Schönbrunn Palace is strikingly beautiful. Although I’m sure some would argue with me, I believe its beauty far exceeds that of Versailles. What is inarguable is Schönbrunn’s remarkable accessibility and affordability in comparison to its European counterparts. This ease of access should rank Schönbrunn extremely high on any budget-conscious travelers list. The Palace audio tour detailing of the rise and fall of the Habsburg monarchy makes you feel like you’re walking through a movie set, not a museum, and the crowds here are much more manageable than in France. The opulence of this Palace is astounding- we spent an entire day here at Schönbrunn and didn’t regret a second of it. It’s easy to access from Vienna’s city center- just hop on the subway and get off at the Schönbrunn stop and follow the signs to the Palace grounds. Multiple bus tours run each day as well, if you prefer.
All the information you need regarding ticketing can be found here. but I’ll summarize. There are two primary passes I want to cover, the Imperial Tour pass and the Grand Tour pass.
If you’re short on time or interest, just go with the Imperial Tour. It’s about 40 minutes and covers the State Rooms and private apartments of Franz Joseph and Empress Sisi, telling their stories along the way via audio guide. It’s € 14,20 for an adult.
If you like history or design or architecture even a little bit, just spring for the Grand Tour. It’s only € 17,50 and extends your tour a good 20 minutes (although we spent much longer on this tour than an hour). It covers everything the Imperial Tour does, but includes the Hall of Ceremonies, the Gobelin Salon, and a grand total of 40 rooms. You can spend as much time as you want in each room and just soak it in. Each room is paired with a story from the audio guide. I LOVED this tour.
The Sisi Ticket is what we opted for. It allows you to see Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna Hofburg, and the Imperial Furniture Collection with audio guides for € 29,90 per adult. You have up to a year to use the ticket and it fast-tracks you through the lines as well. It’s so much cheaper than buying tickets for all three places and we just spread it out across three days.
If you have kids– there is a really fun maze in the gardens and a children’s museum. There is a family pass that covers 2 adults and up to 3 kids that allows you to experience the Children’s Museum, Hof Palace, and Schönbrunn Palace’s Imperial Tour for € 49,90. When we were there, we saw kids in the children’s museum dressed up in eighteeneth-century style clothing, parading around in all their finery, happy as could be. Not to keep harping on this, but Vienna really makes an effort to draw in as many people as they can to their historical sites- both families and adults alike- and nowhere more so than at Schönbrunn.
After you’ve gorged yourself on the stories of Franz Joseph and Sisi, take a breather in the gardens behind the palace. Although they are included in the price of your ticket, you can purchase just a garden ticket for a few Euros a person if you wish to skip the Palace. They are stunning and if you walk alllll the way to the end of the gardens and up the hill, you’ll reach the Gloriette, where you can rest and eat a well-deserved snack at the restaurant.