Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
The Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna was the summer residence of Austrian imperial family. This UNESCO World Heritage is one of Europe’s most impressive baroque palace, though the rooms inside are mostly rococo style. The Schonbrunn complex includes not only the said palace but also, the enchanting gardens, the Gloriette, a maze, the Palm House (Botanical garden) and one of the worlds most ancient zoo. You can even learn how to make the traditional apple strudel… A visit to the Schonbrunn palace complex will take the entire day.
History and Interior of the Schonbrunn Palace
The Schonbrunn Palace is the former summer residence of the imperial family and had been in the possession of the Habsburgs since 1569. It was first built as a hunting lodge and then completely redesigned into the summer residence and to this astonishing final result! The Palace became one of the center pieces of the political life in Vienna and home to many important historical events:
- Emperor Franz Joseph born there in 1830;
- Maria Theresa held secret conferences with her Chancellor in the Round Chinese Room;
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gave a concert in the Hall of Mirrors, with 6 years old;
- Napoleon met with his generals in the Vieux Laque Room;
- And lived there in his final years;
- Emperor Charles I signed his abdication of the crown in 1918, ending the 640 years of Habsburgs rule in Austria;
- The palace became Property of the Republic only 2 years after his death;
The rooms are mostly decorated in Rococo, opulent style. Admire the plush carpets, huge paintings, and silk wallpapers. Most of the walls and ceilings are covered with white-lacquered surfaces with ornamentation covered with gold leaf – there’s nothing underwhelming about this imperial summer residence… A very lavish design contrasting with the living rooms of Emperor Francis Joseph living quarters and offices which were simple and unpretentious. During the tour, we can also see Sisi’s private chambers and beauty salon and the Marie Antoinette room which was used to host family dinners. Though in total we only get to see 40 rooms from the unbelievable 1441 rooms (!!) of the palace.
The Palace gardens and the surrounding area
The palace, its interior and history are amazing, but the gardens and everything surrounding are even more fascinating. The gardens reflect the same Baroque style and concepts that extend from the palace itself.
The Schonbrunn gardens are so big that include a Privy Garden, Orangery Garden, maze & labyrinth, the Gloriette, the Neptune fountain, a Botanical Garden and a Zoo!
The Gloriette was meant to be the crowning glory of the Park. A neoclassicist arcaded structure perched on top of the Schönbrunn hill, flanked by wings, arches and topped with an imperial eagle – you can’t get much more impressive than this. The orangery (one of the biggest in the world) also known as the winter garden was one of the favorite places for the imperial court festivities. The Palm house built in 1883 holds a huge number of exotic plants in different climate zones. It’s an impressive structure that allows us to immerse in a tropical environment within seconds.
The maze in the park at Schönbrunn Palace actually consists of three parts: the maze, the labyrinth, and the playground. We really enjoyed walking through the maze, letting ourselves get lost and then finding a way out. The labyrinth is a relaxing place filled with games and fun for young and old alike. And we did have simple, relaxed fun!
Finally, the Vienna zoo (Tiergarten Schoenbrunn) is also located inside the palace gardens. It is considered the oldest in the world dating back to 1752, during Maria Theresa’s reign. The zoo is now modernized and is home to more than 750 species of animals as diverse as elephants, penguins, apes, bears, hippopotamus, koalas, Siberian tigers, cheetahs and many more. The zoo is also one of the few zoos worldwide to house giant pandas! We particularly appreciated the zoo having a “Tirol animals” section to also include a local feature to it. And if you get lucky the wolves really put on a show howling!
Zoo ticket price: Adult: €18,50
Our view of Schonbrunn Palace
We really enjoyed our trip to Vienna, the city has so much to offer and the Schonbrunn Palace is the pinnacle of Vienna’s tourist attractions, due to its historic importance, its unique grounds and its splendid furnishings. Going to the palace is the best way of learning about the Viennese dynasty and get a glimpse into the old imperial world.
The gardens of the palace are beautiful and full of attractions by itself. The zoo, the maze and the palm house make it a great destination for families and couples. All in all, when traveling to Vienna a visit to Schonbrunn Palace is almost mandatory!
Tickets: The Schonbrunn Palace is the most visited attraction in Austria if you can avoid the queues and buy the tickets online. Investigate what do you want to see, as there are many tickets that include one, several attractions or all the complex (from 13.30 Euros to only access the 22 rooms of the Palace to a 55,50 Euros ticket that includes everything).
Opening hours: The Schonbrunn palace opens at 8:30 and closes between 16:30 and 18:00, depending on the time of the year.
How to get there: The palace is on tram lines 10 and 58, bus route 10A, and Subway (U-Bahn) route U4. If you are driving, public parking is available.
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