Inside a typical Viennese Heuriger courtyard

The Best Heuriger Vienna: An epic guide to the wine taverns of Vienna

In Most Popular, Vienna, Vienna Local Experiences, Vienna Wine & Drinks by Carly16 Comments

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Where to find the best Heurigen of Vienna, according to our handpicked, thoroughly researched opinion!

It’s coming up to that glorious time of year where sitting in the sunshine sipping wine with friends, while nibbling on a plate of cheese and meats is a perfectly acceptable way to spend an entire Saturday in Vienna.

AKA my favourite time of year to live in this city!

Vienna is famous for being one of the few cities in Europe with vineyards still within the city limits, and a proud history of making, and enjoying, the fresh delicious wines that come from them.

I can hand on my heart say, the picture perfect vineyards surrounding the city, the fresh crisp white wines and lush afternoons spent with friends overlooking the city in a heuriger is one of my top 5 favourite things about living here.

View over Vienna wineyards

Irresistible Viennese Heuriger wine tavern views

So today, I’m giving you guys the lowdown on some of our favourite Heurigen, so you too can taste the sweet life of the Viennese and enjoy some wine tasting in Vienna.

But first, what is a Heuriger?

A ‘Heuriger’ is the Viennese word for a wine tavern. These small but lovely, rustic places are like being invited into the wine growers wooden cabins to enjoy their wares.

Technically, the phrase ‘Heuriger Wine’ means ‘this years wine’, so a Heuriger is simply a place to try the freshest wine direct from the growers.

Leitner Heuriger view into Vineyard

Historically, Heurigen were simple places, where vineyard owners would open their doors during wine season to serve glasses of this years wine and juices to guests. At most, a plate of cold meats and cheese could be served along with the delicious wine.

The food was always just cold cuts, due to laws introduced to limit competition to restaurants in 1784. Ever since then, Heuriger’s have been dishing out simple fare that can be easily spread on crusty homemade bread, or sliced straight from a block of cheese.

share plate at a heuriger

A typical mix of spreads, cold cuts and in this case a warm juicy pork knuckle to share

While today many Heuriger’s have expanded and now serve hot food alongside their taster glasses of wine (maaaayyybe to help line your stomach!) that tradition of simplicity remains.

Oh, and you may hear some people refer to Buschenschank as being wine taverns in Austria too.

Heurigen and Buschenschank are essentially the same thing. Its just a dialect difference, so in Vienna wine taverns are Heuriger, in other parts of Austria they are Buschenschank, particularly in nearby Styria that is well known for their wine.

How to get to Heurigen in Vienna

From the city centre of Vienna, many Heuriger’s are very easy to get to – normally by taking a tram directly to the end of the line and then strolling a short distance.

The #38 tram drops you in the heart of Grinzing, or the #60 to Dornbach that will end up in ten minute walking distance to some smaller local Heuriger.

You could also use the super cute and adorable ‘Vienna Heurigen Express’ – a hop-on hop-off shuttle that starts at the bottom of Kahlenberg and runs on Saturdays to get you between the Heuriger’s dotted all along the hillside.

Vienna Heuriger Express cart

Take the Heuriger express on weekends to catch as many Heuriger’s as possible!

This is my preferred option because you can easily hop between vineyards and avoid the hefty uphill hike. 

The #1 thing to keep in mind when planning your visit to a Heuriger in Vienna is to check the opening hours and days! Some Heuriger are only open on certain days of the year, while others are so insanely popular or booked out for weddings that it can be hard to get a seat.

If you have a handy German speaker available, it’s worth calling in advance to the more popular places to check they are open. Even if you don’t speak German, most places will be able to give you the basic info in English too!

What is it like to Visit a Heuriger in Vienna

There’s certainly nothing fancy about visiting a Heuriger, these are not glossy, slick commercial places – often just a simple bench placed beside a communal long table and the family members serving wine direct.

Many smaller Heuriger are only open on specific weekends or days during the season from May – November, so they keep the decor and service straightforward and simple.

So don’t feel the need to get too dressy to visit, and enjoy taking things slow and savouring the moment when at a Heuriger in Vienna!

The atmosphere at Heurigen is always very relaxed, laid back, and slow. To keep it simple, the service is nearly always self-serve for food, usually from a small buffet table or counter inside the Heuriger.

Mayer am Nussberg outdoor Vienna Heuriger

Idyllic Mayer am Nussberg

Personally, I think Heuriger’s are the best place to see the famous Viennese spirit in action. There will be groups of locals, sometimes in traditional Dirndl’s, sometimes families or groups of friends clustered around the wooden tables and gesturing abundantly, while chatting languidly about life, politics or big ideas.

There’s a certain kind of expansive, welcoming and embracing of life in the way people take their time here. They enjoy long meandering conversations, while the hosts invite people to be cosy, comfortable and feel at home in the vineyard environment.

Sometimes there are live performers in the Heuriger gardens, with fiddles or accordians to play traditional music and add to the atmosphere.

The thing to keep in mind is that Heuriger’s aren’t a ‘party zone’ – people aren’t there to get shitfaced, or drunk and rowdy. Heuriger are somehow more refined, but comfortable, and while you will probably drink a lot of wine, like most things in Vienna, it’s always very civilised.

Inside a typical Viennese Heuriger courtyard

Coming to a Heuriger is a peep into the heart of Vienna, built up over centuries of visits and fine wine. So you can come here to while away an afternoon with friends, and leave knowing you’ve had a taste of authentic Vienna.

What to Order at a Heuriger in Vienna

Well, clearly, wine is top of the list. But if you’re not a drinker, don’t worry, they also have lovely fresh juices mixed with soda water if you don’t go in for wine.

In some places, they may serve beer, if the Heuriger is larger, but in smaller locales you might only have wine available, just as a heads up to the beer lovers.

Wine

  • Gruner Veltliner. The classic white wine from Austria, crisp, fresh, easy to drink and very local.
  • Gemischter Satz. A blended white wine, from up to 20 different grape varieties, that are planted and harvested together. Known as a ‘field wine’ that is historic and famous world-wide. It’s a unique, easy drinking white wine that is only available in Vienna.
  • Riseling. I can’t resist a good local Riesling, and neither should you, there are plenty on offer at all good Heurigen.
  • Rose. To be honest, Rose isn’t historically an Austrian wine, but new younger vintners are now reviving it with Zweigelt varieties from Austrian vineyards. If you’re a ‘Rose all day’ kinda gal, you can find decent light ones in the larger Heuriger.
  • Sturm. WARNING on this – Sturm literally translates to ‘storm’, and if you have more than two of these sweet, young wines then a storm is literally what your bowels will deliver. The wine is made from young grapes and so the fermentation effects can continue after drinking if you’re not careful to limit yourself! Well worth a glass or two though in Sturm season, it is deeeeelish.
  • Zweigelt. Austria’s best known and loved red wine – a lighter, smooth blend, this is my go-to red wine in the winter months. The Hillinger Zweigelt is a personal fave and can be picked up in Spar supermarkets as a souvenir.
  • Blaufrankish. A richer, more complex red wine, described by those in the know as being ‘rich in tannin with a spicy character’. I’m not a wine professional, but find this blend a little heavier than the Zweigelt.

Pro Tip!

A ‘liter liter’ white wine order is the best bet to enjoy your day at a Heuriger in Vienna with a group. This is a very simple equation – one liter of white wine (normally g’mischter satz or the house white) and one litre of soda water.

If you order this for the table, you will get a jug of each delivered to the table to share. It will mean a pleasant combination of wine and hydration for all, that inevitably ends up in a few friendly rounds shared!

Of course, you are welcome to taste the other wines first, but if you intend to have a jolly day with a group of friends, a ‘litre litre’ is the best survival advice I can give you – and you’ll fit right in with the locals.

Simple food at a Vienna Heuriger

A ‘liter liter’ wine and water with small spreads, cheese and salads to share – perfect Heuriger eating!

Food

Though the food is simple, its hearty and traditional, so I’m going to insist you order a snack plate at the very least.

  • Grammlschmalz. A very good, indulgent spread that can go upon bread, made entirely from pig fat. Imagine crackling sprinkled through pure but yummy fat spread – it sounds hideous but I dare you not to love this ridiculous spread.
  • Liptauer. A good creamy spread made from capsicum and cream cheese that adds some flavour as a spread beyond meats and cheeses.
  • Jauseplatter. This is a ‘hunters platter’ and your best bet to get a taste of a mix of cheeses, meats, a smattering of veggies if you are lucky.
  • Kartoffelsalad. It’s basically law to have potato salad wherever you go in Austria, and in a Heuriger there is a good chance Oma made it, so it’s going to be perfectly flavoured, gooey and irresistible.
  • Stelze. In the larger Heuriger’s where hot food is served, there is nothing more hearty than a Stelze, otherwise known as a Pork Knuckle. A giant leg of pork, covered in crackling, served as is. Order to share and you will go home filled to the brim from satisfying meat indulgence.
  • Homemade Salad. Less you vegetarians fear you’ll go hungry, there are normally home made mixed salads available or spinach dumplings in some places to keep the options open for non meat eaters.

Best Traditional Heuriger Vienna

Sirbu

Perched atop Kahlenberg with unbelievable views down to the Danube and city centre of Vienna, Sirbu is a classical Heuriger with the best views and very traditional service and food.

 
 
 
 
 
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They have a good-sized outdoor seting area with panoramic views down into the city, and offer buffet food menus to go along with your wine tasting. They even have an old tram car perched looking out over Vienna that can be booked for private functions and looks pretty tempting if I’m honest.

Sirbu will give you the ultimate Vienna wine tavern experience, and you can self-select from the small service counter the exact meats, cheese and spreads you want on your Jausenplatter. 

Come here for the views, and use it as your start point for exploring the many heurigers of Kahlenberg hill – or vice versa, make this your triumphant reward for getting to the top!

Winegut Zimmerman

This is a gorgeous Heuriger in the 19th district and about as classic as you can get.

I’ve been here multiple times and the absolutely lush setting, the huge outdoor area overlooking vineyards and idyllic sunset light are all excellent reasons to visit. I even live-streamed from here a few years ago to show exactly how adorable it is!

From the picture perfect archway entrance to the old farmhouse, right down to the chickens, bunnies and other pets tucked away in the back of the garden area, Zimmerman has a charm all of its own. 

We always have an excellent time here wether as a pick group for a work outing, or just with a handful of friends, Zimmerman is quintessentially 19th district – stately, rustic, civilised and gorgeous. 

Vienna vineyards frolicking at Zimmerman

Also excellent for frolicking in fields between drinks

Gasthof Schneider-Gössl

This is a little gem out beyond Hietzing along the U4 line, so not very well known, that even includes accommodation in the mix.

We bring family here when they visit Vienna to experience the Heuriger setting, year-round. Its one of the few places that you can experience a heuriger like atmosphere in the months outside of wine season.

They’ll normally have some kind of live traditional music, the wait staff are decked out in their Dirndl and Lederhosen and the food and decor are unmistakably traditional Austrian. Grape vines curl over your head and kitschy artwork adorn the wood-panelled entrance to the outdoor garden area on your way in. This is very much a locals favourite, for the affordable, tasty Austrian classic cuisine.

Plus, they have the best marillen-knodel (sweet crumbed apricot dumplings) I’ve ever had in my life. Do not leave without trying it!

Best City Heuriger Vienna

10er Marie

The first thing you need to know about 10er Marie is – no matter when you visit, you will likely crush the average age range by about 30 years. Every time we visit with friends or visiting family, we are by a long shot the youngest in the restaurant, but, my theory is, all the oldies have it figured out – they know exactly where to get the best food, easy drinking wine and affordable prices. 

The Best of Vienna - Best Wine bars Zum Gsupften Pferdl

10er Marie is an institution out in the 16th district of Vienna, right at the end of the #2 tramline. This is the kind of place where you wander in for a civilised dinner at 7pm, then somehow amongst the gruff but cheeky service, the free flowing ‘litre litre’ wine, the jolly music and the ambient setting of draping vine leaves, rustic wooden chairs and the ebullient energy, you’re making your way home at 1am singing on the tram with a wine glass still in hand. 

I love this spot as it feels timeless, its reliably excellent food and its a true Heuriger setting, with warm food options and still entirely affordable. Definitely order the potato salad and enjoy a classic Viennese style night out!

Landkind

Ok I’m cheating, Landkind aren’t a Heuriger at all, BUT this is where we get a steady, delicious supply of bio organic, locally made wines on the regular. The master drinks man, Beni, really knows his stuff when stocking the plentiful wine shelves at Landkind.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hand on my heart, despite some lovely long weekend days spent sharing bottle after bottle of wine with friends, the quality available here has meant I’ve never had a banger of a hangover after a day of drinking in the sun here. And I’m in my thirties now, so its a minor miracle to wake up after drinking pain-free!

You can see my full review of Landkind here, but basically, its way, way too easy for morning Saturday brunch here to slip into sunny Saturday afternoon wines…so they’re on our personal list of city ‘Heuriger’s’ for being our primary wine dealers and genuinely excellent folk. 

Weinstube Josefstadt

A little green pocket of a place in the 8th district, Weinstube Josefstadt is a treasure if you don’t have time to get out of the city limits. With simple bench seating, plenty of greenery and superb selections of wines, if you squint a little, it’s almost like leaving the city centre.

Their inner courtyard is the ideal spot on a summers day to while away a few hours and taste test the selection of excellent wines. They also have a small selection of beers available, alongside the classic Heuriger buffet food options. The entrance can be tricksy to spot as its very subtle, and the heuriger is quite popular with Vienna’s creative scenesters from the 8th district, so if there is a large group of you, try to call ahead and book yourself a table in advance!

Gigerl

One of Vienna’s oldest and most traditional ‘Stadtheuriger’, Gigerl is smack in the city centre and large enough to welcome over 150 guests when their inner courtyard is open. 

The Heuriger takes its name from a play of the late 1800’s, by Eduard Pötzl, where a ‘Gigerl’ is the Viennese equivalent of a dandy. Fancily dressed, appreciating fine women and wine, with artistic flair was the historic definition of a Giglerl. These days, this heuriger in the city centre serves simple Austrian food, fresh wine and plenty of Heuriger spirit for those that can’t make it out to the vineyards.

Our pick of Heuriger Vienna

Mayer am Nussberg

This heuriger will always have a special place in my heart as I was lucky enough to celebrate my 30th birthday here in style. It’s a perfect combination of stunning sunny location, cool beach chairs, plenty of space, an excellent view, and some really really irresistible wines. 

Mayer am Nussberg outdoor Vienna Heuriger

Idyllic Mayer am Nussberg

 

This is a hipster take on Heuriger style, and with so much space they make it really accessible for parents and families too, so mum and dad can tipple on wine while kids play in the sandpit or roam over the logs setup as adventure play.

Birthday at Mayer am Nussberg Vienna Heuriger

But make no mistake, this is also where the 20-30 something crowd comes to play – with good music, incredible views and rotating selection of food options, Mayer am Nussberg is one of my favourites.

My 30th birthday at Mayer am Nussberg

They have a more traditional heuriger in the main town of Grinzing – Mayer am Pfarrplatz – but leave that for the tourists and oldies, if the sun is shining, Mayer am Nussberg will be wonderfully busy and worth the trip.

Leitner Heuriger

I allllmooooost didn’t including this on the list – in fact I’m almost banking that half of you are too lazy to read this far and might not find out about Leitner Heuriger. This has been a favourite of Stefan and I since I first moved to Vienna in 2012. It has brilliant views, is super cosy, is located on Wilhelmininburg so a lot less touristy than Kahlenberg and is conveniently on our side of town.

Leitner Heuriger view into Vineyard

Leitner Heuriger adorable tables

There is nothing better than taking a large corner table with a group of friends here in the afternoon, to marvel at the sunset, enjoy a shared roast chicken or pork knuckle, and sip on the wine while solving the problems of the world. We have annual Leitner Heuriger nights every summer, because it is so reliably excellent, authentic and their shared dessert platter is to die for. Its often booked out, as its relatively small, and if you want hot food its best to order in advance.

The best part is you can order food for a group and share some chicken, potato salad, pork and sides, along with plenty of wine, and a ridiculous spread of  homemade desserts.

Map of the Best Heuriger Vienna

 

That’s our selection of Heuriger, although to be honest, half the fun of Vienna’s Heuriger scene is wandering into Stammersdorf or Grinzing, and wandering around from wine tavern to wine tavern. You get a taste for each and eventually will find a perfect little courtyard to get comfortable in. We normally end up in different small local heuriger each time we visit, so heartily encourage you to go explore and do the same!

Do let me know in the comments below what your favourite Heuriger in Vienna is, as I’m sure everyone has their special spot and would love to discover more. 

 

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Comments

  1. Absolutely love this, Carly! Exactly what I was looking for. No need to search hard way myself… Thank you for your effort, time and wine spent on this ‍♀️
    Zuzana from Bratislava

    1. Author

      So glad you found it useful! Thanks for letting me know and hope you enjoy your Heuriger visits 🙂

  2. Excellent guide! Thank you, Carly! 🙂 Mayer am Nussberg is my favourite too, bringing all our guests there…and it delivers every time 🙂

    1. Author

      It’s really irresistible, right? Glad you enjoyed it thanks so much for reading and hope you have a lovely summer enjoying Heuriger 🙂

  3. I would give a try and visit Zawodsky, apart from having great vines and settings, the food was the best from all the Heuriger we visited it’s number 1.

    1. Author

      Oooohhhh this one has come up in a few reccommendations so it sounds like I need to get my butt down there!

  4. This is such a fabulous and informative article, Carly. We are travelling from Brisbane to Vienna next month and will certainly visit some of your recommenced Heurigers. Thank you!

    1. Author

      Oh fantastic! I’m so glad to hear it – you guys are going to have a blast. Its definitely not quite a Brissie summer here haha but plenty to enjoy.

  5. Try the Kellerberg area in Schwechat.
    A bit harder to get to without a designated driver, but there’s a few Heutige out there and the best of all is a huge meadow with a playground. Perfect for the kids to run around while you enjoy a glass of wine or three.

    1. Author

      Oooohhhh this sounds very interesting! Thanks for the tip! It’s going on the list….

  6. Thanks for putting this all together, Carly, and thanks for the tip about the alternative to Mayer am Pfarrplatz! Question: is there a “preferred” time to visit the heurigen? You mention starting at 7 pm, just wondering when is the best time to not stand out as tourists because we’re eating or drinking too early!

    Thanks again!

    1. Author

      Hey Colin! Excellent question – to be honest, Austrians are known to turn up to Heuringers from 11am onwards on weekends, so anytime from lunch is completely fine, I think it really depends on what day of the week you visit. So for weekdays I’d reccommend say, 4pm onwards, and weekends its fair game from 11am, although naturally you’ll find Saturdays more festive and Sundays will be more family lunches or friends gathering for a glass of wine after a hike. So you really can visit as it suits you, and tourists are welcome, particularly at Zimmerman. Hope you enjoy!

  7. This is amazing, thank you so much for putting all of this information together! My mother and I will be taking a mother-daughter trip to Austria next month and cannot wait to visit some of your recommendations! Quick question — where is the yellow building and courtyard you used as your first picture (and then also in the blog post itself)? It looks so beautiful and peaceful!

    1. Author

      Ah October is the perfect time! You’re going to love it – the yellow one is at the foot of Kahlenberg, its called ‘Landhaus Grinzing’. The inside is equally stunning and they actually have accommodation in their too. Definitely reccommend 🙂

  8. Thanks for the recommendations. My Wife and I are planning a late October anniversary trip and Vienna is on the short list. Do you know if the places you mentioned are open between October 27 and Nov 1? Gotta get that rip booked 🙂

  9. Hi! Thanks for the excellent guide! I was especially happy to see Leitner on the list – even many Viennese do not know about it, although its Stelze is so much better than the one in the Schweizerhaus, IMHO. While in the same area, Stippert (https://stippert.at/buschenschank-am-heuberg/) is another hidden gem. On Nussberg, in addition to Mayer, I would strongly recommend Wieninger for the beautiful views and great wines. Their Heuriger in Stammersdorf is pretty cool, too. If you want to avoid tourists, the 23d district has some of the best Heurige in Vienna, including Zahel and Edlmoser. The taverns in the 10th district (Oberlaa), such as Windisch, are also very authentic and non-touristic. My last recommendation is Josef’s Genießerei in Essling (22nd district). It’s not really a Heuriger, but their wine list and Brettljausen (Jausenplatten) are quite impressive. And no one knows about it.

    Speaking of Brettljausen, I maintain a website – http://supergoose.org/ – where I rate and review all the places serving this Austrian specialty. In most of them you get good wine as well. On the same site, I post my reviews of Martinigansl (seasonal goose dish) restaurants, which you may find helpful this time of the year 🙂

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