What could be better than sipping a cappuccino with a slice of cake while you watch the world go past below you?
Coffee with a view is a remarkably accurate description of the Donauturm. Austria’s tallest building includes a purpose-built viewing tower that looks out across Vienna and the Danube river.
- Outstanding views of the city and surrounds
- Built in 1964 and fully refurbished in 2018
- Revolving tower restaurant and coffee house feature local specialties
- Adult tickets cost €14.50 (concessions available)
- See also: Best views of Vienna
The Danube Tower view
Express lifts take you up over 150m to a split-level viewing platform, which offers a 360° view across the entire city and beyond, with both open-air and under-glass viewing options.
(Photo © Donauturm)
Tip: Look up when in the lift – the ceiling is glass. The floor isn’t (fortunately).
Look out, for example, for:
- The United Nations complex
- The Danube (hard to miss, it being long, wide and river-shaped)
- The wind farms beyond the city limits
- Various iconic buildings, including:
- Stephansdom cathedral
- The Votivkirche
- The “Riesenrad” Giant Ferris Wheel (which doesn’t look quite so “giant” from up here)
- The Prater entertainment complex
- The incinerator with its contemporary art design by Hundertwasser
- The Steinhof church built by Otto Wagner, which glints gold in the distance on the hills to the west
Interactive multilingual touchscreens let you zoom in and learn more about individual buildings and what it is you’re actually looking at.
Food and drink
The viewing area, while remarkable, might not even be the best bit of the tower, because there’s a coffee house above the platform and a restaurant even higher up (170m).
Both venues revolve, taking around 24 minutes to do a full turn – certainly long enough for a cappuccino.
The entire facade moves, so the window turns with you, thus ensuring your view always remains clear. A complete refurbishment in 2018 means the decor is pristine while retaining its classic and simple 60s look and feel.
(Photo © Donauturm)
On the culinary front, the offerings are what you might call a celebration of Vienna and its environs, with local, traditional and seasonal specialities, wines from the region, etc. The prices aren’t cheap, but that’s understandable given the logistical difficulties faced by such an establishment.
I had no time to stop, but the thought of a relaxing beer in the coffee house, watching the anthill of activity below, was one I’ll turn to reality sometime soon.
If you do want to eat at the restaurant, it makes sense to book (especially for busy times). Booking is also required for the weekend and holiday brunches at the coffee house and for special packages, such as “Lover’s Dinner”.
I can imagine a table for New Year’s Eve with a view of the citywide fireworks requires considerable planning ahead.
And if that’s not enough choice, there’s also a coffee house and pub-restaurant on the ground floor, too.
Ticket and visitor tips
At the time of writing, entrance costs €14.50 for adults, with the usual concessions for kids and seniors. The Vienna Pass (see a review) gets you up the tower once for free and you can also buy advanced tickets*.
- Lockers are available in the ground floor ticket office.
- I visited during the day, but I imagine Vienna by night on a clear evening provides quite a spectacular view.
- If you have time, enjoy the park around the tower, too. The “Donaupark” has gardens rich in bees and butterflies, water features, a miniature railway, small sculptures, and wide grassy meadows particularly well-suited to tiring out kids.
- Check your accessibility needs before visiting. The Danube Tower is a listed building so it’s not possible to adapt it to all accessibility requirements.
(The lifts take you to the viewing platform and a central level with toilets, but there were short flights of stairs to the restaurant and coffee house when I visited. Prams and buggies are not allowed up the tower for safety reasons.)
How to get to the Danube Tower
The tower sits between two subway stations:
- Take the U1 to the Alte Donau station
- Take the U6 to the Neue Donau station
Once at either subway station, catch the 20A bus line (or take the tower’s own free shuttle bus service when available) to the Donauturm.
For rather obvious reasons, spotting the tower from afar is not a huge challenge. If you’re up for a 20 minute walk, go to the Alte Donau station and wander northwest along Arbeiterstrandbadstraße, then through the Donaupark (Danube Park) to the tower.
Address: Donauturmstraße 8, 1220 Vienna | Website