Vienna has a delightful habit of taking traditional experiences like ice skating and giving them a glorious setting that combines modern 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 9000m² of split-level rinks and ice trails
- Rent skates and curling lanes, too
- Plenty to eat and drink
- 2021 dates: provisionally Dec 24, 2020 – Feb 28, 2021 (opening early this year)
- Smaller version normally takes place during the advent season (not in 2020)
- See also: Events in Vienna | What to do in February
Rinks and romance
Imagine your woolen scarf trailing behind as you glide gracefully across the frosted ice, hands clasped behind your back, warmed by memories of a hot meal and spiced wine.
(Or glide less than gracefully into the barrier, arms flailing in a desperate attempt to stay upright.)
You can do this on well over 8,000m² of ice: an area bigger than even the largest football pitches. Which is good, because the Wiener Eistraum normally attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors (about 550,000 in 2020).
The best thing is…it’s not all one broad chunk of ice.
True, there’s a main rink directly in front of the Rathaus, made even more impressive thanks to the
But the uniqueness of the experience comes from the ice skating routes that wind their way romantically among the park and
If you’re uncomfortable on skates, help is at hand. The main square usually has a rink reserved (at weekends and during the day on weekdays) for both small children and large beginners (and it’s free to use).
And after 5pm on weekdays, this same rink typically turns into a curling venue, with eight lanes normally available to book online (though I’m not sure if this will be the case this year, given public health regulations).
All lit up at night, the Eistraum makes quite a sight, and there’s also musical entertainment courtesy of Radio Wien.
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, in Vienna, food and drink are a big part of just about any experience.)
One side of the 2020 Eistraum, for example, had a number of stands featuring a range of traditional Viennese and Austrian winter fare. An indoor Alpine-style restaurant even offered shelter from the cold while you relaxed with a beer and goulash soup.
As a certified ÖkoEvent, the Eistraum’s food booths had plenty of vegetarian and vegan options (like baked zucchini in a vegan tartare sauce); organic ingredients and dishes were common, too.
However, the 2020/2021 gastronomy experience may be different, at least at the start given lockdown measures.
2021 dates and tickets
The provisional dates for the 2021 Wiener Eistraum are December 24th, 2020 to February 28th, 2021. The event opens early this time around.
Opening hours are traditionally 10am to 10pm (weather permitting, which was an issue in the warm winter of 2020). On the very first day, the event normally opens at 7pm with an ice show.
The 2020 prices were €8 for adults, €5.50 for children, with numerous concessions, special offers and combination tickets. You could book online for a small discount, for example.
Never fear if you forget to pack your skates, either. There are always hundreds of pairs available for hire, as well as lockers and even free helmets for kids.
A mini-version of the Eistraum typically opens during the end-of-year advent season, as part of the Rathausplatz Christmas event (cancelled for 2020).
How to get to the Eistraum
The event is easily reached 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