Schönbrunn: Explore the Emperor's Summer Palace

Schönbrunn was the former summer residence of Austrian’s previous imperial family. It takes its name from a beautiful spring that was found on this site. An earlier hunting lodge was destroyed by the Turks, so Emperor Leopold I asked Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to design a grand Baroque residence here in 1695. Then it was Empress Maria Theresia who employed Nikolaus Pacassi (her court architect) to complete the project in the mid-18th century.

The palace has some of the best Rococo interiors in central Europe while the surrounding Schlosspark is home to the Tiergarten, Vienna’s zoo, and the Palmenhaus (Palm House). To the west of the neighbouring villa district of Hietzing is the much wilder parkland of the Lainzer Tiergarten, a former royal hunting ground that’s now a haven for wildlife.

The palace contains nearly 1500 rooms, and in its day, would have housed more than 1000 servants. Even though the sheer scale of the place is undeniably impressive, the building itself is something of an acquired taste; its plain façade is painted a rather pale mustard yellow color.

The interior of the palace contains excellent arrays of Baroque and Rococo State rooms. There is also a fine collection of imperial carriages in the Wagenburg (Coach Museum), plus temporary exhibitions in the Orangerie.

The best way to enter Schonbrunn and the Schlosspark to go directly to the Meidlinger Tor on the Grünberg strasse from U-Bahn Schönbrunn, rather than walking along the multi-lane freeway to the main gates of the Schönbrunn Palace.

You could also continue one stop further on the U-Bahn to Hietzing, and walk into the park via the Hietzing Tor on Hietzinger Haup strasse. This will enable you to look at the nearby Hofpavillon Hietzing, the imperial family’s private U-Bahn station.

  • Directions: Take the U4 U-Bahn to Schonbrunn train station; then head directly to Meidlinger Tor on the Grünberg strasse. Or you can walk along the freeway & go directly to the main gates of the Palace.




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