Kickstart Your Year in Vienna
Suggestions on how to be active during January
Welcome to the New Year! We probably speak for most of you when we say that the last month was characterized by drinking punch, eating Christmas biscuits and having a peaceful time (at least after the annual Christmas stress of finding Christmas presents). So, now it’s time to get active again! In this article, you will find the best ways to do so while living in beautiful Vienna. So, let’s have some fun!
Winter sports in Austria
As most of you already know, Austria has its greatest sporty successes in winter sports. Austrians celebrate their biggest victories in skiing and ski jumping. For instance, Marcel Hirscher and Anna Veith are one of Austria’s most famous skiing legends. 2017 was also a great year for Wolfgang Kindl, who is now world champion in luge (Rennrodeln), while Anna Gasser triumphed in snowboarding.
Austria maintains more than 800 ski resorts with up to 22,000 kilometres of perfectly groomed ski slopes and 16,000 kilometres of trails for cross-country skiing.
Cross-country skiing and sledding in Vienna
Although most skiing trails are set in other federal states in Austria, Vienna prepares 8 paths in total just to have the possibility to go cross-country skiing within our capital. But, there’s a requirement for this to happen: the snow cover has to be at least 20 centimetes high to groom it properly. Once this is the case, you can start getting active and choose your route!
A real experience is the path through the Prater Hauptallee, but each trail has its own special features. Check them out here.
Another winter sport Austrian children love is sledding, and adults are often surprised by how much fun this still is. Actually, you can go sledding on every place where you don’t endanger yourself. You don’t even need a real sled – a small and cheap version called Schneerutscher (or snow slide) is absolutely sufficient in that case. But please make sure to dress properly; otherwise, you will get really, really wet.
A great idea: make an adventure in finding the best sledding-places! Meanwhile, check out some of the best public places to have some sledding fun here.
Ice skating in Vienna
Besides cross-country skiing and sledding, Vienna’s ice skating options are certainly outstanding. Many ice skating areas are opened just at the beginning of the year, but there are also several indoor ice skating options that you can use permanently. But as long as the weather is fine, you can visit an outdoor ice skating area. It will not be easy to decide between all the ice skating rinks that are built up during this season, but there is one in particular that one must visit at least once while staying in Vienna: The Ice Dream at the Wiener Rathausplatz.
Outdoor ice skating at The Ice Dream
For many natives, it has become a real tradition to meet friends and family at this place every year to enjoy the special ice skating paths that lead right through the trees of the park. In addition, various markets that offer food and drinks were built directly beside the ice skating rink. You can find more information about The Ice Dream on our blog post Christmas spitit in Vienna.
Indoor ice skating
Of course, ice skating is just half the fun when it’s foul weather. While bright sunshine warms your face even when it’s cold, strong wind and rain make it unpleasant to be active outside. If that’s the case, I would recommend an indoor ice skating rink.
Vienna provides several of those, for example, the Albert-Schultz Halle or the ice skating rink at the well-known Wiener Stadthalle.
Ice skating on the Danube
The one and only thing we are all waiting for every winter is to have a really long and continually freezing period. Only then is it possible to go ice skating on our beautiful Danube. You can easily imagine what a huge and special adventure that can be. Rarely is it possible to use several miles of ice while enjoying your surroundings and seeing pure nature in the middle of a capital. Nonetheless, you can also have a glance at Viennese characteristics like the Donauturm or the DC-Tower, which is Austria’s largest building.
Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the ice is safe! It is indeed permitted to go ice skating, but the city of Vienna doesn’t take responsibility for any harm. Our recommendation: the easiest way to see if the ice is safe is to observe if others are using it. On beautiful and sunny days, especially on weekends, hundreds of people are standing or walking on the Danube. Most are ice skating, but you will also see parents wheeling their babes in buggies along the road or dogs playing on the ice. Many skaters also create their own ice hockey area and play the whole day.
As you can see, the variety of activities is fascinating. You can find everything you need to know about Vienna’s ice skating rinks here.
Dance ball season in January
If you would like to have an active evening while exploring parts of Vienna’s lifestyle and culture, attending a dance ball is the perfect idea. Dancing the whole night is the ideal alternative to more passive undertakings like going to the cinema or to a restaurant. We can ensure that dancing inside of Vienna’s most famous buildings will sweep you away. The events are numerous – you can attend glamorous and elegant balls as well as fancy and unusual ones. At the Jägerball (Hunter’s ball) at the Wiener Hofburg, for example, most people are dressed in Austrian native dresses, so you can have a glance at traditional Austrian fashion like elegant dirndls. A totally different experience is the Zuckerbäckerball, which is also at the Wiener Hofburg. Here the focus is on culinary arts, especially sweets of every kind and shape; the masterpieces of Vienna’s bakers and confectioners are a real highlight. The Blumenball at the Rathaus offers a lovely decoration: thousands of flowers are perfectly arranged and turn the Rathaus into a real flower-field.
As you can see, the totally different offers, locations and characters of the countless winter sports and balls ensure that everyone can find their very own favourite activities during January.
Finally, we wish you a great kickstart of the year and a wide-ranged program for the winter months.
Have a lot of fun while exploring Vienna’s possibilities!