by Viktoria Kobzeva, MA student in the Nationalism Studies Program
Even during the lockdown, Vienna can offer a lot both for people who like something relaxed within their ‘habitat’ and for those who are eager to explore new areas outside the city center. I will tell you about the places which were my salvation during winter and early spring, where I would chill with my friends or read on the bench for the next online class.
It is hard to find something livelier than the baroque Volksgarten when the warmth of spring slowly approaches. Joggers, chess players, couples scattered on the benches – all of them enjoying the public ‘people’s’ park, which was opened in 1823. I love studying there because it is impossible to not find a free bench in the Volksgarten (and even if it is, there is always the Burggarten and Rathauspark a short distance away).
Another municipal ‘Citypark’ stretches from the Parkring in Vienna's 1st district to the Heumarkt in Vienna's 3rd district. In my view, Stadtpark is mostly a walking area where you can enjoy Wienfluss, a multitude of monuments, a wide range of plants and have the opportunity to feed the ducks and swans that chill in the small pond in the center of the park.
If you walk around the first district, do not forget to visit one of the most famous cafés in Vienna. The name speaks for itself – you will find a window on the corner of the house, and long lines will tell you that you are in the right place. In addition to its undoubtedly amazing specialty coffee, Fenster Café is notorious for what is known as a Corettoccino – the combination of a cappuccino and ice cream cone. Attention: you can only pay there by card (clean barista hands and quick lines are considered by the owners to be of utmost importance)!
This hill is perhaps less known that the nearby Kahlenberg, but it’s still a very popular place, especially at sunset (therefore, my advice is to go there at dawn). The location provides a magnificent view of practically all of Vienna, but it's better to experience it not through words but with your own eyes.
Klosterneuburg is not the most obvious location for a weekend trip, but when all of the nearby 'hills' like Leopoldsberg or Kahlenberg have already been explored, Klosterneuburg is a great follow-up. Just two stations on the S-Bahn from Heidelberg, you'll find a beautiful 12th-century Augustinian monastery with a Gothic chapel. Later under the Habsburgs the abbey church was gradually remodeled into the Baroque style. At the monastery’s museum, you will find art treasures, imperial state rooms and… the Klosterneuburg Monastery winery, which is the oldest wine-growing estate in Austria!