Schönbrunn Palace

Schoenbrunn palace austria

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For anyone interested in Hapsburg history, the sprawling Schönbrunn Palace—think of it as Vienna’s Versailles—is a must. The summer residence of the royal family, a twenty-minute taxi drive outside the city center, Schönbrunn has more than a 1,400 sumptuous rococo rooms, and guided tours cover up to forty stately interiors, including Elisabeth’s dressing room (the stunning empress was known for her lengthy beauty routine, including hours dedicated to her long tresses), the Chinese cabinets with intricate parquet floors and the Millions Room, whose walls are clad in exquisite rosewood panels. There’s also a children’s tour, which escorts little visitors through the royal nursery and the impressive Mirror Room.

You can tour the palace in half a day, but if you have time to spend the day, don’t miss Schönbrunn’s expansive park, which has been open to the public since 1779 and has French-style gardens, elaborate carved fountains, an orangery and the largest palm house in Europe. The old-fashioned 18,640-square-foot maze is popular with families, as is the zoo—Europe’s oldest.

The Tirolergarten is a fabulous old tavern in a Tyrolean farmhouse that dates to the 18th century (it’s near the wolves’ cages, but can also be accessed from the Schönbrunn park). Its homemade honeys make wonderful gifts.

Indagare Tip: Schönbrunn has a long musical history—in 1762, the six-year-old Mozart performed in the Hall of Mirrors for Empress Maria Theresia—and today, special performances are held throughout the year.

Written by Simone Girner

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