If you are visiting Vienna, the Schonbrunn Palace is a must do. Infact, if you are in the city for one day only, this is possibly the attraction that you should visit, especially during summers when the palace gardens are green and flowers are blooming all around.
There is so much to see and do here! If you enjoy manmade creations from the past, you can admire the stellar architecture and perfectly manicured gardens. If you are visiting with kids, you can see a panda, a polar bear, a lion and a tiger in the Schonbrunn Zoo (Tiergarten).
And if you fancy Austrian food, you can learn to make an authentic apple strudel, the way the Queen liked it.
We spent half a day at Schonbrunn and would like to help you plan your day better. Read on for some tips to make the most of your time…
- The Schonbrunn Palace compound is large – the place has 1,441 rooms, sprawling gardens, an orangerie, a zoo, a maze with kid’s playing area and the Gloriette. It would be best to budget at least 6 hours if you want to visit this site well, including the zoo.
- There are various ticket options – some allow you to visit 30 (Imperial Tour) or 40 (Grand Tour) rooms, some allow you entrance to the rooms as well as other attractions like the zoo, viewing gallery of the Gloriette, the maze etc (Gold Pass – 10 attractions; Classic Pass- 5 attractions).
We felt that the Classic Pass at EUR 21.6 provides the best value for money. The Sisi ticket, which includes entrance to the Homburg Palace, the Imperial Furniture Collection and certain areas (related to Queen Elizabeth’s life) of the Schonbrunn Palace. If you are a history lover, and would want to know more about the Habsburgs, this could be a good choice. However, you will have to buy separate tickets for the zoo, the maze and other attractions.
- There is a lot of walking to be done – wear comfortable shoes. If you do not wish to walk as much, buy a ticket for the train which will let you hop on and hop off at various points (including the zoo and Gloriett). The day pass for the train costs EUR 7 for adults and EUR 4 for children.
- The gardens are very sunny during the afternoons. Apply sunscreen and wear a hat. Carry a bottle of water in your bag to beat the heat.
- Try reaching the palace early, as soon as it opens (at 8:30 am) to ensure that you get your pictures before the crowds have set in.
- The Schonbrunn Zoo (Tiergarten) is the oldest zoo in the world. The animals seem to be kept well, especially when I compare them to the zoo in Bangkok, which housed animals in a terrible environment. The Schonbrunn Zoo has animals from around the world, from Africa to Antarctica. I especially liked the ‘Polarium’, with the polar bear and penguins.
The displays here make an attempt to impart knowledge about the environment and highlight how important survival of each species is. I would highly recommend the Tiergarten if you are travelling with kids – it is a great learning experience.
- The palace has a couple of restaurants that will let you placate your hunger pangs. I would recommend having lunch in one of the restaurants/coffee shops as you explore the palace. Also, there are little kiosks in the zoo that will let you grab a drink or a snack in case you are hungry.
- If you love the Austrian apple strudel as much as I do, make time to attend the apple strudel show. You will then be able to recreate the magic in your own kitchen. This was another activity that kids seem to enjoy quite a bit…and so did I.
- Not many people visit the maze. However, Ankur and I had never been in one and chose to ‘challenge’ ourselves. It was fun…we went round and round for a while, ran into the same set of people, who seemed equally lost and amused, both at the same time! Recommend the activity, especially if you haven’t tried it anywhere else.
- I would recommend ending your visit in Schonbrunn with a coffee at the Gloriette cafe, which offers stunning views of Vienna.
You haven’t been to Vienna if you haven’t been to the Schonbrunn Palace!