful mix of manicured flowerbeds and pristine gardens, as well as wild and sprawling forests which are home to many native species; there is no doubt in my mind that you will be left awe-struck by its beauty!
Located in Vienna’s central First District, the magnificent Volksgarten can be described as nothing short of pristine. The perfectly manicured grounds are filled with beauty wherever you look, and the walkways are lined by spectacular flowers beds, which paint the grounds in amazing colour. The Volksgarten is part of the Imperial Hofburg Palace and was originally designed by Ludwig Remy back in 1821, so it goes without saying, this slice of paradise – in the middle of an already amazing city – truly is something out of a fairy tale!
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Vienna and visit the picturesque grounds of the Augarten – a public park located in Leopoldstadt, which is also home to the historic and commanding “Flak Towers”. Stroll along the beautiful tree lined pathways of this 52-hectare green space, and watch the locals play in the sporting fields within. Before you leave, visit the restaurant, and then head off to one of the nearby attractions such as the music centre of the Vienna Boys Choir.
VIENNA’S PRATER PARK
Take time out and come to Vienna Prater Park – located in Leopoldstadt – for some good old-fashioned fun. Once a hunting ground, since 1766 the Prater has been public parkland for all to experience. Come and relax, enjoy a meal at a restaurant, or have fun on the wide range of rides – take the Giant Ferris Wheel, thrill on the roller coaster, or issue a challenge on the bumper cars! Stroll through the park, or take a 4-kilometre round trip on the funniest railway in Vienna!
Lainzer Tiergarten is located on the edge of Vienna’s city limits, where the suburban sprawl meets the spectacular Viennese Woods (Wienerwald). This magnificent weekend playground – just a short journey from the city centre – is a perfect cross between a city park and pristine countryside, and is just waiting to be explored. The park is not only free, but it also has something for everyone; playgrounds for the kids, wide open-meadows to run around, or relax in, wild forests filled with the sounds of nature, hiking trails of all lengths and difficulties, cafes and huts serving traditional Austrian cuisine, and for those who want to bring their own food, an abundance of picnic areas and park benches throughout! This is the perfect way to experience the Viennese Woods!
DANUBE ISLAND (DONAUINSEL)
Danube Island, or the “Donauinsel” in German, is nothing short of a recreational paradise, to which the people of Vienna flock in droves throughout the warmer months of spring and summer. Perfect for swimming, cycling, boating, hiking, fishing, picnics, volleyball, or any other sporting activity you might want to indulge in, Danube Island stretches for more than 20 kilometres through the city, along the world-famous Danube River. If you’re looking to spend a day in the green beauty of one of the city’s most pristine parklands, away from the usual over-crowded tourist spots, Danube Island is the perfect place for you!
BELVEDERE PALACE (SCHLOSS BELVEDERE)
Combine art and history with a visit to the Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere), which is actually two palaces in one! The first was designed for entertaining with large halls, and the second was for living. The architecture is the best example of the style of Baroque 18th century in the world. The first of the palaces is now open as an art gallery, displaying works from the Middle-Ages. As, you admire the collection, you will see Klimt’s famous work, The Kiss! In the second palace, you will visit the living quarters, staterooms and stables of this bygone era.
MARIA THERESA SQUARE
As you head towards your next museum or palace, stop for a while at Maria Theresa Square. Empress Maria Theresa was the sole female ruler of the Habsburg Empire, and in the centre of the square you will see a magnificent statue of her. Enjoy the gardens and get your bearings before your next foray in the city!
Join the locals for a break at the Burggarten. This pretty park was once a private garden for the Habsburg family, but is now enjoyed by all. Just sit and relax, or take a stroll and enjoy the statues, memorials, and fountains that are scattered throughout. Particularly interesting is the Palm House – here you will be surrounded by butterflies as you meander through a tropical environment adorned by waterfalls.
LIECHTENSTEIN GARDEN PALACE (LIECHTENSTEIN PALAIS)
Tucked away in the backstreets of Vienna’s 9th district, you will find the stunning and beautiful Liechtenstein Garden Palace; one of the city’s many fascinating hidden secrets! When you arrive, you are free to explore the grandeur of the privately-owned palace, and admire the priceless artworks within, or discover the pristine manicured gardens filled with native wildflowers and tranquil walkways. This truly is a magical place that many tourists will never discover, but so many local residents hold so dear to their hearts!
Located on the western-outskirts of the city of Vienna, boarding with the magnificent Viennese Woods (Wienerwald), you will find the beautiful open grassed meadows of Schwarzenberg Park, a picturesque parkland which is largely unknown among tourists. Schwarzenberg Park is where the Viennese locals come to get away from the city, with endless hiking trails through the surrounding forests, and large areas of uninhabited meadows which are perfectly suited to relaxation.
Vienna is well known throughout the world for the abundance of green parklands which can be found on the outskirts of the city, many of which blend into the majestic Viennese Woods (Wienerwald); Steinhofgründe is yet another example of one of these natural and wild parklands in which to escape the hustle-and-bustle of Vienna. Take the short tram and bus ride, and you can join the many local residents as they relax in the lush meadows throughout the warmer months, and enjoy the fantastic year-round hiking trails through the surrounding forests.
Am Himmel – roughly translated to “In The Sky” or “In Heaven” – is a stunning parkland set on the edge of Vienna where the city meets the magnificent Viennese Woods (Wienerwald). Am Himmel is a fantastic place to escape the city and spend a day relaxing in the natural beauty of the surrounding green forests and lush meadows, especially in the summer time when the sun is out! With amazing views over Vienna, and with many great hiking trails in the area, Am Himmel really is the perfect place to get away from the hustle-and-bustle or the regular Viennese tourist destinations.
SIGMUND FREUD PARK
Come and spend a beautiful summers’ day lazing around at the Sigmund Freud Park, right in the heart of Vienna! The Sigmund Freud Park is a small, open-grassed area in the middle of the city, scattered with free deck chairs to lounge in, and frequented by locals from all over the city as they take a break from their busy day. Overlooked by the spectacular neo-gothic Votivkirche, there is no better place to rest your feet for a while!
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