Wandering in the park and garden of Schönbrunn Palace is one of the nicest things that you can do in Vienna for free. I want to tell you right now, it’s more than just a beautiful garden! As you stroll around the park, you might be surprised by the interesting features you stumble upon.
Should you ask if it’s a place to explore with your camera, I would say, absolutely! The Schönbrunn Palace Park offers beautiful photo opportunities. These are the places we’ll be covering in this post.
While a photography walk sounds fun, it’s worth noting that it is just one of the many ways to enjoy your visit to Schönbrunn Palace. You could also join the grand palace tour, experience a Mozart and Strauss concert in Schönbrunn, or have a blast with the family-friendly Schönbrunn Palace Panorama Train!
Before going on a photography visit to Schönbrunn Palace and park, there’s something important I need to mention. While you can take endless photos in the palace park for private use, visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside the palace.
Additionally, drones and other remote-controlled aircraft are prohibited on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace. I know it’s a bummer, but those are the rules. They say it’s for security reasons and, most importantly, Schönbrunn Palace is still private property.
Lastly, there are parts of Schönbrunn Palace park which require an entry fee. But don’t worry! The best picturesque spots are free to visit. For more FAQs, you can check the link in the resources section at the end of this post.
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Check out other picturesque places in Vienna apart from Schönbrunn Palace: Hofburg, Belvedere Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Karlskirche, Peterskirche, and Liechtenstein Castle. And here are two architectural gems to visit on a day trip from Vienna that’s also so pleasing for the eyes: Melk Abbey, Franzensburg in Laxenburg Castle Park, and Kreuzenstein Castle.
Alright, let’s get started! (The list is not arranged in any particular order)
1. Parade Court Fountains: The Mirror Shot of the Palace’s Facade
Palaces like Schönbrunn impress us even before we enter. For instance, right at the main entrance of Schönbrunn Palace, something has already caught my attention: the intricate wrought iron gate.
A few steps into the Parade Court of Schönbrunn Palace, and you’ll be greeted by the main palace’s facade, which is undeniably huge! Its beautiful architecture should inspire you to take photos.
However, if you look around in the Parade Court, you will also see two fountains on both sides.
Approach one of them. Then position yourself at a point near the fountain where you can see both the facade of the main palace and the sculptures adorning the fountain. That’s how you find the first picturesque spot in Schönbrunn Palace!
These Parade Court Fountains are a favorite spot for photographers. It’s mainly because of the effect that the water in the fountain creates: a reflection of Schönbrunn Palace’s northern facade.
To photograph this facade of Schönbrunn Palace with a reflection on the water of the Parade Court Fountains, you must come before 8:30 am or after 5:00 pm (the garden closes at 5:30 pm). It’s during those hours that you can see the Parade Court Fountains with mirror-like basins because the fountains are turned off.
Between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, the fountains are turned on, and the fountains’ spouts disturb the surface of the water. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to take mirror-like shots of the Schönbrunn Palace facade.
From mid-October to April, however, all fountains inside Schönbrunn Palace are turned off all day.
2. Center of Schönbrunn Palace Great Parterre: Neptune Fountain & Gloriette
If you are currently in the Parade Court, the Schönbrunn Palace Great Parterre awaits you on the opposite side of the main palace. It is the largest open space in the garden, and the most scenic part of the palace estate.
Stand in the middle of the Great Parterre and you’ll find yourself in another picturesque spot in Schönbrunn Palace. From there, looking southwards, you can spot two of the most beautiful architectural features of the garden, the Gloriette and the Neptune Fountain, perfectly aligned together.
The Neptune Fountain is located at the foot of the hill while the Gloriette is on top of the hill behind the Neptune Fountain.
It’s a beautiful scene, showcasing how carefully Schönbrunn Palace was designed. Seeing that, I bet you’ll surely get an impression that the Habsburg Empire must have been really wealthy to build such a structure. I can’t imagine how much effort and money was used to landscape the entire garden.
Unless you have a camera with powerful zoom, you might still need to get closer to the Neptune Fountain to get a beautiful shot of the fountain and the Gloriette. If you take photos at the point literally in between the main palace and Neptune Fountain, you might capture a photo where the Gloriette is barely visible because it’ll be too small.
Also, while the Gloriette is slightly elevated compared to the rest of the Great Parterre, don’t get too close to the Neptune Fountain if you want to capture both the Neptune Fountain and the Gloriette in one picture. The fountain may block the view of the Gloriette.
I think the closest spot you can go to capture the Gloriette and Neptune Fountain together is located along the fourth alley of the Great Parterre from the main palace.
If you’re lucky, you can see horse carriages passing in front of the Neptune Fountain. It’s an opportunity to add a story to your photo.
Check out other WanderInEurope’s Travel Inspiration posts for Vienna:
3. Behind Neptune Fountain: Frame the Palace!
Once you reach the Neptune Fountain from the Great Parterre of Schönbrunn Palace, you are only a stone’s throw away from another picturesque spot. Simply go behind the Neptune Fountain and walk until you reach its middle part.
There, you can find a cave-like window, under the statue of Neptune, offering an overlooking view of the Great Parterre. It’s a very picturesque view, especially since you also get a straight view of the south facade of Schönbrunn Palace.
If you are visiting Schönbrunn Palace from April to mid-October, it’s most likely that you’ll see water coming out of the Neptune Fountain. The water will partially cover the view from the grotto-like viewpoint behind the Neptune Fountain, but you can still see the main palace and the Great Parterre from there.
If you know how to capture long exposure photos, you can make the water falling down from the Neptune Fountain appear like a silk curtain!
4. Elevated Platform of the Maze: A Unique View of the Neptune Fountain
The Neptune Fountain is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful features of the Schönbrunn Palace garden. From the statues adorning the fountain to the water falling evenly all throughout the edges of the fountain’s basin, the Neptune Brunnen is an eye-catcher that inspires you to take photos.
That’s why it’s the part of the palace where you can see so many people taking selfies. Actually, if you come during the peak season, you might even see the Neptune Fountain surrounded by tourists!
If you’re the type of person who wants no photobombers on your photo souvenirs and you also want a photo of you with the Neptune Fountain, check out the Maze. However, it has an entry fee.
In the Maze, you can find an elevated viewing platform overlooking a landscaped maze and offering a unique view of the Neptune Fountain.
It’s a low-key spot for taking photos of the Neptune Fountain. You can be more creative with the landscaped maze included in the view to make your shot more epic.
The Maze is very close to the Great Parterre and Neptune Fountain, so you will find it easy to locate. If you are currently facing the Neptune Fountain while in the southernmost part of the Great Parterre, the Maze is just a few steps to the right.
By the way, the Maze is a great place to visit if you’re traveling with your kids. Aside from the landscaped maze, there are also games which little kids might enjoy.
5. Gloriette’s Pond: Play with Reflections
Gloriette is another landmark in Schönbrunn Palace. It’s unmissable for the overlooking view of the entire palace estate, including the rest of Vienna.
Actually, it’s not only worth visiting for those panoramic views, but also for the photo opportunities that you can find there and around it. You’d love going there, especially if you’re an architecture enthusiast like me!
However, from the Great Parterre, it’s quite a walk towards Gloriette. Located on top of a hill, it’s not as easy to reach as the Neptune Fountain from Schönbrunn Palace because the path is inclined. But don’t worry, it’s not too tiring, especially if you go slowly.
The nice thing is, even before you reach Gloriette, picturesque scenes are already in sight.
The pond in front of Gloriette offers you a stunning photo opportunity. Speaking from a photography perspective, it is the “Parade Court Fountains” for Gloriette. The pond lets you capture an inverted reflection image of Gloriette from an angle.
Thanks to the arcades of Gloriette that let the light pass through the building, this spot is even more picturesque compared to the Parade Court Fountains during specific times of the day.
Particularly during the golden hour, Gloriette is such an eye-pleasing scene with its reflection on the surface of the pond. The warm, golden, and low-angle sun rays that go through Gloriette look so dramatic.
Of course, this photo opportunity is weather permitting. Check the weather forecast before going to Schönbrunn Palace for this. You might also want to come to this spot at night for a unique photo of the illuminated Gloriette with a reflection on the water.
6. View of Gloriette from the Sides: Art and Architecture
The pond is just the start of the photo opportunities that you can find when visiting Gloriette. Approach the building. Its details will inspire you to take many photos. The gorgeous symmetrical architecture of the building alone is a camera shutter-presser.
The sculptures that adorn the building add stories to every photo taken. While you can completely explore all parts of Gloriette within a few minutes, including the café inside it, it can take you half an hour to capture every picturesque feature of the landmark.
You can check the link to the official website of Gloriette Cafe at the resources section of this post if you want to learn more about it.
Going back—you can start from the side of the landmark where the entrance is.
While I was wandering at that spot, the two white sculptures that seemed like guarding the entrance really impressed me. These massive sculptured trophies depict different symbolisms and objects such as standards and lions, as well as antique Roman armor with shields.
Walk into the arcades, look upwards, and you’ll see the mini domes and elegant leafy stuccoes. It’s a scene perfect for Instagram! If you come when there aren’t many people yet, climbing the stairs to the arcades can feel like you’re visiting an oracle from a fairytale.
The columns that cut the sunlight entering the building could look so dramatic that you will definitely be inspired to take photos. And wait until you see the overlooking view of Schönbrunn Palace and its garden. It’s another click to your camera’s shutter button.
By the way, if you don’t like walking and climbing a hill, you can ride the palace’s Panorama Train. It has a stop at Gloriette.
7. The Roman Ruins: A Dramatic Scene
Right after you visit the Great Parterre, Neptune Fountain, and Gloriette, I’ll say this to you: congratulations, you just finished exploring a quarter of the Schönbrunn Palace park! Well, it’s not precisely 25 percent. There’s still more to explore and places you might like to photograph in the park.
One such place is the Roman Ruins, which looks like it was built 2,000 years ago. Actually, it was built just a couple of centuries ago in Schönbrunn during the rise of Romanticism around the 18th century.
To me, the Roman Ruins is a picturesque spot in Schönbrunn because of its dramatic appearance: an ancient edifice slowly crumbling away into the ground.
The Roman Ruins will surely give you a photo that has this time-transporting impression. There’s no doubt about it—from the Corinthian columns to the plants that have overgrown some parts of the Roman Ruins and the relief adorning the beams and walls of the ruins.
Well, I also have to point out the flower sculptures under the arch!
When you will be taking photos here, position your camera at the center of the ruins. You should see from your viewfinder the two figures which personify the rivers Danube and Enns in front of the arch.
If the water below the figures is calm, you should see the reflections of the two statues. Include that in your shot to make your photos more epic!
Anyhow, the appearance of the Roman Ruins could look less appealing during winter. There are no plants within the Roman Ruins. The sky is gray and cloudy, hiding sharp details that you can see when there’s strong sunlight.
Keep your expectations low if you’re visiting Schönbrunn Palace when it is not sunny.
8. Eastern Naiad Fountain: Three Perspectives
Let’s say you are currently taking photographs of the Roman Ruin as I instructed. From that position, if you turn 180 degrees, you’ll see another picturesque spot in Schönbrunn Palace Park—the Eastern Naiad Fountain.
It is one of the Naiad Fountains in the park, a beautiful example of the Baroque style of garden art. It has a large pool where a statue of a water nymph stands in the middle.
To me, the Eastern Naiad Fountain is a beautiful photo spot because of its location at the intersection of a stelliform system of avenues. It has alleys that provide a direct line of sight to other parts of the park, such as the main palace, Roman Ruin, and the Obelisk Fountain.
These alleys have trees on both sides, creating a leading line—a focus—to the other parts of the park. They’re a picturesque sight from the Eastern Naiad Fountain.
Actually, you can photograph the Eastern Naiad Fountain together with the main palace, Neptune Fountain, or Obelisk Fountain. You just have to be creative with the angle on how you’ll take the photo
Most importantly, a camera with multiple zoom functionality would be handy to take beautiful photos here. I’m not an expert in taking photos, but the specific term for that technique is called forced perspective. It’s easiest to do with the Roman Ruins because they’re much closer to the Eastern Naiad Fountain.
Interestingly, it’s the center of the southern facade of Schönbrunn’s Main Palace which you’ll spot from the Eastern Naiad Fountain. You might like to try a forced perspective shot at the Eastern Naiad Fountain and the facade of the main palace.
Opposite that view is the Obelisk Fountain, which is an intriguing garden feature of the park.
9. Chamber Garden and Privy Garden: Vine Tunnel and Treillage Pavilions
Did you know that adjacent to the main palace of Schönbrunn, to its east and west, there are two beautiful gardens? They are called the Chamber Garden and the Privy Garden, and they have these charming Treillage Pavilions that are straight out of a scene in a movie.
I honestly think they’re the most Instagrammable part of Schönbrunn Palace Park. I would not doubt if that’s what you’ll say, too, especially when you see the vine tunnels that connect them!
At the same time, the treillage pavilions of the Chamber Garden and the Privy Garden are perfectly aligned to each other. You can take a picture of one of them while inside the other.
If you plan to do the shot, use the windows of the pavilion to frame the other. The resulting photo should be great!
However, before you go, please note that only the Chamber Garden has free access. You need to pay a few Euros to enter the Privy Garden.
There are different combo passes to Schönbrunn Palace that already include entry to the Privy Garden, though. For example, the Classic Pass. You might like to get that offer if you also want to see the Privy Garden together with other places in Schönbrunn that also require a fee like the top of Gloriette and save a few Euros.
Now, you might be thinking, if both the Chamber Garden and the Privy Garden have these charming Treillage Pavilions, is it still worth it to get a separate pass for the Privy Garden if you’re not getting a bundled pass that includes the Privy Garden?
My answer is no. You don’t need it, unless you really want to see more Treillage Pavilions, longer vine tunnels, and fewer people.
10. Palm House Garden: Shaped Shrubs and Elegant Greenhouse
Even at the farthest corners of Schönbrunn Palace Park, picturesque spots await you. Gloriette is one of them. Another is the Palm House Garden, located at the westernmost part of the park.
It’s a part of the Schönbrunn Palace Park where you can find many kinds of plants. I was surprised to discover that plants from the desert regions are also thriving in this part of the park!
To me, what makes this place so picture-worthy are the design of the garden and the elegant greenhouse, which dates back to the time of Emperors Joseph II and Franz II.
Imagine walking in a garden filled with colorful and beautifully shaped geometric flower beds and well-groomed round and cylindrical shrubs. There are also a couple of fountains in the garden, adding to the picturesque charm.
If you’re planning to walk to the Palm House Garden, your effort is worth it as there’s more to do around the area.
After taking photos, you can come inside the greenhouse and discover 800 kinds of plants! Actually, the architecture and interiors of the greenhouse look elegant, too. You might like to take photos of them as you explore.
Wandering inside the greenhouse is a pleasant experience, even during winter as the temperature inside it is controlled to a comfortable level to keep some plants alive. When you visit, don’t forget to notice the adornments on the circular stairs. They’re hidden gems of Schönbrunn Palace.
Before you go here, note that entry to the greenhouse isn’t free. You may need to buy a pass with combined access to enter.
Resources: Visiting Schönbrunn Palace to Take Photos
And there you have it! I’ve shared my top 10 picks for the most picturesque spots in Schönbrunn Palace Park.
If you’re still in the process of planning your visit to Schönbrunn Palace, the links provided below might be of great help to you.
- Official Website of Schönbrunn Palace – FAQs
- Official Website of Gloriette Café – Menu
- Visiting Schonbrunn Palace (Tips & What to Expect)
- Skip the line: Schönbrunn Palace & Garden Tour
- Vienna Pass: 1 to 6 Days Unlimited Sightseeing (Schönbrunn Palace included)
- Best Hotel Deals in Vienna
For a more enriching experience at Schönbrunn Palace Park, I suggest downloading the palace’s dedicated smartphone application designed for tourists.
This handy app provides you with information about the various attractions you can find within the park, including the sculptures along the Grand Parterre.
Additionally, the app can guide you to other photogenic spots within Schönbrunn Palace, helping you capture memorable moments of your visit.
Before you go, you might also want to check out the Danube Tower. It’s the tallest structure in the city, offering a breathtaking 360-degree panorama. At the top, you can enjoy coffee, lunch, or dinner while taking in the views.
You might also want to visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum—the most amazing museum in Vienna, in my opinion. With its beautiful architecture, rich history, remarkable artworks, and out-of-this-world artifacts, there’s so much to discover.
Museum of Military History is another impressive museum in Vienna. Nearly 500 years of history are captured in this museum, housed in a palatial building.
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