Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

The Schönbrunn Palace complex is so large that you can spend the whole day there.

What Can I Do in Schönbrunn Palace?

The impressive Schönbrunn Palace is also referred to as the Versailles of Austria and is one of the most visited sights in Vienna.

The former summer residence of the Habsburg imperial family is one of the most beautiful baroque palace complexes in Europe. Along with the entire garden, Schönbrunn Palace is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage as a baroque work of art.   

The palace complex includes Schönbrunn Zoo, the oldest zoo in the world, the Palm House,  maze and the Desert House.  

We have collected the most beautiful and interesting things to do in Schönbrunn for you.

Highlights in the Palace Park

The most important sights in the palace park include Schönbrunn Palace, the zoo, the Gloriette, the Desert House and the Neptune Fountain. The Schönbrunn Children's Museum is also particularly worth mentioning.

Admission: There are various museums in the palace complex, with separate admission and different opening times. Further details can be found below. 

Castle, Zoo and Concerts

Schönbrunn Palace, Children's Museum, Imperial Carriage and Schönbrunn Zoo

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Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna in Austria

Schönbrunn Palace

The history of Schönbrunn Palace and its predecessors goes back to the Middle Ages. In 1569, the Habsburg Maximilian II acquired the property of Katterburg.  

Various changes were made over the years, the castle was badly damaged during the Turkish sieges and had to be rebuilt.

It was not until 1743 that the complex, which was originally built as a small hunting lodge, and the palace park were rebuilt under Empress Maria Theresa to what it is today, one of the most beautiful baroque palace complexes in Europe.

Imperial Tour:  With the Imperial Tour, 22 of the 1441 rooms in the palace can be visited with an audio guide and a tour description.

Grand Tour:  During the Grand Tour, a total of 40 of the 1441 rooms in the palace complex can be visited. The tour lasts around 50 minutes.

Children's Museum:  Dressed up as a princess or prince, children can experience court life from back then, up close and true to the original in the 12 rooms on the ground floor.

Guided Tours:  There are various guided tours through the castle and the gardens. Details can be found here. Tickets can be bought quickly and conveniently online.

Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna in Austria

Schönbrunn Zoo

The oldest zoo in the world was opened in 1752 by Emperor Franz I Stephan von Lorraine, Maria Theresa's husband, as an imperial menagerie.

Today, 700 animal species, some of them endangered, live on an area of 17 hectares. These include pandas, tigers, orangutans, polar bears, koalas and elephants.  

A train commutes in the Zoo between the Emperor's breakfast pavilion, the elephant house and the Tyrolean Court. The Tyrolean Court is a farm from 1772 that was demolished and rebuilt true to the original in the zoo. There is even fresh milk from the cow to drink. 

Schönbrunn Zoo is not only part of the Schönbrunn UNESCO World Heritage Site, but has also been named “Best Zoo in Europe” five times in a row.

Highlights in the Zoo

The highlights are the panda bears, which are particularly difficult to keep, the rainforest house, which is a huge glass house stretched over a mountain slope, and the ORANG.erie, the home of the Viennese orangutans.

Admission:  With over 2 million visitors a year, it is advisable to buy tickets online and avoid long lines at the ticket offices.

More Sights in the Palace Park

What Else Can I Do?

1. Gloriette

The Gloriette, built in 1775, stands on the summit of the Schönbrunn Palace Park. From the viewing terrace you have a spectacular view over the palace complex. It is also famous for its Kaiserschmarrn, which is one of the best.

2. Castle Park

With a size of 160 hectares, the castle park is a huge area with numerous green areas, fountains, statues and monuments. It is freely accessible and a popular recreation area. The museums in the park have different opening hours and entrance fees.

3. Schönbrunner Pool

The outdoor pool in the castle park is close to the Gloriette. The absolute highlight is the 50 meter sports pool with Olympic dimensions and 8 lanes. There is also a restaurant and its own fitness and wellness area. In the summer months you can swim in the evenings under floodlights.

4. Maze

The maze was laid out between 1698 and 1740. Those who carefully walk through it can even discover the 12 signs of the zodiac. Right next to it is the labyrinth and the Labyrinth Icon playground with 14 play stations.

5. Crown Prince Garden

The Crown Prince Garden is located on the east facade of Schönbrunn Palace. It got its name because of its location right next to the apartment of Crown Prince Rudolf. Until 1918 it was the private garden of the imperial family.
The broderie fields are an impressive example of baroque garden art.

6. Desert House

More than 35 percent of the earth is covered by deserts. Real conditions prevail in the desert house, which is also known as the sun house because of the sundial south of the building. The adventure trail leads through authentically designed desert landscapes from different countries of the world.

7. Palm House

The Palm House is directly opposite the Desert House. One climate zone is shown in each of the three pavilions. With a glass area of 4,900 square meters, it is the largest of its kind in Europe. Among other things, the largest water lily in the world can be seen here. It has a leaf circumference of 1.20 meters.

8. Marionette Theater

The marionette theater founded by Prince Esterházy was already playing here during Mozart's lifetime at the invitation of Empress Maria Theresa. The handmade figures measure 80 cm and are made in our own workshops. Today, theatrical performances and operas for adults and children are held here.

9. Fountain of Neptune

The Neptune fountain is located between the palace and the Gloriette. In its center rises a rocky landscape with the sea god Neptune, who is in a shell with a trident in his hand. In the art of the 16th to 18th centuries, the depiction of Neptune was considered a parable for the prince who ruled his country with sovereignty.

10. Pigeon House

The Pigeon House was built around 1750. The high, round aviary made of wire mesh is rounded off by a copper dome-like roof, which is crowned by a knob. Four brick niches were added to the airy rotunda to offer the birds places to sleep.

Schönbrunn Palace Christmas market

Special Events

Annual Events

Christmas Market

Every year at Christmas time, the romantically illuminated Schönbrunn Palace offers an impressive background for the Christmas market, which invites you to stroll through the 80 wooden stalls on the palace square. Christmas carols and gospels are sung daily on the stage in front of the Christmas tree. For children there is the children's museum and Christmas workshops. 

Summer Night Concert

In summer, the castle is an impressive backdrop for the annual summer night concert of the Vienna Philharmonic. The stage for the open-air concert is set up in front of the castle, the concert begins at dusk and is freely accessible. Classical works from the concert, film, ballet, opera and operetta sectors are played. The concert will be broadcast in over 80 countries worldwide.

Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna in Austria

History of Schönbrunn Palace

The history of Schöbrunn Palace goes back to the Middle Ages, since 1569 it was owned by the Habsburgs. The castle owes its name to Emperor Matthias, who saw a spring here in 1619 and is said to have exclaimed "What a beautiful fountain" when he saw it.

In the years 1638 to 1643 a palace was built as a residence for the second wife of Emperor Ferdinand II, which was badly damaged during the Turkish siege of Vienna. This was followed by numerous new buildings and conversions.

In 1743, under Empress Maira Theresia, the conversion of the palace and the palace park to its current form began.

The castle and the huge park have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1996. One of the biggest attractions in the castle park is the oldest existing zoo in the world, Schönbrunn ZooThe palace and park are among the main tourist attractions in Vienna.

The Three Main Periods

  • Hunting Lodge: In 1569, Emperor Maximilian II acquired the extensive property and stocked it with feathered deer, red deer and wild boar to use for hunting. In 1570 he had a hunting lodge built here.
  • Empress Maria-Theresa: In 1743, under Empress Maria Theresa, the conversion of the palace and the palace park to its current form began. 
  • Emperor Franz Joseph: Emperor Franz Joseph was born in Schönbrunn, he also died in Schönbrunn. He was connected to the castle in a special way, which he rarely left in old age.

Contact the Palace Administration

Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstrasse 47, 1130 Vienna


Phone: (+43) 1 8111 32 39