Sub-zero temperatures have kept most of Vienna wrapped up warm indoors for the past few weeks. The sane ones, at least. In that case, count us out! Instead of complaining about how cold it is, we’re making the most out of it in skates! After all, it’s been almost a decade since Vienna has seen temperatures so cold that the Danube river freezes over.
We’ve frozen our asses off to bring you this list of the 7 best spots to go ice skating in Vienna at the moment, including on the Danube river for those brave free range ice skaters amongst us. Put on your prettiest winter hat and skates, and hit the ice!
Where to go wild ice skating
You don’t have to leave town to feel like Bambi on ice. The city hasn’t seen such a long stretch of cold weather for at least ten years, which means all the small ponds in the Prater park are fair game for some ice fun! Whether you’re an avid skater, or just like to glide around on the ice and pretend to know what you’re doing like us, most of the ice in the Prater is currently frozen solid.
If you don’t mind hiking a little further out, we suggest jumping on the U-bahn to the U1 station, Alte Donau. If you take a right out of the station, you’ll find the entire Alte Donau frozen and bustling with activity of skaters doing pirouetts or – if they’re anything like us – slipping a whole lot and falling on their asses. You don’t even have to be an expert ice skater to enjoy the fun as you can join the many other people walking their dogs on the ice. We’ve even spotted a few strollers, bikers and surfers on the ice. Since the ice here formed before the snow came, it’s bumpier and a litte uneven, but as soon as you go a bit further out, it becomes smoother. You could even skate towards Kaisermühlen and take the U-Bahn back.
The ice here is brilliant – as smooth and shiny as your Uncle Georg’s bald head. The ice settled a bit later in this spot, so be cautious. This one is for the expert, die-hard skaters among us. The easiest way to get here is by taking the U-bahn to the U1 station Donauinsel, or by approaching it from the other side from the U2 station Donaustadtbrücke and head west towards the Wakeboard club / Vienna City Beach Club. The entire expanse of water between these U-bahn stations is closed, and a lot less crowded, making it excellent for speed skaters who want to avoid the crowds at Alte Donau. It can be a bit windy here, which will have you moving at the pace of a turtle towards Donaustadtbrucke, but on the flip side, you’ll be flying back towards the Donauinsel.
For more shits and giggles, you can combine the Alte & Neue Donau routes described above. This will have you starting at the Alte Donau, heading southeast until you can’t go any further. This will leave you near the Donaustadtbrücke. From here, you’ll need to cross the river bank to get to the other side to the Neue Donau. From there, you can skate westbound, all the way to the Donauinsel station.
A note of warning for you wild skaters
Don’t venture out to spots where there are no visible tracks. The areas above have all been trialed and tested by us, and there were lots of people on the ice. Never wander off on your own, and make sure someone knows where you are. Besides that, go out and take advantage of these fantastic conditions. We repeat: the last time this happened was over ten years ago!
And one more thing – It’s also good to know that there are no facilities at these places. So you’ll need to bring your own skates, food and drink.
Here are some other urban ice skating spots
Where: Lothringerstraße 22, 1030
Opening times: TUE–FRI: 9am–9pm, SAT–MON: 9am–8pm in the winter months
Entry: 7–8€ for grownups, 6–6.50€ for kids, see other entry prices here
Photo courtesy Wiener Eislaufverein
Wiener Eistraum and Rathausplatz
Where: Rathausplatz, 1010
Opening times: 9am–10pm
Entry: 7.50€ for grown ups (or old kids), 5.50€ for kids
Photo courtesy Roman Pfeiffer
Albert Schultz Eishalle
Where: Attemsgasse 1, 1220
Opening times: WED: 1pm–5pm, SAT: 1pm–8pm, SUN: 9am–5pm
Entry: 7–8€ for grownups, 5–6€ for kids (weekends are more expensive)
Photo courtesy Albert Schultz Eishalle
Where: Windtenstraße 2, 1100
Opening times: MON–THU: 8am–6pm, FRI: 8am–8pm, SAT–SUN & public holidays: 10am–8pm
Ice Disco every Sunday 3:30pm–7pm
Entry: 7.50€ adults (MON–FRI), 8.50€ adults (SAT–SUN), evenings 5€
kids free until 15 years, 15–18 years = 6€/7€, see other entry prices here
Photo courtesy Eisring Süd