The tour of the Schonbrunn Palace doesn’t take a day. Half a day is good enough. The tour of the Palace takes about 2-3 hours depending on your level of interest in its history, and the gardens take another 1-2 hours.
We went off for the tour immediately after an early breakfast. The Palace is extremely well-connected by trains. Once at the destination, a 2-minute walk from the train station brings you up to the main gate of the Palace.
Flanked by two fountains on either side, the Palace is touted to be one of Europe’s most famous Baroque buildings. Somehow, you tend to tell yourself, most famous after the Palace of Versailles, for, the Schonbrunn Palace is not as impressive as the one in Versailles. Well at least from the outside. As we made our way towards the entrance of the main building, we were pleasantly taken in, though, by the sheer discipline and administration of the place. They have a huge counter for the things that are not allowed inside like your knapsack, camera bag. We dumped our jackets too. Since we had bought our passes online, we zipped through the security checks, collected our audio guide and hurried towards the start point.
The Schonnbrunn Palace, turned into a museum now, chronicles the history of Austria since the time of its inception in the 16th century. The legacy left behind Austria’s longest-reigning emperor, Franz Joseph, is most evident in the rooms and various artefacts. So is his wife’s, Elisabeth, loving called Sisi by all Austrians. Their life and times, stories, anecdotes are scattered in all the rooms of the Palace, and the tour takes you through most of the important rooms of this heavily done up Baroque building.
Next are the gardens, the famed Schonnbrunn Palace gardens, which, frankly, aren’t very impressive. Barring the rather small rose garden and the big red-rose awning, most of the garden has very little flowers and is flanked by the green maze, usual of Europe’s palace gardens. At the far end is the beautiful Gloriette. It offers a beautiful climb and once atop, a lovely view of the city. Walk back from the lane to the right of the Gloriette to discover fountains set amidst what looked to us like Roman ruins.
Important Information for a Tour of The Schonnbrunn Palace and Gardens
- You can book your tickets online. The Palace tickets are valid for the garden tour too
- Photography is not allowed inside the Palace rooms. You can take pictures of the grounds and the gardens.
- There are 2 sets of washrooms there – the one at the entrance gate is extremely clean and charges money. The washroom in the Palace building is free for the visitors.
- Food is obviously not allowed inside the Palace; the gardens do not have this restriction.
P.S: For a complete Austria itinerary and tour details, read — A Perfect Summer Holiday in Austria