The more I explore Vienna, the more I fall in love with it. It’s a wanderer’s dream with its breathtaking churches, grand museums, and magnificent palaces. Honestly, I can’t imagine what else could make this city any better.
Now, when it comes to palaces in Vienna, there are three that you just can’t miss. First up is the Hofburg, the winter residence of the Habsburg Family. Then there’s the Schönbrunn Palace, their summer home. And last but not least, we have the Belvedere Palace, which I’m going to tell you about now.
Belvedere Palace is just outside Vienna’s Ring Road, and in my opinion, it’s one of the most picturesque spots in the city. Between the garden fountains, the Marble Hall, and the view from the Upper Belvedere’s balcony, you’ll find plenty of reasons to linger and snap a few photos. But here’s the exciting part: Belvedere Palace is more than just picture-perfect views.
I want to share with you all the beautiful and fascinating things I discovered there. I’ll tell you why I think a visit to Belvedere Palace is absolutely worth it.
First and foremost, let’s get properly familiar with the Belvedere Palace.
In a nutshell, Belvedere Palace is one of Vienna’s notable landmarks; a grand complex that includes two Baroque palaces, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. It was built in the 18th century as a summer retreat for Prince Eugene of Savoy, a notable statesman and military leader.
The palace’s design, a masterpiece by the famous Baroque architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, is a marvel to behold. It has picturesque gardens that often serve as the icon of Vienna on the Internet.
Today, the Belvedere functions as an art museum, a historical site, and a tourist attraction. The palace holds a significant place in history, being the venue where the Austrian State Treaty was signed in 1955, ending the World War II occupation.
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Should You Visit Belvedere Palace on a Trip to Vienna?
From the very beginning, I’ve been pointing out that the Belvedere Palace is a beautiful destination in Vienna. However, it’s important to note that it doesn’t automatically top the list of places to explore in the city.
You know, Vienna is a sprawling metropolis filled with numerous attractions. Sightseeing is just the tip of the iceberg. You can also partake in cultural events and experience the city’s rich musical legacy.
As you map out your itinerary, take into account a few key aspects like the duration of your city stay, weather, and most importantly, your personal interests.
For those with a passion for architecture, art, and history, Belvedere Palace promises an unforgettable experience. For those who enjoy wandering and exploring, Belvedere Palace comes highly recommended from me.
And for those who are all-round travelers, this is my recommendation:
Suppose you’re visiting Vienna for the first time and only have a couple of days. In that case, you might want to save Belvedere Palace for a future visit. Instead, focus on the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Hofburg, Schonbrunn, and Vienna’s magnificent churches.
However, if you’re fortunate enough to stay longer than three days, adding Belvedere Palace to your itinerary would be a decision you won’t regret.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Belvedere Palace is the unique and famous artworks housed in its galleries. Two of the best examples that caught my attention as I explored Belvedere Palace are ‘The Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt and the ‘Character Heads’ by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.
Belvedere Palace is actually home to hundreds of artworks. Some were created by renowned Western artists. A visit here is like a time-traveling journey through the evolution of art—from the medieval period to the contemporary era as we know it.
Good to know: the paintings are clearly described in English.
However, to fully appreciate this experience, one must visit both the Upper and Lower Belvedere Palace, which can be quite costly. But, if you hold a Vienna Pass, the cost is not a concern as this economical ticket covers it.
You can check the price of Belvedere Palace entry tickets here:
- Upper Belvedere & Permanent Collections
- Lower Belvedere & Temporary Exhibitions
- Upper Belvedere Skip The Line Tickets with Guided Tour
The architecture serves as a delightful bonus to your art-viewing visit. The palace’s architecture is, in itself, a masterpiece! The Baroque embellishments and the ceiling frescoes in certain rooms of the palace are breathtaking.
Even though I’ve given high praise to the Belvedere Palace, it’s not actually the top museum in the city.
Out of all the attractions (and museum) I’ve explored in Vienna, the Kunsthistorisches Museum is the one that truly amazed me. It’s a haven for art enthusiasts, history lovers, and those in search of beauty.
If it’s the first museum you visit, it might set your expectations for a beautiful museum incredibly high. I believe no other museum in the city can quite match it, not even the Belvedere Palace.
Despite that, the Belvedere Palace also has its own unique exhibits and features to look forward to. And that’s what we’ll talk about next!
Make the most of your trip to Vienna by checking out my Vienna Travel Inspiration posts. They’ll help you find the perfect experiences to suit your preferences
Beautiful Parts of Belvedere Palace Best to See
The Belvedere Palace is made up of several parts. Below is the map, labeled with the names of the parts of the palace.
In my view, however, you can already get a real sense of the Belvedere Palace by visiting just three areas: The Upper Belvedere, Lower Belvedere, and the garden nestled between them.
These places showcase unique artworks and significant paintings, along with stunning architecture and photo spots that most of us are looking for. Among those that await you there, my favorites are listed in this section. I think you’ll also like them!
Truth be told, choosing my favorites was a challenge. The palace grounds were a feast for the eyes, even before stepping inside. I was particularly taken with the ornate iron gate at the southern entrance, close to the Alpine Garden.
But before anything—here’s something important to remember: the exhibits at Belvedere Palace are not always the same. They rotate on a schedule. However, the frequency of these rotations can vary, depending on the specific exhibition.
Your experience may differ from others, depending on when you visit. To ensure you have the most accurate information, I recommend checking the official Belvedere Palace website. You can find the link in the resources section of this post.
Baroque Garden (A Photo Spot)
The first part of Belvedere Palace that I’d recommend is the Baroque Garden. This garden, situated between the Upper and Lower Belvedere, is the largest in the palace and among the most beautiful in Vienna.
There are several features here that will catch your eye, such as the elegant fountains and the cherubic sphinx statues. However, the garden’s planting beds are arguably the most special feature here.
No matter if you’re viewing from above, at ground level, or from the balcony of the Upper Belvedere, the design of these planting beds is arguably the most exquisite in the city.
I’m particularly taken with the four beds nearest to the Upper Belvedere. In my opinion, their design surpasses even that of the Great Parterre’s planting beds at Schönbrunn Palace!
If you like taking photos, the fountains in the Baroque Garden are sure to inspire you to snap a picture.
Try getting close to one of the fountains in the garden and position yourself so you can capture the facade of the Upper Belvedere, the fountain’s basin, and the sculptures in the fountains. I’m willing to bet you’ll end up with some amazing photos that you’ll be excited to share with your friends online!
The Gold Cabinet (Lower Belvedere)
Palaces, in their grandeur and magnificence, were constructed with the intent to awe those who visit.
The Habsburg Empire’s immense wealth is prominently displayed in these rooms, and it’s hard not to be taken aback by it. Among the publicly accessible rooms of the Belvedere Palace, the Golden Cabinet stands out.
Its walls, adorned with golden paint, exude opulence, while the large mirrors add a mesmerizing, infinite dimension effect.
Interestingly, the Golden Cabinet that we can see today has been in its original condition since the mid-18th century. The last modifications in the room were made by Empress Maria Theresa.
Where can you find the Golden Cabinet? Starting from the entrance of the Lower Belvedere, the Golden Cabinet is the last room on the ground floor before you reach the pathway to the Orangery.
The Hall of Grotesques (Lower Belvedere)
During my exploration of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Schönbrunn, I was struck by the Habsburg Monarchy’s deep appreciation for art. Their love for art is evident not only in their extensive collection of artworks but also in the way they adorned their rooms with art.
This artistic flair is not just confined to Hofburg and Schönbrunn, but can also be seen in the Belvedere Palace, particularly in the Hall of Grotesques.
This room is a feast for the eyes, with both its ceiling and walls covered in vibrant paintings, reflecting a style that was popular in 18th-century Vienna.
The ceiling is adorned with artworks representing the four seasons, while the corners depict the four elements. The windowless walls feature Vulcan’s Forge and the Three Graces, symbolizing masculine and feminine principles.
The artwork in the Hall of The Grotesque brings to mind the stunning Ambras Castle in Innsbruck, a picturesque Austrian Town in the Alps.
The Marble Hall (Upper Belvedere)
The Marble Hall in the Upper Belvedere is undoubtedly the most historically significant part of the Belvedere Palace.
It’s where Leopold Figl and representatives from the USA, UK, France, and the Soviet Union signed the Austrian Treaty years after World War II.
I think you must see the Marble Hall as it’s not only a historical place. It’s also one of the most beautiful rooms in the palace. The room’s rich gilding, elegant reddish-brown marble, and stunning frescoes create an atmosphere fitting for such a historic event.
The frescoes, especially those on the ceiling, are so skillfully done that they trick the eye into perceiving them as three-dimensional. I had to look slowly to realize that parts of the ceiling were actually frescoes!
When you visit, don’t forget to peek at the large windows of Marble Hall. It offers a scenic view of the Baroque Garden and Lower Belvedere.
The Marble Hall is situated on the first floor of the Upper Belvedere. As soon as you ascend the Grand Staircase, it should come into view.
Wondering what other places in Vienna you can see more stunning frescoes like in the Marble Hall of the Upper Belvedere Palace? Check out the two most beautiful Baroque churches in Vienna: Peterskirche and Karlskirche. You might also want to visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral. It’s the largest in Vienna and has a unique blend of Gothic and Baroque beauty.
The Carlone Hall (Upper Belvedere)
Before you ascend to the Marble Hall located on the first floor of the Upper Belvedere, you’re likely to visit the Carlone Hall first. Located on the ground floor, this room is immediately to your right as you stand in the entrance.
When you’re visiting Belvedere, The Carlone Hall is another absolutely can’t miss because of its beautiful design. Imagine walking inside a temple, with every inch of the walls and ceilings covered in frescoes. That’s exactly what it feels like.
These frescoes depict the Triumphs of Aurora and they’re simply breathtaking. The attention to detail is incredible — there’s not a single spot on the walls or ceiling left untouched. It’s the definition of beauty.
There are beautiful exhibits placed in this room; however, I think they rotate and are replaced periodically. The last time I checked, there were medieval statues of saints that totally created a time-transporting vibe inside.
Did you know? The frescoes you see in this hall were actually done by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone. He was a pretty famous fresco artist from Northern Italy. That’s actually where the hall gets its name from!
Der Kuss (The Kiss)
The Belvedere Palace is a great destination because it serves dual purposes. It’s both a historical palace and an art museum, offering visitors a double dose of culture in one trip.
Now, as an art museum, the Belvedere Palace has some real gems. The crown jewel? That would be “The Kiss” (or “Der Kuss”), a masterpiece by Gustav Klimt.
Even though I’m not usually into non-classical art, this piece is something special. It’s like the Mona Lisa of the Belvedere Palace. This iconic painting is one of the standout examples of Art Nouveau from Austria. You’ll find “The Kiss” in the permanent collection at the Upper Belvedere, in the Vienna 1900 section.
What makes it stand out? Well, Klimt used gold in the painting, which really catches your eye among the exhibits. And when you see it, take a moment to look closely.
Klimt had a unique way of creating art: he combined gold leaf with oils and bronze paint, giving the piece an ethereal quality. Fun fact: Klimt was the one who invented this painting technique.
Napoleon am Großen St. Bernhard (Napoleon Crossing the Alps)
Did you know that the famous painting ‘Napoleon Crossing the Alps’ has different original versions? One version can be found in Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin. Another is housed in Versailles, near Paris. A third version is located in Belvedere Palace.
This painting is a must-see in the palace as it’s a significant piece of art history. It’s a powerful depiction of Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the most influential figures in Western history.
The scene in the painting depicts a pivotal moment in his career. If you look closely, the painting captures the drama and intensity of Napoleon’s daring crossing of the Alps. This event was a key moment in his rise to power.
Interestingly, there’s also a copy of ‘Napoleon Crossing the Alps’ in the Kunsthistorisches Museum. If you’re interested, you can compare them in person. Based on what I saw, the paintings have slight differences, such as their size and the color of the horse and background.
The version in Belvedere is slightly larger. Regardless, both paintings are incredibly huge, measuring over 2 meters or over 90 inches in both length and width.
Belvedere Palace isn’t just home to paintings, it also houses sculptures from various eras. One collection that caught my eye was the Character Heads by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.
Even though they were sculpted in the 1700s, they have a modern feel to them. If I had been alive when they were created, I would have been completely intrigued by their mysterious look.
These busts break away from the norm of serene, calm faces, featuring instead expressions of intense emotion. It’s still a mystery what Messerschmidt was trying to convey with these heads.
If you’re visiting with a friend, you could turn it into a game: ‘Guess the Emotion.’ But fair warning, it’s not easy. Some of the heads are eerily unnatural, almost like beings from a post-apocalyptic world.
Last I checked, the Character Heads were in the Upper Belvedere, but you might want to check with the front desk to be sure.
More Photos of Belvedere Palace (and Exhibits)
More beautiful artworks and architectural scenes await you in Belvedere Palace. Here are the other exhibits and parts of the Belvedere Palace that I think you would like to see as well.
How Long to Visit Belvedere Palace in Vienna?
With the wealth of artwork to discover and beautiful spaces to explore at the Belvedere Palace, you might be wondering how much time you’ll need for your visit. The answer isn’t straightforward, as it really depends on which parts of the palace you’re interested in.
If you’re pressed for time, half a day (about 4 hours) should be enough to see the garden, the Lower Belvedere, and the Upper Belvedere. However, this won’t allow you to fully appreciate each piece of artwork. You should be able to catch the highlights in that timeframe, though.
If you’re traveling on a budget or you don’t have a Vienna Pass, I’d recommend prioritizing the Upper Belvedere. It houses a larger collection of artwork and some of the palace’s most stunning architecture. Notably, it’s also where you’ll find works by famous artists.
If that’s your plan, you should be able to cover the essentials in about 2.5 hours, including a quick stroll through the garden. If you enjoy taking photos or want to spend more time relaxing in the garden, you might want to allocate 3 hours for your visit.
If you’re wondering where to go after spending a morning at Belvedere Palace, consider heading to Liechtenstein Castle. This medieval castle is a great spot for explorers and could be the perfect way to round off your day. Here’s why I believe Liechtenstein Castle is a worthwhile visit for many.
Resources: Visiting Belvedere Palace in Vienna
So, there you have it. That’s a glimpse of the beauty I’ve uncovered at the Belvedere Palace.
In case you’re still in the planning stage to visit Vienna, I hope this gives you a better idea of whether or not to include the palace in your Vienna itinerary. The links below are helpful resources in further planning.
- Current exhibitions inside Belvedere Palace
- Belvedere Palace Visitor’s Information
- Upper Belvedere Ticket Information
- Lower Belvedere Ticket Information
- Upper Belvedere Skip The Line Tickets (Guided Tour)
- Best Hotel Deals in Vienna
Before you wrap up your visit, don’t miss out on the Danube Tower. It’s not just the tallest building in Vienna, but also has the highest observation deck. Imagine this – after a day of exploring the Belvedere Palace, you head over to the tower for dinner or coffee, all while soaking up panoramic views of the city. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?”
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