Perfect for a romantic couples’ getaway or a solo wild weekend, Vienna can cover all sides with its endless offerings of music, art, fashion and hearty cuisine. Vienna’s lively LGBTQ scene sits happily amongst mixed Kaffeehäuser culture and eclectic nightlife offerings, before taking over during annual events such as the Viennese Rainbow Ball, Pride Parade and the ‘Wien ist Andersrum’ (Vienna is Different) Festival. While retaining its traditions and imperial orthodoxy, Vienna is very much a sexually liberal city complete with nudist bathing sites and unique history of homosexual trailblazers, from composers to princesses, just waiting to be discovered. Our friends at Mr. Hudson, the gay travel guide, have put together their hotspots to make the most of your stay.
A must for all coffee snobs and any LGBTQ traveller looking for a transcendent bean experience is the Café Savoy, said to be Vienna’s oldest gay coffee house. Located off the beaten track with an old-style interior of huge antique mirrors and architecture from the gay Vienna State Opera architect von Neumann, the Café Savoy (coffee house and bar) is a place where diversity and open-mindedness are embraced.
The Huderwasserhaus is Vienna’s most eccentric landmark, exhibiting the mind of 1950s artist turned architect Friedensreich Hunderwasser, who became renowned across Europe for his colourfully designed buildings, manifestos, essays and activism. Part museum, part private residence, a trip here is a must do for anyone in Vienna, allowing insight into his pioneering ideas on forested roofs, tree lodgings and eye-slit houses.
Despite being a landlocked country, Vienna can still offer summer visitors a place to cool off in the guise of Schönbrunnerbad, an Olympic-sized swimming pool known for its young, attractive clientele and eyebrow-raising gay scene. Those wanting to escape the restrictiveness of their bathing suit may also like to try the small nudist areas of Toter Grund on Danube Island or Gänsehäufl on the old Danube.
Just a few minutes from the city centre via subway is Vienna’s most favoured recreational spot on the 21-kilometre Danube Island, where visitors can get involved in a whole host of outdoor activities from bathing and water-skiing to cycling and hiking along an expansive network of trails and walkways. Bring a picnic basket and make a day of it!
Reminiscent of a 1960s dinner club replete with full bar and cocktail list, Motto is more than just a restaurant. Serving both Austrian and international classics amidst luscious velvet seating, rustic walls and black marble tables, Motto is an institution both inside and out of Vienna’s discerning gay scene.
Open all day long and catering to all hungers and thirsts, is the art nouveau Palmenhaus located within an old imperial greenhouse just a stone’s throw away from the Albertina Museum and Imperial Palace grounds. An exotic getaway for any season, sharing rent with an impressive butterfly house, Palmenhaus is a tourist attraction in its own right, with architecture by Friedrich Ohman and history tracing back to the 1800s.
Within a hidden high-ceilinged basement in Vienna’s Alsergrund neighbourhood you’ll find the exclusive, ultra-stylish Krypt Bar. Once you ring the bell and get past the doorman, Krypt offers up exquisite cocktails to be enjoyed amid exposed red-brick walls and green eye-catching artworks.
Bringing some of Vienna’s timeless class back to the city’s gay scene is Café Felixx, a cosmopolitan gay bar on the lower Gumpendorfer Strasse, offering fine Austrian wine, well-balanced cocktails and fashionable décor to its classy clientele.
On the 6th floor of the DO & CO Hotel is where the party happens. ONYX Bar, as well as offering a cosy pink lounge area perfect for lingering during the day time, comes alive at night, turning into a social hotspot for well-assorted drinks, cocktails and good tunes.
For more gay-friendly travel inspiration, visit Mr Hudson explores.