It’s time to take the dinner table to the park! Summer is here. Check out our list of our 6 favourite parks to picnic in Vienna.
Grab yourself a picnic basket, lay out a blanket, lie back and spot the shapes in the clouds – ’that one’s a donkey … that one’s a mother relentlessly pushing her child towards academic achievement.’
Sigmund-Freud-Park – the ultimate urban park
Where: Rooseveltplatz, 1090
Named after one of Vienna’s brightest minds, the Sigmund-Freud-Park in the 9th district is the perfect spot to eavesdrop on the city’s bright young minds as they take a break, or finish a day of lectures in the neighbouring University. Nah – you’re more likely to hear Bob Marley being strummed on a guitar and laughs over a couple of beers purchased from the take-away stands in the below metro station arcade (typical Viennese addition to any picnic). And don’t be surprised if you catch a whiff of the funny green stuff while joining the young and beautiful atmosphere of the park.
In the shadow of the impressive Votivkirche church, this park sits like a little green island in amongst the roads that surround it. And it’s easily accessible thanks to no less than nine lines of public transportation (“Schottentor” stop on the 1, D, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44 and U2) Plus there’s free deckchairs to lie back in!
Peace and quiet:
Perks: The occasional whiff of Mary Jane.
Closest supermarket? SPAR, Schottengasse 7, 1010 Wien
Closest Würstelstand beer? Plenty of options in the underground arcade for the metro station Schottentor
It’s one of Vienna’s largest and oldest parks, with origins dating back to the 13th century – the Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark, located in the 18th district. Well-known for its large playground at the entrance, and the even larger meadow where you can sit in the grass, play ball games or work on that tan. The deeper you go, the quieter it all gets. You can still find smaller buildings from the romantic era strewn across the park, and if the sun’s too hot, we suggest you take a slow walk through the shady woods aligning the meadow. You may even spot a deer, or a deranged naked person (warning: that may be Phil on his morning walk)!
Peace and quiet:
Closest supermarket? Neuwaldegger Straße 1, 1170 Wien
More than 70 years ago, the Steinhofgründe area was part of the Otto Wagner Spital psychiatric institution, and it was used for planting fruit trees. Then the city discussed whether or not it should develop the 45 hectares of green located in the 14th district – but the Viennese people clearly stated “No, thanks!” in a ballot in 1981.
With its grass – often overgrown – this park owns a sense of wilderness and is a satisfying alternative when one wants to escape the city. You’ll even look down on the city from here and wonder what all the stress was about when you were back on its streets. This park, while a little outside the city, can be easily reached by bus: simply catch the 46B and 146B and get off at “Feuerwache Steinhof”.
Peace and quiet:
Closest Würstelstand beer? No chance of finding a Würstelstand here, but there is a pretty little Heuriger (wine tavern) nearby on the bordering Johann-Staud-Strasse if you’re really desperate.
Closest supermarket? You’ll be hiking quite a while to find a supermarket so be a good scout and come prepared.
Perks: Makes for a beautiful goal of a little bicycle tour through the city.
The Burggarten is a beautiful place to picnic, mostly because of the rich historical frameset that surrounds you while you dine on grandma’s favourite krautfleckerl. Looking up from your book or magazine, you’ll see the back of the mighty Hofburg and the national library, and the well-known secessionist-style Palmenhaus. Even a statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is chilling in the park. And although it’s located in Vienna’s city centre and directly located on the main boulevard “the ring” encircling the city, the Burggarten always feels surprisingly laid back.
Peace and quiet:
Perks: It's central location makes it a perfect urban mistake. Topless men and bikini-clad women are common here.
Closest Würstelstand beer? Directly in front of the entrance into the park.
Closest supermarket? SPAR Markt, Babenbergerstraße 9 1010 Wien
A picnic am himmel (in the sky). Do we need to say more? Probably not, but we will - the overgrown grass on the rolling hills, a forest at your back, vineyards at your front and a view of Vienna down below.
This park is quite the hike out of town; however don’t hesitate to make it. Especially if you’re trying to impress and charm that girl or guy from which you’ve been sniffing in deep the scent of their underwear that they left at your place (yes, we also want to know how they got home without any underwear – the mysteries of life). Try to make it here for sunset.
You’re most likely to be on your own here with only the odd murmurs heard from the nearby Oktagon restaurant and the odd person seeking out their tree amongst the 40 that make up the Lebensbaumkreis “The tree circle of life” located in the park (On Sundays you’ll hear classical music played here). There is also a forest playground for the kids.
To get here, catch the U4 metro line to Heiligenstadt and from there catch bus number 38A. Get off at the stop 'Cobenzl Parkplatz'. Take a glance at the magnificent view of the city, then walk from the car park down to the junction of the road and go right. Just below the road there is a walking path through a meadow and in about 200m you will come to Himmelstrasse. Follow this road and the signs. We told you it was a walk (wink).
Peace and quiet factor:
Perks: The seclusion, the view, the adventure in getting there.
Closest supermarket? You’ll have to plan ahead for this one as there are no supermarkets nearby.
Closest beer? Once again, no Würstelstand in these parts, but if you run dry and still could do with another beer, just take a seat at the neighbouring OKTAGON restaurant.
The Prater Park - the park, the forest, the legend.
Where: Prater, 1020
The behemoth of all of Vienna's parks - the Prater. Just the sound of the word conjures thoughts of being swallowed by the beautiful, big green beast. It's like to Vienna what central park is to New York, or like what Yellowstone is to Wyoming - ok, maybe we exaggerate a little. But it is a bloody incredible green space. The 6-million square meter park (think 2,420 football fields) has plenty of green meadows for you to lay down your blanket, or your lover, on, and also a small forest to get lost in. We particularly are fans of the Jesuitenwiese, which hosts a kick-ass playground, volleyball courts and lots of active people playing footballl, or throwing frisbees. Running down the leafy avenues of the Prater Hauptallee is one of our most favourite things to do in this city (well, it would be if we weren't so lazy...and owned a pair of sneakers).
Peace and quiet Factor: (if you want it, you can have it here)
Perks: You can enjoy the many faces of the park here, from the sport centre, to the vast meadows, to the fairgrounds.
Closest Supermarket? BILLA, Praterstern train station, 1020
Closest beer? If you're in the Jesuitenwiese, there is a two cabin-like beisls (pubs)/ gasthaus' – one at the entrance to the park which leads on from the Rotundenbrücke, and another at the end station of the 1 tram line. They both sell beer for cheap. otherwise, there are plenty of options at the Praterstern train station if you're closer to this end of the park.
If you’re lucky, you will have 30 seconds to finish your food before security shows up and takes away both your picnic basket and your dignity at these two beautifully manicured parks. On occasion you can get away with it. It’s worth a try, as they are mighty good looking!