Inhabited since 500 BC, Vienna has been many things during its long history: a Celtic settlement, a Roman military camp, the Capital of the Holy Roman Empire and later of the Austro Hungarian one. Nowadays, it’s the worlds most livable city according to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. Locals aren’t the only ones who think that Vienna is a wonderful place though. Tourists seem to see it this way too. So much so that in 2018 the Austrian Capital recorded 16.5 million bednights and 7.5 million arrivals.Vienna is the city of music. A place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven have worked, and it’s hometown to Franz Schubert and Johann Strauss. Split by the Danube, the city has that unmistakable middle European charm, with 19th century buildings that will make you feel like a time traveller who's taking a trip to a time when people strolled around in carriages. But Vienna doesn’t solely offer breath-taking museums, palaces, and a city centre that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In case its history and architecture aren’t enough to make you want to book a trip, the city also has lots of sustainable fashion shops, thrift stores, green hotels, and vegan restaurants. We’ve rounded up the best green destinations in Vienna for you to enjoy whenever you’ll have the occasion to wander around its Bezirke (districts).
Vienna’s most famous vegan fast food chain, Swing Kitchen, has five locations in the Austrian capital and more in Germany and Switzerland. They all sell classic fast food made vegan that's served in laid-back, neutral-colored spaces that look a lot like old-school American diners with a sprinkle of European edginess. All of their packaging is made from renewable raw materials and the staff are paid over the industry average. Needless to say, the burgers here are the stars of the show: try the Vienna burger if you are in the mood for an Austrian plant-based take on fast food, or the Cheese Burger if you want to stick to the classics instead.
SIMPLY RAW BAKERY & BISTRO
At Drahtgasse, a beautiful street in Inner Stadt, you can find this tiny café that's been serving raw vegan food since 2012. The interior is wonderfully charming with its shabby chic look, and the food is equally amazing. Their small desserts like the super soft brownies and creamy peanut filled dates are simply heavenly, and the same goes for their spectacular cakes. Come here after a stroll in Vienna’s city centre and treat yourself to some plant based sweetness.
Veggiezz is a vegan restaurant chain that offers a large selection of plant based foods from all over the world. Here you can enjoy anything from summer rolls, gyros bowls and wraps, pesto pasta, club sandwiches, and a variety tasty vegan wines. The atmosphere is very laid back thanks to the modern yet cozy interior and friendly staff. The ingredients are high quality and the food is skillfully made, colorful, and healthy. If you find yourself in Inner Stadt or Alsergrund, come here for a bite, you won’t regret it.
This Hotel is an oasis of calm, greenery, and sustainability in this hectic, vibrant city. They have a beautiful interior courtyard where you can relax surrounded by plants, herbs, and flowers. The courtyard’s walls are completely covered in ivy, and on the roof you can find a lovely lavender garden filled with perfumed flowers, bees, and butterflies. But this hotel isn’t just green when it comes to looks, but also at heart, as proven by their many sustainable initiatives. They recycle all of their trash and have LED lights, eco-friendly showers heads, and devices with standby-mode. There are no minibars in the rooms, and by not putting them in they save 21,024 kg CO2 per room. Thanks to the hotel’s photovoltaic panels, they produce their own clean electricity all year round. The same goes for the hot water used in the hotel, as it's provided by their solar panels.
In Praterstraße in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd municipal District of Vienna, you can find Das Capri - a family run hotel that is Austrian Ecolabel and EU Ecolabel certified. It's won many awards over the years, including the Environmental Award of the city of Vienna in 2019. Das Capri is the first hotel in Vienna to have a Common Good Balance Sheet, and they were the first hotel in Austria to use an air source heat pump system to warm and cool their building and to provide hot water. In order to save water, they have installed water-saving taps and toilet cisterns in all of their beautifully furnished modern rooms. Their building is completely thermally insulated, and their soap and shampoo come in refillable dispensers.
Kärntner Ring 1
Located at the heart of Vienna immediately opposite the Vienna State Opera, this luxurious hotel was opened in 1892 and has since had royals, famous artists, and politicians sleep in its characteristic fin-de-siécle rooms. Even though the hotel aesthetic is very vintage with its art deco look, their approach to environmental issues certainly isn’t. This Eco Label of the City of Vienna certified hotel has energy-saving light bulbs, shower heads with lower water consumption, and many more eco-friendly features. They serve Fairtrade coffee, the restaurant offers vegetarian and vegan options, and their keycards and pens are made of recycled materials. Unused amenities such as slippers, body lotions, and shower gels are collected by the housekeeping team and donated to VinziRast, a local homeless charity.
UPPERS AND DOWNERS
This hip Viennese Concept Store opened in December 2014 in the 7th district, the city’s trendiest. It sells carefully selected, high quality vintage, and second-hand pieces in a hip-looking store that's characterized by the iconic zig-zag black and white pavement. Here you can find anything from neutral-colored, timeless essentials to eye-catching showstoppers.
In Porzellangasse, a street in Alsergrund that just screams Vienna, you can find Green Ground - a lovely fair fashion store that features ethical and sustainable brands from many different countries. Here they offer Spanish shirts, Dutch jeans, German dresses, and Italian sweaters. The store itself is very homely and warm thanks to the natural materials and the parquet floor. The selection is huge and there is plethora of different colors, styles, and cuts. You're sure to find something at Green Ground that's to your liking.
Josefstädter Str. 33
Founded by vegan entrepreneur Jasmin Schister, Muso Koroni is a vegan fair fashion store located in the 8th district. They sell everything from socks and underwear, tops and bottoms, to outerwear and much more! Here you can also find vegan shoes, natural and cruelty free cosmetics, and accessories. Not only are all of the products they offer vegan, but they also try to buy from companies who produce solely vegan products whenever possible. The staff is supremely kind and helpful, and that surely contributes to make the already lovely experience of shopping here even nicer.
Roberta Fabbrocino is a writer and an environmentalist who loves sharing stories about all things sustainability. She runs @mosclothingsubscription, an eco-friendly personal styling service, and creates content for green brands.