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Schönbrunn Palace

The summer playground of the Habsburg emperors features landscaped gardens, beautiful ruins, an imperial zoo and a Baroque palace where Rococo runs riot.

The Hofburg Palace, in central Vienna, may have been the imperial showcase for the capital. But the imperial family's summer home of choice was the Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn). It may be a little smaller – with a mere 1,400 rooms – but it certainly had the location. When first built, it sat in the rolling fields beyond the city, in its own vast island of formal gardens and idyllic parkland.

That endless open space, landscaped to perfection, remains popular to this day: Schönbrunn Palace is the most visited of all of Vienna's multi-faceted attractions. The palace started out as a hunting park for the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II, when he bought the land in 1569. But it wasn't until the reign of Empress Maria Theresa in the 1750s that the Baroque masterpiece seen today was finally completed.

Forty of its rooms are open to the public now, and they demonstrate the power and wealth of the Habsburg rulers. Most of the rooms are decorated in fine Rococo-lacquer, traced with copious amounts of gold-leaf. The finest Bohemian crystal chandeliers hang from rooms like the Round Chinese Room and the Hall of Mirrors, where a six-year-old boy named Mozart once gave a concert.

Much of the attraction here lies outside of such palatial splendour. The Schlosspark, as the parklands are called, stretch over 120 hectares. Close to the palace, they include formal French-style gardens and immense ponds, and further out, landscaped woodlands. The dominating feature of the gardens is the Gloriette, a glowing-white “temple” built on a hill rising south of the palace. Today, this houses a café and offers great views back over Vienna.

The Schlosspark is also home to the Schönbrunn Zoo, which claims to be the oldest-running zoo in the world. It started out as an Imperial menagerie in 1752, but is now a zoo that is well-respected for its conservation efforts – and its Giant Pandas. And there's more – a fabulous 19th-century Palm House, Roman ruins, the Neptune Fountain and a 300-year old hedge maze. More than enough to keep the most energetic emperor busy all summer long.


Guide to Exploring Schoenbrunn Palace


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Top Schoenbrunn Palace Hotel & Accommodation Deals

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Austria Trend Parkhotel Schönbrunn NZ$148
Austria Trend Parkhotel Schönbrunn

Austria Trend Parkhotel Schönbrunn

Hietzinger Hauptstrasse 10-14, Vienna, Vienna
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Hietzing, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Schoenbrunn Zoo and Schoenbrunn Palace. Schoenbrunn Bad is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) away. Hietzing U-Bahn is 6 minutes by foot and Braunschweiggasse U-Bahn is 9 minutes.

    Radisson Blu Park Royal Palace Vienna NZ$140
    Radisson Blu Park Royal Palace Vienna

    Radisson Blu Park Royal Palace Vienna

    Schlossallee 8, Vienna, Vienna
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Penzing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Vienna Technical Museum and Schoenbrunn Palace. Schoenbrunn Zoo and Stadthalle are also within 2 mi (3 km). Schonbrunn U-Bahn is 11 minutes by foot and Johnstrasse U-Bahn is 12 minutes.

      Schloß Schönbrunn Grand Suite NZ$1,604
      Schloß Schönbrunn Grand Suite

      Schloß Schönbrunn Grand Suite

      Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, Vienna
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Hietzing, this luxury apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Vienna Technical Museum, Schoenbrunn Palace, and Schoenbrunn Zoo. Wiener Stadthalle and Raimund Theater are also within 2 mi (3 km). Schonbrunn U-Bahn is 8 minutes by foot and Hietzing U-Bahn is 9 minutes.

        Renaissance Wien Hotel NZ$131
        Renaissance Wien Hotel

        Renaissance Wien Hotel

        Linke Wienzeile/Ullmannstrasse 71, Vienna, Vienna
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Vienna, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Vienna Technical Museum, Schoenbrunn Palace, and Raimund Theater. Wiener Stadthalle and Schoenbrunn Zoo are also within 2 mi (3 km). Meidling Hauptstrasse U-Bahn is only a 2-minute walk and Niederhofstrasse U-Bahn is 5 minutes.

          Austria Trend Hotel Zoo NZ$133
          Austria Trend Hotel Zoo

          Austria Trend Hotel Zoo

          Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 38-40, Vienna, Vienna
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Meidling, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Vienna Technical Museum, Schoenbrunn Palace, and Schoenbrunn Zoo. Wiener Stadthalle and Naschmarkt are also within 3 mi (5 km). Schonbrunn U-Bahn is only a 3-minute walk and Meidling Hauptstrasse U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

            HB1 Hotel Wien Schönbrunn NZ$104
            HB1 Hotel Wien Schönbrunn

            HB1 Hotel Wien Schönbrunn

            Linzer Straße 6-8, Vienna, Vienna
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Penzing, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Vienna Technical Museum and Schoenbrunn Palace. Wiener Stadthalle and Schoenbrunn Zoo are also within 2 mi (3 km). Penzing S-Bahn is 11 minutes by foot and Johnstrasse U-Bahn is 11 minutes.

              Novum Hotel Kavalier Wien NZ$123
              Novum Hotel Kavalier Wien

              Novum Hotel Kavalier Wien

              Linzer Strasse 165, Vienna, Vienna
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Penzing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Vienna Technical Museum, Schoenbrunn Zoo, and Schoenbrunn Palace. Gerhard-Hanappi Stadium and Wiener Stadthalle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Penzing S-Bahn is 9 minutes by foot and Braunschweiggasse U-Bahn is 11 minutes.

                Koncept Hotel Liebelei NZ$77
                Koncept Hotel Liebelei

                Koncept Hotel Liebelei

                Sechshauserstr. 83, Schönbrunn, Vienna, Vienna
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Vienna, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Vienna Technical Museum and Schoenbrunn Palace. Schoenbrunn Zoo and Wiener Stadthalle are also within 2 mi (3 km). Schonbrunn U-Bahn is only a 5-minute walk and Meidling Hauptstrasse U-Bahn is 7 minutes.