Where to Cool Down in a Heatwave in Vienna
Well hello there, climate crisis! Austria is currently experiencing its hottest summer ever since records began, and there are studies predicting that Vienna’s climate will change significantly over the next 20 years to a point where we will remember the summer of 2019 as the coolest one in a long time. While our government is hopefully working on combatting this in the long-term, the city has ways of helping us cool down a little right now. For example, by the end of 2020 all of Vienna’s subway cars will be air-conditioned (only about 50% are right now).
But even apart from that, there are plenty of ways to escape this burning heat… In nature! We love to spend time at Vienna’s bathing spots, whether they are natural or man-made. Have a look at our favorites right here:
Literally translating to “Emperor’s Water”, this is definitely one of Vienna’s most beautiful bathing places - in the immediate vicinity of Danube City (which is what counts as a “skyline” around here). This side arm of the Old Danube impresses not only as a wild bathing spot but some of the trees have been declared natural monuments. A great spot for dog lovers, too, as dogs can run around and jump into the water to cool down as well.
Old Danube/Alte Donau
The Old Danube is where we row, row, row our boat gently down the stream: This bathing paradise is just seven subway stations from the center of Vienna and such a great place to swim, sail and enjoy. The contrast between the neighboring city landscape and the idyllic atmosphere around the former branch of the Danube River is particularly charming. You can swim and relax almost anywhere along the Old Danube. We recommend Lagerwiese Romaplatz – a great place to spend a hot summer’s day with a picknick. While other beaches along the Old Danube usually have portaloos, this one has modernized bathrooms (free of charge!).
Mühlwasser and Schillerwasser
Numerous bathing points by natural bodies of water are located along the Mühlwasser in Donaustadt. And by the Schillerwasser as well, there are numerous possibilities to bathe on kilometers of reed-covered banks in untouched nature.
Important notes about Vienna’s natural bathing spots:
Admission is completely free!
The water quality is regularly checked.
Be careful: There is no lifeguard!
Please show consideration for the habitats of the animals and plants.
If you’re looking for something with a little bit more infrastructure (restaurants, clean bathrooms, dressing rooms, lifeguards), there are various outdoor pools and activities to choose from:
This is so much more than a swimming pool - it’s a way of life! Gänsehäufel offers everything you need: Kids’, wave and lap pool, mini golf, a volleyball and soccer field, a beach, slides and sauna (although you might want to skip that these days), restaurants and much more. It’s located on an island in the Old Danube and is one of the biggest outdoor swimming pools in Europe!
Located on top of a hill, in the middle of the Föhrenwald forest, Krapfenwaldbad is the highest swimming pool in Vienna. It has a charming view over the whole city – you can claim you’ve done some (distant) sightseeing, while chilling by the pool in the shadows of pine trees. As it’s also in one of Vienna’s more affluent districts, it’s great for people-watching.
Rent pedal boats
Those who enjoy messing about in boats should visit the Heustadlwasser lake in the Green Prater. It is a natural remnant of the original Danube canal. You can either rent a pedal boat or buy a small snack and refresh the soul on the waterside. NOTE: Swimming is not allowed here, but there's nothing to stop you getting your feet wet!
Enjoy delicious food along the Danube
About forty restaurant s– most located directly on the water – are located along the Old Danube. Particularly idyllic are the restaurants Zur Alten Kaisermühle, das Bootshaus, Ufertaverne and Strandgasthaus Birner.
Dine on a “swimming island”
The Restaurant Schinakl rents out unique, ecological “swimming island” with cozy sofas, tables and sun terraces, and a “dining on board” service directly from the restaurants – a great way to escape the summer heat in the city! More information at www.meine-insel.at.