Vienna’s “Green Lung”
The Donau-Auen National Park – the “green band” between Vienna and Bratislava
Did you know that Vienna is a national park area? The Donau-Auen National Park begins at the eastern edge of Vienna, in the 22nd District of “Donaustadt.” The Lobau area is a traditional local recreation area for the Viennese populace. Treat yourself to some time off and discover the bank of the Danube downstream!
National park buildings and information points
The main building of the Donau-Auen National Park is located in Orth an der Donau. Many excursions start at the schlossORTH National Park Centre, and you have the possibility of visiting the “DonAUräume” multimedia exhibition. The visitor program offers a large selection of hiking tours, canoe tours, raft or tschaike (a type of ship once used on the Danube) trips and workshops, where you’ll accompany qualified national park rangers who with considerable dedication bring visitors closer to their work in the national park. If you’re lucky, you’ll encounter a wild animal or two. You’ll at least get to hear beavers “clapping in the water,” as these animals feel very much at home here.
A good point of entry is the wien-LobAU National Park House in Vienna. Next to the adventure playground and spacious garden, the Lobau area in particular is presented in the “tonAU” exhibition. Afterwards there is nothing holding you back from an exploration tour for you to explore the floodplain landscape on your own or with a tour guide.
It’s easiest to reach the wien-LobAU National Park House (Dechantweg 8, 1220 Vienna) with bus line 92B starting at the underground station U2/Donaustadtbrücke, or with bus line 93A starting at the U1/Kagran underground station.
Direct from the city with the NationalparkBoot
There’s another possibility for getting to Lobau: Take the National Park Boat (NationalparkBoot) at the mooring area on the Donaukanal near Salztorbrücke (close to the Schick Hotels Capricorno, City Central and Stefanie ) daily at 9:00 AM. Following a one-hour introductory expedition through the Auwald forest with a national park forest ranger, the boat will bring you back to the city center. (Make sure you pre-register!)
The National Park
The Donau-Auen National Park is located between Vienna and Bratislava, stretched across 9,300 hectares of area, and forms the last major wetland environment in Central Europe. The free flow path of the Danube – it is still described as a “mountain river” – forms the lifeline of the national park on approximately 36 km. (In this case, the Danube itself is not considered part of the national park, since it has to be free for ship traffic.) Together with Vienna, an additional 13 Lower Austrian national park areas are involved in this project.
To the north, it borders the Marchfeld and in the south it ends at the Vienna Basin. The national park is 4 km at its widest point, as the floodplains are in the immediate area of the river. Here, you can find an enormous variety of species in all sorts of habitats within a very small area. This is unique in Central Europe. 800 higher-level plant species, 30 species of mammals and 100 breeding bird species, 8 reptiles, 13 amphibian and 60 species of fish are at home here.
The national park is freely accessible, yet the restricted paths law must be observed: You may not leave hiking trails and waters may not be traveled with motorized boats.