The best cool-off spots for those long summer days
It will be a summer like no other. This year due to corona, many Viennese will opt to spend a good part of their holiday in the city and surroundings. Lucky for us, there are few better places for relaxing in the shade and swim in pools or rivers than Vienna.
Due to higher hygiene requirements, the city has also revised its ticketing and entrance scheme. There are no monthly or seasonal tickets, but in return, ticket prices for day passes have been lowered – to €1 for small children, €2 for teenagers and seniors and €3 for adults.
A Viennese “Bäderampel” (traffic light system) shows which open-air pools have still capacity or are full. Make sue to check it especially on hot days, as pools have a maximum limit of daily visitors at any one time this year.
But now, let’s jump right in. Metropole brings you the best al fresco pools this side of the Alps. Whether you want to lounge poolside like a royal hipster, are trying to keep a band of raucous children happy or are looking to placate your inner nature lover, we’ve got you covered.
It’s a bastion of Viennese swimming tradition and perfect for flower children seeking tranquility, or families with free-range kids. In the past, the storied Gänsehäufel opened in 1907 and was the first municipal public bathing beach. It once served as a nudist colony and now has a separated nudist “FKK” area as well as a wave pool, waterslides, beach volleyball courts and a high rope course for climbers. Since 2013 they even offer courses in Stand Up Paddling (SUP) if that’s your thing. Today, the 330,000 m² of forested island in the middle of the Old Danube draws the most visitors of any public bath in Vienna, without ever feeling packed. Enjoy!
20., Moissigasse 21. Mo-Fr 9:00 – 20:00, Sa-So 8:00 – 19:00.
(01) 269 90 16
Strandbad Alte Donau
This area is ideal for working-class heroes eager to relax on the storied grounds of the former Arbeiterstrandbad. The green lawns, trees and small sailboats noiselessly passing by on the Old Danube make the Strandbad Alte Donau an idyllic place to chill out on a quiet afternoon.
20., Arbeiterstrandbadstraße 91. Mo-Fr 9:00 – 20:00, Sa-So 8:00 – 20:00.
(01) 263 65 38
For swimming and sunbathing royalty – see and be seen – look no further than the Schönbrunn woods. Besides a swimming pool and a beach volleyball pitch, the Schönbrunner Bad also has very good food (for a swimming pool) a separated nudist terrace. Beware, the prices are also fit for a king and on very hot days the place tends to get pretty crowded.
13., Schlosspark / north of the Obelisk. 8.30 – 22.00.
(01) 817 53 53
This is another great hunting ground for fashionistas and people watchers of all kinds – plus it boasts perhaps the best view of Vienna from a slide. However, the perks of the Krapfenwaldlbad have their price. Getting there means either climbing the slopes of Cobenzl (which feels like a 45-degree incline) or finding the right bus to take you up the hill, which is famously difficult even for the Viennese. The reward is a stunning panorama from the highest-altitude pool in town and a great selection of Vienna’s poshest swimsuit models.
19., Krapfenwaldgasse 65-73. Mo-Fr 9:00 – 20:00, Sa-So 8:00 – 20:00.
(01) 320 15 01
Go here if you’re prepared to fight for a sunbathing spot or are looking for deliciously fatty Freibadpommes (French fries served at pools). Being one of the Viennese Bezirksbäder – the public pools that the socialist Viennese government built in workers’ districts – the Ottakringer Bad is easy to reach and offers good family fun and food aplenty. Its two pools, slide and green space make it a great choice for a summertime family outing.
16., Johann-Staud-Straße 11. Mo-Fr 9:00 – 20:00, Sa-So 8:00 – 20:00.
(01) 914 81 06
This place will pluck a nostalgic’s heartstrings with its barn-colored houses (red with white trimmings) and stainless steel pool and slide. There’s also a playground and football pitch, inviting guests to linger all day at this urban heritage site. It was opened in 1928 as one of the Bezirksbäder, the Kongreßbad was Vienna’s largest artificial public swimming pool at the time, with a 100-meter pool. Today it is a family favorite: Go for the 1920s flair, stay for the awesome slides.
16., Julius-Meinl-Gasse. Mo-Fr 9:00 – 20:00, Sa-So 8:00 – 20:00.
(01) 486 11 63
The less body conscious among us may already have discovered Vienna’s naked truth. In Austria, FKK, the short-hand for Freikörperkultur or nudism, has been going strong since its rediscovery at the beginning of the 19th century. Along the banks of the Neue Donau the community is not only welcome, but at some spots even in the majority, as swimmers with or without swimwear bathe for free. You’ll see Turkish families BBQing, gay guys having fiestas, or naturalists enjoying their free time in the sun unofficially claim sections of the waterfront – you just have to find the place that suits you best.
U-Bahn station Donauinsel or Kaisermühlen VIC. Around the clock.
(01) 40 00 – 965 00
Lying in the midst of Vienna’s posh 18th district, where ambassadorial mansions line the hilly streets, the Schafbergbad is the pool of choice for an internationally minded crowd seeking a respite from the city high up above. A better secret than the Krapfenwaldlbad, but nearly its match in terms of vistas, the pool is a real insider’s tip. You can relax surrounded by plenty of green space while your children busily shuttle between the water slide, trampolines and football pitches.
18., Josef-Redl-Gasse 2. Mo-Fr 9:00 – 20:00, Sa-So 8:00 – 20:00.
(01) 479 15 93
This article was originally published in the July/August 2016 issue of Metropole and published online in an adjusted format on August 10, 2016. The current article was updated due to the current situation – but the open-air pools are just as great and welcoming as back then 🙂