Not only is Vienna an incredible cultural city, but it is also an incredible running city. Although this is mainly because I really really really really love Donauinsel, a long slender island on the Danube River. I only had time to run on three different days in Vienna, so the list that I’m giving is an incomplete one at best. I’m simply offering my perspective based on a limited personal experience. I found this site, Great Runs in Vienna, to be useful in offering suggestions for where to go running.
Along the Danube River
So far, on this trip, I can’t say that I’ve been impressed with running along the Danube River in any city for the most part. Vienna is no different. Perhaps it has to do with the section I ran (4 miles mostly in the neighborhood called Zwischenbruecken, which means between bridges – very apropos), but I found it dull. A good portion of the time I didn’t even have a view of the river because I was running where all the cruise ships dock. But the path is straight, flat, and offers plenty of space for other runners, walkers, and cyclists. The best part of this route was that I found hammocks, so I got to chill out there for a bit.
Despite the glowing reviews of Prater Park, I wasn’t impressed. This may have to do with my own poor choice of the paths I took in Prater Park and had I stuck to the more picturesque routes, I might have felt differently about Prater Park. There are a ton of tiny little paths all over Prater, so you can get “lost” (not really because the park is not that big, so it’s pretty easy to figure out where you are on Google maps and walk out), which makes for pleasant meandering. I did really love the main path called Hauptallee, a 4.5 km tree-lined path. It’s very pleasant, roomy, and flat. I would have enjoyed running up and down Hauptallee more than the actual route I did take which involved going on the smaller trails.
Nothing can be more perfect than Donauinsel for a long run. This island is about 13.2 miles long, which means that you can run a marathon along its perimeter and not retrace a single step. There are beautiful views of the river and the city on both sides of the island, distance markers painted onto the path (every .1 km), water fountains, restrooms (bring change), and the route is mostly flat. There are several little paths that cut across or run parallel to the perimeter path, so there are all sorts of variations that you could run, which makes running on Donauinsel interesting and not boring at all. I ADORED running on Donauinsel and it now ranks as one of my favorite running routes. I really wish that I was able to run there one more time before I left Vienna or that the long run I did on Margaret Island was done on Donauinsel instead. Anyway, the memory of Donauinsel will live in me. If you ever get to run in Vienna, I say that you shouldn’t miss out on running on this island.
Despite the fact that I never ran here, I feel that I can still comment about running here. LOL. I did spend quite a bit of time in the gardens, albeit walking with my parents after we went sightseeing at the palace. During our time there, I observed several people running, so it appears as if it’s a popular place to run. And why wouldn’t it be? The gardens are absolutely free to enter and they’re beautifully landscaped, so you have a gorgeous environment in which to run. The paths are enormously wide, so even with the several hundreds of tourists milling about, you can run comfortably without slowing down. The main paths and the interior garden ones are flat, but if you’re looking for a place to do hill work, Schoenbrunn Palace Gardens is the place for you. The path to the Gloriette is long and steep, making it an ideal location for a hard hill interval workout.