Many a song has been written in ode to the beautiful Danube — Europe’s second longest river that runs across a staggering 10 countries. A former vein of the river in Vienna was turned into the Danube Canal, also known as ‘The Little Danube’ between 1870 and 1875, beginning in the district of Döbling and ending in Simmering. Here’s how best to spend an afternoon along the canal path and catch views of the city along the way.
Your mode of transportation should be the first thing considered — with the options of strolling, cycling or cruising. A hop-on-hop-off boat service runs from the March 25 to October 2, giving the opportunity of three different routes starting in various departure points in the city. Cycling is a preferable option; clear pathways enable you to see great views of the city and stop off as you like.
However, those who want to amble along on dry land at their own pace will have an equally pleasant experience. One of the courses you can take is to start off at Schwedenplatz and slowly ramble your way down towards the Wiener Prater, taking one or two stops for coffee, beer, or a spot of rejuvenating lunch.
Begin at Schwedenplatz and if the weather is behaving then consider grabbing an ice cream from Eissalon Am Schwedenplatz, located just outside the U-Bahn station; it has countless flavours of authentic Italian gelato. From here you can head west across the Ringstrasse and begin on your way, turning right to walk along Donaukanal Strasse. This area presents some good opportunities to spot some street art that decorates the grey concrete of the canal’s pathways — albeit not all of it is the most awe-inspiring. However, there is some interesting work among the not so impressive.
There are many possibilities when it comes to picking up a bite to eat along the Donaukanal — a 20-minute walk directly along the towpath will take you neatly to Strandbar Herrmann. This is a kind of sandy oasis serving drinks and brunch. With Austria being landlocked from every side, a beach is a welcome sight. Unwind in one of their hammocks or deckchairs.
If this doesn’t float your boat, or if you are taking a winter stroll (Strandbar Herrmann is open from April), you can continue along to Treppelweg, turn left at Weissgerlande, then left at Dampfschiff Strasse, where you will find the delightful restaurant Tian Bistro. It serves a variety of creative and experimental vegetarian cuisine.
Once refuelled, head back on the canal towpath and amble for another 30 minutes or so until you reach the Wiener Prater where you can relax in the park.