Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn, Austria

The Palace of Schönbrunn was the residence of the Habsburg emperor in the 18th to the early 20th century. It is located to the southwest of the city center of Vienna, Austria. Today the palace and its garden are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was inscribed during the 20th session of the World Heritage Committee, which took place in Merida, Mexico on 2-7 December, 1996.

Schönbrunn is one of the best preserved Baroque royal palaces. Apart from some minor additions in the 19th century, much of the palace and its gardens were built in the 18th century. The World Heritage Site of Schönbrunn comprises a core zone of 186.28 hectares surrounded by a buffer zone of 260.64 hectares.

Schönbrunn was built on land which was purchased by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II in 1569. In the early years, the land was game property stocked with pheasants, ducks, deer and boar. Its use was primary for the emperor's recreational hunting.

Photos of Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
Dürnstein Church
Author: Philipp Mayer (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Schönbrunn Maze
Dürnstein Church
Author: Andrea Schaufler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Schönbrunn Sculptures
Dürnstein Church
Author: Dezidor (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Schönbrunn grounds
Dürnstein Church
Author: Mick7402 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

About Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn was designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, the most famous Austria architect of the Baroque era, on the orders of Emperor Leopold I. His first draft was a very whimsical design with the purpose of topping Versailles in size and grandeur. His second draft is a smaller, more realistic building. This was accepted and construction began in 1696. Three years later, a sort of opening ceremony was held in the newly completed middle portion of the palace.

Maria Theresa received it from her father, Emperor Charles VI. She decided to make it her imperial summer residence, and engaged her court architect, Nicolò Pacassi to renovate the palace and garden in the Rococo style. By the end of her reign, Schönbrunn Palace has become the nerve centre of Austria's empire. It remained the residence of the Austrian imperial family until the eventual abdication of Charles I in 1919.

What to See in Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn

The sights and things to see within Schönbrunn Palace:
  • Great Gallery: This is used for imperial banquets. The ceiling frescoes were done by Georgio Gugliemi
  • Blue Chinese Salon: This is a room in the Rococo style, with Chinese scenes. Emperor Karl I, the last Austrian emperor, signed his abdication here in 1918.
  • Large Rosa Room: This is one fo the three rooms with huge Swiss and Italian landscapes done by Josef Rosa. The room was named after him.
  • Vieux-Lacque Room: This room is decorated with exquisite oriental lacquered panels. Maria Theresa lived here in her widowhood.
  • Millions Room (Millionenzimmer): This room has fabulous Rococo decorations. Maria Theresa used it as her conference room.
  • Round Chinese Cabinet: This is a room with walls of white and gold, and adorned with lacquered panels. Maria Theresa used it for private discussions with her state chancellor, Prince Kaunitz.
The sights and things to see within Schönbrunn Gardens:
  • Privy Garden
  • Maze / Labyrinth
  • Gloriette, with Panorama Terrace. The Gloriette
  • The Zoo: Tiergarten Schönbrunn is the oldest zoo in the world, founded in 1752. It is today a scientifically administered zoo with the intention of conserving species and general nature.
  • Sculptures: There are 32 sculptures lining the Great Parterre. They represent deities and virtues.
The Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
Dürnstein Church
Author: David Monniaux (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 48 11 12 E 16 18 48
Inscription Year: 1996
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: I, IV


Schönbrunn is located to the southwest of Vienna.

Location Map

View Schonbrunn Palace in a larger map

Visiting Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn

Your base for visiting this World Heritage Site is Vienna. You can get your hotel there to help you make the arrangement, or select the appropriate tour package or day excursion. Get a full list of hotels in Vienna here.

Getting there

Take the underground train, green line U4, to the Schönbrunn station. Trams Nos. 10 and 58 also go there, as does Bus No. 10A.

Book Hotel Rooms in Austria and Worldwide

Click here also for a full list of hotels in Austria or hotels worldwide. If you prefer budget accommodation in hostels, guesthouses or inns, check out hostels worldwide for budget accommodation providers with online booking.

Palace of Schönbrunn
Palace of Schönbrunn
Author: Gveret Tered (public domain)

Local Tours of Austria

Here are some local tours of Austria that you may want to include to your itinerary. These tours are arranged by Viator, one of the most reputable tour agencies in the market.

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