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Schonnbrunn or Melk?

I think we are only going to have time for one while in Vienna. Which would you choose, Schonnbrunn Palace or Melk Abbey and why?

Posted by
2526 posts

Both were worthwhile to me, with the Melk Abbey being the favorite. The setting and beauty of it was more memorable. Let the votes roll in.

Posted by
2097 posts

I loved Melk Abbey and have not been to Schonnbrunn Palace so keep that in mind. Melk Abbey has a magnificent library and many religious artifacts and art. I'm interested in religious history and traditions and enjoyed it very much.

I plan to visit Schonnbrunn someday as I hear it is second to Versailles in grandeur...

Posted by
4694 posts

Schonbrunn is the most visited and most iconic attraction in Austria for a reason. Schonbrunn is also much easier to get to so you won't be losing three hours of precious vacation time in transit.

Posted by
1078 posts

Thanks! The travel time is a consideration, and as we will be doing a Rhine day cruise before our tour perhaps staying in Vienna for the palace and its gardens would be good. My MIL and I both love gardens!

Posted by
4694 posts

The Schonbrunn gardens are lovely. Walk to the Gloriette, visit the Palmenhaus and see the carriage museum while you are there. The maze and labyrinth are also very fun.

Posted by
6487 posts

If you only have time for one and want to stay in Vienna without a day trip, then by all means, Schonbrunn Palace is the obvious choice. It's wonderful and the gardens are fantastic - of course, that depends on when you go, not sure they'd be so fantastic in the middle of winter but if you go during Christmas time I'm sure there are decorations to make it lovely.

However, I disagree with Emily's statement that Melk Abbey is a waste of your vacation time because it's 3 hours travel time. If you wanted to do a day trip from Vienna, the day trip by train and boat to Melk Abbey is a highlight, at least it was for me. Again, it depends on when you go as the boat cruise is better in some seasons than others.

Both are very worth going to, so your choice can easily be left up to how much time you want to spend and if you don't want to venture away from Vienna proper.

Personally I preferred my visit to Melk Abbey; I actually spent about the same amount of time going to both because I spent so much time touring Schonbrunn Palace and then a lot of time walking and exploring the gardens so, for me, time spent was about the same.

EDIT: If your question is basically which building impressed me the most, then it would be Melk Abbey, regardless of time spent getting to and from.

Posted by
1860 posts

We leave next week for Vienna. Re Schonbrunn visit...I saw a post months ago that suggested taking bus 8A to the upper east garden entrance and then walk downhill. Sounds like a good plan to us. Enjoy your visit and safe travels.

Posted by
1078 posts

We are going in May 2018, so I don't think weather will matter overmuch. I'll have to see what the hubby and MIL would prefer. Thanks all!!

Posted by
4694 posts

May at Schonbrunn will be lovely for flowers as the Wisteria arbor will be in full bloom as will the hundreds of chestnut trees!

Denny - the bus suggestion to reach Schonbrunn is odd. Why wouldn't you take the subway which will be much easier and more direct?

Posted by
4694 posts

And for Nancy, trust me that I do not dismiss the Wachau lightly. I've been there gobs of times and love it, but if time is precious it makes more sense to me to just stay in Vienna. One has to see Schonbrunn when in Vienna.

Posted by
1860 posts

Hello Emily. The idea, or so I thought, was to make for less uphill climbing by starting from the Gloriette and strolling down to the palace. I found my printout: "I learned from clever locals to enter the premises from the upper east garden entrance, walk comfortably to the Gloriette, enjoy the view, maybe have a cup of coffee in the cafeteria, and stroll then down to the palace. That's the order of visiting I would recommend. To reach the upper east garden entrance you must take bus 8A to the stop "Stranitzkygasse". The bus line 8A departs at Wein Meidling train station, one of Vienna's major train stations. You can easily reach it by subway (metro) U6, tram 62, Schnellbahn (elevated commuter), Badner Bahn (WLB).".
I would be very happy to hear your recommendation. I have many of your posts printed out, I might as well rename it the Emily folder. Thank you for all your help on this forum.

Posted by
4694 posts

Denny - where is your hotel or where will you be coming from?

Posted by
1078 posts

As far as crowds go though at Schonnbrunn wouldn't it be better to start with the palace itself?

Posted by
4694 posts

I have never found Schonbrunn to feel crowded except at the Christmas market.

Posted by
1860 posts

Emily, we are at Pension Wild, Lange Gasse 10. Thanks.

Posted by
2399 posts

Both are well worth your time. By the time we made it to Vienna in 2015, we were "palaced out" and didn't enjoy Schonbrunn as much as Melk.

Posted by
1492 posts

@Denny - Thank you for quoting my post about downhill exploring the Schönbrunn gardens. I stick to my words. I found it very comfortable and loved the view from the Gloriette roof terrace. Due to my age and physical condition I do not like walking uphill so much, especially when the weather is hot. (And I did not like to take the Garden Train.)

I agree with Emily that the vast majority of tourists starts at the main gate where a subway stop is in the vicinity.

If you start from your hotel, between the two choices there is not much difference in travel time using public transport. You walk to the next stop of tram 46 (Strozzigasse), go uptown to the Gürtel and change to subway U6 southbound to Wien-Meidling (Philadelphiabrücke) as I described.

Should you change your mind, e.g. because you have an early morning time slot for visiting the palace, then you must change subway lines at Längenfeldgasse, i.e. from U6 to U4 westbound, going until stop Schönbrunn.

Posted by
1860 posts

Wmt1, thank you for the information. I printed it months ago but your name etc. weren't included, so thanks again. I was 25 when I was last in Vienna, and 42 years later topography takes on a whole new meaning. I knew Rome was built on 7 hills when I was 21, but when I was 65 I understood what they'd been talking about for 2000 years.

I appreciate all the help on this forum.

Posted by
1492 posts

@Denny - Vienna does not have famous hills like Rome, but it is not flat at all, with the exception of the area on the left bank of the Danube river. It is a constant up and down. Even in the very center (1st city borough) there are two streets crossing via a bridge, having an elevation difference of about 50 feet.

For best orientation in Vienna I recommend the official map of the City of Vienna:
https://www.wien.gv.at/stadtplan/en/
Using the check boxes on the left you can superimpose a wealth of information, e.g. public transport, free Wi-Fi hotspots, etc.

Posted by
1176 posts

All great posts, I will be back in wonderful Vienna next year and really want to see the Schoonbrunn Palace as I did not get there last year. I found this very helpful.

Posted by
12898 posts

Between the two the obvious choice is Schönbrunn over Melk. I went to see Melk in 2014, it was interesting to a point from a historical context, I was glad I went, but didn't really care for it.

Posted by
781 posts

have been to both and stayed in Melk which made my visit easy logistically and loved it including the views of the river and the Library,Schunbrunn is second only to Versailles and if that is your choice don't forget the Carriage Museum,worth seeing.
Mike

Posted by
1078 posts

Thanks everyone for all your help. We have decided we can fit in BOTH! Our full day in Vienna after the tour will be spend at Melk and cruising the Wachau Valley. The morning of the day we leave for Prague we will be doing Schonnbrunn as the gardens open at 6:30 and the palace at 8:30, leaving us plenty of time to see things before we need to leave for Prague about 1 PM or so.