The Danube Island has separated the old from the new Danube since 1988 and is known on theone hand as a local recreation area and on the other hand as a much-visited event location, among others for the famous Danube Island Festival.
The Danube Island is one of the top 10 sights in Vienna and one of the most popular and most visited nature experiences that Austria's capital has to offer. All year round, the Danube Island attracts visitors with its meadows, woods and water as well as numerous restaurants and sports facilities.
Every summer there is also the now legendary Donauinselfest with numerous live acts. Other large-scale events include the "Africa Days" and various open-air concerts, where Madonna, U2 and Guns N'Roses have already been guests.
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Emergence of the Danube Island
The Danube Island in the north of the city is up to 250 metres wide and stretches 21 kilometres from Vienna to neighbouring Klosterneuburg. It was filled in from 1972 to 1988 and "created" the New Danube.
At that time, the "spillway" only fulfilled the practical purpose of flood protection. In order to green the Danube Island, 170 hectares of forest were planted and ecosystems were created that did not exist in the city area in this form.
Thus, the Danube Island became a valuable refuge for numerous bird and amphibian species and even deer, hares and beavers settled on the pristine tips of the island. The flood protection works, by the way; even during extreme high water, the Danube Island and its banks are now no longer flooded.
Holidays on the Danube Island
In the meantime, the Danube Island has become a popular recreation area on the Old and New Danube. In summer, the banks are transformed into wonderful bathing beaches with children's playgrounds, water slides, wakeboarding, boat rentals and beach volleyball courts, and on balmy evenings numerous pubs invite you to sit outside, eat and drink.
Tip: Questions about the leisure activities on the Danube Island can be answered at the Info Centre next to the water park or by the Info Team, which is out and about on the Danube Island with electric bicycles.
A special highlight for the little ones is the free water playground where they can splash around and play in water, mud and sand as they please. Don't worry, the next shower is not far away!
In two barbecue zones, which may be used free of charge, as well as in a total of 15 barbecue areas that require registration, the smell of chops, roasted potatoes and grilled sausages can be smelled every evening. During the day, locals and tourists alike flock to the picnic areas to enjoy the summer freshness or take a break from sightseeing.
In spring and autumn, joggers, Nordic walkers, skaters and cyclists can be found almost around the clock on the extensive network of paths on the idyllic Danube Island.
Tip: At kilometres 17 to 19 and 2 to 5, there are two nudist bathing beaches on the Danube Island, which is almost unique in the world in such proximity to a large city.
White water arena
Since August 2013, a 250m-long white-water canal has been in operation at the level of the Steinsporn Bridge above the rowing centre, where currents and waves of varying degrees of difficulty are created by pumps and artificial obstacles.
In addition to private pleasure for rafters, whitewater swimmers and kayakers, the canoe whitewater racing world championships are also held here in 2015. A year earlier, the European Canoe Slalom Championships were held on the white-water canal.
The "Sunken City" on the Danube Island is open from May to September and offers everything a holidaymaker's heart desires on a warm summer evening with its restaurants, bars and clubs right on the water.
The striking lighthouse, which makes it visible from afar, acted as a prop for the "Flying Dutchman" on the stage of the Bregenz Festival in 1989.
Festivities and events with live bands, DJs or dance workshops take place on a regular basis. In addition, pedal boats and electric boats can be rented in the Sunken City until midnight for a romantic nocturnal trip on the Danube.
High-ropes climbing garden
In the Danube Island Climbing Park, climbers with a head for heights can climb up to 10 metres on a total of 11 stations. The top platforms offer a magnificent view over the Danube Island, the Danube and Vienna's urban surroundings. Helmets and harnesses can be rented on site and trained climbing instructors assist in climbing the stations and pay attention to safety standards.
Since 1984, the now legendary Donauinselfest has taken place every summer on the Danube Island. Numerous live acts and three million visitors from home and abroad make the three-day show the biggest music festival in Europe. No wonder, because the numerous live acts from Friday to Sunday are all free to attend.
Origin of the Danube Island Festival
The forerunner of the Danube Island Festival was the so-called "cultural spring festival" in 1983. Thanks to its initiator, SPÖ regional party secretary Harry Kopietz, it was held on the artificial Danube Island, which was not yet fully completed at the time.
Instead of the expected 15,000 visitors, however, 160,000 came to the three concerts presented by Austrian musicians. Due to the great success, the festival was retained. Initially still around the Floridsdorfer Brücke and finally on the Donauinsel.
Today, the Danube Island Festival stretches over a length of 4.5 kilometres from the Reichsbrücke to the Nordbrücke. Around 30 stages, many of which are sponsored by associations, radio and TV stations, offer live acts almost around the clock.
You can see local small artists as well as international bands and well-known music stars. A varied supporting programme of sporting and family events ensures that there is something for every generation.
Around 150 sales, information and snack stands accompany the musical spectacle, each taking in around 50,000 euros. In total, the organiser speaks of a turnover of 40 million euros.
Among the best-known stars who have already performed at the Donauinselfest and also attracted the most spectators are Udo Jürgens (1992 in front of 220,000), Falco (1993 in front of 150,000), the Kelly Family (1995 in front of 250,000), Christina Stürmer (2006 in front of 180,000) and Rainhard Fendrich (2007 in front of 200,000), who stood in for Georg Danzer, who had died two days earlier.
Security precautions at the Donauinselfest
Bringing alcohol and glass bottles to the Donauinselfest is prohibited for safety reasons. In addition, only deposit cups are handed out to reduce pollution. Nevertheless, the incredible crowds still leave exorbitant mountains of rubbish on the Danube Island.
In addition to the police, more than 1400 volunteers ensure the safety of the visitors. The entrances and exits are video-monitored and the entrances to the underground are also regulated to avoid congestion.
Official website of the Danube Island with leisure facilities, bathing beaches and barbecue areas
Official website of the Sunken City on the Danube Island
Official website of the Climbing Park on the Danube Island with opening hours and admission prices
Official website of the Danube Island Festival with programme and dates