A visit to Schönbrunn Palace was top of my list of things to do when I visited Vienna last year. I had heard it was modelled after the French Versailles, and given how much I enjoyed my visit there, I was determined to visit its Austrian rival.
The Palace was easy to get to via the Underground train network. Take the U4 line get off at Schönbrunn. From the train station it is roughly a 5 minute walk to the Palace entrance. Alternatively, you can take Trams 10 and 60 or the 10A bus.
I wasn’t sure how busy Schönbrunn would be compared to Versailles, but to avoid any chance of having to queue I pre-booked my ticket online. There are a few different ticket options to choose from, I decided to go with the Classic Pass. This included a “Grand Tour” of the Palace with an audio guide, as well as access to the Privy Garden, Maze & Labyrinth, Orangery Garden and Gloriette viewing terrace. Tickets purchased online can either be printed or shown on a mobile device. You have to choose a 30 minute entry time slot to the Palace when you purchase your ticket, and when you arrive you can head straight in.
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour allows you to visit 40 rooms within the Palace, as opposed to the Imperial Tour which includes 22 rooms. I would definitely recommend getting a ticket that includes the Grand Tour as some of the most beautiful rooms are not accessibile on the Imperial Tour. There are staff members stationed outside those areas to make sure you have the correct ticket.
Many of the rooms are opulent as you would expect, but not as extravagant as the ones in Versailles. Unfortunately they don’t allow any photography inside the Palace.
The Palace gardens are free of charge to visit during opening hours. However, if you wish to visit the special attractions within the gardens you need to purchase admission tickets for these. If you purchase the Classic Pass as I did, it works out around 30% cheaper than buying individual tickets for each attraction.
The Privy Garden is separate from the main gardens, to the east of the Palace. There were hardly any other visitors in the garden when I was there, possibly due to the additional entrance fee. It’s quite small and probably not something I would pay to visit if it wasn’t included with my ticket, but I did enjoy wandering around this peaceful gardens. There is a platform which gives you a nice view over the garden as well.
Honestly, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Orangery Garden. The garden itself is pretty bare and inside the Orangery they were setting up for an event so there was little to see. They hold concerts here in the evening which might be nice, but if you’re just looking around the gardens I’d recommend giving this one a miss! It’s not worth the additional entrance fee.
Maze & Labyrinth
The mazes are a bit of fun, and I liked reaching the viewing platform at the end so you can watch other people trying to find their way through. If you have kids I think this would be a nice break after touring the Palace.
When you first enter the Palace gardens, at the top of the hill you will see the columns and arches of the Gloriette.
It’s about a 10-15 minute uphill walk to the Gloriette but you’re rewarded with beautiful views of the Palace with the city of Vienna in the background.
Inside the Gloriette there’s a cafe and you can also head up to the viewing platform if your ticket includes this, or if you pay the admission fee. I’d say it’s worth having a look if your ticket covers it but you get a similar view to what you can see on the grass for free.
- Schönbrunn Palace is open daily. It always opens at 8am and closes between 5pm - 6:30pm, depending on the time of year.
- There are many different ticket options available depending on how much of the Palace you want to see. I purchased the Classic Pass which cost €26.50, and they recommend you need to spend about 3-4 hours at the Palace with this pass. Pre-booking your ticket online is advised to beat the queues.
- The Palace Gardens and Gloriette (excluding the terrace) are free to visit. The gates open from 6:30am.