Austria’s Schönbrunn – The Viennese Versailles

The Austrian palace Schönbrunn in Vienna is not off the beaten path.  Around eight million people visit the palace grounds every year.  When you get there, you’ll understand why.  Listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, the palace and the surrounding park are a reminder of the glory days of the Habsburgs.

To avoid some of those eight million people, show up early.  The palace opens at 8:30 in the morning and entry tickets go on sale at 8:15.  There are a variety of tickets to choose from so be prepared for choices when you arrive. The palace grounds are expansive (and free) so you won’t notice the crowds as much once you get outside, and the later it gets, the bigger the crowds.  Instead, check out the palace first.

Vienna - Schönbrunn Backside

The palace itself was built in the 17th century on land that had been used as hunting grounds for the royal family and was used as a summer residence.  Originally built in the Baroque style, during the reign of Maria Theresa the interior of the palace was redesigned in the Rococo style. Schönbrunn is sometimes referred to as the Viennese Versailles.  It is a fitting description considering that Marie Antoinette, originally from the Habsburg dynasty, spent her childhood summers at Schönbrunn before marrying King Louis XVI of France.

Vienna - Schönbrunn Park

If you’re not up to date on your architectural styles and the history of the Hapsburgs (which I most definitely was not), make sure to grab an audio guide as you go in.  The guide is included in the ticket price and does an excellent job of explaining the palace and its history.

Once you’ve made it through the palace, head outside to the park.  If you got there early, you’ll notice that a solid line has begun to form at the ticket window.  Nod knowingly as you walk by the line because you beat the crowds.  Spend the rest of your time at Schönbrunn wandering through the park looking at the immaculately kept grounds, admiring the 18th century installment of Roman Ruins, and hiking up to the top of the hill and looking out over the city of Vienna.

Vienna - Schönbrunn from the Hill

Best of Vienna Tips

You can find ideas of other things go do in Vienna in our Best of Vienna Travel Tips collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. Find out about more fascinating Vienna museums. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets.

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About Marcus Cederstrom

I was born in Sweden and moved to the US just before my 6th birthday. I grew up in the United States eventually graduating from the University of Oregon. After graduation and about 17 years in the US I made the decision to move back to Sweden. I have been living in Stockholm since the summer of 2007. Since graduation I have traveled throughout eastern Australia as well as in Sweden and Europe.