Peak summer is upon us in Vienna and there’s only one sure-fire way to make the most of this magical, sweaty time of year – head up. The city is peppered with plenty of glorious rooftop bars and cafe’s, you just have to know where to find them to get to the one that suits your style.
Because I’m not into super fancy bars and swanky cocktail places, this collection is more about places I’d actually take you to if you were in town. There’s one or two fancy-pants places but overall, when going to a rooftop bar I want to relax, not be worrying about whether my shoes are good enough or my dress too cheap (because duh of course it is, I spend all my money travelling – but my dresses are still cute!).
After much carefully considered ‘research’ – trialling cocktails and posing flippantly on balconies – these are the places I love heading to for a summer spritzer at sunset with friends. If you want the kind of rooftop where you don’t have to spend a fortune and stick your nose in the air the whole time, here’s where to go!
Let’s get the most popular spot out the way first. If you haven’t been to Dachboden yet, you’re missing the most easily accessible rooftop and hipster hangout in the city. It’s a part of the 25 Hours hotel, but open to the public and has a glorious view into the historic city centre, looking across to Museums Quartier and the Hofburg. In all honestly, it’s a go-to bar for when friends visit in winter or summer.
Just keep in mind it can get suuuuuuper crowded on certain nights (Thursdays and Saturdays have queues) and you can’t reserve in advance, so you have to get your elbows out to capture that perfect picture.
What I love about Dachboden though is the comfy couches, colourful outdoor seating and unashamedly hipster decor – floating fixie bikes, splattered art on the walls and waiters with handlebar moustaches. God bless it – get there now!
2. Lamee Rooftop – Cafe Bar Bloom
You have to walk through the fancy foyer of Cafe Bar Bloom and the Lamee hotel to find this place, which can be intimidating, but once you head up the elevator and out onto the pastel coloured rooftop you can immediately relax. There’s super-cute stools to perch on in bright colours and a view to rule them all looking directly across to Stephansdom.
They specialise in cocktails and wines here so best bet is for a Kaiserspritzer (White wine, elderflower syrup and soda water) or a Hugo (Mint leaves, prosecco, elderflower sirup, soda water) to match your view.
We also uncovered some adorable tiny snacks on our last visit – mini käsekrainer sausages which can take the edge off if you get peckish. To be honest this is one of my favourite places to go with some girlfriends and get giggly over a few cocktails as the sunsets – the bright colours and vista over the city makes it feel like you are in a movie or outtake from Sex and the City – if it were set in Vienna and the lead characters weren’t so skinny, rich and…y’know what never mind. This bar is fabulous!
3. Atmosphere bar – Ritz Carlton
This one sounds fancy-pants, but actually once you are upstairs it’s not too bad. You obviously pay a bit more for the drinks but I like to think of it as ‘rent on the view’ because the Ritz absolutely crushes it in terms of panoramic viewing.
The whole city is laid out beneath you and the setup of the terrace is designed for cosy couples to snuggle on giant oversize wicker chairs, or groups to perch together on comfy low seated couches. Being right on the Ringstrasse means they have views clear across to Stephansdom, Karlskirche and clear across the city centre.
This isn’t the place you settle in for the night as its way too expensive, but you should definitely time your day to visit just before sunset to make the most of magic hour and watch dusk fall over the city streets from high above.
4. Gerngross – Akakiko & Brandauers terrace
Everytime I visit here I’m shocked that more people don’t know about it – let’s keep it that way, shall we?
Up on the top floor of Gerngross shopping centre, smack on Mariahilferstrasse you can escape the crowds by stepping from the elevators and onto a ridiculously sunny and glorious terrace. It’s big enough to stretch across the areas of both Akakiko sushi restaurant and the Austrian Brandauers restaurant.
With views down Mariahilferstrasse and Kirchengasse you can see up close to the architecture of the Church of Mariahilf just across from the centre.
The location also means you can get sun late in to the day so it’s perfect after a day of shopping the high street to unwind above everyone and see the sun go down slowly. More for meals and families than a night out with the girls, this terrace is brilliant if you want to get away from the takeway stores of Mariahilfer strasse.
5. Das Oben
This is one that often gets overlooked as it’s ‘hidden’ above the library of Vienna at the busy intersection of Urban Loritzplatz. This isn’t the place I’d take visiting friends to if they only have a day or two in the city if I’m honest, but for locals, it’s a great alternative spot for a different rooftop-like view over the city.
They do a decent brunch menu and occasionally have events and movie nights on their rooftop that give you a better view down the gürtel of the city.
6.Wirr am Brunnenmarkt
Wirr am Brunnenmarkt is definitely more casual than most of the other bars mentioned, nestled in the heart of the 16th district in Yppenplatz. The ‘rooftop’ here is very simple, and elevates you just above the market crowds of Brunnenmarkt with a view down the crowded streets. I prefer this rooftop for a casual morning brunch and sunshine day spritzers.
It’s a different kind of rooftop view over the city, but gets you much closer to everyday life of Vienna. Wirr can always be relied upon for good brunch, decent coffee and chilled vibes whichever time of day you visit! As rooftops go, this is one of the best in Vienna.
7. Le Loft – Sofitel hotel.
Ho boy…this is the big mama of rooftop views in Vienna. Le Loft restaurant is bloody gorgeous with prime location on the Donaukanal in the Sofitel hotel looking down to Schwedenplatz and Kahlenberg in the distance. You will feel a million bucks in this place and the floor to ceiling windows make it seem like you are Queen of the world looking out over tiny lemmings.
100% this is top of my to-do list for brunch!
Yes, it’s a touch fancy, but kind of perfect for a date night if you want to see the city sparkling. Or, if you want to see it all in bright beautiful detail, you can always go for brunch, which is of course what I would reccommend as a self-confessed brunch addict. Night or day, Le Loft is gorgeous – just keep in mind there’s no outdoor seating area so if you want the wind in your hair then you’ll have to look elsewhere.
That’s my pick of Vienna’s best rooftop bars and Cafes, next time you’re here, let’s go for a drink, shall we?
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