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Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 | 105 comments

Schonbrunn Palace: Imperial Splendor in Vienna

It was supposed to be easy, very easy.

Here is a basic list of the steps I was supposed to take:

  • Get into the metro towards the Schonbrunn station
  • Exit the train and turn right
  • Ascend a flight of stairs
  • Walk towards the palace

The reality is that something went wrong in the second step.  The train was crammed with bodies once we reached the station.  In the hurry of getting out, we turned left instead of right.

Nothing looked suspicious.  Other people were walking towards that direction.  Plus, I saw signs with the palace name pointing on the direction we were walking.

We entered a trail along a park.  Once the trail came to an end, I saw another sign pointing towards the palace.

We walked and walked and walked a little bit more.  The streets started to get solitary.  We saw a gas station but nobody was around.

I took a peek through a fence and saw a bunch of train tracks.  I located them in the map and realized we walked on the opposite direction.  We had left the palace way behind!

There was no other option than to walk back towards the train station.  That is when I saw the vibrant yellow characteristic of Schonbrunn Palace.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

The signs I was following? They were directing me to the complex’s parking lot (which is a bit far from the actual palace).

After minutes of agony under the melting sun, we made it to our destination.  And, what a destination! When I thought things couldn’t get better than Vienna’s Old Town, I felt mesmerized when I found myself in front of Schonbrunn Palace, the imperial summer residence of the Habsburg.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

This is no ordinary palace.  It has 1,441 rooms and it is one of the most important architectural, cultural and historical monuments in Austria.  That is why in 1996 it was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

In the year 1569, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II purchased a large floodplain of the Wien (Vienna) river beneath a hill, where a former owner, had erected a mansion called Katterburg.

The emperor ordered the area to be fenced and put game there such as pheasants, ducks, deer and boar, in order to serve as the court’s recreational hunting ground. In a small separate part of the area, birds such as turkeys and peafowl were kept. Fishponds were built, too.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

A century later, Empress Eleonora, added a palace to the Katterburg mansion. The first mention of the name “Schönbrunn” was printed on an invoice dating from that time. The present form of the palace dates from the 1740–50, when Empress Maria Theresa was reigning.

Following the downfall of the Habsburg monarchy in November 1918, the palace became the property of newly founded Austrian Republic and was preserved as a museum.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

However, the magic of this place is not centered only in the main structure.  An area known as the Great Parterre is full of flowers orange trees and sculptures.  This French garden covering large part of the grounds, and dating back to 1695, is free to explore nowadays.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

That is not all.  In addition, the palace gardens house the following:

  • An Orangerie
  • A Privy Garden
  • A Maze
  • A Palm House
  • A Desert House
  • A Tiergarden (here is where the zoo is located)
  • Many fountains and statues

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace

You are probably noticing the trend in here.  The palace grounds are huge! Exploring all the attractions will take you an entire day (or more). Because of time reasons, we didn’t enter any of the paid attractions.  However, there is plenty to see if you are on a budget or time constrained.

While exploring the Great Parterre, it is impossible to miss the Neptune Fountain. Designed as the crowning element of the section, it is sited at the foot of the hill behind the palace. It was conceived as part of the overall design of the gardens and park commissioned by Empress Maria Theresa in the 1770s. The completion of the fountain was completed in four years.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

On a hot day, sitting beside the fountain was a great treat.  You can walk behind the structure and cool down a little bit more (or get all soaked, your choice!)

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

You cannot visit the palace and miss the Gloriette.  It is located on the top of the hill behind the palace.  Yes, you will have to walk uphill to get up there.  This may not sound ideal after several days walking around European cities.  However, little by little you can conquer.

You will thank me later when you see the views from the top.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

The Gloriette was commissioned by Empress Maria Theresa too. She decided Gloriette should be designed to glorify Habsburg power and thereby ordered to recycle stone left after the demolition of another palace owned by the crown.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

The Gloriette was destroyed in the Second World War, but had already been restored by 1947, and was restored again in 1995.

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

The Gloriette has a café and an observation deck (fee area).

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

I hope you have a better appreciation of Schonbrunn Palace after reading this post.  In my opinion, it is a place that cannot be missed if you are in Vienna!

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria


  • Here is the link to palace’s website:
  • In there, you can check prices for all the attractions located within the grounds. There are passes that include several attractions for one price (that may be of better value).
  • A “simple” or “short” visit can take up to 3 hours (including traveling time from the center). Make sure you are carrying all your essentials with you (glasses, hat, snacks, water, etc.)

Have you visited Schonbrunn Palace?

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Schonbrunn Palace: A Must See or Top Sight in Vienna, Austria


  1. Wow – what a magnificent palace!

    • So true! I am glad I visited.

  2. Great photos of the gardens and exterior of that beautiful place. I visited there many years ago but we spent out time touring through the interiors – that was magnificent and we thought well worth it all.

    • I am sure the interiors are beyond belief. We saw the ones in Hofburg and left in awe. I know I need to go back to Vienna one day and explore more interiors (we spent a lot of time outside).

    • Thanks! Glad you liked it.

    • You have to visit during summer one day. I know people like Vienna in winter but I think there are certain advantages when you visit in winter.

  3. It really is a lovely place both inside and out. We went there (with kids) a couple of years ago and we all enjoyed it. There’s a great children’s play area with maze near the zoo too which was perfect for our then 9 year old. #citytripping
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    • This is a very complete place. I can see how the day can be divided among the different things enjoyed by a family. There is bit (or a lot) for each person to enjoy.

  4. Thanks for your post and photos. I went here many years ago, so it was lovely to relive the experience through your photos Ruth.

    • Cathy, it is great that these photos brought back good memories. I love to revisit places I have visited thru others photos.

  5. We went on honeymoon to Vienna – your photos bring back some lovely memories #citytripping

    • Vienna is a great spot for a honeymoon. I bet you guys had a wonderful time.

    • Well, at least you got to see the palace. Winter is the perfect time to tour the interiors (something I was not able to do during my visit).

  6. Gorgeous pictures! I MUST get to Vienna. When I went to Budapest, people kept asking me when I was going to Vienna, and pitying me when I said I didn’t have time. Now I see why!

    • Stephanie, I think none of us have enough time to see everything we want to see in Europe. I got to see Vienna but had to skip other places.

  7. Abbbbsolutely beautiful! We went when it was coold and gloomy in February. Although on the day we went it was sunny. But I definitely want to go back when the flowers and trees are in bloom. #CityTripping

    • The flowers give the garden a sense of happiness and beauty. Wonder how everything looks in winter.

    • Thanks! Such a photogenic city!

  8. Beautiful photos; beautiful place! I can totally feel your pain after having walked way out of the way in the wrong direction in the hot sun! Glad the palace was so lovely and worth it! Hopefully I’ll get to visit someday. 🙂

    • Yes, all the walking was worth. I will need to pay more attention when I get out of trains.

  9. Oh no! That totally sucks that you went the wrong way initially to make it to the palace, but it looks like everything went perfectly after you figured it out! Schonbrunn looks absolutely stunning and I would have loved to spend a day hanging out by the fountain or exploring the gardens!

    • Spending an entire day here sounds wonderful. I wanted to stay there but we wanted to see more of the city. Hopefully, next time.

  10. It looks soooo much nicer than when I visited. No green to be seen anywhere 🙂 #citytripping

    • I cannot imagine how it would be like that. Happy the weather was good when I was there.

  11. That is a spectacular palace. I’d love to visit Vienna.

    • Then, you should! It is a city full of classic but it has tons of surprises too.

    • Thanks Pat! I am glad you got a glimpse of the place through my photos.

  12. I feel kind of overwhelmed just looking at the photos. The places looks so HUGE! I love those colourful flowers in front of the palace most. #CityTripping
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    • Believe me, it is very big. Look for aerial photos of the grounds in Google and you are going to see how immense it is.

  13. Haha, you sound like me! Whenever I’m travelling, I look at my map, decide which way to go, then go in the opposite direction because you can pretty much bank on me being wrong the first time.
    Glad you made it there though because it’s so beautiful! I never made it here on my trip to Vienna, it’s going on the list for next time though, thank you!

    • I have gotten lost so many times. Believe it or not, on this last trip, I got lost only a couple of times. This was one of those times.

  14. This really is a fairytale palace and the view from the hill is so gorgeous too! Really need to visit Vienna one day!

    • So glad you enjoyed the place! Definitely, have to visit Vienna one day.

    • Totally agree! Those royal went all out in here.

  15. This post made me feel all the feels 🙂 Schönbrunn Palace is probably one of the most sentimental places in Europe for me. I went with my mom when we visited Vienna together, and we loved it so much, we went twice! They also had a gorgeous Easter market in front of the palace when I was there. What I’d give to go back!!
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    • Ahh! I get why all you got all emotional remembering this place. It is great to travel and discover new places but it is even better to discover those places with someone you love.

  16. The palace gardens look lovely and the view of the palace from the Gloriette is certainly worth the climb. Thanks for sharing!

    • You can go to the top of the Gloriette too but we decided not to pay for it.

  17. I love strolling elaborate grounds like that and look like you had a beautiful day for it! Cheers from Copenhagen and thank you kindly for linking up with #FarawayFiles – Erin

    • Hello Erin, thanks for the comment. It was very nice to walk around the palace grounds.

  18. I’ve been to Schönbrunn Palace few years ago on a tour. I liked the palace a lot, but I guess visiting just before Christmas wasn’t the best idea, because the it was packed with tourists. Also, the tour didn’t gave us enough time to walk the gardens. I would love to return one day to and explore the palace at my own pace. #wanderfulwednesday

    • It wasn’t that bad when we visited (in terms of crowds). it felt crowded in the train but people dissipated once we got out. I would like to go back too.

  19. That is just incredible – the sheer scale is amazing but it’s a beautiful place too. I’m glad it’s not just me who does things like walking the wrong way out of a station and having to backtrack… Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted..City Tripping #52 – Wander Mum’s giveawaysMy Profile

    • No Cathy, it is not you. You have to see the many times I have gotten lost in foreign countries.

  20. Beautiful ….the place is wonderful and the gardens and grounds magnificent. Funny about the sign… sure glad you found it…pictures of the parking lot wouldn’t have been nearly as lovely ;>))).

    • The sign had the name of the place and a big arrow. That is why I thought that was the correct way. Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Thanks for all the background information and insight into Schonbrunn Palace Ruth. Part of me revels in its beauty, another part completely understands why these rulers were overthrown! At least now a larger number of people can enjoy this beautiful palace. Thanks for sharing your visit with us on #FarawayFiles

    • Katy, I get what you are saying. The Habsburgs has to many castles that some of them were inhabited. They even gifted their friends a castle.

  22. I am glad you made it to the palace. I went there many years ago and sadly it was so crowded with tour groups that the whole experience was awful. It was an unusually hot day so we couldn’t even escape to the gardens to try to get away from the constant noise and pushing in of the groups.
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    • You are not the first one who mention the crowd factor. We visited end of August, beginning of September. Therefore, I didn’t experience that. The river cruises have contributed a lot to that.

  23. Magnificent! It reminds me of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and of Versailles in France. 😀

    • Awesome! Would like to visit Russia one day.

    • Pat, you need to include a link to Nancy’s blog (Budget Travel Sandbox) on the page you are trying to link. She added that that contingency this week.

  24. It seems to me that we both visit the same places. Coincidence? Most likely, but I believe we are both attracted to the same kind of scenery. I loved visiting Schonbrunn and have great memories about Vienna. It seems you had a perfect day there.I miss Europe so badly! #TheWeeklyPostcard.
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    • Anda, I agree that we enjoy the same kind of places. I have been enjoying your posts about Sweden a lot. I miss Europe too. And more when I see all the good deals there are out there.

    • Thanks to you Rhonda! I appreciate your comment.

  25. Schonbrunn really is a glorious palace. For those that like royal residences, the interior is pretty amazing also. You had fantastic weather when you went and the gardens look so lush. When I last went everything was a little dry and sun damaged. The view from the Gloriette of the city is great too. Looks like you enjoyed your visit, nice!

    • I have a thing for castles and palaces, so, visiting this place was logical. I have to visit the interiors another day.

  26. Beautiful pictures! Thank you so much for sharing! #WanderfulWednesday

    • I am glad you enjoy them!

  27. Oh my, it’s beautiful. I love the colours of the flowers in the gardens too. I haven’t been to Vienna but I’m very keen to go especially after these tempting photos.
    I can quite understand how you got lost – I do this all the time. In London I forget that underground stations often have exits on both sides of a street and I am always turning the wrong way.
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    • Do not get me started on trying to find the correct metro exit. In Europe, some stations have like 6 exits. You have no idea of how many times I took the incorrect exit and ended up walking in the incorrect direction.

  28. Schonbrunn certainly is wow-worthy isn’t it? I’ve been a couple of times and each time I love immersing myself in the luxurious surroundings. It’s just gorgeous.

    • You are right Corinne! It is worth a visit! I can see myself visiting this place over and over again.

  29. Schonbrunn Palace looks absolutely wonderful – I love the colour of it against that blue sky and the gardens look magnificent. I’ve been to Vienna but haven’t been to Schonbrunn – my palace mad son would love it so I must arrange a revisit. Thanks so much for sharing it with us on #Farawayfiles

    • I like that your son loves palaces. You have to visit with him one day.

  30. We love this place. We are lucky enough to have family in Vienna and always try to get out to Schönbrunn for a few hours. The gardens are indeed amazing, and there is a wonderful little children’s museum on the theme of how little princes and princesses lived in the 18th century, including the best “dressing up” exhibit I have ever seen in a museum.

    Thanks for the post and greetings from Luxembourg #FarawayFiles
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    • I am envious! It must be amazing to have family on Vienna. I am glad you guys have the opportunity to visit often.

  31. An incredible place! Very impressive from the outside but taking all the grounds into account too – amazing. Vienna has climbed up my travel list after reading this. Thanks #citytripping

    • I am glad you are considering Vienna because this post. Hopefully, you will find more inspiration on upcoming posts.

  32. What an interesting place. The garden, the architecture – it’s all stunning.

    • Oh, thanks a lot Mary! I love European castles too. You have to see all the ones when we were doing a day trip from Vienna!

  33. That palace is huge! I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets lost coming out of stations (frequently!). #Farawayfiles

    • Ha, ha! Christine, I think we all do that in one way or another.

  34. Traumatic to find but looks well worth it! Great photos!

    • You are so funny! Glad you liked the place.

  35. Schonbrunn is so beautiful! Been there in December, but from your pics it looks even cooler with all these flowers and colors! We also had problem with trains though 😀

    • I am assuming cold weather is not an impediment to visit Vienna. I would like to see how the city feels during that season.

    • Wow! Well, our walk wasn’t that bad then! I hope you make it to Vienna next year. Do visit the palace for sure.

  36. we drove several laps around Florence before I realized some signs for the cathedral were for the building itself and several others were for parking lots “near” the cathedral. So I know how you feel! Glad you finally found the palace. The grounds are just stunning!

    • See I am not the only one! The parking signs in Austria are just different. I didn’t register where they were pointing (until it was too late).

  37. Beautiful place, beautiful photos! Putting it on the “someday” list!

    • That is good! I add a lot of stuff to the “someday” list.

  38. I visited Schonbrunn two times, both in winter. The last time was in January this year and it was FREEZING. Going to Gloriette was horrible with all that cold wind in my face. But the cakes in the cafe were SO worth it, haha. #TheWeeklyPostcard
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    • Cafe in Vienna’s cafes is the best. Let’s not forget giant ice cream cups! Those are delicious!

  39. Wow! So much history! Getting lost that way is a norm for me haha! It always happens! But eventually I’ll always find my way. Great photos too! Thanks for sharing!

    • I am getting convinced the best travelers are the ones that get lost often. I feel so much better now!

  40. Beautiful! Well-worth persevering and getting “unlost”! One of these days I must do a layover in Vienna. Thanks for co-hosting. #TPThursday

  41. Wow, Ruth, that is magnificent! We were at Versailles this fall, and it seems like a royal case of Keeping Up with the Jones’. These palaces are so ornate, and the grounds are just amazing. Can’t wait to explore Schoenbrunn ourselves!
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  42. Certainly gets the imagination going! Incredible lifestyle.

    Great images & impressions. Thanks for sharing!

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