Vienna has a delightful habit of taking traditional experiences like ice skating and giving them a glorious setting that combines convenience with ambience and authenticity. So it is with the Wiener Eistraum (Vienna ice world)…
- Open-air ice skating across city hall park and square
- Around 8500m² of split-level rinks and ice trails
- Rent skates on-site
- Plenty to eat and drink, too
- 2024 dates: TBA (was Jan 19 – Mar 5 in 2023)
- See also:
Rinks and romance
(Wiener Eistraum back in 2020; press photo © stadt wien marketing / Johannes Wiedl)
From the middle of January to late February (or early March) each year, the central Rathausplatz square and park, overlooked by the imposing neogothic Rathaus (city hall), turn into a giant ice skating venue.
Imagine your scarf trailing behind as you glide gracefully (or not gracefully) across the frosted ice, hands clasped behind your back, perhaps warmed by memories of fine coffee and cake (try Sluka just off the square).
You can do this on an area of ice bigger than even the largest football pitch. Which is fortunate, because the Wiener Eistraum normally attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors (about 650,000 during the 2023 season).
(The neogothic city hall makes a nice background)
The best thing is…it’s not all one broad chunk of ice, although a large rink does sit directly in front of the Rathaus.
This main rink, for example, includes the raised SKYRINK and viewing platform, which you reach via a long ramp.
But the uniqueness of the experience comes from the ice skating routes that curve romantically among the park and trees.
(Park trails at a previous Eistraum)
You can almost imagine you’re back in the past, strapping on your homemade skates to weave your way through the wooded Austrian landscape (albeit with more lights, smoother ice, safety stewards, and fewer Lederhosen).
All lit up at night, the Eistraum makes quite a sight, and Radio Wien also provides accompanying musical entertainment to keep your ears happy, too.
(Classic lighting adds the right ambience; photo taken in a previous year)
Skate and eat
Like most events on the Rathausplatz, such as the summer film festival, food and drink are a big part of the experience.
Actually, to be honest, food and drink are a big part of just about any experience in Vienna.
The 2023 Eistraum, for example, included an indoor glass-fronted restaurant (Edison on Ice) offering shelter from any cold weather.
Outdoor stands featured a range of traditional (and non-traditional) Viennese and Austrian winter fare with a strong organic focus and plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
(Plenty of space during the day)
2024 dates, tickets & tips
I don’t have dates yet for 2024. Watch this space or the official website. Dates for the previous Wiener Eistraum were January 19th to March 5th. Official opening hours were 10am to 10pm.
Tickets can be bought on site, but online tickets are typically available at a small discount.
Never fear if you forget to pack your skates, either. The Eistraum has always had hundreds of pairs available for hire, as well as lockers (and even free helmet hire for kids).
(NB: a mini-version of the Eistraum usually opens during the end-of-year advent season, as part of the Rathausplatz Christmas event.)
How to get to the Eistraum
You can easily reach the ice by public transport. The trams 1, 71 and D stop right outside (the stop called Rathausplatz / Burgtheater). Alternatives requiring a short walk are…
Tram: Lines 49 and 46 (both Ring/Volkstheater), 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44 (all Schottentor), and line 2 (Rathaus)
Subway: U3 (get out at Volkstheater) and U2 (get out at Rathaus or Volkstheater)
Bus: 1a (get out at Schottentor) and 48a (Ring/Volkstheater)
Address: Wiener Eistraum, Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna | Website
P.S. If the Wiener Eistraum is too crowded for you, you can always try the Eislauf-Verein near the Konzerthaus. The open-air rink has less atmosphere, but perhaps more space.