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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$120
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$135
    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 Rudolfsheim-Funfhaus, 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.

      Novum Hotel Kavalier Wien NZ$85
      Novum Hotel Kavalier Wien

      Novum Hotel Kavalier Wien

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

        Located in Rudolfsheim-Funfhaus, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Schoenbrunn Zoo and Schoenbrunn Palace. Wiener Stadthalle and Raimund Theater are also within 3 miles (5 km). Penzing S-Bahn is 9 minutes by foot and Braunschweiggasse U-Bahn is 11 minutes.

        Schloß Schönbrunn Grand Suite NZ$1,009
        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 mile (2 km) of Vienna Technical Museum and Schoenbrunn Palace. Wiener Stadthalle and Raimund Theater are also within 2 miles (3 km). Schonbrunn U-Bahn is 8 minutes by foot and Hietzing U-Bahn is 9 minutes.

          Star Inn Hotel Wien Schönbrunn, by Comfort NZ$102
          Star Inn Hotel Wien Schönbrunn, by Comfort

          Star Inn Hotel Wien Schönbrunn, by Comfort

          Linke Wienzeile 224, Vienna, Vienna
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Fünfhaus, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Mariahilfer Street, Schoenbrunn Palace and Raimund Theater. Wiener Stadthalle and Naschmarkt are also within 3 miles (5 km). Langenfeldgasse U-Bahn is only a 2-minute walk and Meidling Hauptstrasse U-Bahn is 5 minutes.

            Austria Trend Hotel Zoo NZ$127
            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 and Schoenbrunn Palace. Wiener Stadthalle and Naschmarkt are also within 3 miles (5 km). Schonbrunn U-Bahn is only a 3-minute walk and Meidling Hauptstrasse U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

              Vienna Residence Great Home for 4 People Near the Famous Schloss Schoenbrunn
              Vienna Residence Great Home for 4 People Near the Famous Schloss Schoenbrunn

              Vienna Residence Great Home for 4 People Near the Famous Schloss Schoenbrunn

              Schönbrunner Schlossstraße, Vienna, Vienna (state)
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Hietzing, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Vienna Technical Museum and Schoenbrunn Palace. Wiener Stadthalle and Raimund Theater are also within 2 miles (3 km). Schonbrunn U-Bahn is only a 4-minute walk and Hietzing U-Bahn is 11 minutes.

                HB1 Hotel Wien Schönbrunn NZ$107
                HB1 Hotel Wien Schönbrunn

                HB1 Hotel Wien Schönbrunn

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

                  Located in Rudolfsheim-Funfhaus, this hotel is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Schoenbrunn Palace, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Museum of Natural History and Hofburg Imperial Palace. Albertina and Vienna State Opera are also within 3 mi (5 km). Penzing S-Bahn is 11 minutes by foot and Johnstrasse U-Bahn is 11 minutes.