Vienna doesn’t have quite the reputation of an Amsterdam, but cycling does enjoy an elevated status in the city. Having the Green party in the city’s coalition government for most of the last decade certainly helped.
- Over 1400km of cycling routes and an established cycling tradition
- New and expanded bike-sharing system
- Danube, Donaukanal, and Ring boulevard are popular routes
- Book a guided bike tour* of Vienna
- See also:
On your bike
(One of the new WienMobil bike rental stations: see below)
The Viennese certainly like their bicycles.
Statistics for 2021, for example, show locals used one for around 9% of their journeys. And May 2022 saw record numbers of cyclists appear in Vienna.
Bike-friendly mobility policies and continuous expansion of the cycle route network has done much to encourage this enthusiasm for two wheels.
As of 2023, the city’s cycling network covered over 1,720km of routes with more than 59,000 bicycle parking spaces.
(Radweg means cycle route)
Not all of those routes are dedicated cycle paths, of course. Some are shared with pedestrians, and some are cycle lanes on roads, for example.
The major cycling routes appear on a free map distributed in museums and similar, but the city also kindly provides an online map, where you can blend in details of the bike routes and related facilities.
Popular routes include:
- Along the Danube: the Austrian part of the Danube bike trail actually starts at the German border and continues all the way through Vienna and on toward Slovakia. Most of that is flat and traffic free.
- The Ringstrassen: cycle and pedestrian routes flank the giant boulevard that encircles the old town and takes you past many of Vienna’s top museums and other landmarks.
- Along the Donaukanal: the arm of the Danube that breaks off to flow close to the city centre. A dedicated bike route runs along the southern bank.
On their last visit, my cycling enthusiast friends rented bikes to go out to the outlying hills from the centre and visit the vineyards and Heuriger not so easily accessed by the tram and subway network.
On the subject of rental, Vienna has various organisations happy to loan you a bike for a small fee, and Google can help you find one.
But you’ll likely soon stumble across the new WienMobil Rad bike sharing system, run by the Wiener Linien public transport authority.
(The WienMobil Rad bike rental station outside the opera house)
WienMobil Rad has around 3000 seven-gear smartbikes and some 240 bike stations throughout the city, including many in areas popular with tourists.
Bike station locations include, for example:
- Outside the Ring/Volkstheater stop on the Ring boulevard (close to the Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches museums)
- On Hoher Markt right in the centre of town
- On Singerstraße near to Stephansdom cathedral
- Outside the state opera house
- At the two U4 subway stations (Hietzing and Schönbrunn) serving Schönbrunn palace
- On Schwarzenbergplatz square just below Belvedere
- Along the Donaukanal, for example close to Schwedenplatz and Schottenring subway stations
An initial registration is required via the nextbike smartphone app or online, with various common payment options available.
You then rent from any station via the app and a QR code on the bicycle or through a telephone call.
At the time of writing, standard bike rental costs €0.60 for 30 minutes, capped at €14.90 for a 24-hour period.
See the official website for up-to-date pricing and all details (only in German at the time of writing, but I expect English-friendly options to eventually appear).
(WienMobil rental bikes)
Traffic regulations and public transport
Finally, a bit of small print to ensure a safe and legal bike ride. The city and transport authorities provide information in English with the relevant regulations. Try:
- Stadt Wien (the city government): the rules of the road that apply particularly to cyclists. For example, children under 12 must wear a helmet.
- ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways): All you need to know about taking bicycles on regional and long-distance trains.
- Wiener Linien (municipal transport authority): Ditto, but for the subway. You can’t take your bike on Vienna’s trams or buses, unfortunately.