If you drift through Vienna’s centre in August, you may wonder why you rarely hear a Viennese accent.
It’s because we’re all on holiday. The city is yours, now.
(P.S. Be sure to water the plants and feed the parrot.)
The cool interiors of cafés, museums, and palaces are a strong option, but what else might you do in the hottest month of the year?
(Incidentally, if you’re worried about keeping cool in August, the Vienna authorities install numerous mobile drinking water fountains around the tourist hotspots, as well as water spray facilities in selected locations.)
Stay on the Rathausplatz
As mentioned for July, there’s much fun to be had on the main Rathausplatz square.
The open-air film festival continues through August, with evening showings of music and dance performances on a huge screen.
I like to get there in the early evening and pick out something intriguing to eat and drink from the food court, which features cuisine from around the world (and Austria). Then find a seat and catch a bit of Sheeran or Tchaikovsky.
A fair few open-air cinemas fire up the popcorn machine come August. For example:
- For a bit of baroque flair, try the one in the privy garden of Lower Belvedere Palace: Kino im Kammergarten usually has several films in English or with English subtitles.
- The dotdotdot film festival for short films has its showings in the garden of the Volkskundemuseum. And you choose how much admission you’d like to pay
A taste of Ottakring and Africa
Another summer event that continues daily through August is the Ottakringer Festival of Beer Culture, with its changing rota of guest breweries and food that goes well with a pint (actually half a litre) on a balmy evening.
The Afrika Tage African festival is about much more than the food (though there’s plenty of African cuisine to enjoy). Music is the centrepiece of the occasion with national and international performers, as well as a bazaar and various info stands from NGOs working in and with the continent.
Watch the old timers
Classic car enthusiasts gather in the city in August for the Vienna Classic Days old timer festival.
The highlights for visitors is the Old Timer Parade, when vehicles of all shapes, sizes and eras do a turn of the Ring, waving cheerily as we all remember the days of flapping scarfs and picnic hampers tied to the boot.
Enjoy the urban flair
Vienna may have a reputation for imperial elegance and genteel coffeehouse culture. But it’s also a modern, diverse city with quite a few areas that weren’t actually built by a Habsburg monarch.
- August’s Calle Libre festival, for example, celebrates street art as a true art form, with the chance to watch those at the top of their profession creating giant street murals around the city
- The Gürtel Nightwalk highlights the urban regeneration success story that is the Gürtel road. A stretch of the Gürtel has become a popular nightspot for clubs, bars and venues, who throw open their doors for an evening of free live performances both inside and on open-air stages
Of course, if it’s quiet elegance or leafy suburbs you seek, then see July’s suggestions for enjoying the street cafés and wine taverns.
Take to the water
And, finally, all of July’s advice on waterways obviously applies to August, too.
If you want to make more of a trip of it, there’s always the option of a short cruise along the Danube. Ships leave from moorings on the edge of the city centre.
Plenty of tour operators will happily show you the options. There’s a city cruise included in the Vienna Pass*, for example, and I can recommend a trip up through the beautiful Wachau wine-growing area or one across the border into Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital.