Vienna's Public Parks
Nearly 50% of Vienna's innertown is "green" - which means parks, gardens and recreational areas - and all of them open to the public. The Viennese love to hang out in their parks and spend considerable time there whenever the weather is right. And what do they say? Do in Rome as the Romans do - this applies to Vienna too, of course...It is a great way to relax and take a break from the hectic everyday life. Some of the beautiful inner-city parks have closing hours, mostly around 7pm, but it can vary - best thing is to check the gates before entering.
Be aware that it is no problem to consume small snacks while sitting on a bench or resting on one of the well kept lawns, however, barbecuing or similar activities are strictly forbidden. You will be able to find restaurants or cafés in most of the larger parks in Vienna, so if hunger really hits - check out the nearest "Meierei" (park restaurant or cafe).
Same goes for sunbathing - usually there is no problem as long as you are properly covered. Try to look for a space a bit further away from the main park paths (best thing is to look for other sunbathing freaks and join them). Under no circumstances should you topless!
The City Park in Vienna meets every expectation of an "artificial landscape in the city". It is absolutely beautiful! It also houses the famous golden bronze statue of Johann Strauss, one of Vienna's sights - if you are looking for the ideal place for a souvenir photo, then here is the spot! Be aware that it is probably one of the world's most photographed monuments - so you will not be alone!
Also located in the Stadtpark, are monuments of Franz Schubert, Franz Lehar and Robert Stolz, a marble statue of the painter Hans Makart, bronze busts of composers like Anton Bruckner and many more. This exhibition of works of art makes the Stadtpark the richest park in Vienna in regards to monuments and sculptures. Meadows, flowerbeds, an occasional exotic tree and a large pond make the Stadtpark a really wonderful green oasis right in the center of the city.
If you are a fan of our famous Empress Sissi, you should not miss her monument in the Volksgarten. But another great artist is immortalized here: Mozart. Mozart lovers from all over the world make pilgrimages to this statue in the Burggarten.
The "Burggarten" gardens were once the private gardens of the Habsburg dynasty. WW I, when the Habsburg dynasty disappeared and the Republic of Austria was put in its place, the Burggarten was opened to the public. Today it is the location of the only monument to the Emperor Franz Josef, it was put up here in 1957 following a private initiative.
The gardens of the Imperial Palace also contain the Palmhouse, one of the most beautiful art nouveau glass houses, built according to plans by Friedrich Ohmann. This tropical oasis includes the Butterfly House where hundreds of exotic butterflies reside today. But the most important thing: it is a great place to have a break from a long day. Right next to the Palmhouse you can relax on a huge outside terrace in wonderful surroundings: The Palmenhaus café and restaurant serves great international food with good service! Also nearby - the more upscale Do&Co Albertina restaurant/café, another great choice if you are looking for a fantastic setting.
City Hall Park - Rathauspark:
This green spot is great to take a short break when you are on your tour visiting the Parliament or the Burgtheater (Vienna's National Theater) along the Ringstrasse. It will provide you with benches to rest on, but to keep on admiring and observing the many wonderful Ringroad sights from a distance. The two halves of the park are separated by the City Hall Square, where events are hosted nearly all year round. Check our Event section for more information on what's on! The most well-known are probably the Vienna Ice Dream in winter and the Music Film Festival in summer.
The Augarten Park was built in the early 1700s for the Imperial family and is open to the general public since the 1775, so it has been public for quite a while. It lies about 15min away from Vienna’s lively center and is well worth a detour. Why is that? As you wander through the park, you’ll come across the impressive Baroque Leeb Palace, one fine example of Vienna's many palaces. Today the Leeb palace houses the famous Vienna's Boys' Choir - they live, study and practice in this building. Unfortunately, the building is not open to the public!
The park also holds two German Flak Towers, built by the Nazis during WW II, to protect their anti-aircraft guns and communication equipment from the enemies bombardment. The towers are a sturdy reminder of a darker chapter in Austria’s and the world's past. But despite the looming presence of the towers, this is really a very pleasant park. The flower gardens, outdoor pool, cafés and tree-laden grounds make a nice getaway from the more urban parts of Vienna.
Bruno Kreisky Park and Sigmund Freud Park:
The Sigmund Freud Park is situated between Vienna's main University and the Votiv Church, just off the Ringroad and is particularly popular as a sunbathing lawn - but remember the rules mentioned above!
This park has a huge bonus in the summer: 100 comfortable sun loungers are delivered each morning on a daily basis (until 9pm) and are available for free lounging enjoyment. Refreshment tip: Fresh Viennese mountain spring water is made available at the "Relax & Refresh Bar" from 11am to 8pm, free of charge!
Another great option: you can also really relax in the Bruno Kreisky Park in the 5th district, where free hammocks invite you to "while away" the time and "hang out". Only available from May to October, but during that period it is really a great hip place!
Vienna Botanical Gardens and Schloss Belvedere Gardens
Another one of our TOP ATTRACTIONS. Vienna's most impressive formal gardens aside of those in Schloss Schönbrunn are the ones surrounding the Belvedere Castle. They are public, kept in Baroque style and truly impressive, no matter whether you like the style or not!
If you prefer an educational touch and more diversity, go to the Botanical Gardens right next door - this park starts pretty much where the Belvedere ends. For a small entrance fee this park will grant you with an opportunity to learn about alpine flowers and vegetation from different areas of Austria. This is really worth a visit if you are into plants and if you are looking for a quiet moment for yourself while being in one of the most popular visiting places in Vienna.
Be aware that both these parks allow no picnics and wild ball games! This is clearly marked when entering.
Schloss Schönbrunn Gardens
As we have described the gardens extensively in the TOP ATTRACTIONS section under Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, we will not go into details again. Only that much: The gardens are vast, diverse and free for the public to access. I was locked in once late at night and tried to escape by climbing a wall, when a kind person on the outside pointed out to me that the main gate at the Schönbrunn palace remains open all night - so do not fear to get locked in!
The Vienna Woods - Wienerwald and Lainzer Tiergarten
"When you visit the city for the first time, follow the river (Danube)!" That’s author and musician Ernst Molden's advice for future visitors to Vienna. If you buy his advice, you are bound to pass Vienna’s landmark mountains: Leopoldberg and Kahlenberg. If not, you should make every effort to go there anyway!
The hills lie in the midst of the green lungs of Vienna, the Vienna Woods (covering over 1,000 sqare kilometers), and are a big attraction with their romantic hiking trails and vineyards. Even better, they also border to the Heurigen and wine tavern area of Grinzing and provide excellent vistas over the city. The view is really breathtaking - you will be able to see many of Vienna's TOP ATTRACTIONS like the St. Stephan's Cathedral, or Schönbrunn Castle or other landmarks!
In the South of the Viennese Woods you will reach the area of Lainzer Tiergarten. Tiergarten actually means "Zoo", but in fact, this is the former hunting reserve of the Habsburg Emperors and now the most natural one of Vienna′s parks - You will not be far from the Schönbrunn Palace or the Hermesvilla, one of the 2 most beautiful palaces here.
This square is not a park - in its "green" sense - but definitely a place to hang out and one of our TOP ATTRACTIONS and should definitely not be missed! Make sure you check this section out.