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 the park and square in front of city hall
- Some 9500m² of split-level rinks and ice trails
- Rent skates on-site
- Plenty to eat and drink, too
- 2023 dates: TBA (was Jan 19 – Mar 6 in 2022)
- A 2023 event yet to be confirmed at the time of writing
- See also:
Rinks and romance
(Wiener Eistraum 2020; press photo © stadt wien marketing / Johannes Wiedl)
From the middle of January to late February (or early March) each year, the 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 550,000 back at the last pre-pandemic event and even around 250,000 during the 2022 season).
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
But the uniqueness of the experience comes from the ice skating routes that curve romantically among the park and
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).
If you’re uncomfortable on skates, help is at hand. The main square usually has a rink reserved for both small children and large beginners (and it’s normally free to use, too, unlike the wider complex).
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.
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 2022 Eistraum included an indoor glass-fronted restaurant (Kolarik am Wiener Eistraum) serving all-organic food. So you could shelter from the cold while relaxing with, for example, a beer and a knuckle of pork.
Outdoor stands featured a range of traditional (and non-traditional) Viennese and Austrian winter fare that also included plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
2023 dates and tickets
I don’t have dates yet for the 2023 Wiener Eistraum. The energy crisis has cast its shadow over proceedings so we await details of whether (and in what format) the event will take place.
By way of comparison, the previous event ran from January 19th to March 6th. Opening hours were 10am to 10pm (weather and climate change permitting).
Tickets can be bought on site, but online tickets are normally available, possibly at a discount.
Never fear if you forget to pack your skates, either. The Eistraum has hundreds of pairs available for hire, as well as lockers and even free helmets for kids.
(NB: a mini-version of the Eistraum typically opens during the end-of-year advent season, as part of the Rathausplatz Christmas event. Not last year in 2021, but perhaps again in the coming 2022 Christmas season.)
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