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Vienna: a Green Cultural Oasis

Johann Strauss Jr. immortalised the blue Danube with his world-famous waltz. But just how green is the city that surrounds it?

The short answer: very green. It's just one of the reasons why Austria's capital tops the list of most livable cities nine years running. Vienna is a place you can experience it all: Stroll through bustling downtown Vienna, marvel at the splendid Imperial buildings or the modern architecture, and relax under ancient shady trees while listening to melodic bird song.

In addition to Vienna’s well-known parks there are still a number of hidden treasures to be discovered. For example, if you can't get enough of Gustav Klimt's landscape paintings in the Belvedere Palace's permanent exhibition, you should experience your own green wonder only a few steps away at the Botanical Gardens next to Belvedere Palace. Over 11,000 plant species from six continents are tended and cultivated here.

Travel Time from City to Nature: 10 minutes.

If you're hungry for even more nature, just hop on the underground and ride it for a mere ten minutes to the city’s biggest green space. The Prater boasts some extensive fields and woods. The 2.8 mile-long (4.5-kilometre-long) Hauptallee is lined with some 2,500 trees. If you simply turn off the main boulevard and wander into the narrow, wooded paths you'll be surrounded by breathtaking nature, amidst a number of small clearnings and ponds.

  • View to Vienna © Österreich Werbung / Popp-Hackner View to Vienna © Österreich Werbung / Popp-Hackner
  • City Hike in Vienna © Österreich Werbung City Hike in Vienna © Österreich Werbung
  • Vineyards on City Hike in Vienna © Österreich Werbung Vineyards on City Hike in Vienna © Österreich Werbung
  • Spring at the Volksgarten in Vienna © Christian Stemper Spring at the Volksgarten in Vienna © Christian Stemper
  • Giant Ferris Wheel © Bernhard Luck Giant Ferris Wheel © Bernhard Luck
  • Green Prater © Österreich Werbung Green Prater © Österreich Werbung
  • Beautiful sunset in Vienna © Österreich Werbung / Filmspektakel.at Beautiful sunset in Vienna © Österreich Werbung / Filmspektakel.at
  • Botanical garden at the University of Vienna © HBV- Rudolf Hromniak Botanical garden at the University of Vienna © HBV- Rudolf Hromniak
  • Crocus at the botanical garden © HBV- Rudolf Hromniak Crocus at the botanical garden © HBV- Rudolf Hromniak
  • Summer day on the Alte Donau © Wien Tourismus / Christian Stemper Summer day on the Alte Donau © Wien Tourismus / Christian Stemper

Summer on the Water: the Alte Donau

Carry on for just two more subway stops to encounter yet another natural paradise in the city. The Alte Donau ("Old Danube") is a popular destination for anyone who wants to enjoy a snack or a cool drink right on the water while watching the sailboats execute their tacks and jibes – and all in front of the futuristic backdrop of the Donau City business district.

Take the Tram to the Vineyards

We've not even mentioned the 11 City Hiking Paths that thread through the green belt around Vienna, or the vineyards you can reach by bus or tram. One of them is the Nussberg (City Hiking Path 1), which offers a tremendous panoramic view of the city. If you don't have time to fit absolutely everything in on your visit, fear not. Vienna is guaranteed to be just as beautiful and green on your next stay.
City Hike in Vienna © MA 42 City Hike in Vienna © MA 42

Hiking Around Vienna

There are eleven city hiking trails in and around Vienna. Well signposted, they offer a varied hiking experience and stretch out over more than 150 miles (240 kilometers) in total length.

You can try hiking in the Vienna Woods on the outskirts of the city, or take in Vienna's many recreational areas on foot.

Wherever you choose to go, you'll be stunned by the peacefulness of the captial's greenspaces and the ease with which you can switch between busy city and relaxing country life.

Hiking in and around Vienna
Grüner Prater © Österreich Werbung Grüner Prater © Österreich Werbung

Did you know, that...?

  • It's hard to believe, but more than half of Vienna's urban areas are composed of green space, and Vienna has 2,000 green spaces in total.
  • For the ninth consecutive year, the 2018 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Vienna number one out of the world's most liveable cities. 280 Imperial parks and gardens enrich the cityscape.     
  • The green Prater is one of the most beautiful city parks in the world. It covers a total of over 740 acres (six million square meters) and is only 1.8 miles (three kilometres) away from St. Stephen's Cathedral.     
  • Vienna's oldest public park is Vienna Stadtpark. The demolition of the Vienna city wall led to the construction of the Vienna Ring Road, which also houses the city park. In 1860 this areas of ​​23 acres (94,000 square meters) became a recreational area for all Viennese.
Theseustempel, Volksgarten © Österreich Werbung / Karl Thomas Theseustempel, Volksgarten © Österreich Werbung / Karl Thomas

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  • On top of being the oldest park, Vienna Stadtpark boasts the highest number of monuments and sculptures in Vienna.
  • Vienna Volksgarten is rich in roses. During the spring over 400 rose varieties bloom here! The Volksgarten and Burggarten have also been awarded World Heritage status.
  • Around 11,000 plant species grow in the Botanical Garden of Vienna. This garden was created as a "Hortus Medicus" (medicinal plant garden) under Maria Theresia in 1754, following the advice of her personal physician Gerard van Swieten. Today, it attracts students from the University of Vienna who are carrying out research to protect endangered plant species.

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