by Agnes Font, MA student in the Department of Medieval Studies
Vienna is arguably one of the most liveable capital cities in Europe. However, studying can be overwhelming from time to time, even if it happens at CEU. To escape the grey weekdays or overwhelming deadlines, there are plenty of opportunities to relax for longer or shorter periods.
Hanging out with ‘Mother Nature’
Parks, public gardens, and forests are important parts of the city of Vienna, which can be found both in the city centre and in the outlying districts. Most of the public gardens are free to enter, and one can enjoy both natural and cultural attractions, like the garden of Schloss Belvedere or Schönbrunn. For example, the so called Parkanlage Löwygruben is a park about a 15 minutes’ walk from the CEU campus, where one can find an amusement park, community gardens, playgrounds, ponds, and areas reserved for dog walkers, so there are plenty of ways to relax, whether it's a picnic or a stress-relieving run, and plenty of cute dogs to meet. Besides the open-air opportunities, there is the possibility to go for a swim in the Danube Island (Donauinsel) in the middle of the city.
Cycling Around the City
For those who prefer active recreation, Vienna has well-developed cycling infrastructure and easy-to-access and manage bike rental facilities (City Bike Wien). There are more than 100 stations in the city, and the first hour of bicycle use is free, while the well-developed cycle path network means that cycling is often a faster mode of transport than other forms of public transport.
Immersion in the Cultural Life of the City
Vienna's excellent museums cover many spheres of European and international culture. For students living in the city, discounted student tickets to both museums and the National Opera are an excellent option. In addition, some museums are free to visit on the first Sunday of every month. There are also several cinemas in the city, with screenings available in English. Open-air attractions include several of Hundertwasser's buildings, which can be found throughout the city.
Getting Lost in the City Centre
My favourite way to relax after a long day of studying is to take a walk in the city centre. In the centre of Vienna there are many buildings and monuments commemorating different historical periods of the city. Some of these have even retained small details that one might not notice at first glance, but these hidden treasures add to the cultural significance of the city.