Since we were in Vienna, Austria for the month of December, Christmas festivities were a part of our daily lives. Lisa had taken notice of the holiday, and she was enthusiastically pursuing every activity that has ever graced the screen of a cartoon Christmas special. Some of the things will have to wait until later, but once she started putting tissues on her feet and trying to ice skate around the living room, we thought it might be time to look up an ice rink in Vienna. It turns out they aren’t hard to find, but the obvious choice seemed to be Wiener Eistraum (Google Maps), which is adjacent to a large Christmas market we wanted to visit anyway.
Even though we’ve written an entire article about why we thought Christmas in Vienna is better for adults than children, Wiener Eistraum was probably Lisa’s favorite experience in Europe. She doesn’t care much about architecture or culture, but she certainly liked slipping around on the ice with her mommy and daddy.
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Ice Skating at Wiener Eistraum in Vienna, Austria
We didn’t dare tell Lisa we were going ice skating before we got there. There were so many uncertainties that the possibility of a let down was real. The Wiener Eistraum website said they rented skates, but it wasn’t clear what sizes were available. Did they have anything for two year olds? Did we need reservations? What if all the skates were rented out, or the line was so long we couldn’t get in?
Before we get to how skating went, let’s just answer those questions:
Yes, Wiener Eistraum does have skates for toddlers. They had little metal strap on skates that went over her boots. The strap on skates were adjustable to fit many sizes, and they had two blades to make balancing easy for beginners. The strap on skates were free to rent, even without other rentals or skating tickets, though an ID card deposit was required.
No, reservations aren’t required. Even though you can make reservations for tickets or ice skate rentals online, you can also do it in person. When we went – at about 2:00 pm on a Tuesday, there was no line whatsoever and there were plenty of skates available.
Yes, Wiener Eistraum is safe for toddlers. There was a free practice area with little penguin shaped support things to help kids learn to balance. The main attraction was of course the ice skating path. Instead of an open rink, they had set up a long and winding road paved with ice where people were happily gliding along and enjoying the decorations and the view of the beautiful Rathaus. Though it looked like fun, we stuck to the training area, for reasons that I’ll get to later.
Lisa Loves Ice Skating (and Penguins)!
Even though Lisa had never seen a real ice skate before, she knew what we were putting on her as soon as we sat down on the bench to get ready. She was literally vibrating with excitement. When she first got to the ice, we held her hand as she tried to walk normally and quickly lost her footing. But she quickly found her favorite penguin (“No, not that one, that one!” It matters!) and did surprisingly well. After 30 minutes or so, she was even awkwardly making her way across the ice unaided.
Having seen the size of the practice area – not to mention the size of the children practicing in it – Jake and I decided not to rent skates for ourselves until we were ready to move on. We walked next to Lisa, reassuring her and taking photos. But despite Lisa’s rapid improvements, we were having a hard time envisioning ourselves on the ice course. If we brought Lisa with us, she might be able to stand up, but she would still be a distractible toddler, stopping to look at every speck of dirt, and probably getting tripped over in the process.
If we went to Wiener Eistraum without her, we would have to take turns sitting out to watch her, and that would take the romance out of it. We decided it would be more fun to just stay in the practice rink, having a great time with Lisa. We’ll all skate together when she’s big enough to have fun the grown up way.
As we were getting ready to call it an afternoon, Jake suggested that we might go to a cafe and have muffins and hot chocolate afterward. Lisa didn’t say anything at the time because she wasn’t ready to stop yet, but once we finished taking her skates off, she yelled “Yay, now muffins!” They never do what you say, but they are always listening.
Anyway, ice skating at Wiener Eistraum was one of the highlights of our December in Vienna. It’s one of those things like gondola rides in Venice that everyone just has to try if they have an opportunity. We had so much fun with Lisa that we forgot about the cold for a while, and walking there and back was a great chance to admire the Christmas decorations and enjoy the sights and smells of the Christmas markets. And looking at the pictures the next day, we couldn’t help but reflect on how much she has changed since last Christmas. The next time we are in Vienna we will definitely stop by again for some frozen fun.
By the way, the stylish backpack I’m wearing in these photos is actually the Idaho Jones Gallivant Diaper Bag. That link will take you to our review of the bag where you can find a 15% discount code, or you can visit our resource page for more products and services that we recommend for traveling families.
If you enjoyed this article, you can check out the other content we’ve put out about our month in Vienna, Austria. And for those of you who are exploring other cities in Europe (or elsewhere in the world), our destinations page is great way to explore the many places we have been since we started slow traveling full time.