Vienna is one of the greenest cities in the world and has even taken the first place in the year 2020, based on an evaluation of the "Resonance Consultancy", an advisory group for real estate, tourism and economic development based in Vancouver and New York.
More info on this topic can be found at: "The World's Greenest Cities are our Future"
Roughly half of the city consists of natural spaces. That may be a main reason for this top ranking. The Lobau, Part of Vienna's urban area, is even the western part of the National Park Donauauen (Danube Wetlands). Further there are a dozen parks and gardens and other green areas, that invite to take walks and other recreational activities. Other well-known green areas in Vienna are the vineyards, the artificially created Danube Island and the Vienna Forrest surrounding Vienna in the West.
Parks and gardens
When the Viennese are looking for an area to relax and enjoy nature, but do not want to leave the city, they normally enjoy the many parks and gardens
The best known for pick-nicking, sunbathing or just for a stroll are the “Volksgarten” with the “Rose Garden” and the Theseus Temple, the Burggarten with the butterfly house, the city park, where the golden statue in honour of the Waltz King Johann Strauss son is located, and the Rathauspark beside the town hall.
A bit outside the center, but no less attractive, are the Augarten, the Türkenschanzpark, the Schweizergarten, the Danube Park, and the Oberlaa Kurpark and the Schwarzenbergpark.
Baroque Parks and gardens
The Schönbrunn Palace Park is a 160-hectare area including a palm house, a maze, a Japanese garden and a hill on which the Gloriette is enthroned, as well as fountains, statues and last but not least the Vienna Zoo.
The Belvedere Palace Park in the center of Vienna was designed by Prince Eugene of Savoy in the 17th century. This is one of the most frequently photographed gardens in Vienna. Attached to the Belvedere garden are an Alpine gardens and a botanical garden.
The 52.2 hectare big Augarten is the oldest baroque garden in Vienna and, in addition to the beautiful park with old chestnut trees, it houses also the Augarten porcelain factory.
With around 6 km2 the Prater is the largest park in Vienna. Part of it are also the amusement park with the same name, the national football stadium, the Freudenau Golf Club and the Vienna Trotting Club. Additional the 4.5 km long Prater Hauptallee and further paths, meadows and little forests offer plenty of space for walking, jogging, cycling, skating and more.
The Vienna Forest is a wooded mountain region and Vienna's green lung in the west. The Forest is about 1200 km2 in size and basically the foothills of the Alpes in the east. The largest part of the Vienna Forest is located in the neighbouring federal state of Lower Austria, but it extends into the urban area of Vienna. Since 2005 it has also been a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Many hiking trails lead from Vienna into the Vienna Woods. The Leopoldsberg or Kahlenberg, the local mountains of the Viennese, offer unique viewpoints over Vienna, e.g. at the Stefaniewarte.
Another very popular recreational area are the Viennese vineyards. From the Viennese “Heurigen” places Nussdorf, Grinzing, Sievering, Salmannsdorf , Neuwaldegg or Cobenzl hiking trails lead through cellar alleys and vineyards up to the Vienna Woods and the Kahlenberg. Some Heurige offer recreational opportunities, food and drink directly in the vineyards with a view of Vienna.
Lobau - Vienna's jungle
Part of the National Park Donauauen (=Danube wetlands), the Lobau, is located in the east of Vienna. The Lobau with a size of approx. 2300 ha (a quarter of the Donauauen National Park) is one of the largest floodplain landscapes in Central Europe. A Lobau visit is recommended for all interested in flora and fauna but also for all, who just want to spend some time in nature. A well-signed network of hiking and cycling trails run through the Lobau. Furthermore, interesting and educational tours can be booked in the National Park.
The Danube Island
The Danube Island is 21 km long and separates the Danube and the New Danube. The island was built originally as flood protection in the 1970s, but nowadays it is a popular leisure island in Vienna. Either visitors do sunbathing, swimming, cycling, skating, jogging or just going for a walk and letting all go, they also may rent boats, enjoy the water playground for the little ones, use a climbing park, a trampoline or the white-water ride. However, most of the Danube Island tourists just enjoy the nature and relax in the sun and cool down swimming in the Danube. The island can be easily reached by metro U6, U2 or U1.
Vienna's cemeteries are not only the final resting place for the deceased, but also places of culture and part of the city's history. They also offer plenty of natural green spaces, trees, churches, historical buildings and cultural monuments, especially for the living. The largest and best known is the central cemetery with a size of approx. 2 sqkm. The graves of celebrities such as Beethofen, Franz Schubert and Falco can also be admired here. Gustav Klimt and Otto Wagner have found their final resting place at the Hitzinger Friedhof. Another beautiful cemetery is the Jewish cemetery, which is dating back to the year 1540.
Activities in Viennas nature
Although Vienna is a large city it offers many natural recreational areas within the concrete jungle. In addition to classic activities such as hiking, jogging, cycling and swimming in the Danube, the following activities are also possible: Inline skating on the island or in the Prater, the Kahlenberg forest rope park; boat and sailing trips or paddling (SUP), climbing the Flakturm (House of the Sea) at Esterhazypark, rafting at the Vienna Watersport Arena on the Danube Island, golfing on one of the 5 golf courses in Vienna and many more. But also in winter it is possible to enjoy the nature besides skiing and skating.