Built with the wealth acquired by the Hapsburg Empire and cradled in the alpine mountains of North-eastern Austria, Vienna is a magical and unforgettable city. Distinctive in its wealth of culture and history, the city has been a liberal bastion for centuries.
The capital city of Austria oozes LGBT+ culture and pride, with the first Vienna Rainbow parade taking place in 1996 and a history of powerful and elite LGBT+ figures seeking refuge in the city.
Despite being the most popular city in the world for conferences and business trips, Vienna is a noticeably laid back and relaxing city. The nonchalance of this enchanting city is what makes it such an enjoyable place to visit and this is exemplified through the Kaffehaus culture of its residents, the high concertation of art and music venues as well as its neighbouring of a fantastic wine region.
There is plenty to do in Vienna for any gay traveller and the city’s countless museums, galleries, opera houses and restaurants make it virtually impossible to get bored. The city also boasts an accepted and prominent gay community whose scene offers numerous opportunities for gay clubbing and socialising.
The Arthotel ANA Prime is an excellent choice of accommodation for gay travellers wanting great value for money and easy access to many of the city’s most popular attractions and destinations. The hotel is located just a 10-minute metro ride away from the iconic Vienna Opera House. Each room is cleanly and simply furnished and guests can enjoy the lounge, terrace and courtyard during their stay.
Occupying a historic and meticulously restored building, Hotel Altstadt offers guest a boutique experience in the heart of the Austrian capital. This gay-friendly hotel provides guests with a beautiful and charming base from which to explore the Viennese gay scene as well as many of the city’s other attractions which are located conveniently close. Each room is individually designed, featuring hand-picked furniture and guests can enjoy the owner’s extensive contemporary art collection during their stay.
Since its opening, the Hotel Carlton Opera has attracted countless musicians, artists, and performers due to its convenient location next to the legendary Freihaus quarter and the Vienna Opera House. The art nouveau style of the hotel is consistent throughout its impressive public spaces and classically styled guest rooms.
For a diverse crowd and general feel-good atmosphere look no further than the Village Bar. One of Vienna’s trendiest and most popular gay bars, the Village serves excellent cocktails and a wide variety of drinks for patrons to sample. The atmosphere is relaxed and the bar is frequented by a mixed-aged crowd meaning that any gay traveller is likely to feel comfortable in this venue. The Village Bar is operated by the same management as Vienna’s Mango Bar and Why Not? Bar so keep an eye out for exclusive deals and events at these locations.
The Kibbutz Klub offers a unique clubbing experience for fans of Eurotrash and Israeli pop. Organised by an LGBT+ Jewish collective, The Kibbutz Klub is an inclusive and welcoming space for everyone- welcoming LGBT+ and allies. The event is held monthly and usually takes palace at one of Vienna’s gay venues so be sure to check when the next Kibbutz Klub party is happening.
Eagle Vienna is an internationally renowned gay cruise club for leather and fetish fans. The club is located int he centre of Vienna’s “gay mile” and is well known for its large crowds. Eagle offers guests a dark, underground experience and the club is fully fitted with a wet area, slings, cubicles and a sex shop selling toys and fetish accessories. The club doesn’t enforce a dress code but fetish clothing is encouraged.
Vienna State Opera
When the Vienna Opera House opened in 1869, neither of the architects who designed it were present with both having have died during construction. However, after it’s sombre opening the popularity of the venue grew exponentially under the management of its early directors. The Opera House suffered during the Nazi occupation of Austria when many of its performers, directors and regular patrons were prosecuted and driven out of Vienna, some because of their LGBT+ identity.
Today the building is an unmissable attraction, and visitors can enjoy the wonders of its history and continuing cultural significance. Besides seeing one of the house’s many operas, gay travellers can also take a deeper dive into the heritage of the iconic location with a guided tour.
Due to its popularity, the Vienna State Opera House can get extremely busy, particularly in the evening when performances occur. For travellers keen to explore the history of the building without the crowds, the best time to visit is in the morning.
Viennese coffee house culture
The social practices, rituals and elegance of the coffee houses found throughout Vienna are guaranteed to give visitors a memorable experience. Typical because of their marble-topped tables, a wide range of international newspapers and some of the worlds finest coffee, the Viennese coffee houses are a truly unique and enticing environment.
Its typical for customers to linger alone over their coffee and reading materials in these stunning settings for hours and guests can enjoy the welcoming attitude that is expected of staff at these such culturally preserved venues.
Cafe Central offers customers the chance to experience Viennese coffee house culture in one of the most traditional and exciting cafes in the city. It’s large vaulted ceilings, marble columns and priceless artwork contribute to Cafe Central’s traditional and opulent atmosphere. A range of fresh-baked pastries and cakes are available, which guests can enjoy to the sound of live piano.
Several gay pride events take place in Vienna every year in September. The Rainbow Parade is the highlight of the celebrations and gay travellers can take part in the parade, which snakes its way through the beautiful centre of Vienna. Another popular event is the Rainbow Ball. Housed inside one of Vienna’s classic ballrooms, every year the historical setting is taken over by a party of LGBT+ individuals looking to celebrate their identity in more formal fashion.
Multiple other events take place during the Vienna pride celebrations including the Vienna Fetish Spring, The Diversity Ball and the Vienna Boylesque Festival. The events are all open to the public so be sure to check what’s on before visiting this enchanting city.
Gay rights in Vienna
Austria has the same progressive and advanced LGBT+ rights laws that exist across much of the European Union. Citizens are protected by legislation that bans discrimination of any type based on a person’s perceived or actual sexual orientation and as such LGBT+ Austrians can generally enjoy a good standard of equality.
The Rose Lila Villa was a building in Vienna that was occupied by gay rights activists in the late 80s and remains a safe space for LGBT+ people today. The centre is a source of advice and assistance both Vienna’s gay population and gay tourists.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Vienna