The Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna was the summer residence of the Austrian imperial family. This UNESCO World Heritage is one of Europe’s most impressive baroque palaces, 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 world’s most ancient zoos. 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 possession of the Habsburgs since 1569. It was first built as a hunting lodge and then completely redesigned into a summer residence, and to this astonishing final result!
The Palace became one of the centerpieces of political life in Vienna and home to many important historical events:
- Emperor Franz Joseph was 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 the 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 contrasted with the living rooms of Emperor Francis Joseph’s living quarters and offices, which were simple and unpretentious. During the tour, we can also see Sisi’s private chambers, 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 its history are impressive, but the gardens and everything surroundings are even more fascinating. The gardens reflect the same Baroque style and concepts extending from the palace.
The Schonbrunn gardens are so extensive that they 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 many exotic plants in different climate zones. It’s an impressive structure immerses us 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 enjoyed walking through the maze, letting ourselves get lost, and finding a way out.
A 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 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, hippopotami, koalas, Siberian tigers, cheetahs, and many more.
The zoo is also one of the few worldwide to house giant pandas! We particularly appreciated the zoo having a “Tirol animals” section and also including a local feature to it. And if you get lucky, the wolves really put on a show howling!
Zoo ticket price: Adult: € 26
Our experience visiting the 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 historical importance, unique grounds, and splendid furnishings.
Going to the palace is the best way to learn about the Viennese dynasty and get a glimpse into the old imperial world.
The gardens of the palace are beautiful and full of attractions itself. The zoo, the maze, and the palm house make it an excellent destination for families and couples.
All in all, when planning the perfect itinerary to Vienna, a visit to Schonbrunn Palace is almost mandatory!
Useful information when visiting Schonbrunn
Tickets to Schonbrunn Palace
The Schonbrunn Palace is the most visited attraction and one of the most famous landmarks in Austria. If you can, avoid the queues and buy the tickets online.
Investigate what you want to see, as many tickets include one, several attractions, or all of the complex.
Opening hours of the Schonbrunn
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 to Schonbrunn
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. It is that easy.