During a four day visit to Vienna we toured Schloss Schönbrunn, a Unesco World Heritage site. This elegant Baroque summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family is located in the south of the city and is easy to reach by metro (line U4). We spent about half a day here, but if you want to see all there is to see then may it’s better to budget an entire day.
Take the Grand Tour
Schloss Schönbrunn has 1441 rooms of which 40 rooms in the main wing of the palace can be visited. You can choose between the Imperial Tour (which gives access to 22 rooms) or the Grand Tour, which visits all 40. Since the Grand Tour only costs a few euros extra and some of the best rooms are included in de Grand Tour it would be foolish not to take the longer tour.
Audio guides are available and touring the rooms will take about 1 hour. It’s very advisable to arrive as early as possible, since Schönbrunn is one of the most visited sights in Vienna. Despite entrance tickets being timed and arriving around 9.30 AM, some rooms were chock full of people at the end of our tour, especially tour groups being a big nuisance. Seeing the long lines of people waiting to get in when we exited, however, we were glad we hadn’t come any later.
Franz Josef and Sisi
Building the palace started at the end of the 17th century, but most of the exhibits on display and furnishings reflect the time period when Austria’s longest ruling monarch, Franz Josef, was in power. He ruled for 68 years, from 1848 to 1916. His wife got even more famous though, empress Elizabeth, better known as Sisi. The extra rooms in the Grand Tour also include opulent 18th-century rooms from the time of empress Maria Theresia. Regretfully we can’t show you any pictures of the magnificent palace interior as it is forbidden to take photographs inside.
After touring the palace we made our way through the enormous palace gardens and up to the Gloriette, which has a little café, from where we had amazing views of the palace, the gardens and the city in the background. Walking the main palace garden is free, but for some of the smaller gardens an entrance fee has to be paid. The palace grounds also comprise the oldest zoo in the world (1752) and the Palmenhaus, an enormous 135 year old green house that exhibits exotic plant species – both of which we didn’t visit by the way.
We visited Vienna in May 2016
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