Even though Vienna is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the world (and I’m ready to fight anyone who doesn’t agree), it can sometimes get tricky when your friends come to visit, and you have to prepare the perfect entertainment plan for them. They’ve already seen the stunning first district, Schönbrunn and even the Danube Island – what now?
Let me introduce you to the northwestern part of Vienna, Döbling (19th district), and how to spend a perfect summer day up there. This full-day plan includes splashing in pools, chilling and drinking wine while enjoying the beautiful panorama of our favorite city at every stop.
Of course, you can easily adapt it to your needs and e.g. only realize points 1 & 2 or 2 & 3 or connect these activities with others. All I’m saying is, I’ve done these three points with my friends and we all agreed that it was pure perfection. Or as Zuza put it:
“Words can’t describe how perfect it was… But numbers can. 10/10.”
Start your day at Krapfenwaldbad! It has been compared lately by the Austrian newspaper Standard to Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. This quite entertaining association game may have not been totally correct, but it did showcase the biggest similarity and at the same time advantage of these places: the possibility of admiring the city skyline from above while enjoying the pool.
Another similarity? Visitors that have mostly one goal: to see and/or be seen (#krapfenwaldbad, baby). Why? Let’s be honest, if all somebody is looking for is just to cool off, they’ll probably go to one of the numerous pools close to their home or straight to the Danube and not go one hour by public transport.
Don’t get me wrong – I find this place truly stunning. Otherwise I wouldn’t have recommended it, right? This effort pays off as soon as you approach the main pools. You can see Vienna from two of them: the smaller one in which you can play, lay on underwater benches and take breathtaking pictures and the bigger one which is in fact quite standard, but there are always many people sitting on the brink and enjoying the view. Frankly, the view of them is also quite pleasant.
When it’s been enough of fun in the sun, one can get some rest and lay on the grass in the shadow of the trees that grow there. There are also other facilities like one more pool, a beach volleyball court and ping pong tables, but I haven’t taken advantage of them (yet). There’s also a restaurant and a buffet, but I would recommend rather taking some snacks & drinks from home and enjoying the perfect picnic.
Marlena’s summary: “The perfect place for chilling with a bit of luxury. Sun, heat, blue water and even bluer sky – sweet laziness… If you spend summer in the city, put your swimming costume on!”
It gets crowded in the afternoon, so get there early to enjoy the peacefulness of this place… and take these perfect insta pics.
How to get there: 38A bus to Krapfenwaldgasse and then 650 m by foot
Regular price: 5,90 € (or less, check the prices here; you’ll need a pool ID to enjoy the discounts, though)
Mo – Fr: 9 am – 8 pm
Sat, Sun & holidays: 8am – 8pm
Mo – Fr: 9 am – 7 pm
Sat & Sun: 8am – 7 pm
When you’re done with splashing in the sun, go back to the Krapfenwaldgasse stop and get back on the 38A bus. A short ride will take you to the top of Kahlenberg, a 484 metres high hill that is dear to me for many reasons.
First, because of its history – this place became famous in 1683 when Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland liberated Vienna from the Turkish occupiers. He surprised them marching from this very hill. The Battle of Vienna is often seen as a turning point in history, as afterwards the Ottoman Turks weren’t considered a danger to the Christian world anymore; while this may be true, I’d like to note that this is not the only remarkable result of this victory.
Here it comes: thanks to the coffee brought by the Turks, the first coffeehouse was opened in Vienna. According to the most believable sources, the Armenian Johannes Theodat was the smart entrepreneur that established the first business of this kind in 1685. This story is probably true, but I like to believe the famous tale of how the residents of Vienna found the bags full of coffee in the tents that had been abandoned by the Turks and that it was a Pole, Franciszek Jerzy Kulczycki, that started not only the romance between Vienna and coffee, but also between coffee and milk.
Second, because of the breathtaking views one can enjoy from there. You can see the whole city at once! As a picture is worth a thousand words, here is my description of what you can see from the Kahlenberg viewpoint:
Finally, because everybody loves it. Nature lovers can indulge themselves with the peacefulness of the Vienna Woods and either start or end their hike at the top of the hill (City Hiking Trail 1 and City Hiking Trail 1a), while city-dwellers enjoy the convenience: they can go up by bus, admire the view over lunch or a cup of coffee and then come back home easily, without having to do any sports nor walk unpaved roads.
Can you imagine the golden mean between activities in the nature and in the city though? Get ready for…
Only 1 km away from the Kahlenberg viewpoint you’ll find the first Buschenschank, or wine tavern. It forms part of one of the main wine lovers’ routes – the one between Grinzing and Nußdorf, which are on a side note both famous for their wine. My trick? If you start from the top (Kahlenberg) and continue southeast, you’ll not only have the opportunity to chill at most of the wine taverns pinned on this map, but also won’t have to go up the hill at any moment of your perfect day!
Yes, I’ve used the word wine a lot, but if you follow my instructions, you’ll understand why. This easy hike down the hill involves wine tasting/drinking stops in the middle of the vineyards that make Vienna the only world capital producing significant quantities of wine within its limits (I’ve already mentioned this fun fact in my love letter to Vienna one year ago). As Marlena said, “the magic is in its simplicity: you take your best friends, a glass (or glasses) of excellent wine, sit, enjoy the view and feel happy.”
Is there anything better than sitting with your people of choice surrounded by grapes and sipping on your favorite beverage while enjoying the Viennese skyline?
I don’t think so.
How to navigate: from the Kahlenberg viewpoint go to Mayer am Nussberg (go down the road next to the Modul University building and turn left into Stadtwanderweg 1); then, let wine and happy people guide you.
Opening times vary, usually the wine taverns open on weekends in the early afternoon and close just before sunset. Check the opening times here.
Pro tip: Buschenschank Windischbauer is my favorite place on this hike – they offer not only great wine, but also tables between the grapevine rows and, of course, stunning views over the city. In my opinion, the very best ones.
Enjoy the summer, it ends faster than you think!