Exploring Vienna by Bike: At the turn of the 20th century, cycling was building momentum across European cities. As automobiles became the dominant means of transportation, bicycles started to lose their ground, only to re-emerge victorious in the 21st century, hovering across the paved streets of the eco-metropolises of the world.
Go Green Go Cycling like is Amsterdam, with its iconic half a million bicycles roaming its 400 kilometres of bike paths, provided by nearly 150 bicycle shops and owned by 75% of residents, has become an inspiration for London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona. Vienna, Austria’s capital and largest city, is following suit and taking great pride in its bicycle-friendly practices. Vienna is also one of our 10 Best Countries for Vegetarian or Vegan Travel. And, Barcelona is one of our 50 Summer Vacation Ideas for Family Travel
If you’d rather avoid the hustle and bustle of the city, Exploring Vienna outskirts have tremendous appeal to bikers, most of whom are flocking from all over the world to see what all the fuss is about.
Tourists Find Exploring Vienna by Bike Fascinating
Mödling and Wienerwald
Of itself, Vienna doesn’t offer much of a bicycle infrastructure, but when you picture it with its neighbouring towns, which have started to merge with it over the years to create suburbs, an entirely new world of possibilities emerges.
Mödling is south of Vienna, nestled within the Wienerwald, or ‘Vienna Woods’, in a forest called ‘Föhren’ (‘Pine’ in German), which is composed almost exclusively of umbrella black pines.
This forest has become a natural reserve and has been dubbed ‘Naturpark Föhrenberger‘, a name which has acquired some notoriety amongst pedlars. But not just any kind of pedlar. This is a haven for those ambitious wheelers with mountain biking skills, because its many windy bike tracks are quite challenging.
Whenever you’re tired, you can stop by one of the mountain huts scattered across the domain, to catch your breath.
For those with an inclination toward less demanding exercise, there are various other activities. Among its many meadows, the reserve is happy to offer tourists the wonderful Perchtoldsdorfer Heide, a delightful oasis of grassland where you can stop for a picnic and rendezvous with the delightful and mischievous ground squirrels over a backdrop of tall pines.
If you’d like to delve into a bit of Austrian history and you don’t mind the ‘walk’, look for tracks toward Lichtenstein Castle and the Husaren Temple. If you’re of a more sociable disposition, you can mingle with Viennese residents vacationing at Kaltenleutgeben, a small town in the district of Mödling.
Mark Twain once lived here, and the town was a popular destination for hydrotherapy enthusiasts in the 1800s. To reach Mödling, simply take a train from Südbahnhof station.
National Park Donau-Auen and Lobau
The National Park is a well-established cycling route in the environs of Vienna. It stretches between Vienna and Bratislava and it preserves Central Europe’s last wetlands. As its name suggests, the park straddles the Danube.
If you’d rather walk than hike, or cycle instead of mounting, then you’ll probably appreciate visiting the former hunting lodge and mountain resort of Charles and Zita, Austria’s very last imperial couple. At Eckartsau Castle, you can take a cyclist guided tour, roam around the marked walking paths lacing the castle grounds, take in the grandeur of the vast Schlosspark with a panoramic view at the observational hut, or follow ‘Kaiserweg’, the ‘Emperor’s Path’, to get a feel for imperial life.
To start your journey at Lobau, take the U1 underground to Kaisermühlen, and from then on, either cycle or take the bus. From Lobau onwards, it should be plain sailing, especially as you have the guided tours in Donau-Auen.
Tulln to Klosterneuburg
Start the day with a train ride from Vienna to Tulln and do a bit of sightseeing before you head on cycling along the River Danube. Tulln an der Donau is such a fresh and green town, literally brimming with parks, that it has been dubbed ‘The City of Flowers’, or Blumenstadt.
Admire the Bibelungen-Brunnen fountain, erected in celebration of Attila the Hun’s proposal to Gudrun. Visit the Egon Schiele Museum and the Minoritenkloster convent, and then start your cycling tour along the Danube.
As the town is surrounded by flatland, this is a brilliant location for a leisurely stroll on your bike.
Nobody would think any lesser of you if you returned to Exploring Vienna by train, but if you’re up for another 5 kilometres on the bike, you should find it a smooth ride back.
The biker’s Shangri-La, Wachau is a 35-kilometre stretch of valley along the River Danube, between Pöchlarn and Krems. You can take your entire family to Wachau, as the elderly and children alike find this trip to be quite gentle. B&Bs will be scattered across the track, and since it should take a few days to leisurely cycle through the Wachau area, it may be best to stop, recharge your batteries and take advantage of their amenities. Most accommodations will offer locker boxes and repair facilities.
Exploring Vienna by Bike
If you’d like to give central Vienna a try, you may find the city’s approach to cycling to be quite appealing. Recent projects have set out to link the city’s residential areas together by cycle track. Traffic lights give priority to cyclists and warn them of incoming vehicles.
The second largest shopping street is being turned into a car-free area, with shared pedestrian and cyclist access. For city breaks to Vienna fans, cycling could be a valid alternative to taking a bus tour.
Not only are most streets currently too narrow for the traffic flow and permanently jammed with vehicles, but urban planners are expecting the situation to worsen.
Policy-makers are starting to grow weary of the ‘one person, one car’ attitude of modern-day living, and their plans for the fastest-growing city in all of German-speaking Europe are taking a different direction.
In reality, it would be a shame to visit this lovely city by bus tour. Driving past Beethoven, Albert Einstein, Gustav Klimt and Schindler’s house, the United Nations headquarters, the Danube Tower and other historical landmarks without being able to stop for a decent photograph that you can show off to friends and family kind of defies the whole reason for a city trip.
Many of Vienna’s top sights offer bicycle access, so you can wonder around Vienna’s maze of streets at your own pace, knowing that wherever your bicycle takes you, you’ll be able to park it and get on with your day.
Why not take your bicycle to Schönbrunn Palace and stroll across the gravel paths of the enchanting and vast Schönbrunn park? Visit the Sisi Museum, the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the Schönbrunn Zoo, or Vienna’s 5.3-kilometer long Ringstrasse with monuments and landmarks scattered throughout.
Leave your bike in a safe parking area and take the fiakers, the Viennese two-horse carriages, on a short ride through the city centre. If you’re lucky enough to have your loved one by your side, try the romantic ‘porcelain ride’, the steady coach journey used in days of yore to transport porcelain. Return to your bikes feeling refreshed and pampered and carry on with your journey across the city.
Whichever way you like to travel, know that the ‘City of Music and Dreams’ is anxiously waiting to show you why it was first awarded the title of ‘World’s most liveable city‘ in 2005. There are few sights in this world that are as enchanting as the skyline of Donaustadt at dusk. You don’t have to attend a Viennese ball to get a feel for what life in Vienna is like. Just hop on your bicycle and ride to the Hundertwasserhaus to see how quirky and creative the Viennese truly are.