Visiting Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna: 10 Worthy Attractions

If there’s a place I could wander endlessly in Vienna, it has to be Schönbrunn Palace

Here, beauty meets history. Every step is a visual delight and an insightful experience that’s hard to forget. Schönbrunn Palace is not only a window into the lavish lives of the Habsburgs but also an immersion in the rich Austrian heritage. 

In this post, you’ll discover some of the amazing and gorgeous things I discovered in Schönbrunn Palace; the reasons why Schönbrunn is worth visiting. This post also serves as a guide, giving you valuable information and tips for your visit to Schönbrunn Palace. So, let’s get started!

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As a wanderer, I love the moments when I see something new or incredible that takes my breath away.

Those are the moments when I experience wonder, and my mind creates all kinds of wonderful things and events. We can find awe and wonder in many places, but some of the best places are the palaces of great European monarchs and dynasties.

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is one of them.

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View of the main palace of Schönbrunn from the parade court, Vienna, Austria
View of the main palace of Schönbrunn from the parade court
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This 1,441-room palace was built in the 18th century to rival Versailles and served as the summer home of the Habsburgs.

It’s a masterpiece of Rococo design and a symbol of Austria’s imperial glory.

We are just so fortunate to live in a time when we can visit the palace whenever we want and admire the magnificent things that only the royals could enjoy in the past.

In Schönbrunn Palace, we can explore the palace and see the rooms where Marie Antoinette was born, where Napoleon stayed, and where European leaders met with Empress Maria Theresa.

We can also marvel at the luxurious interiors, such as the Great Gallery and the Hall of Mirrors, where Mozart played as a young genius.

We can pretend to be a Habsburg and rule as an emperor or empress for a day!

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Should You Visit Schönbrunn Palace?

Schönbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most amazing places in Austria. You absolutely have to see it when you visit Vienna. It’s a remarkable destination that will give you some of your most wonderful time in the city. 

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The south facade of Schönbrunn Palace, seen from the great parterre, Vienna, Austria
The south facade of Schönbrunn Palace, seen from the great parterre
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In my opinion, the only reason to skip Schönbrunn Palace is if you have a very short time in Vienna and at the same time you’ve already seen many other famous palaces in Europe. 

Or…

If you only have a short time in Vienna and you’re already planning to see Hofburg, you might then want to save Schönbrunn palace for your next trip. That’s what Rick Steves suggests in his book too.

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Before you decide to go to Schönbrunn Palace, you might first like to discover why Hofburg is so worth visiting. You might also like to check out Belvedere Palace, another beautiful place in Vienna. This palace also serves as an art museum, home to unique and remarkable artworks.

But even then, I would still urge you to check out Schönbrunn Palace and spend some time in its gorgeous park as much as possible. You’ll find so much beauty and history inside the palace, as well as fascinating museums and fun activities. 

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Beautiful things inside Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Beautiful things inside Schönbrunn Palace
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Yes — besides the lavish rooms, awe-inspiring halls, and vast, beautiful gardens, Schönbrunn offers many other attractions. You can see a zoo, a theater, musical performances, and many other things to enjoy. Interesting? Definitely! You’ll discover them as we go along. 

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

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7 Beautiful Day Trips From Vienna (Within Austria)

30 Little Gems in Old Town Vienna (See Them on a Map)

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10 Must See Places In Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is a gigantic place, like many other grand palaces in Europe. Honestly, the map blew me away when I first saw it! Schönbrunn Palace is so enormous that it would take you nearly 20 minutes to walk from the main gate to the Gloriette.

The main palace that you’ll likely take photos of around the Ehrenhof fountains is just a small part (by my estimate) of the entire palace grounds

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Ehrenhof fountain and the main facade of Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Ehrenhof fountain and the main facade of Schönbrunn Palace
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But, yet, that’s not the end of the palace grounds. 

The amount of time you will need to spend at Schönbrunn Palace will vary depending on the type of tickets and guided tour you choose. Typically, most visitors spend about half a day exploring the highlights of Schönbrunn Palace.

However, if you’re looking to fully experience all that Schönbrunn has to offer, you might want to set aside a bit more time. Perhaps, a day or two, if you plan to see the entire palace (and palace grounds) leisurely.

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Schönbrunn Palace and its great parterre, Vienna, Austria
Schönbrunn Palace and its great parterre
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Note: If you are interested in learning about the history of Schönbrunn Palace, I have included a link to a comprehensive resource in the sources section of this post. This resource will provide you with information on the palace’s transformation from a hunting ground in the 14th century to the magnificent architectural gem it is today.

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1. The Palace

You can opt to overlook any section of Schönbrunn Palace, but not the main palace.

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The main palace of Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria
The main palace of Schönbrunn
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It’s the highlight of the tour, and the abundance of captivating discoveries and aesthetic treasures inside it unequivocally illustrate why.

Personally, it’s the notion of being in the same rooms where powerful European monarchs once slumbered, ate, and held meetings that makes it really compelling.

As much as I’d like to show you the interiors of the palace in this post, photography inside the palace is not permitted.

But don’t worry, you can still get a feel for what it’s like inside the palace through my Pinterest Board, ‘Interiors of Schonbrunn Palace.’ There, I pinned all the parts of Schönbrunn Palace to spark your wanderlust. 

Some of the photos are embedded in this post.

Later, we’ll discuss the different tours and ways you can explore the main palace. 

But for now, let’s focus on the most noteworthy areas in the main palace that can guide your tour selection.

So…

You may remember that Schönbrunn has over a thousand rooms. While you might expect to see at least a hundred, only 45 are open to the public. Don’t be disappointed, though.

Even if it’s only a few which you can see, they are enough to inspire awe and tell the story of the most influential Habsburgs who lived in Schönbrunn.

Some of these personalities are Empress Maria Theresa, Emperor Franz Joseph, Empress Elisabeth, Archduke Franz Karl, and the famous Marie Antoinette, who became the last Queen of France.

However, among these 45 rooms, to me, you ultimately need to see only 12. They are the most lavishly decorated, unique, and important.

Facing the main palace from the main gate, from the right wing of the palace to the left, and upper to lower level, they are:

The Salon of Empress Elisabeth

From the blue staircase, the Salon of Empress Elisabeth is the 10th room you can see inside the Schönbrunn Palace.

The Salon of Empress Elisabeth is a splendid example of the Rococo Revival style that adorned the Viennese court in the nineteenth century. It was the most important and lavish in the empress’s apartments, and it contains the original furniture ensemble from her time.

The salon is decorated with richly patterned silk fabrics, which have been reconstructed based on the preserved parts.

Take a look around and you’ll spot Empress Elisabeth’s portrait. One glance at her portrait and you can tell who Empress Elisabeth was – a woman of beauty, intelligence, and sensitivity.

But what many don’t realize is that she also had a rebellious and unhappy side. She found the strict court life challenging and eventually stepped back from her duties as empress.

Her life was tragically cut short in 1898, leaving behind a legacy shrouded in mystery and fascination. Some even liken her to the Princess Diana of her era.


Balcony Room

As you step into the Balcony Room, you’re greeted by a gallery of portraits that bring to life the family of Maria Theresa, the empress of Austria and the queen of Hungary in the 18th century.

Among these portraits, you’ll find a painting of Maria Theresa herself, cradling the insignia of her power and surrounded by her young children. 

It is a testament to Maria Theresa’s dynastic ambitions — the continuity of their dynasty — and achievements.

The majority of these captivating paintings come from the studio of Martin van Meytens, the court painter who had a knack for capturing the likeness and personality of the imperial family.

Fun fact: Empress Maria Theresa brought 16 children into the world. 11 of whom lived to adulthood. 

Just imagine this – she was carrying the future for almost two decades, all while ruling an empire. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?


Great Gallery

Bathed in the glow of sunlight streaming through the windows and adorned with golden rococo decorations, the Great Gallery stands as the crowning jewel of Schönbrunn Palace.

This room, the largest in the palace, has been the setting for grand courtly events and gatherings, its magnificence echoing the opulence of a bygone era. 

Like other parts of Schönbrunn Palace, Empress Maria Theresa built the Great Gallery in the 18th century.

This is why you can see frescoes on the ceiling of the Great Gallery showing the empress and her husband, Franz Stephan, as the rulers of their huge empire.

They are encircled by scenes of peace, prosperity, and different culture, symbolizing the glory and dominion of the Habsburg Monarchy over many kinds of people.

The gilt stucco, mirrors, and glittering chandeliers that adorn the hall emphasize further the wealth and power of the Habsburgs.

The Great Gallery has been a witness to many festive and historical events over the years.

Some of the most memorable ones include the signing of the Austrian State Treaty in 1955 and the historic summit between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev in 1961.

The Great Gallery continues to host various events such as concerts and receptions to this day.


Round and Oval Chinese Cabinet 

One of the most remarkable sights you’ll see during your tour of Schönbrunn Palace are the Round and Oval Chinese Cabinets, located next to the Great Gallery.

When you first see one of these Chinese Cabinets, you might think it’s just another Rococo-style room in Schönbrunn. But look closer and you’ll know why they are special.

Their names hint at their unique features, and their appearance confirms it. 

The Round and Oval Chinese Cabinets have the same features, except for the shape of their floor area – Oval and Round. (duh!)

These rooms have a stunning fusion of Asian and European design elements. And visiting it, you must be ready to witness some of the most exquisite examples of cross-cultural architecture in Vienna!

One of the most striking features of the Oval and Round Chinese Rooms are the wall panels adorned with gold and porcelain. These panels were made using a unique East Asian technique called Maki-e, which is a form of Japanese lacquer art.

What’s Maki-e?

Maki-e is an art technique that involves drawing pictures, patterns, or letters with lacquer on lacquerware, and then sprinkling metal powder, such as gold or silver, on the lacquered surface.

When you arrive at the room, try also to appreciate the visuals on these complex panels. They offer not just basic Asian brush strokes and forms, instead, illustrations of mythologies and daily routines in the nations of East Asia.

Positioned below the panels are intricate furnishings and vases from Japan and China, enhancing the overall appeal of the rooms.

Ultimately, the contents of the Oval and Round Chinese Cabinets might seem to merely showcase Empress Maria Theresa’s affluence, but they are indeed proof of her broad and far-flung connections from that era.


Hall of Ceremonies

The State Apartments, located in the central part of the palace, serve as windows into the significant events that unfolded in the empire’s history under Maria Theresa.

In the Hall of Ceremonies, another significant section of the State Apartments, you’ll uncover more important historical events of the Austrian Empire.

Where is the Hall of Ceremonies?

The Hall of Ceremonies, the easternmost room in the State Apartments, is easily recognizable by the grand painting of Empress Maria Theresa. The painting’s frame, adorned with golden rococo elements, ensures that it’s the first thing you’ll notice upon entering the room.

In the portrait of Empress Maria Theresa, viewers are left with the impression that she is the ‘First Lady of Europe,’ with crowns seemingly within her reach.

While the empress’s portrait is undoubtedly the centerpiece of the Hall of Ceremonies, it’s the series of paintings alongside it that reveal key historical events. These include the wedding of Maria Theresa’s eldest son and heir, Joseph, to Princess Isabella of Parma, who was the granddaughter of French King Louis XV.

If you allow your gaze to roam around the room and ignite your imagination, the paintings can transport you back to the 18th century.

The big size of the canvas and its intricate details make it easy to envision yourself as a spectator at Princess Isabella’s grand entrance into Vienna, the well-attended ceremony at St. Augustine’s parish, and the festive banquets in Hofburg’s Great Antechamber.


Vieux Laque Room

The Vieux Laque Room, to me and possibly many others, stands out as the most fascinating part of Schönbrunn Palace.

It’s the ‘more historical’ counterpart of the Chinese Cabinets, and it’s here that you’ll encounter additional male members of the House of Habsburg.

You can find their portraits along with those of their families here.

Much like the Chinese Cabinets, Vieux Laque Room emanates elegance and splendor, a result of the black and gold lacquer panels embedded in the lavishly gilded wainscoting.

But compared to the Chinese Cabinets, the Vieux Laque Room bears more significance. It is a memorial for Empress Maria Theresa’s husband, Franz Stephan, and their two sons, Joseph and Leopold.

What’s to check in this room?

Resting on the table before the portrait of Joseph, positioned on the right of Emperor Franz Stephan, is a copy of Montesquieu’s ‘The Spirit of the Laws,’ a seminal work of the Enlightenment era.

The principles of Enlightenment permeated all of the young emperor’s endeavors and reforms.

I just want to share, because of its name, I initially thought Vieux Laque Room was linked to Marie Antoinette and France. However, I was mistaken! Well, maybe you had the same thought, I suppose?


Porcelain Room

It’s often the case that our most compelling interests are drawn from distant cultures, don’t you think? It’s a conjecture that Empress Maria Theresa and I share.

Just as I am captivated by all things European, so too was Empress Maria Theresa intrigued by Asia.

This is clearly reflected in the Oval and Round Chinese Cabinets and Vieux Laque Room of Schönbrunn. Not quite persuaded yet? Just wait until you see the Porcelain Room in Schönbrunn Palace, the private space where Empress Maria Theresa penned her thoughts.

The Porcelain Room stands as a testament to the empress’s fondness for the chinoiserie style of the era.

With its monochromatic design, the Porcelain Room offers a refreshing experience as you navigate through the rooms of Schönbrunn Palace.

If not for the portrait medallions of Franz Stephan, Archduchess Marie Christine and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Teschen, and Crown Prince Joseph’s first wife Isabella of Parma, you might think you’ve been transported to East Asia.

Most notably, the Porcelain Room is filled with a plethora of chinoiserie elements, such as the semi-sculptural parasols beneath the cornice.

The depictions of diverse people and scenes on the walls of the Porcelain Room would have instantly familiarized anyone from Maria Theresa’s time with East Asian culture.


The Millions Room

Centuries ago, servants might have viewed Schönbrunn Palace as a window to different parts of the world.

Placing myself in the shoes of these servants, I could find endless fascination in the Vieux Laque Room, Porcelain Room, and the Oval and Round Chinese Cabinets, all filled with East Asian artworks and artifacts.

The same would be true for the Millions Room with its rich decorative elements and watercolor miniatures illustrating scenes from India and Persia.

Sixty distinct collages of Indo-Persian miniatures are embedded in the wall paneling, each set within ornately gilded rocaille cartouches.

From portrayals of Mughal Rulers to images of peasants constructing the city, these miniatures provide insights into life in western and southern Asia during the 18th century.

Unlike the Porcelain Room, the Millions Room does not exclusively display architecture from the Indo-Persian region. The Millions Room primarily embodies European architecture, specifically the whimsical nature characteristic of the Baroque period. 

Yes — that includes optical illusion.

One can observe two mirrors in the room placed directly opposite each other, reflecting each other’s images and conjuring an illusion of endless space adorned with Rococo elements.

From the Millions Room, take a peek through a glass door into the Miniatures Cabinet. There’s a hidden gem! It houses numerous small watercolor artworks, many of which were created by Maria Theresa’s children and husband.


Gobelin Salon

A visit to Schönbrunn Palace offers more than just a glimpse into various corners of the globe; it’s like stepping back in time to the Middle Ages.

This journey into the past is particularly noticeable when viewing the Brussels Tapestries, the palace’s largest tapestries, housed in the Gobelin Salon next to the Millions Room.

These tapestries depict bustling markets and busy harbors, providing a vivid picture of medieval commerce within and beyond the city’s magnificent walls.


Rich Room

Among the most prized possessions in Schönbrunn Palace is an item found in the ‘Rich Room.’ This is none other than the bed of Empress Maria Theresa, carefully conserved from the time of her rule.

The impressiveness of her bed didn’t surprise me, but it’s genuinely magnificent, befitting someone of utmost importance in the world.

Complete with matching curtains and wall hangings, all dating back to 1736, the bed of the empress is a masterpiece of Baroque textile art.

A single glance at its velvet fabric, intricately embellished with appliqué embroidery in gold and silver thread, will reveal why it’s deemed a treasure, irrespective of whether it was made for an empress.

Did you know? The bed of Empress Maria Theresa may be situated in Schönbrunn Palace today, but it wasn’t always so.

Originally, this bed graced the ‘Rich Room’ at the Vienna Hofburg, serving as one of the centerpieces in the Habsburgs’ winter palace. After World War II brought changes and that room became the office of Austria’s Federal President, the bed had to be relocated.

It wasn’t until 1980, during a grand exhibition celebrating Maria Theresa’s bicentenary, that the bed found a new home in Schönbrunn Palace. It was placed in a room named after its original location at the Vienna Hofburg.

Upon your eventual visit to the Rich Room in Schönbrunn Palace, you may also notice the two portraits of Maria Theresa and her husband Franz Stephan adorning the space beside the bed.

These portraits, painted by Jean-Étienne Liotard—a favored artist of Maria Theresa—hold a special significance as they capture a very lifelike impression of the monarchs. With the portraits, you can imagine them sleeping together on their bed. Just kidding!


The Crown Prince Apartment

As the ruler of an empire, you are among the most influential individuals in the world, capable of fulfilling almost any desire. For instance, if you wished to transform your palace into a semblance of the Mediterranean coast, you could!

This is precisely what the Habsburgs did at Schönbrunn.

They converted a section of their palace into a forest-like setting, adorning its walls with idyllic coastal scenes.

So, what specific area of Schönbrunn Palace is this? It’s the Crown Prince Apartment, located on the palace’s first floor.

The apartment comprises four rooms, and their walls act like expansive windows opening onto a natural utopia. The setting is akin to a fairytale, with landscapes enhanced by antique, classicist-style statues, vases, and fountains, along with portrayals of exotic flora and fauna.

While it’s clear that you’re still within the confines of a palace, the impressive wall paintings lend a sense of spaciousness and airiness to the rooms. The tree paintings, in particular, blur spatial boundaries and seamlessly transition from the walls to the ceiling.

All these designs, which date back to the late 18th century, were created for Archduchess Elisabeth. More details were added nearly a century later. 


Bergl Room 

Empress Maria Theresa, in her old age, found the summer heat unbearable. To stay cool, she had a suite on the ground floor of Schönbrunn Palace furnished for her use.

This suite, known as the Bergl Room, provided a cool refuge.

It served as an extension of the Schöbrunn gardens into the main palace.

The Bergl Room and the Crown Prince Apartment have a common characteristic in their murals, which beautifully unite the walls and ceiling with illustrations of plants that seem to grow into the room.

Nevertheless, I believe the Bergl Room surpasses in beauty as it presents a greater variety of scenes compared to the Crown Prince Apartment.

Bergl Room has four rooms and the first room, an antechamber, shows untouched natural scenery with exotic birds among tropical plants. The second room, likely a reception room, has paintings of silk drapes, peacocks, and fruit baskets symbolizing courtly culture.

The third room, the empress’s bedroom, shows a formal Baroque garden representing royal power. The last room, probably a writing cabinet, depicts the inside of a shady pergola.

As you wander through the rooms, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to another place entirely. These four rooms were adorned by Johann Wenzel Bergl, the 18th-century artist after whom the room was named.

Bergl was a master of mural decorations, showcasing a variety of styles including Indian, American, and even Japanese!


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2. Carriage Museum

The Carriage Museum adds another layer of the worthiness of a visit to the Schönbrunn Palace.

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Inside the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Inside the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace
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It houses some of the imperial family’s most prized possessions used for travel. Can you guess what they are?  Well, they are none other than their luxurious carriages. And yes — they look as if they’ve stepped right out of a fairy tale!

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Stunning ornate carriage in the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Stunning ornate carriage in the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace
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From gilded carriages and sleds to the most extravagant saddles and coachmen’s uniforms, the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn offers a feast for the eyes.

What makes the Carriage Museum even more special is that it’s not just a showcase of imperial carriages. It’s a unique place where you can learn about Empress Elisabeth, also known as Sisi. 

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Portrait of Empress Elisabeth in the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Portrait of Empress Elisabeth in the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace
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The Carriage Museum offers a chance to explore the life of one of the most fascinating personalities in European history.

If you like, you can follow the “Sisi Trail” in the Carriage Museum. This trail allows visitors to explore various facets of Sisi’s life, from her nuptials to her untimely demise, as well as her influence as a style icon and equestrian.

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Close up details of the beautiful carriages in the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Close up details of the beautiful carriages in the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace
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You will get to uncover key items connected to this emblematic woman. These consist of the coach she used during her wedding, the black robe she wore while in mourning, the saddle she utilized for riding, and the hearse that bore her to her grave.

Elisabeth’s fondness for riding is extensively recorded, and the museum provides a window into this aspect of her life.

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Different exhibits inside the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Different exhibits inside the Carriage Museum in Schönbrunn Palace
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For further information about the Carriage Museum, you can consult the official website of the Carriage Museum, found in the resources section of this post.

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Visiting a museum in Vienna? Put the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Museum of Military History at the top of your list.

Kunsthistorisches Museum is epic. From the moment you step in, your eyes will feast on its stunning architecture, 3000-year-old historical artifacts, unbelievable items, unique artworks, and much more.

The Museum of Military History is also amazing. Home to historical items that bear witness to key events that shaped the world, it is a must-see for every history buff visiting Vienna. By the way, it also have stunning architecture.

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3. Great Parterre

The Great Parterre of Schönbrunn Palace offers some of the most picturesque views in Vienna. 

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Zoomed in shot of the Gloriette and Neptune Fountain from the Great Parterre in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Zoomed in shot of the Gloriette and Neptune Fountain from the Great Parterre in Schönbrunn Palace
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It makes the palace a perfect place for unwinding and taking in the scenery. The view of the Gloriette, a majestic triumphal arch situated on a hill, is particularly iconic, as it overlooks the entire expanse of the palace grounds.

What’s even better? There’s no admission fee to explore the Great Parterre!

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Golden hour view of the main palace from the Great Parterre of Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Golden hour view of the main palace from the Great Parterre of Schönbrunn Palace
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You’re free to roam, snap photos, and soak in the beautiful views of the palace and Gloriette at your leisure.

Despite being free, it doesn’t mean that there’s a lack of sights to see here, apart from the refreshing view. The Grand Parterre is a remarkable display of Baroque horticultural artistry, reflecting the stature and aesthetic preferences of the Habsburg dynasty.

You’ll undoubtedly be charmed by the vibrant geometric layout, complete with flower beds and bordered by tall hedges.

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Roman statue in the great Parterre of Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Roman statue in the great Parterre of Schönbrunn Palace
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For those with a passion for photography, the beds set along orthogonal and diagonal axes, which create the central axis of the palace and garden, offer a fantastic opportunity.

Use these leading lines to enhance the depth and perspective in your photos!

As you wander, make sure to explore the boskets flanking the Parterre. Boskets are formally planted hedges that are clipped to form passageways, openings, and enclosures.

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Statues of lovers in Schönbrunn Palace’s Great Parterre, Vienna, Austria
Statues of lovers in Schönbrunn Palace’s Great Parterre
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They offer a contrasting element to the open space of the Parterre, adding a touch of mystery and privacy.

The Great Parterre of Schönbrunn serves as a gateway to the roots of Western civilization, with 32 statues adorning its sides. These statues represent mythological or historical figures from Western nations, most of which were designed and crafted based on models from antiquity.

If you’re visiting from another part of the world, like me, they’re certainly worth a look.

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4. Gloriette

Nestled within Schönbrunn Palace is the Gloriette, a historical monument in Vienna that is not to be missed.

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The Gloriette of Schönbrunn Palace during the golden hour, Vienna, Austria
The Gloriette of Schönbrunn Palace during the golden hour
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Simply put, it stands as one of Vienna’s most beautiful monuments.

Its eye-catching colonnaded structure, complete with a triumphal arch at the center and arcaded wings on either side, captivates anyone strolling through the Great Parterre.

There are many gloriettes (elevated garden buildings) scattered across the globe, but the one in Schönbrunn claims the title of being the largest and most well-known.

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The entrance and the statues of Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The entrance and the statues of Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace
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Venture closer to appreciate its elaborate sculptures of an imperial eagle, trophies, and lions. Notice the friezes of the Gloriette, they’re from the Renaissance Neugebäude Palace. Viewed from an angle, the Gloriette might give the impression of a Roman temple.

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The arcades and ceiling of Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The arcades and ceiling of Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace
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Well, indeed, it is a kind of temple referred to as a “temple of renown,” in reference with the vision of the imperial architect behind its design.

Essentially, the Gloriette was constructed as a symbol of the Habsburg dynasty’s glory and power. Like, if you look at the attic below the roof, you’ll find an inscription that implies that.

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Inside the Palm House of Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Architectural style of Gloriette inside and outside, Schönbrunn Palace
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The inscription tells something about Joseph II and Maria Theresa as Augustus and Augusta, drawing parallels to the first Roman emperor and state god, Augustus.

Should you desire, you can climb to Gloriette’s flat roof using a stairway. It provides a breathtaking panorama of the palace, the gardens, and Vienna’s cityscape.

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The view from Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The view from Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace
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Do keep in mind that there’s a small charge for accessing this viewpoint.

If your visit to the Gloriette falls on a hot summer day, you might find rest in its glazed central section that features a café. Take a moment to relax and indulge in a delicious treat before setting off to your next destinations in Schönbrunn! 

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Discover a beautiful place like Gloriette outside Vienna: Kreuzenstein Castle. It is the filming location of the 2011 movie, The Season of the Witch.

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5. Privy Garden

Vienna boasts a plethora of “picture-perfect” locations, with a significant number situated within the confines of Schönbrunn Palace.

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Schönbrunn Palace’s Privy Garden during autumn, Vienna, Austria
Schönbrunn Palace’s Privy Garden during autumn
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One such spot that I found particularly photogenic is the Privy Garden. 

Located to the east of the main palace, this garden offers a unique perspective of the main palace that most visitors often overlook. The Privy Garden is bordered by a horseshoe-shaped pergola featuring five trelliswork pavilions, connected by a green tunnel covered with the Virginia creeper plant.

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Schönbrunn Palace’s Privy Garden and the beautiful pergolas, spring season, Vienna, Austria
Schönbrunn Palace’s Privy Garden and the beautiful pergolas, spring season
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If you’re looking to capture cute Instagrammable photos in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, these green tunnels are ideal spots. 

Interestingly, the color of the tunnels shifts with the seasons – they become romantically red during autumn and lose their leaves in winter. Nonetheless, the pavilions themselves offer photogenic scenes with their trelliswork creating attractive grid patterns.

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Inside the green tunnel of Schönbrunn Palace’s Privy Garden, summertime, Vienna, Austria
Inside the green tunnel of Schönbrunn Palace’s Privy Garden, summertime
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If you’re interested, you can ascend to the top of the pavilion opposite the main palace for a panoramic view of the entire Privy Garden.

The only drawback of the Privy Garden is the additional fee, which may not be worthwhile if you’re seeking more intriguing discoveries.

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Did you know that the largest landscaped garden in Austria is just a 30-minute journey from Vienna? It’s called Laxenburg Castle Park, which is a nice destination for romantics and those who want to relax in nature.

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6. Maze and Labyrinth

In addition to learning about history, admiring beautiful architecture, and relaxing in large gardens, you can also have a fun adventure at Schönbrunn Palace. 

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The view of Neptune Fountain from the Maze of Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The view of Neptune Fountain from the Maze of Schönbrunn Palace
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The maze and labyrinth are waiting for you on the left side of the Grand Parterre, as you look at the Neptune Fountain.  They are situated on the southwest corner of the Grand Parterre.

You can enjoy a fun and easy walk through the Schönbrunn Palace maze, whether you are young or young at heart. The maze has no long dead-ends or false turns to worry about.

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Labyrinthikon puzzle in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Labyrinthikon puzzle in Schönbrunn Palace
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After you complete the maze at Schönbrunn Palace, you can climb up a platform and watch other people wander around. But don’t rush through the maze too fast! Take your time and look around, and you might find something interesting: the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Next to the maze, you can find the labyrinth, where you can have more fun and adventure.

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Circular and square puzzle maze in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Circular and square puzzle maze in Schönbrunn Palace,
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There are various activities and games to test your skills.  Try the poles that make sounds when you climb them or visit the  station where you can jump.  You can also find puzzles that you can solve and water gargoyles that keep you entertained.

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7. Palm House

One of the reasons why Schönbrunn Palace is a must-see attraction in Vienna is the Palm House, located at the western side of the palace’s garden.

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The Palm House of Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The Palm House of Schönbrunn Palace
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It was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph and became the largest glass greenhouse in Europe when it was built in the late 1800s. With 2,500 square meters of space and 45,000 glass panels, it is a remarkable sight within the palace grounds.

The Palm House, with its distinct shape and perfectly balanced proportions of the convex and concave lines of the central and lateral pavilions, is a marvel of architecture.

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Inside the Palm House of Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Inside the Palm House of Schönbrunn Palace
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However, the design of the Palm House is not the only thing that makes it exceptional, but also the variety of plants that it contains.

Inside the Palm House, a remarkable steam heating system ensures a comfortable temperature range of eight to seventeen degrees Celsius for the diverse plants from different parts of the world that grow there.

There are plants from the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands, South Africa, America, China, Japan, the Himalayas, New Zealand, Australia, and many more tropical regions.

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Charming staircase and canopy walk of Schönbrunn Palace’s Palm House, Vienna, Austria
Charming staircase and canopy walk of Schönbrunn Palace’s Palm House
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Yes — It’s much more impressive inside than I initially thought.

These plants in the Palm House are grouped together in three pavilions which have different climatic zones.  Interestingly, these pavilions mimic the gradual changing of climate from earth’s equator to the poles. 

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Architecture of the Palm House in Schönbrunn Palace, inside and outside, Vienna, Austria
Architecture of the Palm House in Schönbrunn Palace, inside and outside
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The south pavilion is a tropical zone, the central pavilion is a temperate zone, and the north pavilion is the ‘cold’ zone.

Want to see the Palm House in Schönbrunn garden? To find the Palm House in the garden, head to the western sections, which are a ten-minute walk from the Neptune Fountain.

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8. Roman Ruin 

If you are a fan of the Habsburgs, you should not miss Schönbrunn Palace, as this fascinating place has a lot to reveal about their history.

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The Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace
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You can discover something new about the Habsburgs just by walking around the palace’s garden and relaxing in it. The garden’s decorations reveal the Habsburgs’ perception of their own identity.

Did you know?

The Habsburgs claimed to be the successors of the ancient Roman Empire, as they had been Roman-German Emperors for hundreds of years. The Roman Ruin, a structure inspired by the Roman temple of Vespasian and Titus, stands in the eastern part of the garden as a symbol of their dynastic claims.

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Side view of the Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Side view of the Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace
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Briefly, the Roman Ruin is an artistic creation that blends classical elements of architecture, sculpture, and mythology. You can easily distinguish the Roman Ruin because it’s the only edifice in the garden that looks so ancient.

It gives an impression that it’s slowly deteriorating and sinking into the ground. If you’ve been to Rome, the Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace garden should remind you of the Roman Forum.

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The pond and the beautiful walls of the Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The pond and the beautiful walls of the Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace
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I noticed some interesting architectural details of the Roman Ruin and maybe you’ll find them fascinating, too. One of them is the central arch, with its cracked architrave and frieze. They feature reliefs with classical figures, enhancing their Roman style.

Behind the central arch, a wooded path leads to a terraced cascade.

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Zoomed in shot of the arch of the Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Zoomed in shot of the arch of the Roman Ruin in Schönbrunn Palace
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Along the way, you can see more mythological figures. There is Hercules fighting Cerberus, and Vices in human form.

Under Hercules’ feet, the Hydra lies defeated, a water-snake with many heads.

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If you’re into authentic old stuff, not just replicas like the Roman Ruins at Schönbrunn Palace, you should definitely visit Liechtenstein Castle. It’s got history dating back to the medieval times, and the exhibits inside are charmingly old-fashioned. Go ahead, explore Liechtenstein Castle.

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9. Obelisk Fountain

Another really impressive feature of the Schönbrunn Palace garden is the Obelisk Fountain.

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The Obelisk fountain in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The Obelisk fountain in Schönbrunn Palace
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It stands at the end of the park’s eastern diagonal path and draws attention with its striking design.

The Obelisk Fountain offers another incentive to visit Schönbrunn Palace, especially if you are curious to learn more about the Habsburg dynasty. Similar to the Roman Ruin, the Obelisk Fountain stands as an insightful garden decoration that reveals Habsburg’s perception about themselves.

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The glyph on the face of the obelisk in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
The glyph on the face of the obelisk in Schönbrunn Palace
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You know, in the Baroque era, the obelisk was a symbol of the prince’s firmness and stable governance.

The Habsburgs may have erected it to remind themselves of their duty as the rulers of an empire and the divine authority bestowed upon them by God. The obelisk emphasizes this notion with the eagle that rests on its peak, which represents the Habsburgs’ imperial dominion and divine favor.

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Beautiful fountains below the obelisk in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Beautiful fountains below the obelisk in Schönbrunn Palace
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The eagle, as the only creature that can soar near the sun without harm, symbolizes the ruler who acts as a mediator between heaven and earth.

One of the most striking architectural features of the Obelisk Fountain is the hieroglyphs, which claim to narrate the history of the Habsburg Dynasty. However, this is not entirely accurate, as the hieroglyphs were only deciphered in 1822.

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10.  Neptune Fountain

Some of the most splendid fountains in Vienna can be found in the garden of Schönbrunn Palace, which showcases the artistic skills of the Viennese people in creating watery masterpieces.

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The Neptune Fountain at the southern end of Schönbrunn Palace’s great parterre, Vienna, Austria
The Neptune Fountain at the southern end of Schönbrunn Palace’s great parterre
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Among the beautiful fountains in Schönbrunn Palace, one not to miss is the Neptune Fountain.

Located at the end of the Great Parterre and between the Gloriette and the main palace, it’s the centerpiece of the garden of Schönbrunn Palace. Like the Obelisk fountain and Roman Ruin, the Neptune Fountain was built to convey the Habsburgs’ perception of themselves as the director of the destiny of the empire.

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The view of the main palace of Schönbrunn from the arch of the Neptune Fountain, Vienna, Austria
The view of the main palace of Schönbrunn from the arch of the Neptune Fountain
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This is depicted by the statue of Neptune in a shell-shaped chariot — a scene that was a famous theme in art from the 16th to the 18th century that symbolizes how monarchs held sway over the fate of their nations.

Behind the Neptune Fountain, there is a secret spot you should check out. Under the stone arch where Neptune stands, you can see the main palace in all its glory, surrounded by the stones and showered by the water.

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The main palace of Schönbrunn and the statues of the Neptune fountain, Vienna, Austria
The main palace of Schönbrunn and the statues of the Neptune fountain
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It’s something not to miss if you look forward to taking amazing photos of Schönbrunn Palace.

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How to Visit Schönbrunn Palace 

Schönbrunn Palace has so much to offer that it’s no wonder millions of people visit it every year. And I haven’t even told you everything yet. The palace has more attractions; some I did not include because I did not find them very interesting, but you might enjoy them!

Note: You can check the links in the resources section of this post to see all the attractions at Schönbrunn Palace.

That said, visiting the palace can be an amazing experience, with so many discoveries to make, beautiful sights to see, and fun activities to enjoy. But it can also be hard to plan your visit and make sure you don’t miss anything important.

If you need some tips on how to make the most of your time at Schönbrunn Palace, I’m happy to help you here.

The most important thing you must keep in mind is that the palace has a strict admission policy with fixed time slots. To save yourself from waiting too long and wasting your day, you should secure your time slot ahead of time by purchasing an online ticket. (See more info at the resources section)

How you can spend a day in Schönbrunn Palace is determined by the tickets you purchase. Yes — there are different ticket options for Schönbrunn Palace.  Schönbrunn Palace sells individual tickets and combined tickets, giving you options on what suits your interests, budget, or available time.

Tip. If you are visiting Vienna for three to six days and you’re planning to see many attractions, you can save money on attractions with the Vienna Pass. It covers almost all the top sights and experiences, including Schönbrunn Palace.

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Individual Tickets

For those travelers who are short on time and only want to see one or two parts of the Schönbrunn Palace, it’s preferable to buy the individual tickets.

Are you one of them? For a great experience, always make sure to include the main palace in your plans, as it is the highlight of any visit to Schönbrunn.

Here are the list of attractions in Schönbrunn Palace which can be visited individually:

  1. Main Palace30 minutes to 1 hour. Available all seasons.
  2. GlorietteNot available in winter. 
  3. MazeNot available in winter. 
  4. Privy GardenNot available in winter. 
  5. Orangery Garden — get insights into European horticulture. Not available in winter. 
  6. Children’s Museum — get a glimpse to the everyday life of the imperial children. Available all seasons. 

Note:

  • You can buy individual tickets for these attractions on the official website of Schönbrunn Palace. 
  • Outdoor attractions are not available during the winter season.
  • Visitors have different options for which parts of the main palace to visit.
  • For more information about the Orangery Garden and Children’s Museum, please see the resources section of this post.
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Visiting Schönbrunn Alone

If you have enough time for another attraction besides the main palace, and you’re traveling alone, I recommend visiting the Gloriette afterwards.  I think you’d enjoy the incredible views of the palace and the city from the top of Gloriette, followed by a cup of coffee. 

Are you a photographer or simply enjoy wandering like me? This is what I would recommend, too. 

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Visiting Schönbrunn With Friends

Are you traveling with your friends?

Yes? And you have extra time to spend  at Schönbrunn Palace?

Yes again? Consider visiting the Gloriette, Privy Garden, or Orangery Garden after. 

Like, what do you think of capturing cute Instagrammable photos of each other in the green tunnel of the Privy Garden, or taking in the stunning views of the palace and city together from the top of the Gloriette?

Or maybe you’d prefer a stroll through the Baroque orangery, which is just as big as the ones at Versailles.

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Visiting Schönbrunn With Family

Going to Schönbrunn Palace with your family and you have some extra time to spend? 

Either the Maze or the Children’s Museum is the perfect place to visit after your tour of the palace. This way, all family members will have a chance to enjoy Schönbrunn Palace to the fullest. If you can’t decide between the Maze and the Children’s Museum, let the weather decide for you.

However, if you ask me, I would always prefer the Maze unless the weather doesn’t permit it. It’s always a good idea for you and your kids to have some bonding time outdoors, don’t you think? 😀

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Combined Tickets

For travelers with plenty of time in Vienna and Schönbrunn Palace, or who want to see most of the palace’s beauty, combination tickets offer the best value for your money and time.

Some of them are great package deals that can save you up to 30% compared to the price of separate tickets! For instance, the Classic Pass, which is a combination ticket for five attractions, is 15 euros cheaper than buying the individual tickets separately.

The last time I checked, there were four combination tickets available: 

  1. Classic Pass 
  2. Classic Pass Plus
  3. Combined Ticket: Children’s Museum + Maze
  4. Combined Ticket: Children’s Museum + Maze + Zoo

Note: Combined tickets include park attractions, which are only open during the non-winter months. As a result, these tickets may only be available from April to November. Please check the Schönbrunn Palace official website for exact dates of ticket availability.

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Classic Pass

If you’re a tourist who wants to see Schönbrunn Palace and a few other attractions in the park, but don’t want to spend the whole day there, the Classic Pass is the best value. With this pass, you’ll get a mix of fun, relaxation, scenic views, and historical discoveries, all in half a day.

Schönbrunn attractions included in the Classic Pass are the Grand Tour of the Palace with an audio guide, Gloriette, Orangery Garden, Privy Garden, and Maze & Labyrinth.

In my opinion, aside from the 30% savings, the Schönbrunn Palace Classic Pass is a great value for tourists traveling with friends or family, especially because it includes the Maze and Labyrinth.

The Classic Pass is also a good option if you need some relaxation at the end of the day, since it includes the stunning views from the Gloriette and the Schönbrunn’s special tranquil gardens.

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Classic Pass Plus 

Do you want to see the main palace and all the park attractions at Schönbrunn Palace?

The Classic Pass Plus ticket offers the best value for your visit. This 9-in-1 combined ticket allows you to visit the palace for two days, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the palace and everything in its park at your own pace.

Here is the list of attractions covered by the Classic Pass Plus:

  1. Schönbrunn Palace Grand Tour with audio guide
  2. Schönbrunn Zoo
  3. Privy Garden 
  4. Orangery Garden
  5. Maze
  6. Gloriette
  7. Desert Experience
  8. Palm House
  9. Schönbrunn Palace Virtual Reality

There are three attractions in Schönbrunn Palace that I didn’t include in my list of must-see places, but are included in the Classic Pass Plus. 

Let me introduce them to you briefly.

  1. Schönbrunn Zoo — It’s the oldest zoo in the world, and it’s been voted the best zoo in Europe six times in a row. The zoo has over 700 kinds of animals from all over the world, like penguins, orangutans, pandas, and more. You can also learn how the zoo helps save animals that are in danger of going extinct.
  2. Desert Experience — The desert experience at Schönbrunn Palace lets you see plants and animals from dry places around the world. You can go inside the Desert House, an old glasshouse with three desert zones: Madagascar, and deserts of the Old and New Worlds. It is a cool way to learn about life in harsh places and to enjoy nature’s diversity.
  3. Virtual Reality — is a new and exciting way to experience the history of a former imperial residence. With the 360 degrees projections and 4K image quality, you can witness many historical events and scenes, such as the planning of the palace, the first compositions of Mozart, and the wedding of Empress Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Joseph.

Note: The official websites of these attractions in Schönbrunn Palace are linked at the resources section of this post. 

While the Classic Pass Plus ticket to Schönbrunn Palace is a great value and includes some of the must-see attractions in the gardens, it may not be practical for visitors who are only in Vienna for two or three days.

Vienna has much to offer visitors, and spending an entire day or two at Schönbrunn Palace would mean missing out on other experiences.

However, if you plan to explore Vienna for four days or more, the Classic Pass Plus can be a great way to save money and make the most of your time.

Another good time to buy a Classic Pass Plus ticket is if you are taking a day trip to Schönbrunn Palace from a nearby city like Bratislava, Salzburg, or Budapest.

The Classic Pass Plus can also be a good option for families, as it allows parents and children to spend more time together at the park attractions.

Before you buy the Classic Pass Plus, be sure to consider the weather.

Most of the attractions covered by this pass are outdoors, so it may not be worth it to buy the pass if the weather forecast predicts rain or very cold temperatures on the day of your visit.

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Combined Ticket: Children’s Museum + Maze

You won’t be able to experience the best that Schönbrunn Palace has to offer with just the Children’s Museum & Maze ticket, but it can be a useful option for families who have parents that want their kids to really enjoy and have fun!

Add the unique experience that the kids can have from the Children’s Museum to the fun that they can have from the Maze; the kids will surely have a memorable time in Schönbrunn Palace.

So, what exactly is in the Children’s Museum?

In a nutshell, the Children’s Museum in Schönbrunn Palace is a place where children can travel back in time and experience the life of the royal children who lived there.

Kids can dress up like princes and princesses, learn how to behave at the court, play with the toys that the young Habsburgs enjoyed, and even communicate with fans like the ladies did.

It’s a fairytale experience that they must have before growing up, don’t you think?

For a well-rounded experience for the whole family and for the kids to really appreciate their experience in the Children’s Museum, join a tour of the palace, too. (Before or after)

This way, both the children and the adults will enjoy their visit to Schönbrunn.

Adults are fascinated by the palace’s history and grandeur, while children gain unique experiences at the Children’s Museum.

Both adults and children can then bond in the Maze as they play games.

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Combined Ticket: Children’s Museum + Maze + Zoo

If you and your children also want to see one of the best zoos in Europe when you visit Schönbrunn Palace, this combined ticket can be useful.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this combined ticket unless you’re an animal lover, since zoos can be found anywhere in the world.

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Palace Tickets

The main palace at Schönbrunn is the highlight of any visit, with its spectacular architecture and tales of Habsburg emperors. While it may seem like a single attraction, you are offered with different ways to experience it and uncover its stories.

Depending on your interest in architecture or on which empress or emperor you want to learn more about, you can choose how to tour the palace.

There are five tours available in Schönbrunn Palace:

  1. Grand Tour — includes piano nobile rooms #1 to #40
  2. Imperial Tour — includes Piano nobile rooms #1 to #27
  3. State Apartments Tour — includes piano nobile rooms #19 to #27
  4. Maria Theresa Guided Tour — includes rooms in the ground floor and piano nobile rooms on the eastern section of the main palace
  5. Franz Joseph Guided Tour — includes piano nobile rooms on the western section of the main palace

Ground Floor Attractions:

  1. Bergl Rooms
  2. White-And-Gold Rooms
  3. Palace Chapel
  4. Children’s Museum
  5. The Crown Prince Apartment

Piano nobile Attractions:

  1. Guards Room
  2. Billiard Room
  3. Audience Chamber
  4. Emperor Franz Joseph’s Study
  5. Franz Joseph’s Bedroom
  6. Western Terrace Cabinet
  7. Stairs Cabinet
  8. Dressing Room
  9. Imperial Couple’s Bedroom
  10. Salon of Empress Elisabeth
  11. Marie Antionette Room
  12. Salon of the Archduchess Portraits
  13. Breakfast Cabinet
  14. Yellow Salon
  15. Balcony Room
  16. Hall of Mirrors
  17. Large Rosa Room
  18. Second Small Rosa Room
  19. First Small Rosa Room
  20. Lantern Room
  21. Great Gallery
  22. Small Gallery
  23. Round Chinese Cabinet
  24. Oval Chinese Cabinet
  25. Carousel Room
  26. Hall of Ceremonies
  27. Horses Room
  28. Blue Chinese Salon
  29. Vieux Laque Room
  30. Napoleon Room
  31. Porcelain Room
  32. Millions Room
  33. Gobelin Salon
  34. Archduchess Sophie’s Study
  35. Red Salon
  36. Eastern Terrace Cabinet
  37. Rich Room
  38. Study of Archduke Franz Karl
  39. Salon of Archduke Franz Karl
  40. Hunting Room
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Grand Tour

Take the Grand Tour for an almost full experience of Schönbrunn Palace. This tour of the main palace includes 40 (+2) rooms that are open to the public.

It’s what I recommend since you’ll be able to see all the most awe-inspiring parts of the palace, including the 10 (of the 12) must-see rooms and halls I mentioned previously.

Note: The “+2” is the Aides-De-Camp Room and Antechamber which are considered to be a part of the Guards 

As you can visit every publicly accessible room, you have the chance to learn about all the most famous personalities linked to Schönbrunn Palace.

During the Grand Tour, you’ll hear the names of Empress Maria Theresa, Franz I Stephan, Empress Elisabeth, Franz Joseph, Marie Antoinette, and more several times.

The Grand Tour takes about 60 minutes, but it can be longer if you listen to the audio guide and study the details of each room.

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Imperial Tour

Another way to explore Schönbrunn Palace is through the Imperial Tour, which gives you access to the 27 (+2) rooms in the middle and western sections of the main palace.

This tour focuses on the lives of Emperor Franz Joseph and his famous wife, Empress Elisabeth, and provides insights into their relationship and daily lives.

The first highlights of the tour for me are the Salon of Empress Elisabeth and the Balcony Room.

These are two truly beautiful rooms where you can see portraits of Empress Elisabeth and other members of the Habsburg family.

The Imperial Tour also includes a visit to the Great Gallery and Chinese Cabinets, two of the most charmingly exotic and magnificent rooms of the palace, and architectural highlights of Schönbrunn.

Since the Imperial Tour includes fewer rooms than the Grand Tour of Schönbrunn Palace, you can expect it to take about 40 minutes to complete.

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State Apartments Tour

The State Apartments tour is the quickest way to see Schönbrunn Palace. If you love architecture, this short tour should be enough, showing you the highlights of the palace.

But if you want to learn more about the history and culture of the Habsburgs, you might want to visit the palace with other tours instead.

While the State Apartments tour only covers nine rooms of Schönbrunn Palace, you will be dazzled by the sights you will see.

Four of these rooms (the Hall of Ceremonies, the Oval Chinese Room, the Round Chinese Room, and the Great Gallery) are especially stunning (in my opinion), as they reveal the grandeur and taste of Maria Theresa’s reign.

You can expect to spend around half an hour inside the Schönbrunn Palace, during the State Apartments Tour.

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Maria Theresa Guided Tour

Empress Maria Theresa is undoubtedly one of the focal points of every visitor’s journey to discover history in Vienna.

As a very important historical figure and the person responsible for remodeling Schönbrunn Palace, she receives special treatment even today, centuries after her death. No one leaves Vienna without being familiar with her!

In Schönbrunn Palace, visitors can even avail themselves of a special guided tour focused mainly on Empress Maria Theresa. If you’re curious about why she’s so famous, this is the tour for you.

On this tour, you’ll be accompanied by a very knowledgeable guide who will provide expert insights into Maria Theresa’s life and legacy. This is unlike the Grand Tour, Imperial Tour, and State Apartments Tour, where you’ll only be given an audio guide.

On the special guided tour, you can ask all the questions you have about Maria Theresa that the audio guide may not answer. You will be guided to the different rooms dedicated to Maria Theresa, which I think are really great to see!

The tour begins on the first floor of her summer apartments, which have walls painted with scenes from a paradise.

You will then continue to exquisitely decorated rooms with an Asian touch. You will also be able to see her bed, which is truly something built for a person to rule the world. The Maria Theresa Guided Tour lasts for an hour and takes place twice a day, in German and English only.

Please see the tickets page of the official Schönbrunn Palace website for the exact times of the tours.

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Franz Joseph Guided Tour

Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth (Empress Sisi) were other prominent figures of the Austrian Empire who visitors usually learn about after visiting Vienna.

Like Maria Theresa, they had strong ties to Schönbrunn Palace.

Emperor Franz Joseph was born at Schönbrunn Palace in 1830 and spent most of his life there. Empress Sisi, his wife, also lived at Schönbrunn Palace for some time, especially after the death of their son Rudolf in 1889. Therefore, a guided tour dedicated to these two individuals is also offered at Schönbrunn Palace.

Empress Sisi, also known as the Princess Diana of her time, is a particularly intriguing figure. If you’re curious to know why, perhaps, you can ask your guide during the Franz Joseph Guided Tour.

Of course, you can also find information about it online, but there’s nothing quite like learning about it firsthand at the palace, where you can experience it in a more authentic and personal way.

During the Franz Joseph Guided Tour, you’ll see not only the imperial couple’s rooms, but also the State Apartments, some of the most stunning rooms in Schönbrunn Palace.

The tour lasts an hour and takes place once a day in English and German. For more information, please see the ticket page on the official Schönbrunn Palace website.

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More Things to Do in Schönbrunn Palace

Aside from the original features of Schönbrunn Palace that have become its main attractions, there are new ones that you can try to make your time in Schönbrunn Palace extra special.

Are you looking for a romantic, musical, or modern experience? Or something that kids would enjoy? I have found something for you.

Schönbrunn Palace Mozart and Strauss Concert 

Vienna is a dream come true for classical music fans. You can find concerts everywhere you go, from cozy cafes to majestic halls. Hear the tunes of the great masters, who left their mark on this city.

If you’re already in Schönbrunn, you don’t have to look further to attend a classical concert. You can enjoy the music of Mozart and Strauss, played by the Palace Orchestra, in some of the most beautiful settings in Vienna.

Whether it’s the Orangerie, the White-Gold Room, or the Schönbrunn Palace Theater, you’ll have a special experience listening to these masterpieces. The concerts are usually held at night — a perfect relaxation if you explore the palace for the whole day.

Check the price of the Mozart & Strauss Concert in Schönbrunn Palace here.

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Schönbrunn Palace Panorama Train

Explore the Schönbrunn Palace Park in style by taking the palace’s own panorama train!

This is a hop on hop off service that lets you see the park’s attractions faster and easier. There are 9 stops along the way, so you can choose where to get off and on. The panorama train is especially useful in the summer, when the weather’s hot and you don’t want to walk too much.

Also, if you have kids who still walk slowly, the panorama train is a fun way to see the palace park. You do not have to worry about your kids getting tired or bored!

Learn more about Schönbrunn Palace Panorama Train here.

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Schönbrunn Palace Virtual Reality

Imagine going back in time and seeing Schönbrunn Palace as it was three centuries ago…

Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore, because you can do it with Virtual Reality in Schönbrunn Palace. Just put on the VR gear, and you’ll be taken on a realistic historical adventure.

You’ll witness historical moments from the 18th century, hear Mozart’s first compositions, and even join Empress Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Joseph for dinner! It’s a unique and exciting way to explore and learn more about Schönbrunn Palace.

Here’s more information about the VR experience in Schönbrunn Palace.

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Schönbrunn Palace Garden Carriage Ride

Want to feel like royalty for a day? Then hop on a horse carriage and explore the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace.

Here are two why’s:

You’ll see the park as the empress and her guests did centuries ago. And you’ll also learn some fascinating facts about Vienna from your friendly Fiaker (that’s what they call the driver). He’ll tell you stories about Schönbrunn, its residents and visitors, and the long tradition of horse-drawn carriages in Vienna.

The carriage ride is a great activity for families, couples, elderly people, or any people traveling in a group of 4.

If you’re traveling with your loved one, a carriage ride in Vienna can be the romantic moment you’ve been looking for. You and your partner will feel like the prince and princess of Schönbrunn Palace! Senior parents and kids, on the other hand, will definitely appreciate a carriage ride at Schönbrunn Palace, as well.

It’s a nostalgic and convenient way to see many of the palace’s attractions, and kids will love feeling like they’re in a fairytale.

Learn more about the carriage ride in Schönbrunn Palace here.

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When to Visit Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is a great place to visit year-round. But if you want to see all the palace has to offer, it’s best to go during the spring, summer, or fall, when all the attractions are open. You’ll love the scenery in the palace gardens in the fall, when the leaves of the trees turn red, brown, and golden. It’s the most magical time to visit, in my opinion.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder season (April-May and September-October). The weather is still pleasant during these months, and you’ll have more space to explore the palace and gardens.

Schönbrunn Palace is also open during the winter, but the experience is different. Many of the palace’s attractions are closed, including the Gloriette and the fountains.  If you want to explore Schönbrunn Palace’s gardens and see its beautiful fountains, you should avoid visiting from mid-October to mid-April, as the fountains do not operate during this period.

The gardens can also be quite cold and icy, so it’s not ideal for a stroll.

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Opening Times of Schönbrunn Palace

While Schönbrunn Palace is a single destination in Vienna, it has several attractions with different opening and closing times that vary depending on the season.

The shorter the days are, the shorter the visiting hours are. You can check the official Schönbrunn Palace website (linked at the resources section) for exact opening times, but here is a summary to help you create a rough plan for your visit.

So, there are five parts of the Schönbrunn Palace complex with different opening or operating schedules: the main palace, the palace park, the special gardens, the maze and labyrinth, and the Gloriette. Among these parts of the palace, the park opens first.

Throughout the year, Schönbrunn Palace Park opens at 6:30 am and closes near sunset. That means that the park is open until 9:00 pm from May to July and until 5:30 pm from November to February.

While the park opens early in the morning, some of the fountains do not start operating until around 8:30 am. The three most notable fountains in Schönbrunn Palace, the Neptune Fountain, Roman Ruin Fountain, and Obelisk Fountain, open later near midday at 11:00 am.

The main palace of Schönbrunn opens next after the park at 8:30 am and closes at 5:30 pm from April to November and 5:00 pm from November to March. Visitors can enter the palace up to 45 minutes before closing time.

The special gardens, Gloriette, and other park attractions are the last to open among the attractions in the Schönbrunn Palace complex, at 9:30 am. They have similar closing times, which can be as late as 6:30 pm in the summer and 4:00 pm in the winter. During the shoulder season, they close at 5:00 pm or 5:30 pm.

Please note that visitors can only enter the Gloriette, Privy Garden, and Orangery Garden 30 minutes before closing time, and 45 minutes before closing time for the Maze and Labyrinth.

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How to get to Schönbrunn Palace

There are several ways to get to Schönbrunn Palace, which is easy to reach once you are in Vienna.

You can take the underground train (line U4), the tram (lines 10 and 60), or the bus (line 10A). All of these options have a stop at Schönbrunn Palace.

If you are traveling by car, I have linked to parking information in the resources section of this post.

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Resources: Schönbrunn Palace

Well, that’s all I can share about Schönbrunn Palace for now! I hope you found my very long post insightful and helpful. I spent more than a week writing it, because I’m really passionate about this beautiful palace and I can’t help but discover even its smallest details.

Anyway, if you need more information about Schönbrunn Palace, here are some links that you might find useful.

For a convenient visit, you can try this guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace, conducted by my trusted partner. You’ll benefit from skip-the-line tickets and gain quick access inside the palace. The tour includes 22 rooms of the palace.

Staying in Vienna for two or more days? Here’s where you can find the best hotel deals, with a map feature to help you find the hotel most convenient for you.

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If you’re looking for more beautiful places to visit in Vienna, the churches of this great city are a must-see.

You can start with St. Stephen’s Cathedral or Stephansdom, a church that will take your breath away whether you’re outside, inside, or on top of its towers.

A few steps from Stephansdom, you can find Peterskirche, which is rumored to be the church founded by Charlemagne. Its Baroque interiors are something to behold.

Another one you must see is Karlskirche, famous for its concerts that are so moving. This church has a unique architecture. Its notable feature is its two columns that look like Trajan’s Column in Rome.

Outside Vienna, the best option is Melk Abbey. Its library, church, and staircase are insanely beautiful! Yes, it’s a fantastic day trip from the city.

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