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Five of the best things to do in Vienna this summer

Summer is when the Austrian capital Vienna comes alive with a long list events for the public and people flock to the river banks as temperatures rise. Here's a look at some of the best things to do this summer.

Five of the best things to do in Vienna this summer
Vienna is filled with green areas. (Photo by HyoSun Rosy Ko on Unsplash)

Austria is not known for its summer tourism, as the alpine country seems to be the perfect destination for winter sports and activities.

However, summer is actually when most people visit the country, according to Statistik Austria. And as traditional summer destinations got overcrowded and connections to Austria increased, the number of tourists in the season jumped by 31.9 per cent from 2012 until just before the pandemic hit in 2019.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

Of course, Austria and its capital, Vienna, have a lot to offer during the hottest months, especially for those who enjoy swimming and, yes, even those who want to go to the beach. So, if you are staying or visiting Vienna during this time, here are a few of the best things to do.

(We have skipped traditional tourist attractions, including the Prater amusement park – which is a great place to visit also during summer.)

Swim in the Danube and public pools

When the heatwave comes, there’s nothing like going for a swim. Even though Austria is a landlocked country, there is no shortage of amazing swimming spots to head to. Actually, Austria was recently awarded the title of the home to the “best bathing waters” in Europe, according to a European Environment Agency research.

READ ALSO: Austria home to the ‘best bathing waters’ in Europe, new ranking claims

Some of the best places to go for a swim are just natural areas, such as the Old Danube (Alte Donau) river, its recreational area, loads of green spots, shades, and swimming places.

Gänsehäufelbad is one of Vienna’s public bathing areas that are more structured, and you pay an entry price (€6.20 for adults). This one is located on an island in the Alte Donau and has almost anything you can think of, from the beach area to a sports pool, wave pool, high rope climbing garden and countless other activities and settings.

There are many public pools in Vienna with different offers, from water slides to saunas, and they are all easily accessible although you’ll have to pay. Two others that are quite popular are the one in Schönbrunn (because why not swim on old palace grounds?) and Krapfenwaldbad which offers a fantastic view over Vienna.

Go to the beach

You don’t need to fly off to the Caribbean to feel the sand under your feet. Vienna has many riverside beaches with lovely sunbathing, swimming and chilling areas, especially in the Alte Donau.

READ ALSO: The best lakes and swimming spots in Austria

Additionally, many bars in the city open the summer season with beach chairs and sandy floors, perfect for enjoying a caipirinha or an Aperol Spritz. Many places in the Copa Beach area also offer that Rio de Janeiro feel (Copa Beach, by the way, used to be called Copacagrana, paying homage to the famous Brazilian shore).

If you miss walking by the beach shore and hopping in and out of different trendy bars, then you belong to the Donaukanal and its endless list of cool places to visit just by the river canal.

Enjoy the festivals and events

One of the best things about Austria and Vienna is simply the number of open and free events offered. Even in winter, people face the cold to visit lovely Christmas Markets. In summer, this can be seen almost daily.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Austria this summer

Besides the Donauinselfest, Europe’s largest free open-air festival, with music, activities, drinks and foods, there are several pop-up exhibitions and events. In addition, open-air cinemas all over town are pretty popular, and of course, the Rathaus summer festival, with concerts shown on the large screen outside of the town hall and many food trucks surrounding the square.

If you enjoy more classical things, then the Summer Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic is for you. It takes place every year at the Schönbrunn Gardens. In 2022, the event will happen on June 16th – it is free, and no tickets are required for attending.

Try outdoor sports

After all the eating, you’d be glad to hear that Vienna also hosts many outdoor sports activities during the summer months.

Most of them are paid or on a donation basis, and you can find Yoga on rooftops, spinning classes by the Donaukanal, HIIT in the Stadtpark, stand-up paddle or wakeboard in the Donau and much more.

Visit the beergardens and heurige

Are you done with that yoga on a surfboard in the Donau? Then it’s time to head out to a beer garden or heuriger to enjoy the evening as the sun sets.

One of the most traditional beer gardens is in Prater, the Schweizerhaus, where you can get local food and fantastic beer. For those who feel more like wine drinking, heurigers are all over the city, but the 19th District certainly has some of the best. First, go up to Kahlenberg for the view, then walk down for a heuriger crawl with great wine, delicious food and fantastic views.

But don’t forget to watch out for the weather

Just because Austria is not known to be a summer destination doesn’t mean it won’t get scalding here. During the summer months, temperatures average between 16C and 27C. It may not seem like much, but heat waves have brought thermometers closer to the 40C mark.

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ENERGY

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Christmas illuminations in Vienna will also be scaled back this year as part of the city's energy saving measures.

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Vienna, a city known for its Christmas markets and its New Year concert, is cutting back on public lighting in the face of soaring energy prices.

“There will be no Christmas illuminations this year on the Ring,” the famous boulevard that encircles the centre of the Austrian capital, city spokeswoman Roberta Kraft told AFP.

READ MORE: Five of the biggest challenges facing Austria right now

And the lights at the Christmas market in the square in front of the city hall would only be switched on at night and not at dusk, as in previous years, “which is to say about an hour later, on average, every day”, she said.

The city authorities said they had not calculated exactly how much they would save, but the move comes after energy prices have skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its response to Western sanctions.

Last Friday, the Austrian Energy Agency announced that its electricity price index for September rose by more than 256 percent year-on-year.

READ ALSO: Inflation at 9.2% in July: How to beat rising prices in Austria

Austria, with its population of nine million, is very dependent on tourism and its end-of-year celebrations are a major motor of the economy.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much international travel, more than four million people visited Vienna’s famous Christmas markets in 2019.

In 2021, around 30 of Vienna’s shopping streets were lit up for seven hours a day, from November 12 until early January.

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