A spring walk in Vienna – Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is the former summer residence of the Habsburg family. The days of Habsburgs are over, at least as ruling family over Austria. But there is always a silver lining. In the case of the imperial family it’s their palaces and other structural achievements which they have left us with. On these historical buildings Austria’s tourism still lives on today. It’s funny that Schönbrunn was the summer palace because the distance to the Hofburg, the palace downtown, is only a short metro ride away.

The Sissi films eternalized the palace on celluloid and made Romy Schneider famous as well. If you haven’t seen them, watch the trilogy before visiting Austria. you’ll know then what to expect. Not much has changed since. The palace though is open to the public now. Of course not when I was strolling through the garden, because the pandemic kept going strong. We met on Saturday morning in front of the Hietzinger Gate and started with our tour.

looking back to the Hietzinger gate @Schönbrunn

We passed the palace and as you can see it looms largely above you when you stand in front of it. It’s very beautiful from the front, but during this visit I never made it there.

Schönbrunn Palace from the garden side @Vienna

We headed up to the Gloriette (which literally means ‘little room’). The path up has a steep incline and I was more than a little impressed when runners overtook us.

looking back on the palace @Schönbrunn

heading up to the Gloriette @Vienna

The Gloriette shines the most when you view from up close. Never skip the walk uphill therefore when visiting Schönbrunn.

Gloriette @Schönbrunn

Turning around in front of the Gloriette allows you to see Vienna at your feet. Including the palace. It looks rather puny and really far away. Imagine that being your summer residence.

looking down on the city and Schönbrunn palace @Vienna

Strolling we down we followed the serpentine, which included more runners and made me feel absolutely lazy. Here I was walking at a leisurely pace while others ran up the hill sweating like crazy. Naturally I avoided having any of those sporty people in my pictures.

walking down the hill @Schönbrunn

Once you arrive at the bottom of the serpentine a huge fountain links the two paths together.

the fountain at the beginning of the paths up to the Gloriette @Vienna

Turning around you get another view on the palace. Even though you are now back on ‘ground level’ it still appears to be far away.

all the way back there is Schönbrunn Palace @Vienna

We left the palace behind us and walked back to the Hietzinger Gate. Passing the Tiergarten (or the national zoo) we saw some deer resting in the sun. Too bad that even this place is closed in lockdown.

deer relaxing in the sun @Schönbrunn

Not sure what we looked at here but it almost felt surreal. Suddenly so many different paths opened up in front of us.

which path to choose here @Schönbrunn

Eventually we bypassed them all and stayed on the one we were already. That path led us to the Palmenhaus, a beautiful greenhouse. There is a similar greenhouse in the Burggarten downtown which you can rent for parties.

greenhouse aka Palmenhaus @Schönbrunn

Maybe once the museums are open again I will decide to tour the palace again. It has been years since I visited it, with friends from Canada no less. Isn’t it usually so that you know your own city the least? Therefore I am taking this pandemic as a chance to get to know Vienna. Yours, Pollybert

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