Schonbrunn Palace Park
The grounds of the Hapsburg’s summer palace, Schloss Schonbrunn, are a beautiful setting for picnics, children’s play, walking and running, photography, peaceful reading or catching a snooze, and romantic walks along the many long lanes bordered by tall trees.
As well, Schonbrunn Park has ponds, fountains, a maze, and grand café on a hill overlooking the fountains, the palace, and Vienna’s city center two miles in the distance. The formal French Baroque park was designed and built during Maria-Theresa’s reign (1740+). From the palace, the gardens and park grounds rise up to a height of one hundred meters beyond the great fountain of a Roman nymph, which gives the palace its name.
The fountain is on the site of a fresh spring, discovered by Emperor Matthias while hunting in the area in 1619. Greek and Roman statues of mythological figures adorn this fountain. There is a grotto at the top of the fountain, from which photographs can be taken of the formal gardens and the palace below.
The park has several buildings dating from various imperial periods and reigns. The Palmenhaus is a steel and glass palm house built in 1881, that is now one of the park’s cafés. The Gloriette is at the summit of the park’s hill. This building is the park’s most prominent feature, and it’s Neo-Classical design was once used as a dining hall before is became another café.
Schonbrunn Park can occupy you for hours. It’s many crushed-stone lanes rise to the summit, and are places for quiet strolls, morning jogs, and a photographer’s dream for picturesque nature shots and stunning architectural studies.
The park is free to visitors. A tour of the palace has a fee structure based on the area and types of rooms you wish to visit. Getting to the palace is an easy subway ride from the city center, exit at station U-bahn Schonbrunn … and follow the crowd. If you’re staying in the neighborhood, the park is a delightful way to start your morning, as you’ll find plenty of on-the-go coffee and pastry shops.