One arm of the Danube river caresses the very centre of Vienna. And this “Donaukanal” is home to an annual urban festival full of riverside food, drink, culture, and entertainment: the Donuakanaltreiben.
- Live acts down by the waterfront
- More than just music (in normal years). For example:
- Street food market
- Flea market
- Boat tours
- Art and design market
- Sports and kids activities
- Spread across summer in 2021
- See also: How to find the Danube
Festival on the Danube canal
The Danube’s a bit of a mystery in Vienna. It’s not where you expect it to be. And where you expect it to be is something else: a river but not THAT river. Sort of. This article explains.
Anyway, part of the Danube does indeed run along the top end of Vienna’s centre. It’s what’s left of the original route before the geography gods decided to shift the river further north.
This channel is the Donaukanal (Danube Canal) and provides a little bit of downtown waterside relaxation for the Viennese, with boat moorings, cafés, clubs, and bars. Once a year, the Donaukanaltreiben turns this stretch of water into a party location, with a colourful mix of entertainment that celebrates urban life.
The festival usually features an eclectic mix of things…
- …to hear: for example, various local bands, DJs and other musicians perform live on open-air stages.
- …to do: for example, take a boat tour, browse the flea market, visit the art and design market, watch the water sports, or simply relax at the waterside.
- …to consume: quite apart from the food and drink outlets that dot the river banks, there’s usually additional street food available, too.
Think of Donaukanaltreiben as an opportunity to soak up a little local atmosphere and join the Viennese as they worship at the altar of urban culture.
Dates and tickets
The event normally takes place across a single week but works differently in 2021. The focus is very much on music alone, with events spread across the entire summer until the middle of September.
(For the record, the 2020 Donaukanaltreiben took place from August 31st to September 6th – postponed from the usual slot at the end of May.)
Entry to the traditional week-long event is free since it’s an open-air happening along the public thoroughfares that flank the canal.
For more details on specific locations and activities, check the official festival website (you may need to use Google translate).
How to get to the event
The festival locations typically stretch from Spittelau (at the NE end of the Donuakanal), along the central wharf and down as far as Franzensbrücke. Walk northeast from the city centre and you hit the water relatively quickly.
Various subway stations also pop you out alongside the canal. For example:
- Schwedenplatz (U1 and U4 lines)
- Schottenring (U2 and U4)
- Roßauer Lände (U4)
- Friedensbrücke (U4)
- Spittelau (U4 and U6)