Gay hotels Vienna – a gay guide to the city
Gay and gay-friendly hotels and accommodation in Vienna
Austria is a pretty liberal country when it comes to sexuality, so you’ll find most of the city’s hotels are very welcoming to gays and lesbians. There aren’t many exclusively-gay hotels, B&Bs or guesthouses in the centre of Vienna. But our Accommodation Search Map is a great place to start of you’re looking for gay hotels in Vienna. It shows you exactly where all the gay and gay-friendly accommodation is located in the city, in relation to the city’s gay area. We recommend finding a hotel that is as central as possible, so as to minimise travel time to the best bars, restaurants and shops.
The great thing about Vienna is that it has all the architectural magnificence of a former imperial capital with the friendly, manageable feel of the capital of a small central European country.
Once the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire it contains magnificent palaces, cathedrals, parks and public buildings, many built in splendid baroque style and on a huge scale. The fall of the empire after the First World War left Vienna as the capital of a much smaller Austria and the city now is home to just 1.7 million people.
Vienna is full of history and elegance. Mozart wrote and performed here. Freud learned how to look into people’s minds. The Ringstrasse, the Ring Boulevard that encircles the historic heart of the city, contains jaw-dropingly beautiful, grand buildings including museums, the State Opera Houses, art galleries and government offices.
Vienna is consistently ranked one of the world’s best cities to live in and each year attracts over 5 million tourists.
If you want elegance, grandeur, charm, convenience and a generally stylish break, then Vienna is the place for you.
Vienna has increasingly been developing as a European hotspot for gays and lesbians, with more restaurants, bars, shops and gay hotels in Vienna catering to the growing ‘pink’ tourism.
The centre of the gay and lesbian scene is the “First Viennese Gay & Lesbian Gayhome” better known as the Pink Villa, located at the Liken Wienzeile. The Villendorf Cafe, on its ground floor is a great place to relax. Most of the gay places are not far from the Pink Villa, around the famous 16th century fruit and vegetable market, the Nashmarkt.
Vienna is also a club-metropolis: You will discover a new club every week, often in unusual locations, from former bank vaults to the storage room of a merchant ship. From Disco to minimal Techno, you will find every music style to dance to. The oldest gay club in town is called “Why Not”.
Historically many famous gay people have left their traces in Vienna: Prince Eugene von Savoya (1663-1736) was one of the Hapsburg Empire’s greatest soldiers and left his mark on Vienna with the amazing Belvedere Palace. In the baroque palace you will find the world’s largest collection of painting from Gustav Klimt. The Emperor Charles VI (1686-1740) was not only the father of Austria’s greatest Empress Maria Theresa, but apparently the lover of Count Michael Johann III von Althann. Vienna flourished under Charles’s rule: The stunning Karlskirche Cathedral was built, The Imperial Palaces of Hofburg and Schoenbrunn were enlarged and he commissioned several magnificent baroque buildings. Also the famous Viennese State Opera House was built by a two gay architects: Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicardsburg
The Ring Boulevard is also the stage for Vienna’s Gay Pride. Every June dozens of colourful floats with loud music and dancers parade on the Ring Boulevard in a march against intolerance, exclusion and homophobia. The parade ends with a rally at the City Hall Square, the same square where every May, thousand people gathers at Europe’s largest Aids charity event, the Life Ball.
Best websites for meeting the locals
Best local gay listings magazine
There are a number of gay magazines available in Vienna’s newsagents or in bars and clubs. They are in German, however. But you should still be able to use them to find bars, saunas and the latest raves. They include Name It, Vangardist, Xtra News and Lambda Nachrichten.
Best general tourism guides
For general information, we’d recommend a couple of good Facebook pages that cover gay and lesbian activities in the city – such as GayCityWien and GayfriendlyVienna. (We’d include links to the Vienna Tourism Board – but they declined our offer to be involved with our gay website.)
Best ‘What’s On’ guides
For the top gay-related events in Vienna, check out the Gay Welcome Vienna Events page. There are also 3 very good german-language websites that we can recommend for the latest What’s On listings: GayBoy.at, GayNet.at and GayWien.at.
Best restaurant guide
To get beyond the tourist eateries – a good start would be the About Vienna website – which has a good listing of the best places to eat in the city.
Best shopping guide
The Vienna4U website is best for tips on where to go shopping – covering the best areas for shopping in the centre of the city, the best malls and also the best traditional markets.
Our top sightseeing tips:
- Schonbrunn Palace is the former summer residence of the Austrian Imperial family. With its 1441 rooms, it’s not far from from the city centre. Famous Emperess Elisabeth “Sisi” and her husband also lived here. In the palace’s park you will find one of the world’s most moderns zoos and in the summer an outdoor swimming pool very popular with local gays.
- The Kunsthistorisches Museum, host the former art-treasure of the Hapsburgs, including the largest Bruegel collection in the world. It houses several masterpieces of western art, such as Raffael’s “Madonna in Green”, Vermeer’s “Malkunst”, Velasquez’s “The Infants” as well as works from Rubens, Rembrandt, Duerer, Tizian and Tintoretto.
- Hofburg Palace was the centre of power of the Hapsburgs over centuries. From the middle ages until the beginning of the 20th century the Hofburg was enlarged and rebuilt. Today it hosts the Sisi Museum, located in the former Imperial Apartments, the Spanish Ridding School and the Treasure Chamber, with priceless crowns and other artifacts. ().
- Albertina Museum hosts the largest and most valuable graphic collection in the world. Among others, Albert Durers famous “Young Hare”. Special exhibitions also display contemporary art.
- The Museum Quarters is one of the largest art districts worldwide. The former imperial stables house today among others the Leopold Museum (showing art from the 1900’s: Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and co.), the Mumok – Museum of Modern Art Foundation Ludwig Vienna – and the Art Gallery “Kunsthalle” showing contemporary art, as well as several restaurants. In the summer there are open air events and enough space to relax and cool down.
- The Belvede Palace hosts the world’s largest collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt, including the famous “Kiss”. In November 2011 it opened a new gallery “21’s House” to display contemporary Austrian art.
- Design aficionados will be in paradise at the Austrian Museum for Applied Art – MAK. As well as changing exhibitions of contemporary artists it also shows numerous exhibits on the history of design, including many gems of the world-famous Wiener-Werkstatte.
- The Ferris Wheel located at the Prater Parc offers some of the best views of Vienna. Around 65 meters high, it is one of Vienna’s landmark.
- At the Nashmarkt you will find next to fresh fruits and vegetables together with trendy places to eat and, every Saturday, a busy flee market. The Nashmarkt is located in the heart of Viennese Gay and Lesbian scene.
- The Stephansdom Cathedral is the centre of the city. This gothic monument stands high in the Viennese sky.
Shopping in Vienna
Once you’ve settled in to your gay hotel in Vienna (or gay-friendly accommodation), you may want to In the old town around Kärntnerstrasse, Graben and Kohlmarkt you will find Vienna’s most exclusive shops, jewelers and perfumeries. Vienna’s hippest shopping area is the Mariahilferstraße and the small streets around, where hundreds of cloth and accessory shops and jewelers have their home. In a side street you will also find a shop named Tiberius (7, Lindengasse 2a), that offers an impressive range of erotic leather and latex clothing. Close by is the SpartacusXXL Store (6, Mariahilferstraße 49).
If you prefer your leather forming the cover of books, you should not miss the Loewenherz Bookshop (9th, located at Wasagasse 14). There you will find the most popular international magazines, the latest fiction and are a large range of DVDs available as well as lots of picture books. And additional plus is the Cafe Berg, located not too far from Loewenherz.
Vienna is located in the heart of Europe. The modern Vienna-Schwechat Airport lies around 16 km east of Vienna and offers ideal connections to the whole world. The city centre and your gay hotel in Vienna is reached quickly and easy by Train, S-Bah, bus or cab.
If you are arriving in Bratislava (by Ryanair or Danube Wings) the Brastislava Milan Rastislav Stefanik Airport is located about 54km from Vienna and is connected to the Austrian capital either by bus (Blagus Bus or Postbus ) or rail.
Trains arriving from the east, for example from Salzburg, Germany, will arrive at the Westbanhof. Trains from the south or Budapest will arrive at the Sudbanhof. Connections to the public transport are easy and safe.
The centre of Vienna is very compact and walking is not only easy but reveals a non-stop panorama of stunning views. Alternatively you can use Vienna’s public line (Wiener Linien) to get around the city. The network of around 925 km consists of 5 underground lines, 28 tram routes and 83 bus lines easily and reliably through Vienna.
An environmentally friendly transport option for Vienna offers a bicycle taxi. In three-wheeled bicycle rickshaws, two people can explore the city, plus hand luggage. A three-day tourist card (Vienna Card) will give you hundreds of discounts and unlimited free travel by underground, bus and tram.