One of the best things to do in Vienna in winter is ice skating. First, you won’t need to wait for snow. Second, Vienna’s best ice rink is right on your sightseeing track. And third, you won’t need a skate shop since you can borrow skates at the rinks.
City Hall Ice Skating in Vienna
By far the most spectacular is Vienna’s temporary city hall ice skating rink, right next to the Rathaus (city hall). My children and I love to go there almost every winter. The Vienna Ice Dream (Wiener Eistraum) is usually on between mid November and early March.
Not only do its 8,000 sqm (86,100 sqft) make it one of the three largest mobile ice skating rinks in Europe. Its many pathways meander across the city hall’s park, connecting three large ice rinks.
On top, you do sightseeing while you skate, moving from Rathaus towards Ringstrasse boulevard and Burgtheater just opposite. What a backdrop!
After we had rented our skates we put them on on one of the many park benches right in front of the main rink. I had brought extra pairs of socks for additional comfort.
Then we headed for the lockers to store our shoes and bags. On the compound were a few stalls offering warm Austrian snacks and drinks.
That late weekday afternoon counted a reasonable amount of fellow skaters, leaving plenty of room for manoeuvre.
Skating Through Vienna’s Ice Dream
To facilitate the skaters’ moves through the park most pathways were one ways. While some were a little sloped to give you an extra push or reduce your speed most were flat.
In the end each of us figured out their own favourite routes through the park. Since you could overlook the paths and rinks we had fun catching up with each other.
In fact, like us there were ice skaters of all levels: from beginners clinging to the rails to pros cutting the ice at an advanced, though not scary, speed. Swaying to pop music my daughter and I tried an ice waltz in the middle of the rink, while my son orbited us.
During sunset the pathways and ice rinks gradually illuminated. To the left and right we could see the lighted chandeliers inside city hall and Burgtheater – magic!
Just before we left, the ice rink reserved for beginners and children transformed into an ice curling rink. From 5.00 pm weekdays you can try your ice curling skills there. Definitely book in advance.
On the way out we rewarded ourselves with fluffy warm Kaiserschmarren (shredded pancakes) and plum compote from one of the stalls.
Opening Times and Prices
Over Christmas and New Year you can enjoy the Little Ice Dream (Kleiner Eistraum). Although its total size is just 3,000 sqm (32,300 sqft) and limited to one rink you will skate right in the middle of Vienna’s most popular Christmas market.
Dates and opening times
16th November 2018 to 6th January 2019; 10.00 am to 10.00 pm, except for 24th December (10.00 am to 6.00 pm)
The original Viennese Ice Dream (Wiener Eistraum) will be open from mid January to early March.
Dates and opening times
18th January to 3rd March 2019; 10.00 am to 10.00 pm, except for 18th January (7.00 pm to 10.00 pm)
EUR 7.50 for adults, EUR 5.50 for children (year of birth 2003 or younger); there are also family tickets available; skate rental is EUR 7 for adults and EUR 4.50 for children.