Five things to do in Vienna this weekend

Vienna is full of events, places to visit and great new restaurants to try out. If you are overwhelmed with the possibilities or just wondering where you can find a cool international event, here are some ideas.

Five things to do in Vienna this weekend
The Prater amusement park in Vienna, on a sunny day. (Photo by Shery Arturova on Unsplash)

Visit the Prater

The Wiener Prater is a place that most people who live in Vienna have visited at least once. It’s also well worth the ride. The amusement park has options for children, adrenaline junkies, and all those in between.

It’s also a great place to get some cold drinks and delicious meals. But, of course, if it gets too hot, you can always head to the surrounding park, with endless trees providing shade.

You can check out more information here.

Calle Libre festival

The street art festival Calle Libre has its final days this weekend, so there is still time to see the international artists in Vienna’s Nordwestbahnhof.

Besides the colourful arts spread on the 400-metre warehouse, you can enjoy music, refreshments, workshops and installations. The festival also promotes guided walking tours in Vienna.

You can check out more information here.

Restaurant Akropolis

You might not be spending your weekend on a beautiful Greek beach, but perhaps you could get close to the feeling by going to a delicious Greek restaurant in Vienna.

Restaurant Akropolis in the 21st district has an impressive 4.6 rating on Google Maps (with over 1,300 reviews), has been around for almost 30 years in Austria and is recommended by many Greeks. What more can you ask?

You can check out more information here.

Learn more about Austria by attending an information session

The City of Vienna’s Integration and Diversity department is holding several workshops on Saturday at its VHS Favoriten location.

For free, you can attend information sessions on living and work in Austria in Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Farsi, Russian, Arabic, English, Turkish, Chinese, or Hindi/Punjabi. There is no need to pre-register.

You can check out more information here.

Go for a visit to the Schönbrunn zoo

Vienna’s zoo has just celebrated its 270th anniversary on July 31st, so why not pay it a visit? The zoo, located in the gardens of the beautiful Schönbrunn palace, offers a habitat for around 8,000 animals from about 700 species on an area of ​​17 hectares.

The zoo is open daily from 09 am to 6:30 pm in the summer, and the tickets are €14 (people with disabilities, children and young people) or €24 (adults). Kids under six do not pay.

You can check out more information here.

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The six most spectacular train trips in Austria

With its mountain peaks and crystal-clear lakes, Austria has more than its fair share of stunning scenery to fall in love with. And travelling by train can give you the chance to take the views in properly without any distractions. Here are Austria's most scenic train routes.

The six most spectacular train trips in Austria

Semmering rail line in winter

You’ll get epic views whether you travel in summer or winter, but the snow adds to the romanticism. Photo by Miroslav Volek on flickr.

Semmering Railway
Built between 1848 and 1854, the 41-kilometre-long Semmerling line was made a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1998 and it’s easy to see why: it runs through some jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery between the mountain towns of Semmering and Gloggnitz. It was a huge technical achievement for its time, not least because of the hefty gradient of the line. It was also the first European mountain railway to have a standard gauge track.

You’ll see glorious mountains, obviously, plus huge viaducts – 16 of them, if you’re counting – and 15 tunnels, including one whopping 1,430-metre-long one, and over 100 bridges, as well as plenty of lush forests and deep valleys.

Mariazeller Bahn

Clear skies are made for scenic train rides. Photo by flightlog on Flickr

Mariazell Railway
Remember we mentioned gauges above? Well, the Mariazell Railway is a narrow-gauge route – built like that because it was a difficult terrain for trains to cross. Running from St Pölten in Lower Austria to Mariazell in Styria, at 84km-long, it’s Austria’s longest narrow-gauge line.

The mountain section (Bergstrecke) of the line is the most picturesque. Get on at Laubenbachmühle where this starts and enjoy the train’s climb to its peak of 892m above sea level in Gösing where you’ll have gorgeous panoramic views and a glimpse of the 1,893-metre-high Ötscher mountain. Stay on board to see viaducts, reservoirs and deep gorges, in particular glimpses of the wild Erlauf gorge.

Want to really make the most of those views? Book a panorama carriage, which gives you super-comfy seats and unobstructed views of the scenery unfolding as the train trundles along.

Perfect peaks and lush valleys await. Photo by Schnitzel_bank on Flickr

Arlberg Railway

The Arlberg raiway is one of Europe’s highest – it climbs to 1,310 metres above sea level at its highest point. It goes up at a fair tilt, too and is one of the steepest passenger lines out there.

Connecting Innsbruck and Bludenz (on the Swiss border), it’s the only east-west mountain line in Austria. Visual delights include the Tyrolean Trisanna Bridge near the hilltop castle Wiesberg, snow-peaked mountains, the 6.6-mile-long Arlberg tunnel, and verdant valleys and forests at the Arlsberg pass  – go at sunset/sunrise and look to your right for the best views.

Schafberg Railway

There are – unsurprisingly – a lot of steep railways in Austria and this one is no exception. This is the steepest steam cog-railway in the country and has been running between St Wolfgang in Salzkammergut up to the 1,783-metre Schafberg mountain since 1893.  

It’s a gorgeous journey up the mountain with the views getting better and better the higher you go. At the top, you’ll have (weather-permitting) clear views over Salzkammergut’s glittering lakes, as well as the soaring peaks of neighbouring mountain ranges, such as the Höllengebirge.

Tauern Railway
If you’re heading to Venice by train, then this is the most scenic route to take and it’s worth the trip in its own right, too. You’ll pass stunning valleys and gorges as the line winds its way up the High Tauern mountain range of the Central Eastern Alps.

The best views are on the right-hand side of the train when you’re heading in this direction, so try to get a window seat if you can.

Are you even in Austria if your train doesn’t pass a field of cows? Photo by Schnitzel_bank on Flickr.

Zillertal Railway
There’s always something rather romantic about travelling by steam train and the traditional Zillertal locomotive with its wooden carriages is no exception. It putters gently by the side of the Ziller river along the 32-kilometre stretch between the towns of Jenbach and Mayrhofen, giving you ample opportunity to take in the views as you pass picture-perfect villages and gorgeous valleys surrounded by mountains. 

If you’ve got your heart set on the romanticism of steam trains, make sure you check which train you’re getting as the steam-powered engine doesn’t run as frequently as the faster diesel one. If you haven’t pre-booked, get there early to make sure you get a seat as it can get very busy.