Surveys regularly prove that Austria is best known for its beautiful nature. In these terms the participants usually think about the Alps. Just very few of them know that even inside the city borders Vienna can call a national park its own.
I am talking about the Nationalpark Donauauen. It covers the wetlands along the Danube from Vienna till Bratislava. The part on the Viennese territory is called Lobau and can be found east of the Danube in Vienna’s south.
I love to hike or go for a bike ride here, experiencing the untouched nature, wide meadows, riparian forests and dead stream branches of the Danube, while spotting beavers, boars or raptors. A good starting point for excursions is the Information Center (marked on the map). It is easily reachable by bus line 92B (station Raffineriestr./Biberhaufenweg).
Also highly recommendable is taking the national park boat. It leaves daily at 09:00 right from the city center at Donaukanal (near Salztorbrücke) and takes its passengers over Donaukanal and Danube directly into Lobau. From 2nd May till 26th October I consider this expedition to be the most attractive way to get to know Lobau. (booking required)
By the way: The word “Au” in German means floodplain. While discovering Vienna you often encounter locations with names ending with “-au”. Without even knowing these places you can be quite sure, that these areas are plain and close to a river, like Brgittenau, Krieau, Leopoldau, Kuchelau, Stadlau, or even Lobau.
Can you find some more examples?