Schönbrunn Palace

Price guide: Mid-range

Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse 47, Vienna, 1130

Price guide: Mid-range

Schönbrunn Palace: winter    	©WienTourismus / MAXUM
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By Diane Naar-Elphee, your Vienna expert

I write for Fodor's Guide Vienna to .... Read more
#2 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Vienna
Expert overall rating:4.9 out of 5
Value for money:
4.5
4.5
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Culture vultures, Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, First-time travellers, Education, Great views / scenery, History, Nature / wildlife, Sightseeing

Best for Families - Expert review of Schönbrunn Palace

Baroque and Rococo blend in this Grand Palace.

Schönbrunn is Vienna's most popular sight and even just to see the glorious Schlosspark gardens it is well worth the 20 minute trip from the city centre. Entrance to the park is free. For a visit to the interior of Schönbrunn Palace you do need a ticket. With nearly 2.5 million visitors counted last year it will, most likely, be busy. The best way to avoid queues is to arrive early morning or late afternoon. Alternatively, buy your ticket in the Hofburg or online (www.schoenbrunn.at/en/besucherinfo/tickets-tours.html) to avoid queueing up all together. For an extensive visit, both indoors and out, allow about three hours.

Touring the Palace: The shorter (Imperial) tour includes 22 rooms but ends in the Ceremonial Chamber leaving out the best. On the longer (Grand) tour, the Millions Room (generally considered to be the most Rococo room in the world) is the highlight. Its walls are panelled in Brazilian rosewood and decorated with incredibly ornate gilt frames. These contain hundreds of 17th century Indo-Persian miniatures, painted on vellum, showing scenes from court life at the palace of the Mughal rulers. Maria Theresia spent a fortune decorating this room - one million Gulden (silver florins) hence the name – and, obviously wanting to impress her guests, used it as her audience chamber.

The Vieux-Laque Room, with shiny black and gold lacquered panelling on the walls and an exquisite parquet floor, is another of my favorites. Besides the magnificent rooms within the Hapsburg's former summer home, there are other lovely sites to see outside. The carefully manicured gardens, behind the main wing, are among the most beautiful in Europe and the newly enlarged maze, with playground, is fun for all ages – I had a great time there recently with my mum, daughter and grandkids.
A walk up to the Gloriette is time consuming - a half hour to the top - but worth it for a fantastic view of the flower-beds. If you're thirsty after the climb, there's a cafe inside the war memorial (yes, that's what the Gloriette is) – although it's a pity the cafe interior doesn't offer the panorama it should do. Historic carriages can be found in the Wagenburg behind the west wing, hand-made puppets perform Mozart operas in the Marionettentheater and, last but not least, Schönbrunn zoo attracts over two million visitors each year. The latter is the second most popular site in Vienna - not surprising when you've seen the cute and cuddly baby panda bear, Fu Hu.

Price advice: 

Ticket costs: for the Imperial Tour (22 rooms) 9.50 euros, Grand Tour (40 rooms) 12.90 euros. 

Expert tips: 
Both tours include an audio-guide.
The quickest and easiest way to see the extensive palace grounds is by riding the panorama train. Tickets are valid all day. Two trains run from 10am-6 pm leaving every half hour, on the hour, at the Gloriette and the Palace. Tickets cost 6 euros.

More information on Schönbrunn Palace:

Price guide:
Mid-range
Type:
Castle / palace, Historic site, Museum
Address:
Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse 47, Vienna, 1130
Telephone:
01 811 13-239
Website:
http://www.schoenbrunn.at
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Apr, May, Jun, Sep & Oct 8.30am–5pm, Jul & Aug 8.30am-6pm, Nov–Mar 8.30am-4.30pm.
Indoor/outdoor?:
Both

Have you been to Schönbrunn Palace? Would you recommended it?