Going green in Vienna

Tips for an eco-friendly weekend in Austria’s beautiful capital

Karlskirche

From organic soap heaven to upcycled decoration ideas – I had no idea Vienna would give me so much inspiration for ingloriousplastics. I went there in December (This was one of the reasons why I didn’t update my blog for a while) and absolutely loved it. The moment I stumbled out of the train I knew there were a bunch of things I would have to share with you. So here they are – my belated green travel tips for Vienna. I wouldn’t consider them a proper list of advice, it’s more like a little (very limited) collection of impressions.

Getting started: The city of Vienna offers an entire (!) website dedicated to “Weniger Mist” (less dirt) including tips on avoiding waste, eco-friendly grocery shopping and recycling. I found it to be a great resource. Unfortunately it’s only available in German.

Useful phrase: Kein Sackerl, bitte 🙂 (No bag, please)

One of the first things I noticed: Vienna is home to the world’s most creative rubbish bins. That made me smile instantly.

creative rubbish bins

But encouraging bins weren’t the only thing that made me love this city. As a foodie one of my first destinations (after a visit to Konditorei Demel) was the Naschmarkt. From fruits, veggies and staples to exotic spices, fresh homemade pasta, dips and sweets, there is nothing you can’t find at this bustling place. There a lot of veggie and vegan options as well – and if you want to buy dips, olives and antipasti, you can of course bring your own container. In the middle of the market you can also find a little health shop with lots of organic and veggie products and a fair-trade chocolate shop called the Schoko Company. And make sure you try some things at the many food stalls!

Naschmarkt1 Naschmarkt2 Naschmarkt3 Naschmarkt4 Naschmarkt5 Naschmarkt6 Naschmarkt7 Naschmarkt8 Naschmarkt9

My best discovery, however, was definitely the little organic soap shop in the middle of the market. Alles Seife sells handmade natural soaps – a lot of them with certified organic ingredients – for all sorts of purposes (including shampoo soaps, shaving soaps, bath soaps, body butter, body scrub soap etc.). I couldn’t believe my luck. Ever since my skin revolted against Lush’s shampoo soaps, I’ve been trying to find a natural, plastic-free alternative. I bought an alge shampoo soap and a cinnamon hand soap for test purposes (at a very reasonable price, too) and I instantly became a fan of Alles Seife. Fortunately they have an online shop and if you live in the EU or Switzerland you can get their lovely soaps sent to your place.

Alles Seife1 Alles Seife2 Alles Seife3

The next thing that absolutely blew my mind was the Christmas market in front of Karlskirche. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a market as creative as this one (not to mention the impressive scenery!) The trees and benches had colourful “knitted dresses”, most of the stalls offered handmade (and even upcycled) products and the foodie stalls offered many regional and organic choices. Unfortunately you have to wait for another year for the next Christmas market to open, but check out the images and keep it in mind!

Market1 Market2 Market3 Market4 Market5

And if that wasn’t enough to convince me I suddenly spotted the coolest merry-go-round I had ever seen in my life. Bird cages, bicylces, old boxes – It was made entirely from trash. The kids seemed to love it just as much as I did.

Market6

On the way back to my place I stumbled upon another cool idea – using wine corks for decorating Christmas trees. I spotted this upcycled tree on Stephansplatz.

upcylced tree

Tired from walking around all day (no need for public transport, it’s very easy to explore Vienna on foot) I had a relaxed dinner at Schöne Perle, a laid-back restaurant specializing in modern Austrian cuisine. They use a lot of regional and some organic ingredients and there are really good vegetarian options, too. On my way back home I would have loved to try a cookie from the “Kekstauschbörse” (cookie swap) some kids seem to have organized. Unfortunately I was a bit late, so no cookie for me – but lots of love for such a creative city.

cookie swap

Of course there is so much more to see (I didn’t even start listing the sights…), but I hope that if you plan on going to Vienna this would help you a bit.

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