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Jacuzzis, cocktails and Hawaiian dancers on Traincation in Vienna

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Sand In The City, Vienna

By Emily Rycroft

Beach holiday or city break? Don’t you just wish you could combine the two and have the freedom to explore an incredible city and a beautiful beach? Well this week forget sex, we bring you to Sand in the City on Traincation to Vienna…

What’s on?
You just can’t beat the feeling of sand between your toes, especially when you’re on holiday in a city. It’s time to throw your bucket and spade in the suitcase and head to Vienna for Sand in the City. Just next to Lothringer Street, a pop-up beach has been entertaining tourists and locals alike. This weekend will host the final weekend of the festivities so don’t miss out!

Sand In The CityFrom beach football to some pretty intense volleyball games, make sure you get involved and make some new mates. Surrounding the sand are a hell of a lot of Hawaiian-style palm trees and tons of restaurants with a variety of cuisines. There are also 15 bars to pick from and the whole area lights up and night (pictured), while the party continues. Keep an eye out for the fantastic sand models next to the Konzerthaus and see if you can recognise which famous landmarks they are. There’s also a swimming pool, jacuzzi and even a massage lounge for the most relaxing Traincation yet!

Getting there
City Night LineHop on a late morning/early afternoon Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord and then take the short walk to Gare de l’Est with enough time to pop in a few shops along the way. An evening aboard the City Night Line sleeper train to Munich is your next adventure. Try and get a sleeper carriage with comfy beds and your own shower and toilet. Wander down to the bar, grab your glass of wine/beer and start the party! The journey from Munich to Vienna takes around four hours travelling on the Austrian RailJet train. It’s fully air-conditioned with a well-stocked bar in the middle carriage.

Traincation tip
Alberg PassThere are other ways to travel between London and Vienna. So if you have a few extra pounds in your pocket then get single tickets for your outbound journey and travel home via Switzerland. Return from Vienna to Zurich through the Alps via the Arlberg Pass (pictured). The best ways are either the RailJet train via Salzburg & Innsbruck or the EuroCity. Have an overnight stay in Zurich and then jump on a train to Paris for your Eurostar home.

Bang for your buck
Dine in style for less at a whole host of eateries, with the Eurostar ticket restaurant discount.

What are you doing this weekend? We want to hear all about it in the comments box below or on Twitter @traincation

Pics: SandInTheCity.at and Creative Commons

Thankfully, a new breed of urban beaches, complete with palm trees, deckchairs and volleyball, have sprung up across Europe.From Amsterdam to Paris, we unearth the best of the inner city seaside.


There’s a bucketful of beaches to choose from in Amsterdam. Blijburg aan Zee, on the eastern part of the new IJburg island complex in the Haveneiland-Oost area, was the first and at 250m long and 40m wide, it’s still the coolest.

There’s a bustling beach cafe with a bar and DJs playing nightly sets, and you can even dance by a roaring campfire. Amsterdam’s newest city beach is Strand West, close to Central Station.

Laze in a hammock or beanbag, sip a cocktail, snack on tapas or play a game of beach volleyball.

Children can play on the giant slide or enjoy the view from the mini big wheel.

Design freaks, however, might prefer to hang out on top of the NEMO science centre, which towers above the city. On the roof is BovenNEMO, which features palm trees, brightly coloured deckchairs, a large sandpit, a waterfall and great views over the city centre.

A major draw for tourists, it is also a particularly popular early evening spot for locals.

More information: amsterdamtourist.nl

urban beach

Catching some rays without having to leave the city centre


Scale sand models of some of Europe’s most iconic sights, from the Eiffel Tower to the Acropolis, are the big attraction at Sand In The City, next to the Konzerthaus, until September 30.

The pan-European theme at this 6,000 sq m urban beach highlights the fact that Austria is co-hosting the European football championships next year and so, of course, there’s beach footie too, as well as volleyball, palm trees and 14 bars.

A huge range of restaurants offer everything from traditional Viennese to Creole cuisine.

The beach bar hotspot is the circular Strandbar Hermann, open daily from 10am to 2am – it gets packed out early evening. Find it on the Danube Canal next to the Urania Observatory.

More information: wien.info


Boasting 800 tons of sand and covering 1,500 sq m, Bristol’s first urban beach opens today at a site formerly occupied by a rundown car park in Redcliffe Wharf, overlooking the harbour.

Think tank Demos provided the brains behind the project and has tried to give it a distinctly Bristolian feel.

Local companies Bordeaux Quay and Pieminster will run cafes at the site. Lectures on politics and the environment, staged every Tuesday, will bring a little added gravitas to the seaside scenery. There’s a packed programme of events and each day of the week has a different theme.

The beach will be open from 8am until sunset and activities will include tai-chi at breakfast, mother and toddler treasure hunts, jazz at lunchtime and volleyball after work, as well as poetry performances, talks, lectures and a drama club.

Classes will keep the children entertained and there will also be an occasional LA-style Muscle Beach, where the brave and the fit can oil up and perfect their six-pack.

More information: urbanbeach.org

urban beach

The Paris Plages are among the most famous in Europe


The riverside Paris Plages, created in 2002, are Europe’s best-known urban beaches. And now there are three: as well as the beaches on the Left and Right banks of the Seine, there’s one near the Cite des Sciences in La Villette.

There, you can kick-back and soak up the sunshine with a good book, or indulge in a little rowing, kayaking or pedalo pedalling.

On the Right bank beach, in front of the City Hall, this year’s Rugby World Cup (staged in France) will be a major theme. You can play beach rugby along with volleyball and badminton – or just flake out in one of more than 300 deckchairs and watch the action on giant screens.

Swimmers can have a go at aqua gym sessions in the pool and there’s a full children’s programme, too.

On the Left bank beach at Port de la Gare, more intellectual pursuits, such as painting classes, are on offer.

The beaches are immensely popular if the weather’s good, so get there early if you want a deckchair and umbrella.

More information: paris.org

urban beach

Escaping the clamour of big city life


The German capital has gone beach bar crazy and this year there are 20 in which to get your little dose of the Med.

The original beach theme bar, which opened in 2002, is the Strandbar Mitte, at Monbijou Park in Hackescher Markt.

It opens at 10am on the banks of the Spree across from the Bode Museum. Deckchairs are set out on the sand surrounding the bar and a barge, the MS Marie, is moored nearby so you can sunbathe on its deck.

Alternatively, there’s BundesPresse-Strand, which has a great view of the Reichstag (Parliament building).

This year, the open-air beach bar features a two-storey bar and pavilion, two sun decks and a wooden bridge to a swimming pool.

Oststrand, the city’s largest urban beach, has fine sand spread over 7,000 sq m, inflatable swimming pools and showers. There’s an early morning exercise class, volleyball all day and parties and concerts after dark.

More information: berlin-tourist-information.de


There’s no sand, but Havnebadet at Islands Brygge, just across the ramparts from Christianshavn and a short walk from the city centre, is a big draw for Danish sun-worshippers.

It’s a riverside swimming complex, with five pools, a large grassy bathing ‘beach’ and enough space to accommodate 600 bathers. It is open until September 2.

There’s no smoking or alcohol, but cafes, shops and the smart Aristo restaurant are just over the road.

If you do want sand between your toes as you sip a ice-cold Carlsberg, head for the Halvandet beach bar at a disused quayside in the harbour. Apart from the bar and barbecue, there’s mini-golf, football and volleyball.

There is also Amager Strandpark, a large artificial beach three miles from the city centre, with children’s areas, cafes, clubs and sports facilities.

You can rent kayaks, have a massage on the beach and, as there are places reserved for small bonfires, you can bring a picnic and grill your own lunch, too. From this autumn, a Metro line will go practically all the way, but until then, take bus number 12 from the bus terminal at the City Hall.

More information: visitcopenhagen.com

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