The city of Vienna maintains a network of thirteen walking/hiking trails within the city limits (Stadtwanderwegs). They are numbered and marked with wooden trail signs as well as “blazes” painted on trees and signposts.
Most of the trails are paved or gravel-surfaced and can be used year-round, or close to it. And they are all accessible by public transit as far as I know. We’ve hiked several of them. The trails offer beautiful views, interesting wildlife, and plenty of exercise!
Special bonus: there is nearly always a restaurant, heuriger or hutte along the way offering refreshments. When I get back to the States, I don’t know I am going to hike without coffee and strudel!
While the trails are great, the signage is not so great. The unpainted wooden arrows can be hard to see, and sometimes side trails lead off the main path to confuse you. (We have often run into Viennese hikers who are having the same trouble navigating that we are.)
But, don’t let a little directional challenge stop you from enjoying the trails! Before hiking, visit the Stadtwanderwegs website. Click the trail you want to hike and print out the map as well as the list of streets or intersections on the route. Bring along a map app on your phone or a paper map for backup. You’ll be fine.
Recently, I hiked Trail Number 5, the Bisamberg route, with a group. The trail starts in Stammersdorf, at the end of tram line 31. It’s a good, two-hour, 10K hike with a healthy climb up the “berg” through fields of rye, fruit orchards, and vineyards, rewarded with gorgeous views over the city from the top.
Bring water, as there is nowhere to buy it along the way, and sunscreen. Also, use bug spray if walking through a bit of uncut grass concerns you. There is a public toilet at the tram stop which is not so nice, but will do in a pinch, and a small restaurant, the Genusshuette, about halfway along the trail where one could stop for coffee or lunch and a bathroom after it opens at 11 a.m. (Be aware that the Stammersdorf heurigers do not typically open until about 3 p.m.)
Other trails we have tried and enjoyed are:
Number One, Kahlenberg. We found this trail to be kind of hard to follow. But, it’s mostly in the woods, which makes it good for a hot day.
Number Two, Hermannskogel. This trail covers the hills above Grinzing and is nearly all paved. Great views, and you can finish up with hearty game dishes and cold beer at Waldgrill Cobenzl if you like.
Number 8, the Sophienalpe. Located on a former Hapsburg princess’ country estate, this trail is paved for most of the way and mostly sunny. A good hike for a spring or fall day–it could be pretty warm in the summer. Beautiful pastoral view from the Franz-Josef Fernsicht (overlook). Popular with families.
Number 9, the Prater. This trail is entirely flat, but not all paved. It’s easy to just hike a part of it if you want because you are never very far from public transportation. And there is plenty of food and drink available in the park compared to other trails. Several public toilets as well.
Note that we have found that the time estimates on the Stadtwanderwegs website are very generous for a reasonably fit person. We normally complete the trails in a little more than half the time estimated. Perhaps the city website estimate allows for lunch and a beer or two? ?