Before moving to Vienna, I had never experienced swimming in a river this way. I must admit I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, but soon realized it’s a perfect escape from the city – while still in the city. You hop on the metro after work, and there you are – swimming and enjoying the sun or partaking in some water sports.
There are different spots on both sides of the Danube where you can dip your toes or your whole body into the water. This particular part of the Danube is called “Alte Donau”, meaning “old Danube.” It is actually a cut-off meander of the Danube, so it has no direct connection to the “New Danube.” There are the “old upper Danube” and the “old lower Danube”.
The old upper Danube has a water park, boat rentals, restaurants, and bungalows, but I find the lower old Danube more interesting. There is a pathway from the U2 metro station Donaustadtbrücke. On the right side there are houses and on the left side the are these beautiful wooden docks. I recommend coming early or later in the afternoon to catch a nice spot. From there, you can sunbathe, jump into the water, swim, or watch the rowers from nearby rowing clubs.
The backdrop of the whole experience are the high business towers and buildings of the 22nd district on one side, which make you feel like you are swimming in the midst of Manhattan.