Updated: Oct 22
Vienna is renowned for its rich history, culture, and architecture. Vienna is home to the world's most stunning palaces, which used to be the residence of the Empires and Nobles of Europe. These palaces are in Baroque, Rococo, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. These palaces are open to the public and provide a great opportunity to get a sneak peek of the lifestyle of Viennese.
Vienna's Top 6 Palaces to Visit:
Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)
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Let’s find out the 6 best palaces in Vienna:
1. Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn):
The famous Schönbrunn Palace was built in the 17th century as a summer palace and hunting lodge for the Habsburgs Empire. It’s a Baroque palace surrounded by beautiful gardens, fountains, and sculptures.
It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Vienna, so you can imagine how difficult it is to get the tickets. There are long queues onsite, so I would like to suggest booking your ticket online in advance to save the waiting time.
There are several different ticket options for visiting Schönbrunn Palace, e.g., the Imperial ticket, which costs 22 euros and it includes access to the palace’s 22 staterooms, Gardens, and Gloriette viewpoint. The Grand tour also includes the tour to the private apartment of Emperor Franz Josephy and Empress Elisabeth. Check out the website for more information.
There are various options for visiting Schönbrunn Palace. The most popular one is the Classic Pass, which includes access to the palace's 22 staterooms, the Gardens, and the Gloriette viewpoint. Visitors can also opt for a Grand Tour costs 26 euros, which includes additional rooms and areas, such as Emperor Franz Joseph's private apartments and Empress Elisabeth's.
In both tickets, you get the audio player Guided tour in several languages, and you can learn about the history of each room.
If you have a Vienna City card, you can also get a discount on the ticket.
Behind the Schönbrunn Palace, there’s a stunning structure of Gloriette on the hilltop. Glorietta is a Neoclassical architect and the best place to enjoy the beautiful view of the Palace. Glorietta was built in 1775 by Empress Maria Theresa, and it was used as a military hospital during the Napoleonic wars.
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There’s a charming Café Gloriette to relax and enjoy the view of the Palace. We were lucky to get the spot near the window, and we enjoyed the view with amazing Coffee. The cafe also used to host the Habsburg family back in time.
It’s a little harder to get a ticket to the State opera house Vienna, as it sells very quickly, but there are lots of other Opera theaters in Vienna, including Schlosstheater Schönbrunn, which offer a unique musical experience.
I attended the Opera at Baroque architecture’s Schönbrunn Schlosstheater, and it was truly an unforgettable experience which beautiful music and rich history.
Are you looking for more activities to do in Vienna? Check out my blog: Things to do in Vienna, Austria.
2. Hofburg Palace:
The Hofburg Palace is located in the Old Town of Vienna. The Palace used to be a residence of Habsburgs for 600 years. It was built in the 13th century and displayed the rich history and culture of the Habsburgs. Now, the palace has different museums, such as Sisi Museum, Imperial Apartments, and Silver Collection. It's one of the top landmarks and cultural attractions of Vienna. The Palace also has a Chapel and a famous Spanish Riding school.
Must places to visit in Hofburg Palace:
2.1 Imperial Apartments:
In order to learn more about the day-to-day of Habsburgs, you should visit Imperial Apartments, which displays the lavish furniture, chandeliers, and art pieces from Habsburgs.
2.2 Sisi Museum:
If you are interested to learn about the lifestyle of the Habsburg Empress, then you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit Sisi Museum located in Hofburg Palace in Vienna. The museum is dedicated to the life of Empress Elisabeth, known as Sisi.
In the museum, you can find a collection of clothes, jewelry, and portraits of Empress Elisabeth, and you can get a sneak peek at her lifestyle, interests, and her struggles. Here you can find the ticket online.
Moreover, you can find a combo ticket for Sisi Museum, Schönbrunn Palace, and Furniture Museum at a discounted price.
2.2 Silver collection:
You can find the collection of silverware, dining sets, and other decorative items used by the Imperial family back in time.
2.3 Imperial Treasury Vienna:
Another museum called Imperial Treasury is located in the Hofburg Palace complex, and it has a collection of the Imperials, such as the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Empire.
It’s a famous square surrounded by Grand buildings like Hofburg Palace and Neue Burg.
2.5 Spanish Riding School:
If you heard about Classic equestrian skills? The Spanish riding school in Vienna is the only institution in the world that still practice Classic equestrian skills. You can experience the performance of Lipizzan horses in perfect harmony with the music, which shows the centuries-old traditions.
3. Belvedere Palace:
Belvedere Palace is one of the most popular palaces in Vienna among tourists. The palace was built in the 18th century, and it used to be a Palace belonging to Military commander Prince Eugene of Savoy. He was the same commander who played a vital role during the wars against Ottoman Empire.
The palace comprises Upper and Lower Belvedere and a beautiful lush garden with a fountain and sculptures. Check out more information on the website.
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3.1 Upper Belvedere:
The Upper Belvedere has baroque architecture and was designed by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt in 1723. It’s the main palace complex and now has the most magnificent art pieces in Vienna. It also has beautiful artwork from Austrian painters Gustav Klimt, Peter Paul Rubens, and Diego Velázquez.
3.2 The Lower Belvedere:
The Lower Belvedere was the original residence of Prince Eugene, and it’s located on a short walk from Upper Belvedere. Nowadays, the palace hosts exhibitions and events about Austrian art from medieval times.
3.3 The Gardens:
The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens designed in the French Baroque style with fountains and sculptures. There are lots of tourists who enjoy the beautiful view of the palace from the garden.
4. Liechtenstein Palace:
The Liechtenstein Palace is located in the heart of Vienna, and it’s a true gem of cultural heritage. It’s a Baroque-style palace and used to be a residence of the Liechtenstein family in the 17th century. The palace was designed by Domenico Egidio Rossi in 1705 and had a beautiful interior.
The palace has a grand hall that has a beautiful ceiling painted by Andre Pozzo. The palace also has a gallery of Baroque masterpieces and has great work by artists like Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Rembrandt van Rijn.
The palace also has a beautiful garden with fountains and sculptures. The palace has undergone several renovations in the 19th century, and today, it hosts public events like concerts and exhibitions.
Check out the blog about Eltz Castle in Germany.
5. Palace Schwarzenberg:
Palace Schwarzenberg played an important role in Viennese history during the Napoleonic War. The palace was occupied by French troops and became the headquarters for Allied forces during the Congress of 1815.
The Palace used to be a residence for Prince Adam Franz Karl Schwarzenberg, who was one of the nobles in Europe. The palace was designed by the famous architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. In the 20th century, the palace turned into a military hospital and museum later on.
Gardens with fountains and sculptures surround the palace, and it's open to the public to enjoy the lush greenery and colorful flowers. Nowadays, the palace organizes important events like Vienna Music Academy and concerts.
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6. Albertina Palace:
The Albertina Palace was constructed in the 18th century for the Dukes of Saxony-Teschen, and now the palace is home to an impressive art collection.
It’s lovely heaven for art lovers and has a masterpiece from famous artists like Picasso, Monet, Degas, Michelangelo, Rubens, and Rembrandt. Nowadays, the palace offers guided tours in multiple languages to the Museum.
Vienna undoubtedly has beautiful palaces, from stunning Schönbrunn Palace to the magnificent Belvedere Palace. All the palaces are unique in terms of architecture, beauty, and history. It’s a reflection of Vienna’s rich history and past. Your trip to Vienna can’t be complete without a visit to these castles.