Not far from the city centre is Vienna’s most famous attraction – Schloss Schonbrunn. The grand showpiece of Habsburg legacy is often known as the Austrian version of Versailles with a similar awe-inspiring palace and the massive garden. Though interestingly, Schonbrunn which means ‘beautiful spring’, started out as a royal hunting ground. Before it was decided that a palace will be built and the magnitude was ‘go big or go home’. Hence, the grand palace has got 1,441 rooms, a mixture of large garden spaces and even its own zoo!
Prior to the visit, I have gotten the tickets online and that saves me from joining the snaking queue in the early morning. Therefore, do remember to bring along the printed tickets and take note of your selected entry time – be punctual! We went to check out the gardens while waiting for our allocated entry time.
The parterre behind the palace is nicely done up with very well-maintained grass lawn, swirling patterns and beautiful flowers. It looks to be a great place to laze around on one of the benches and chillax.
Some highlights of Schonbrunner gardens are the Neptune’s Fountain and the Gloriette atop of Schonbrunn hill.
It takes a little more walking from the fountain to the Gloriette which was built as a war memorial and the centre portion is now being used as a café.
The Gloriette offers some great surrounding view of Schloss Schonbrunn.
Imperial Tour of Schloss Schonbrunn
As mentioned that there are 1,441 rooms in total but only 40 rooms are open to the public. And that kinda makes sense because I seriously do not think any tourists will want to visit all of them anyway. So depending on the ticket, you can either go all 40 rooms with Grand Tour or choose to see 22 rooms with Imperial Tour.
Seeing the incredibly ornate rooms and the magnificent interiors reminded me of Versailles, very comparable if you ask me. But for me, it is the sad love story of Empress Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Joseph which left a deeper impression.
The beautiful Empress Elisabeth or affectionately known as Sisi by the Austrians, married Emperor Franz Joseph when she was only 16 years old. She struggled with the strict royal court life and was constantly at odds with her mother-in-law. Sisi has no said around the palace and was not even allowed to look after her young children. Things got worse when her youngest daughter died of fever and her only son in a bizarre suicide. Deeply affected by the tragedies, Sisi withdrew from her all duties and travelled around but was assassinated and passed away in Geneva…