It seems the more I travel, the more I love history and architecture. So when I visited Vienna a few months ago, I went to the stunning and very famous Schönbrunn Palace. In German, the name means Beautiful Spring and I obviously had to see if it lived up to its name.
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SCHöNBRUNN PALACE AND GARDENS
Do you know Marie Antoinette? You might have seen the movie of the same name starring Kirsten Dunst, or maybe you know her from the history lessons. If you have no idea who I’m talking about, she was the French queen who was executed by guillotine in the French Revolution. And this palace is where she grew up.
Schönbrunn was the imperial summer residence and has been in the possession of the Habsburgs since 1569. It’s enormous, with a total of 1,441 rooms! The palace is modeled after Versailles in France, just like Peterhof (Russia) and Linderhof (Germany). But it wasn’t as impressive as Versailles though.
When I arrived, I took a tour around the palace. It was really interesting to learn the history of the Habsburgs and the palace. But photography wasn’t permitted inside the palace so I couldn’t take any photos This rule seriously doesn’t make any sense.
After the tour, I went outside to the famous gardens. They were, together with the palace, added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1996. It’s not easy to get on that list, so believe me when I say these gardens are quite impressive. There’s also a labyrinth, but when I got there it was closed for the day.
The garden in front of the palace was beautiful, but I liked the rose garden in particular. It’s small and more romantic and the rose smell was so, so sweet.
I must have seen at least five wedding couples at Schönbrunn that day, mostly around the rose garden.
SCHöNBRUNN GLORIETTE AND EMPRESS SISI
As I walked out of the rose garden through the palace garden, I saw the mighty Gloriette resting atop Schönbrunn hill. It’s a bit of a walk (takes about 10-15 minutes uphill), but I was rewarded with a majestic view from the top.
Schönbrunn Palace has a long line of residents. But Empress Elisabeth (1837-1898), also known as Sisi, is its most famous resident. Sisi was loved by the Austrian people, but was also one of the most miserable royals in history. She despised the snotty, formal Habsburg court and spent as much time as possible away from Vienna and her husband, the Emperor Franz Joseph. She died tragically by the hands of an anarchist in Geneva.
There’s lots of history about Sisi and her family at Schönbrunn. Do get a brief introduction if you visit, it’s very interesting.
TIPS FOR VISITING SCHöNBRUNN PALACE
I’m glad I included Schönbrunn Palace in my itinerary. Not only is it historically beautiful and sehr, sehr schön. But I learned a bit about the country’s history, which I like to do when travel. It’s only a few metro stops from the city center so it’s definitely worth going if you’re in Vienna. Even if you don’t plan to go inside palace.
- There are several palace tours and tickets, and all tours come with an audio guide.
- The palace is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
- The gardens and Gloriette are FREE to visit.
Do you like castles? Have you ever heard of this one before?
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