Penzing, the 14th district of Vienna, perfectly blends suburban charm, historic allure, artistic and natural beauty. Situated on the western fringes of the city and adjoining the verdant Vienna Woods, Penzing offers a serene and picturesque retreat from Vienna’s bustling central districts, yet with the Old Town still within a reach.
Visitors exploring Vienna will find a few attractions worth attention within Penzing, especially those who have a special interest in architecture or Vienna Secession movement. The highlight is the Otto Wagner Church, also known as the Church of St. Leopold, an architectural masterpiece admired for its exceptional Art Nouveau design. In addition, Penzing is home to several architectural gems like the Villa Wagner II, one of the remarkable residential designs by the same eminent Viennese architect. Even more fascinating is the Fuchs Villa (also designed by the same Otto Wagner), the former residence and studio of the 20th-century painter Ernst Fuchs, now a museum exhibiting his works. These masterpieces are in a walking distance from U4, a metro line running on an old railway, which was designed by Otto Wagner. It is not the only district in Vienna to appreciate the works of the genius secessionist architect, but without a doubt, Penzing hosts a wide array of Art Nouveau gems by the most famous architect of Vienna.
Other than that, Penzing characterized by a relaxed suburban atmosphere, access to green spaces and old beautiful villas. If you’ll find some time for off the beaten track gems on your visit to Vienna, the 14th district will leave a lasting impression with its quiet charm and historic treasures of architecture.
Penzing’s history is intertwined with the development of Vienna, featuring notable influences from Roman times to the modern era. Initially a collection of small villages and farmland, Penzing has evolved into a distinctive district with its own character.
The name Penz is thought to be derived from the Slavic word “penza”, which means “pine”. This is likely due to the fact that the area was once heavily forested with pine trees. The Penzing coat of arms features a pine tree, which is a reference to the name’s origin.
Penzing officially became a part of Vienna in 1892 and underwent significant development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The district saw a period of intensive construction of residential buildings, led by notable architects such as Otto Wagner, who built the famous Villa Wagner II in Penzing. The district’s development was further accelerated by the opening of the Western Railway, making Penzing more accessible from central Vienna.
The district’s historical landscapes were significantly altered during World War II, but the post-war reconstruction period led to further development, including the construction of new residential areas and public spaces.
Today, Penzing is a thriving district that combines a suburban lifestyle with historical charm. The district’s history is still visible in its architecture and layout, giving it a unique identity within the broader city of Vienna.
While Penzing may not be as well-known as other districts in Vienna, it nevertheless boasts a number of significant landmarks and historical sites. Here are some you won’t want to miss:
This impressive Art Nouveau church, located on the grounds of the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital, also known simply as Penzing Hospital, is one of Penzing’s architectural highlights. Be sure to visit the inside of it, you’ll see the most beautiful modern church in Vienna.
Designed by famed architect Otto Wagner for his own use, this striking villa stands as a testament to the creative genius of its creator.
Once the home and studio of the renowned 20th-century painter Ernst Fuchs, this villa now houses a museum showcasing Fuchs’ works in an intimate setting.
While Penzing is a more laid-back district of Vienna, it still provides a range of activities for all types of visitors. Here are some suggestions:
Experience the world of technology and science at Vienna’s Technisches Museum. With interactive exhibits ranging from energy, transport, communication, and industry, you’ll discover how technology has shaped and continues to influence our world.
Immerse yourself in the distinctive, curvilinear designs of Art Nouveau architecture. Vienna is one of the prominent cities where you can find beautiful examples of this style. Don’t miss the Secession building, one of the iconic Art Nouveau landmarks.
Enjoy a leisurely walk, have a picnic, or let your children play in one of the park’s playgrounds. This tranquil park, filled with lush greenery, is a perfect spot for relaxation and recreation.
Lace up your hiking boots and explore the extensive network of trails in this nearby forest. The Vienna Woods is a natural paradise on the edge of the city, home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars for bird watching!
Take a walk around the Otto Wagner Hospital, a former psychiatric hospital which is a striking example of early modern architecture. Learn about its past, visit the beautiful Art Nouveau Church (also known as St. Leopold Church), and enjoy the panoramic view of Vienna from its hilltop location.
Despite its quieter nature, Penzing offers a range of activities that showcase its historic charm and natural beauty. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or a history buff, there’s something to suit your interests in this suburban district.
Though quieter than Vienna’s central districts, Penzing offers an array of dining experiences that are sure to delight food lovers. Here are some recommended places to visit:
1. Zum Grünen Jäger: This traditional Austrian restaurant serves classic dishes in a cozy and rustic atmosphere. With its outdoor seating, it’s a perfect place to dine during the warmer months.
2. Vinothek Rosso: If you’re a wine lover, this wine bar and shop is a must-visit. Offering a vast selection of Austrian wines, Vinothek Rosso is the perfect place to relax and savor local flavors.
3. Restaurant Ludwig van: Housed in the former residence of Ludwig van Beethoven, this restaurant provides a unique dining experience. Here, you can enjoy modern Austrian cuisine while soaking up the historical atmosphere.
4. Gasthaus Quell: Known for its generous portions and friendly service, Gasthaus Quell offers a traditional Austrian dining experience. Their Schnitzel is a local favorite.
5. Café Restaurant Oktogon Am Himmel: Located within the Vienna Woods, this café offers stunning panoramic views of Vienna alongside delicious food and drink. It’s particularly popular for brunch.
No matter where you choose to dine in Penzing, you’re sure to enjoy not only delicious food but also the district’s laid-back and friendly atmosphere.
As a largely residential district, Penzing offers a range of accommodations that allow visitors to experience the authentic local lifestyle. From quaint bed and breakfasts to modern apartments, here are some options:
1. Hotel-Restaurant Fritz Matauschek: This family-run hotel offers cozy rooms and traditional Austrian cuisine in its restaurant. It’s conveniently located near public transportation, providing easy access to other parts of the city.
2. Villa Aurora: Overlooking the Wienerwald, this beautiful villa provides rooms that mix traditional Viennese decor with modern comfort. It’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for a quiet retreat with access to nature.
3. Apartment Vacha Vogtgasse: For those preferring self-catering accommodations, these modern apartments are equipped with a kitchen, a balcony, and access to a garden. It’s a home away from home in Vienna.
4. CheckVienna – Apartment Romergasse: These spacious apartments are ideal for families or larger groups. They offer all the comforts of home in a convenient location close to public transportation.
5. Airbnb: There’s a variety of Airbnb listings in Penzing ranging from private rooms to entire homes. Staying in an Airbnb can provide a more personal and unique experience.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional hotel experience, the comfort of an apartment, or the unique charm of a bed and breakfast, Penzing offers a variety of accommodations to make your stay in Vienna enjoyable and memorable.
Penzing, like the rest of Vienna, benefits from an efficient public transportation system. Getting around the district and reaching the city center is made easy with various options:
Tram line 49 runs through the district, connecting it to the inner city. It’s a convenient way to explore Penzing and other parts of Vienna.
The U4 line has several stations in Penzing, including Hütteldorf and Unter St. Veit. The U-Bahn provides a fast and efficient way to travel across Vienna.
Numerous bus lines serve Penzing, providing connections to other districts and to the Vienna Woods for those looking to explore nature.
With the city’s bike-sharing program, Citybike Wien, you can enjoy a leisurely bike ride in the district. Bike paths are abundant and well-maintained in Penzing.
While public transportation is convenient, renting a car gives you more flexibility. Please note that there’s a short-term parking zone in Vienna from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
No matter your preference, Penzing is well-connected, making it easy to enjoy all that Vienna has to offer. But remember, the district itself is worth exploring, so take some time to stroll its peaceful streets and discover its hidden gems.
The charm of Penzing lies in its relaxed suburban atmosphere, historical landmarks, and its proximity to nature.
Penzing’s green spaces are another standout. From the tranquil Dehnepark to the broader Vienna Woods, these spaces offer a relaxing escape from urban life. The opportunity to immerse yourself in nature within the city limits is a definite advantage of this district.
One potential downside to Penzing is its distance from the city center. However, with Vienna’s excellent public transport system, this isn’t a significant issue, and the tranquility of the district might even be considered a welcome respite after a day of sightseeing.
With its unique blend of history, culture, and nature, Penzing offers a unique perspective of Vienna. It’s a district that invites you to take a step back from the hustle and bustle and to enjoy Vienna at a slower pace. So, come and discover the charms of Penzing for yourself!