So, June in Vienna, the month where the weather sheds its capricious nature to bring us sun and frolics. A time for wandering through the historical centre without the burden of jackets and umbrellas (hopefully), all while the Viennese are still at work.
Top activities for June
Aside from the usual palaces, museums, and other such hotspots, just what can you do in this merry month?
Enjoy the music
Vienna is a city of music, with more orchestras and daily concerts than Emperor Franz Joseph had titles (and he had a lot of titles). Even so, June offers up a few particularly excellent opportunities…
- The Summer Night Concert is a free evening of classical music. Which may sound a bit meh until you realise the orchestra in question is the world-famous Wiener Philharmoniker. And the “concert hall” is the landscaped gardens in front of Schönbrunn Palace.
- The Donauinselfest is another musical opportunity on a somewhat larger scale. A three-day festival held on the Danube featuring around 13 stages and 600 hours of music, from rock to rap and all things in-between. And it’s free, too.
- If jazz is more your thing, then the Vienna Jazz Festival usually begins in June. It attracts some of the very best performers from around the world and the list of alumni reads like a who’s who of recent jazz history. This one even has the occasional free concert, too.
Enjoy the rides
Although the Prater outdoor entertainment complex opens all year round, many of the rides close for winter. But the summer season sees the roller coasters and other funfair attractions start up in earnest again.
The Prater area also has the giant Ferris wheel, Madame Tussaud, the Planetarium, and much more to offer. Not to mention a feast of restaurants.
For something a little more low key and nearer the centre of Vienna, the bulk of the Steffl Kirtag runs through early June. Think of it as a cross between a village funfair and a Christmas market (but without Christmas).
Enjoy the flowers
I talk about this for May, but June is another good month to take in the displays of flowering shrubs and other delights that grace Vienna’s parks and gardens (and roadsides).
Can I particularly recommend the Volksgarten park in the city centre, to one side of the Hofburg complex? This is like walking into a living French impressionist painting…full of points of different colours thanks to the hundreds of rose varieties within.
Enjoy the films
A couple of film festivals top and tail the month of June for those interested in the silver screen (and, curiously, classical music). Let me explain…
- The prestigious international Vienna Shorts Festival showcases short-form cinema, films and documentaries and usually ends in early June.
- The Rathaus Film Festival normally begins at the end of June. This free open-air event on the Rathausplatz square (in front of town hall) features a giant screen showing concerts…mainly operatic performances and classical music, but also other genres.
The Rathaus Film Festival swarms with people and not just for the music – the huge number of food and drink stands serve an international mix of gastronomic treats throughout the afternoon and evening.
Enjoy the streets
By now, many of the cafés, famous coffeehouses, bars and similar establishments have put out their chairs, tables and sunshades so you can enjoy coffee and cake (or beer and Schnitzel) in the June sun.
You have two top options here:
- Enjoy continental street-side coffee culture, debating Proust and Kafka (or the coming football season) among the bustle of city life. Or…
- Take the D tram out to Nussdorf or the 38 tram to Grinzing (both leave from, for example, Schottentor station in the centre). Then walk up to the Heuriger (wine taverns)in the leafy suburbs, with their in-house wines and buffets bursting with local fare.