Schönbrunn Palace (Schloß Schönbrunn)
The castle was built to rival the French Versailles in "Baroque beauty and importance"... but unfortunately the Habsburg dynasty lacked the necessary funds to outdo its rivalling nation France - so they never achieved their goal...But no matter to Austrian pride and tradition today...the Habsburgs managed to build an outstanding architectural jewel in any case!
Please note: Schönbrunn Palace is usually very crowded so make sure you visit either early, or later in the day if you do not want to be one among hundreds of others...and also: it is best reachable by public transport (Metro line 4, 10 min from inner city), try to leave your car where it is - parking is a nightmare around the area.
There are 2 main areas to visit here: the Palace/Residence itself and the Park.
The Palace is an experience in itself...so we strongly recommend you not to miss out on a tour through the palace. Here you can admire the magnificent apartments of Maria Theresia, one of the most outstanding rulers (she was female!) during Habsburg's reign - she was also one of the first admirers of the 6 year old Mozart, who used to play for her in one of her parlours. Also to be seen here are the apartments of the famous Imperial couple Franz Joseph and Sissi - especially her boudoir is worth mentioning. The interior of the palace is filled with frescoed ceilings, crystal chandeliers, huge mirrors and gilded ornaments. You will be truly impressed with the beauty and wealth of the Habsburg dynasty, even if they could not match the French dynasty...Just keep in mind: if you are deadly tired after visiting almost 40 rooms, you have seen less than 3% of the residence's 1440 rooms!
However, as important as the Palace itself is an extended walk in the magnificent gardens...or better said, imperial park: here you will find numerous architectural features, fountains and statues and not least the Schönbrunn Zoo - the oldest of its kind in the world, as well as the winner of "best European Zoo" in 2010!
There are also 2 mazes to visit in the Park and the "Gloriette", an architectural structure on top of a hill right in the middle of the park. It was built to symbolise the Habsburg power and glory. Today it hosts a Café - it is an excellent place to have a coffee there and sit and enjoy a beautiful view over this imperial wonderland.
The Schönbrunn Park hosts many events during summer (i.e. open air concert performances) and winter (a very nice Christmas Market), during daytime and night-time. Check our events section for further reference.