Taking a Bike Tour With your Dog in Vienna
Although we did this on our third and last day in Vienna – we really wish we had started our stay with this. It was not only a lot of fun, but it was also a fantastic way for us to get the lay of the land. Almost as good as a walking tour!
It’s the perfect way to decide what you may want to return to see more in depth at a later time and maybe what was of lesser interest after all. The tour we took was about 3 hours long and cost us 35 Euro per biped – tiny dogs go free!
We chose Vienna Explorer because when we dropped by their office to ask about doing the tour with a tiny pup in tow, they didn’t even blink. They were super happy to accommodate a pup and said not to worry, they would be ready! And were they ever!
On the day of our tour, we got off at the subway stop, followed our map to Vienna Explorer where we stopped for a moment at the conveniently located dog park just across the street from their offices… you know …for me to do my business and run about a bit. Vienna has thousands of off-leash dog parks. Always clean up your dogs mess they take these things VERY seriously n Vienna.
When mom presented herself – holding me in her arms – the young lady (NOT the same one we had spoken to two days before) said “OH yes yes yes … Montecristo!! we have a VERY special bike for you!!” and instead of going to where all the other bikes were – and where our fellow tourists being fitted for the right size wheels – she went to the back and came out with this beautiful, sleek black bike with a huge and deeper basket on the back! Complete with a “mattress” of blankets.
THAT Dear Reader is customer service! When another team within a company not only knows what is what, but gets you that little extra. Mom got fitted for the bike, Dad for his, I got “strapped” in using my world travel sling bag and … we were ready!
We had SO much fun! Our guide was knowledgeable, funny and timed our trip with a perfect blend of casual “light” biking and stops. Each stop consisted of a little information sharing; stories, history or trivia followed by some time to take a few photos and soak it all in before heading off again.
For the most part the tour follows the “ring road” . This stretch of road with its adjacent bike path is a circular grand boulevard that serves as a way around the historic Innere Stadt (Old Town) district of Vienna. The road is located where the medieval city fortifications once stood, replacing the high walls and atypical “no mans land” open fields (to spot people trying to sneak up on the city) that lay before them.
It was constructed after the dismantling of the city walls in the mid-19th century. From the 1860s to 1890s, many large public buildings were erected along the Ring Road in an eclectic style, sometimes called Ringstraßenstil (“Ring Road style”), using elements of Classical, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture.
Because of its architectural beauty and history, the Vienna Ring Road has been called the “Lord of the Ring Roads” and is designated by UNESCO as part of Vienna’s World Heritage Site.
We saw many things we had seen on our walking tour but got so much out of our guide that it was well worth it.
The parliament buildings….
The Opera house…
Loads of Churches and Cathedrals ….
But my two favourite were hands down the Hundertwasserhaus (loosely translates to “the hundred water house” and is the name the Austrian artist and architect who created incredible buildings brimming with glorious technicolour.) a housing complex made up of 52 apartments and 16 private terraces, which the architect built between 1983 – 1985. Located in Landstraße.
A patchwork of colours, you will notice the quirky design, that surprisingly contains absolutely no straight lines, no right angles. Every window, door or balcony has a different shape and greenery wind around the building’s façade to create the feeling that it’s all been reclaimed by nature.
People do live here, so although a huge gathering spot for tourists, it is important to remain quiet and respectful. We are so glad we got to see it. We had stopped in at the museum a few blocks over during our walkign tour not realizing that there was an actual building complex to be seen as well!
And the other part we enjoyed so very much was being able to cycle and enjoy the Prater.
Vienna’s famous Volksprater lies in the heart of the city in the district of Leopoldstadt and offers visitors the Giant Ferris Wheel erected in 1827 as well as many attractions such as carousels, halls of mirrors and laughter, ghost trains and rollercoasters. Basically a small amusement park.
But it’s primarily a huge expanse of green space. One of the most beautiful city parks of the world, it’s nature in the heart of Vienna. Far from hustle and bustle of the city. Today, visitors stroll along the main avenue that runs from the Praterstern to the Lusthaus beneath groups of poplars past meadows and dense undergrowth. Or in our case … bike!
One of the biggest attractions in this part of the Prater are the chestnut blossoms that line Hauptalle (main alley). Sadly we did not see them in bloom since it was October and they bloom in May. The Hauptallee is filled with walkers and cyclists as well as joggers, children romp around on the playground and youngsters meet on the BMX and skating track or throw themselves into the sand on the beach volleyball courts.
In winter, the Jesuitenwiese meadow in Vienna’s Prater becomes a big playground. A snow-making machine provides enough of the white stuff for a proper snowball fight. In addition to cross-country trails, there is also a tobogganing hill, which was created from the ruins of houses bombed during the Second World War. All of this … pet friendly.
We enjoyed our bike tour a great deal. Be it the amazing history lesson, the architecture that kept changing, the greenery, the blooms, the very safe, well paved bike path, the canal and it’s refreshing breeze off the water… it was all a blast.
Bring your energy, your sense of wonder and water! If you are short on time THIS is the way to go. Have you ever taken your dog on a bike tour?