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Schönbrunn...imperial vs grand tour

I thought I’d seen mentioned that the grand tour was worth it, but our Airbnb host said the shorter imperial tour was fine. Any thoughts? Do the rooms all just look the same after awhile? It’s not much more expensive or much longer. Either going tomorrow or Saturday...looking to book our tix online, so have to decide.

Do we need to add on all the other stuff? (The Gloriana, gardens, maze...Classic Pass). Planning on going by the Belvedere and Hofburg and don’t want to get all ‘gardened’ out.

Posted by
1291 posts

Unless you are very interested in historic details I would say that the shorter tour will do it. I would recommend visiting the Carriage Museum, too. If weather permits take your time and explore the gardens; the maze is more for children.

Most visitors arrive at the main gate, do their tour, and then walk up the hill to the Gloriette, which is on the very top. It is much less strenuous to do it the other way round. Enter the premises via the Maria Theresia Tor (south-east garden entrance), already being at the hill top, walk comfortably to the Gloriette. Climb up to its roof terrace for a wonderful view. After that have a coffe and a cake in the café.

It is rather simple to get to the Maria Theresia Tor (Tor = gate) by public transport. At Meidling Bhf. (Meidling train station) bus 8A departs, ride until stop Stranitzkygasse, then just walk straight over the bridge into the gardens. Meidling Bhf. is a major public transport hub, reachable from all parts of Vienna, most notably metro U6, S-trains (Schnellbahn), tram 62, WLB (Badner Bahn). What would be the best choice will depend from where you will be coming from.

Posted by
1291 posts

From Westbahnhof you can go directly to Meidling Bhf. with metro U6 (brown line).

Posted by
42 posts

Honestly, there are fewer crowds on the Grand Tour (I would aim for Friday if that's possible - weekends can be crazy busy) AND some interesting rooms (like the room of millions and the chinese laquered rooms) are part of the Grand Tour. If you're already out there, it makes sense to take advantage of what's available.

As for gardens, yes, go out and walk around. They are glorious this time of year, but there's no need to head for any of the paid-entry ones. The free gardens are fantastic and are right there. I think they were much better than Belvedere's gardens (which won't take you more than ten minutes to see, both upper and lower).

And if you get hungry, I quite enjoyed the little restaurant by the carriage museum.

Posted by
14016 posts

I took the longest tour and loved it. I agree with Rick, the only palace that tops it is Versailles. And I enjoyed the gardens as much as the palace and more than the Versailles gardens, charming nooks that are very Italian, as well as the formal gardens.

I went to the Hofburg a day later wished I had spent the time seeing something else (still haven't made it to the Treasury). It was a combined ticket with a one-way route, first through myriad silver and porcelain rooms, then the Sisi Museum with few exhibits but with every detail of her life before finally arriving at the royal apartments which looked almost exactly like the royal apartments at the Schonbrunn (the last residents apparently didn't like change).

Posted by
2074 posts

I may be a little late for input but we visited Schönbrunn a couple weeks ago and took the Grand Tour. We were glad we took the longer tour. It was a drizzly day, but despite the rain we thought the gardens were beautiful. We also loved the Belvedere.

Posted by
3841 posts

We are heading today. Got the tix online and decided to do the longer tour. We (meaning my husband) are not early risers, so I booked a slot for 12:45. So we will go and roam about the gardens and have a quick lunch before going in. As for crowds...well, been dealing with them all week...lol

We decided to skip the rooms and whatnot at the Hofburg...I figure Schönbrunn will be plenty. We did the armoury museum yesterday (hubs wanted to do it) and I find my tolerance for museums/looking at stuff indoors now seems to be limited to one per day. After looking at suits of armour (and musical instruments) for 2 hrs, I didn’t think I could bring myself to look at silver and more baubles.

Posted by
3841 posts

Just an update. Did the tour. Got there early and walked a bit. Got to the ticket spot about 10 min ahead. Went in at allotted time. Crowds weren’t too horrible, except when we got to the 2nd part of the tour (where the people who did the shorter tour exited) we got trapped between 2 tour groups. Had to push our way thru one, then we had 2 rooms almost empty in the middle before catching up with the other group. Didn’t think it was worth it to push thru since we were near the end.

Thanks for all the info!

Posted by
2074 posts

Nicole, good to hear all went well at Schönbrunn. I might add that a nice addition to the Schönbrunn was our tour of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Both the exterior & interior were absolutely breathtaking. The interior is lavishly decorated with marble, gold-leaf, and paintings. Of course the museum's primary collections are those of the Hapsburgs. Some of my favorites were The Tower of Babel, and The Hunters in the Snow. We are also fans of Klimt and found the Belvedere worthwhile.

Enjoy.