While in Austria last week I had a chance to visit Vienna after my wonderful day in Hallstatt. Originally, I was going to do an overview of my entire day, but after visiting Schönbrunn Palace, I thought it deserved its own post. I mean, come on, it’s a huge palace after all. Before I get too carried away, let me tell you the basics of Schönbrunn. Most tourists visit it because it was the home of the Habsburg family, namely of Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) and her husband Franz Joseph I. However, Schönbrunn owes much of its opulent decor and political and cultural importance to Maria Theresa, Franz Joseph’s grandmother (or at least I think she was his grandmother. Believe it or not I did do research to double check this, but you wouldn’t believe how confusing the Habsburg family tree is. Let’s just say I’m glad we don’t believe in marrying our cousins anymore…). Maria Theresa had a definite eye for interior decorating, making Schönbrunn one of my all time favorite palaces to visit. I’m thinking the Rococo style might be featured in my future dream home, assuming I end up making millions of dollars one day.
As with most places of this nature, I was unable to take photos inside due to copyright reasons (i.e. they want you to buy a billion postcards instead). But trust me when I say that choosing to take the full 40-room audio tour was an excellent decision. I don’t know which of the rooms was my favorite; perhaps the ball room, even though I can’t dance. I just like to picture myself living in these sorts of places, what can I say?
In regards to my visit of the inside of the palace, I was really impressed with the quality of the audio tour. Normally, I prefer following an actual guide because I can ask questions as we go along. However, the audio tour at Schönbrunn was very well done, providing enough information about the rooms themselves and the history of those who’d lived there to satisfy my curiosity without bogging me down with super detailed information about specific pieces of art, etc. After listening to the specified track on the audio guide, I was able to stay in each room as long as I pleased, which allowed me to oogle each room fully until I was ready to move on.
So anyways, we finished the tour (I was with my mom and brother), and we walk around the side to see the gardens, partly pictured above. I thought to myself, this is nice, but I’ve seen better.
When you make your way to the back of the palace, you see this beautiful hill. At the bottom is a massive fountain that would be a great place to stick your feet into on a hot day. At the top is another small building that’s well worth the visit as it offers the most amazing view of the palace grounds.
I loved every minute of my visit to Schönbrunn Palace, and I’m bummed I only had half a day to visit it. If you get one of the combo tickets offered at the palace (such as a joint visit to the zoo, the imperial apartments, and a slew of other options) you’d easily be able to spend an entire day in and around the palace. I’ll be talking more about my time in Vienna later this week as well, so keep your eyes open for that!
What palaces/great houses have you visited? One of my other favorites is the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, and I’m always on the lookout for more tours to add to my bucket list.