Austria’s capital, Vienna, could easily rival Paris or Venice as the most romantic city in Europe; its charming atmosphere provides an excellent setting for love to blossom. Here are a few inexpensive date ideas if you want to shoot for total perfection on a shoestring.
Walking by the Danube Canal
Who could resist being seduced by the beautiful flowing waters of the River Danube? The banks along the canal have, in recent years, become a popular stomping ground for Vienna’s young people, who tend to sit in the sunshine with a few cans of beer and watch the sunset. Bring your date along and indulge in some canal-side cuddling.
Vienna’s vineyards are located in the rolling hills on the outskirts of the city and can be easily reached by tram, train or car. Particularly beautiful in the autumn months, when the wooded areas explode with colours of gold, rust and orange, these vineyards make a perfect location for a dreamy date that won’t break the bank. After walking around the area for a while, be sure to head to a Heuriger (wine tavern) for some tasting sessions; a glass of wine can be purchased for as little as €1 a glass at some of the lesser-known taverns.
A couple enjoy a glass of wine at a heuriger | (c) vienna tourist board
Go to the MAK on a Tuesday Evening
If your date is an artsy type, take them along to the Museum of Applied Arts (more commonly known as the MAK) on a Tuesday evening, when entry is free of charge. There is a variety of fascinating permanent exhibitions that are sure to spark up some conversation, and the building itself is a romantic, low-lit setting, perfect for a date.
A picnic is never a bad option for dates in the summertime. There are plenty of beautiful parks to explore around Vienna and the Augarten is one of the city’s most picturesque and oldest, located in the trendy second district. The park was designed in a French baroque style and boasts impressive flower beds and long lines of maple, chestnut, lime and ash trees along the borders. Visit in the evening for a sunset tryst.
Snow-speckled Vienna is a beautiful sight and exploring the cosy Christmas markets is sure to ignite some romance. Browse the stalls and be sure to treat your date to a mug of hot Glühwein (mulled wine) afterwards – it’s usually inexpensive, at around €3–4. The most picturesque and traditional market is at Freyung.
Amble along Vienna’s 16th-century market and sample some authentic Austrian and Turkish cuisine, which is sometimes offered up free of charge as tasters. The market is a melting pot of culture and cuisine, meaning that you’re not likely to be short of things to chat about. If you’ve got the cash to spare, head to one of the market’s many restaurants to relax with a glass of wine and watch the sunset.
Particular sections of the New Danube (or Neue Donau as it’s known in German) feel as if they are miles out of the city, with stretches of seemingly undisturbed grassy patches and plenty of secluded spots for smooching among the foliage. Settle down with a blanket and a picnic on a hot summer’s day, take a boat out or go for a dip in the water if you’re feeling particularly brave.
The courtyard of the MuseumsQuartier is a great place to hang out during summer evenings – there is always a buzzing atmosphere and usually, something interesting (and free) going on. The huge range of cultural sites in this area means you shouldn’t be short of things to talk about, but there are plenty of trendy bars to get a drink if the conversation does run dry.
Renting a bike is free of charge for the first couple of hours, and cheap as chips (€3–4) thereafter. Vienna is ideal for exploring by bike, with wide cycle lanes in the city centre and plenty of leafy routes to explore along the River Danube.
Watching a gig is an ideal date if you’re feeling a bit nervous, giving you the option to have some quiet time and watch the music if things get a little awkward. Free gigs take place every week at B72, one of the city’s most popular venues for indie rock, showcasing many new and exciting bands. Alternatively, you could try a free outdoor screening of ballet or opera outside the State Opera House.