Originally constructed in 1696 as a hunting lodge, Schonbrunn Palace later became the official Hapsburg summer residence. Under the supervision of Maria Theresa (the only female Hapsburg ruler), Schonbrunn evolved into an expansive paradise with ornate rooms and vast elaborate gardens comparable to King Louis XIV of France’s palace at Versailles.
Tours are available throughout the year and will lead you through apartments belonging to Maria Theresa as well as Emperor Franz Joseph, his wife Elisabeth, and Archduke Franz Karl. Other highlights include the Blue Staircase, the Mirror Room and the Hall of Ceremonies. Also plan to spend at least an hour in the gardens. The gardens are connected by shaded promenades that extend diagonally from the Gloriette, a stunning Roman-style arch overlooking a vast pool. Located within the grounds is Tiergarten, which is the oldest zoo in the world. Don’t miss an opportunity to experience this architectural and historical marvel.