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Why SHOULD I visit Vienna in the summer? Isn’t it too expensive and crowded that time of year? I understand any reluctance about traveling to Europe in summer. Let’s face the downers first. Summer vacations mean prices are higher, both for airline tickets and accommodation, and crowds are overwhelming at times, particularly in famous tourist attractions. Shoulder season does have its charm, without a doubt, and costs are generally cheaper.
But what about travelers who prefer the high season? Or travelers, like me, who only are able to go at high season? Should we stay home? Nah.
I want you to shove all your fears aside, my wandering friend. Vienna in summer is incredible. Now, even if you’re still asking yourself, “hmm, I dunno, when is the best time to visit Vienna?,” I promise that Vienna in summer is a fantastic season to experience Austria’s capital city.
Vienna in the Summer is a Gem.
I absolutely fell in love with Vienna when I visited this city back in summer of 2015. There were so many reasons I was infatuated with this city. In short, Vienna was clean, safe, and easy to navigate with some of the best cakes and coffee that I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. Mmm, yummy.
Vienna is an even better place for solo travelers who might feel nervous about taking a trip. Crime is stupidly low.
Ultimately, I think Vienna is the ideal place for someone who wants a summer vacation, but at the same time, isn’t necessarily “wowed!” by sandy beaches and rolling hills in the countryside. Coffee snobs, historians, and museum lovers are all likely to enjoy Austria’s sophisticated capital in June, July, and August.
This guide will highlight what is special about Vienna in the summer. Have a great trip! Let me know if you love Vienna as much as I do!
Go and See the Music Film Festival on Rathausplatz.
Let’s begin with the most obvious reason to visit Vienna in summer: the outdoor Music Film Festival at the Rathausplatz.
“The what?” you might be thinking. “Where’s that at?”
The Rathausplatz is Vienna’s spectacular city hall square. Although Rathausplatz is aesthetically appealing any time of the year, you need to visit in the summer months to go the music film festival. This free and fun event happens every year from July to September, right in the heart of summer.
In front of the Rathausplatz is a huge screen that plays anything from opera to dance to jazz. All musical tastes are welcome. Furthermore, the cuisine is out of this world. You’ll enjoy 26 restaurateurs from around the world! Are there lines? Yes. But your stomach will be very happy.
The Music Film Festival is a big deal and attracts 900,000 visitors each year. Be prepared for crowds. However, I thought the experience was worth any hassle.
Visit the Music Film Festival’s official site for more information.
Biking is the Way to See Summer in Vienna.
Time for a full disclaimer. I’m a hopeless klutz on a bike. Seriously, the world’s worst cyclist ever is writing this post and somehow recommending riding. However, regardless of my own athletic ability, Vienna’s streets are created for bikers. You ought to take advantage in the summer months.
Not only is riding a bike scenic, but the extra energy could save you some money. For example, plan ahead and pick attractions all within a decent proximity to each other. Biking will save you the cost of having to use the U-Bahn.
Are you feeling too sweaty and gross for your own good, and want to decompress after cycling so much? Then you ought to bike along the Danube River so you can chill next to the water and relax underneath a shady tree. Vienna has plenty of routes outside the city’s core – which allows you to enjoy a nature retreat. Bring wine, too. Refreshing!
Read More: Why to Solo Travel in Vienna at Least Once!
Embrace Your Inner Child at the Prater.
On my travels, my childish side always makes an appearance. I can’t help it. The excitement of being in a brand new city gets the better of me.
And what better place to act like a child than an “old school” amusement park? So, if you go to Vienna in summer, then you should schedule some time to visit the Prater. Vienna’s theme park has an interesting history. For instance, World Exhibition in Vienna took place at the Prater in 1873. During World War II, much of the Prater was damaged and had to be reconstruction. Today this area entertains visitors and tourists alike!
If you have money to burn, then I’d recommend riding Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel, which is one of Vienna’s most iconic symbols.
Ogle at the Gardens at Schönbrunn Palace.
Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence (yes, just the summer home…) of the Habsburg dynasty. Schönbrunn Palace is a “must see” for history lovers, especially for those of you who love royal drama queens and backstabbers.
Although Schönbrunn Palace is open all year round, this site is a wonder to behold during the long warm days of summer. Particularly, the gardens are in full bloom around the palace. For travelers on a budget, you don’t need to take a guided tour especially if you aren’t interested in royal history. Instead opt for cheaper garden tickets, and enjoy the red, white, pink, blue, and purple flowers on the palace grounds.
You can find Schönbrunn Palace at Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, which is conveniently located near Schönbrunner U-Bahn station.
Vienna Summer Weather is Great for Sightseeing.
As a traveler, you want to enjoy long daylight hours and glorious sunlight, right? In the summer months, Vienna’s weather is gorgeous. Now I can’t guarantee you’ll never, ever, ever experience a rainy afternoon, but luckily for me, sun shined brightly throughout my entire five days in Vienna.
Keep in mind, however, if you hate hot weather, you should come prepared for some heat. On my trip, the temperature wasn’t unbearable or anything, but afternoons were still quite warm. I don’t want to scare you off. Vienna wasn’t humid, thank goodness, but dry heat still requires you to wear proper clothing and to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Glorious Day Trips During Summer in Austria.
If you’re spending a week or longer, then you want to enjoy summer in Austria to fullest and take day trips outside Vienna. “True” Austria lies in it’s smaller cities and countryside.
One of my favorite places in Austria was off the beaten path in Grünau im Almtal, a village beautifully tucked among mountains and lakes. Granted, this place is difficult to reach on public transportation and you’d probably have to rent a car. An easier day trip would be hopping on a train and enjoying Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, which is also vibrant in the summer months.
Are you limited on time and can’t do many day trips? Then a Wachau Valley Cruise is a possible option for you! You’ll enjoy plenty of charming fortresses and vineyards on your cruise. Sample a lot of different wines! This region is well known for its wine production. Enjoy!
Would you ever visit Vienna in the summer? Have you ever gone to Vienna? What was your experience like?