How To Travel Slow & Green in Vienna
The numbers speak for themselves: With 16.5 million overnight stays in 2018 (an increase of 6% from 2017) Vienna is definitely getting more and more popular. And sure, while it may not be as bad as in Venice or Prague, we have had a glimpse or two of how overtourism would look like in our cit as well. The verdict: Not great.
Visiting the most popular sights is absolutely understandable; after all, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a magnificent building with tons of history and Versailles was actually modeled after Schönbrunn palace. But there is something to be said about not simply ticking off one thing on your list after the other and racing through the city to get it all done but instead lingering a little, taking your time and slowing down. Slow travel has been around for some time now, but it seems 2019 will be the definite year of traveling slow & green. Let us help you how to do it when you’re in town! Here’s our rundown on how to travel slow & green in Vienna.
Use public transport or simply walk
We’ve said it before: Our public transport network is extensive, affordable, safe and reliable. Instead of Ubering everywhere, why not make good use of it? It will help you get a sense of the city really quickly. Alternatively, take a walk. Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world and you will see so much more of our beautiful city while on foot. This also allows you to spend time in some of the many beautiful green spaces in Vienna: For example in the area surrounding our Prater entertainment park in the second district with its 4-km-long Prater Hauptalle, a car-free, dead-straight boulevard lined with 2,500 trees. Mighty horse-chestnuts stand in rows up to six deep, providing an incredible spectacle when they come into blossom each spring. Or Vienna the Vienna Woods, a biosphere park located on the outskirts of town. In addition to providing a habitat for 2,000 species of plants, 150 varieties of birds and countless endangered species, this area is criss-crossed by an extensive network of hiking and mountain-biking trails.
Support local businesses & markets
Make it a point to shop at as many local businesses as possible instead of frequenting the same old international chains. Vienna especially has so many wonderful stores that have been in the same family for several generations that it’s somewhat of a time-traveling machine when you enter one of them! You should also not miss out on Vienna’s amazing farmers markets - we have compiled a list of our favorites right here. And it does not stop there: Wether you are looking for fair-trade t-shirts, shampoos that have not been tested on animals and apples from organic growers: Vienna is home to many businesses allowing you to happily shop with a clear conscience.
Say no to bottled water
You may have heard it before since we like to brag about this: Vienna has some of the best water in the entire world. Coming straight from the Alps, our tap water is absolutely sublime - which means there is definitely no need to carry plastic bottles around with you. Simply bring your own reusable bottle and fill it up anywhere. There’s even plenty of free tap water tanks around the city center in the summer for this precise reason. Reduce & reuse, everyone! If you do happen to have waste, make sure to get rid of it in a responsible matter: Vienna offers over 210,000 waste bins and containers, often even including different bins for recycling plastic, cans and glass.
Experience the Viennese Way of Life
Fun fact: You know the song “Bare Neccessities” from The Jungle Book? In German, it was translated to “Probier’s mal mit Gemütlichkeit”, as in “Let’s try this with Gemütlichkeit”. Often referred to as the Austrian way of life, Gemütlichkeit is one of those words that simply cannot be translated. It means relaxing, kicking back with a glass of wine or cup of coffee, savouring the moment, enjoying the little things, not worrying too much. A mix of “Hakuna Matata” and “dolce far niente”, so to say. When you’re visiting, take a page out the locals’ book: Sit down at a café, grab a newspaper (even if it’s in German) and just watch the people around you. Notice how life unfolds and take it all in. Who cares if you won’t get to see everything you had on your list for Vienna? You always have to leave things to come back to anyway, is what we like to say.
If you want to find out more about slow travel, we encourage you to read this blog post by Carly from Austrian Adaptation, a travel blogger based in Vienna who has decided to make slow travel her focus in 2019.