Guide to Hofburg Imperial Palace: Tickets, Tips, History...

Hofburg Imperial Palace is one of the top 10 things to do in Vienna.


What can I see in the largest castle complex in the world?

What is the Hofburg Imperial Palace?

The 13th-century Hofburg Imperial Palace is an imposing complex of buildings in the center of Vienna. It has been the residence of various rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy over the centuries and has served as the official residence of the Austrian Federal President since 1946.

The Hofburg Palace covers an area of 240,000 square meters and includes numerous buildings, gardens, courtyards and squares. It is an outstanding example of architectural development through the centuries, as the buildings feature different styles, including Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical elements.

Highlights in the Hofburg Imperial Palace

The most important sights in the Hofburg Imperial Palace include the Imperial Apartments with the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Treasury with the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the State Hall of the National Library, the Spanish Riding School and the World Museum. 

Admission: The Hofburg Imperial Palace consists of various museums with their own entrance and different opening times. The entrance tickets for the individual museums are listed below.

Popular Ticket Options for the Must-Sees of the Hofburg Imperial Palace

There are numerous websites offering tickets for the attractions at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna, which can make it challenging to choose the right tickets. That's why we've done the work for you and compared all the available options.

Below, you'll find a curated list of the best and most popular tickets for the Hofburg Palace, including the cheapest options. Simply click on your preferred choice to purchase your tickets. Detailed descriptions of the various attractions can be found further below.

Spanish Riding School

Sisi Museum (Imperial Apartments)

Albertina Museum

Weltmuseum (World Museum)

Spanish Riding School

Home of the Lipizzaner Horses in Vienna

What is the Spanish Riding School?

The Spanish Riding School is the only institution in the world to preserve the old equestrian tradition of the "High School" by dedicating itself to the classic training and dressage of the famous Lipizzaner horses for over 450 years. Since 2015, horsemanship has been part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

During a visit to the court riding school, you can experience the world-famous art of riding up close and be enchanted by the oldest breeding horse breed in Europe. In the impressive baroque winter riding school, the most beautiful riding hall in the world, a grandiose atmosphere awaits you, coupled with an unforgettable riding spectacle. The performances, also known as the "Ballet of the White Stallions", are very popular. Just as exciting is the "morning work" and guided tours through the court riding school.

Museums in the Hofburg Imperial Palace

What Can I See?

The Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum and the Silver Collection are located

Read More
Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum & Silver Collection: Info, Admission & History
Guide to the National Library State Hall: Admission, History & Tips
Natural History Museum: Exhibition, Admission & Tips

The majestic Art History Museum on Maria-Theresien-Platz stands

Read More
Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum): Admission, Tickets & History

The Vienna World Museum is located in Neue

Read More
Vienna World Museum: Exhibition, Admission & History

The Imperial Treasury, situated within the Hofburg Imperial

Read More
Vienna Imperial Treasury: Collection, Highlights & Tickets
Guide to Albertina Museum: Info, Exhibition & Admission

How to get to the Hofburg Palace by Public Transport?

For the central area of the Hofburg complex, we have chosen the wing that houses the Spanish Riding School and the Sisi Museum. The walking directions provided are from this specific point.

Public Transport Options:

  • By metro (U-Bahn):
    Line U3 to Herrengasse and 3 minutes on foot
    Lines U1 and U3 to Stephansdom and 6 minutes walk
  • By tram:
    1, 2, 71 and D to Burgring, Ring/Volkstheater or Parlament and 7 minutes on foot
  • By bus:
    1A and 2A to Michaelerplatz or Habsburgergasse and 1 to 2 minutes on foot


Vienna Roadwork Maps:

High-speed connections
Inner core zone Vienna

Hofburg in Vienna in Austria

Parks in the Area

How to Spend Your Free Time in the Hofburg Imperial Palace

Volksgarten & Theseus Temple in Vienna in Austria

1. Volksgarten

Volksgarten is in the Hofburg Imperial Palace complex and is part of the Historic Center of Vienna UNESCO World Heritage SiteIt was created in 1821 by Ludwig Remy. Noteworthy are the Theseus Temple, a scaled-down replica of the ancient Theseion in Athens, and the rose garden with over 3,000 rose bushes, a popular photo motif for wedding couples. The history of the Volksgarten Club/Disco in the park goes back over 180 years.

Palm House & Butterfly House

2. Burggarten

Burggarten, which was originally laid out as an imperial private garden, is a public park in the style of English landscape gardens. The Palm House, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world, was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1882. It houses plants from three climate zones. Free-flying butterflies can be found in the butterfly house. There are also numerous monuments, among them a Mozart monument.

More interesting places in the Hofburg

Other Museums and Institutions

What Else Can I See?

In addition to the top attractions already mentioned, there are many other fascinating museums and collections in the Hofburg Imperial Palace.

  • Globe Museum: The Globe Museum is unique in the world. It displays 240 original terrestrial and celestial globes, lunar and martian globes as well as several astronomical instruments. 
  • Court Hunting and Armory: This collection is considered to be the best-documented courtly armory in the West. It presents elaborate armor and ceremonial weapons that tell of knightly life and important events at court.
  • Café Hofburg: In the heart of the imperial residence, Café Hofburg welcomes you. The typical Viennese coffee house directly below the former apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Sisi lures with traditional delicacies and imperial charm.
  • Esperanto Museum: The Esperanto Museum offers exciting insights into the artificial language Esperanto as well as other "planned languages".
  • Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments:  The collection of old musical instruments has the world's most important inventory of Baroque and Renaissance instruments. Original instruments by great composers, including Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn, are also presented.
  • Papyrus Museum:  The Papyrus Museum has the largest papyrus collection in the world. Around 300 fascinating exhibits take visitors into the world of ancient Egypt.
  • National Library in Neue Burg: The Austrian National Library is the largest library in the country. The library holdings contain more than 12 million items. The sensational State Hall is the heart of the library complex. 
  • Ephesus Museum:  This museum takes you on a journey through time to ancient Ephesus, one of the largest cities in the ancient world. The collection contains impressive evidence of the former cosmopolitan city.
History of the Hofburg

History of the Hofburg Imperial Palace

When Michaelerplatz on the north side of the Hofburg Imperial Palace was redesigned in the 1990s, the almost 2,000-year-old ruins of the Vindobona Roman military camp, which once stood here, were discovered. 

The Hofburg Imperial Palace itself was originally built in the 13th century. The Gothic castle chapel, in which the Vienna Boys' Choir perform masses on Sundays, is still reminiscent of the medieval castle. 
Over the centuries, the Hofburg Palace was expanded again and again by the respective emperors. The numerous extensions gave the mighty building complex, consisting of 18 wings, 19 courtyards and 2,600 rooms, its current appearance.

The Habsburg Empire was ruled from here for almost 700 years. Until the end of the monarchy in 1918, the imperial family lived in the Hofburg Palace.

As the seat of the Austrian Federal President, it is still the political center of Austria.

The three most important periods of its development were the following:

The 3 Most Important Periods

  • Schweizerhof: In today's Schweizerhof, the oldest part of the original castle, is the Gothic Imperial Palace chapel, which was rebuilt in the 15th century, the clergy and secular treasury, and the court music chapel. At the time of Emperor Charles V, Schweizerhof was rebuilt in the Renaissance style by his brother, Emperor Ferdinand I.  
  • Imperial Apartments:  The emperors used to live in this wing and it is where Emperor Franz Joseph and "Sisi" lived with their children and the entire court. The rooms, kept in the rococo style, form a museum today. The seat of the Austrian Federal President is also in this wing. 
  • New Castle: Emperor Franz Joseph had the New Castle built in 1881 as the largest and last extension of the Hofburg Imperial Palace. It was intended to eliminate the lack of space that prevailed here and to contain apartments for the imperial family and their closest courtiers. Today it serves as an exhibition space for numerous museums and as a reading room for the Austrian National Library.
Best City Pass for Vienna

Traveler's Tip: City Passes for Vienna

Vienna offers several appealing city passes for travelers that can help you save money and time. We highly recommend purchasing one of these cards.

To learn more about the popular tourist cards, including prices and included activities, check out our article "Best City Pass for Vienna: Compare Prices & Included Activities". Alternatively, you can easily compare and purchase the card of your choice by clicking on one of the buttons below the following brief descriptions.

1. Vienna City Card

The Vienna City Card is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours, providing discounts at 200 attractions, museums, restaurants, theaters, and stores. Additionally, it offers unlimited and free use of public transportation.

2. Vienna Pass

The Vienna Pass is available for 1, 2, 3, or 6 days and grants you free admission to over 60 attractions in Vienna. It often allows you to skip the queues.

3. Vienna Flexi Pass

The Vienna Flexi Pass allows you to choose your favorite 2 to 5 attractions from a selection of over 40 options. You can visit them for free and, if available, enjoy fast-track admission.

4. Go City Explorer Pass

The Go City Explorer Pass enables you to choose your favorite 2 to 7 attractions from over 40 options in Vienna. You can visit them for free and, if available, enjoy fast-track admission.

More Interesting Places in the Hofburg Imperial Palace

Insider Tips for Non-Viennese

St. Augustin in Vienna in Austria


Heart crypt of the Habsburgs in the Augustinian church

Roman ruins

Roman ruins

On Michaelerplatz in front of the entrance to the Hofburg Imperial Palace in the city center

 Address & Map

Address: Hofburg, Heldenplatz, 1010 Vienna

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