The World’s Greenest Cities: Vienna, Austria

The World’s Greenest Cities: Vienna, Austria

The World’s Greenest Cities: Vienna, Austria

Probably best known for being featured in an 80s power ballad (own up, you just sang ‘Oh, Vienna!’ in your head, didn’t you?), the Austrian capital also features proudly in many lists of the world’s greenest cities.

And it’s literally green. Half of the city is made of parks, forests, and agricultural land, and this, coupled with its love of organic produce, excellent recycling programmes, sustainable transport system, and commitment to eco-friendly living makes it one of the world’s greenest cities. Let’s find out more.

What makes Vienna one of the world’s greenest cities?

Its recycling and composting programmes: Because these are so efficient, 30% of the energy that powers the city comes from renewable sources.

Its love of organic, locally-sourced produce: Farmers’ markets are very popular in Vienna and there is a huge trend towards buying and eating organic food. Many shops and restaurants are going organic, and it’s possible to buy farm-fresh food from over 100 places in the city.

Half of the city is green space: There are parks, meadows, and woods at every turn and not only that, urban farms, allotments, and garden shops are sprouting up all over the city.

There is even an urban garden right in the middle of the city. The Karlsgarten is a research centre for urban agriculture and many different types of fruit, vegetables, and grains are grown here.


Green Square Vienna, Austria


Sustainable shopping: There is a focus in some stores on selling items that are not mass-produced. For example, there is a herb manufacturer that sells wild herbs as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables that have been collected from local gardens and allotments.

There’s also a company called Unverschwendet (German for ‘unwasted’) which takes oddly-shaped or excess fruit and vegetables that would usually be discarded by the supermarkets and turns them into things like jams, syrup, chutneys, and pickles. Nothing goes to waste.

Sustainable transport: Vienna has so many pleasant pedestrian routes, green spaces, and hiking trails which make it a lovely city to explore on foot.

But if your feet get tired, or you want to go further afield, you can jump in one of the city’s 370 eco-friendly hybrid or natural gas-powered taxis. The so-called ‘Green taxis’ cost exactly the same as a standard taxi too. 

If you’re feeling active, you can also explore the 1,300km long network of cycle paths around the city. You can rent and return a Citybike or e-bike 24 hours per day at one of the city’s 121 bike stations and there are plenty of charging points along the main cycle routes.

Another eco-friendly option is hiring a Segway, and there are companies that provide Segway sightseeing tours if you want to explore the city in a slightly different way.

If you love being out on the water, you can venture out onto the river Danube and hire a paddle boat, rowing boat, or sailboat, or go on a Vienna National Park boat trip to see some of the unique plant and animal habitats of the region.