When the leaves change colours, they turn Vienna into an even more beautiful place to explore. I have written a guide about my favourites things to do in Vienna in autumn. In this article, I am adding more details about a must-see during your Vienna trip: Schönbrunn Palace and its imperial park.
The imperial park is worth a visit at any season, but I particularly enjoy a walk in autumn – when nature becomes an artist and turns the whole park into an impressionist painting in green, yellow, orange, red and brown.
The good news is that the majority of the park – except the maze and the zoo – can be accessed for free.
Walk in the Park
I have split up my walk in a short and a long tour, depending on how much time you want to spend (and maybe how much exercise you want to get, as the long walk involves a lot of walking uphill.
I recommend to start your walk at the gate near Hietzing U-Bahn station. Walk down the boulevard of trees to enjoy the famous autumn scenes. The boulevard is called “Finstere Allee”.
Move towards the Palmenhaus (the green house). The view of the Palmenhaus is especially beautiful when the sun starts to set as the glass reflects the light.
Near the Palmenhaus, there is the “Kastanienalle”, a boulevard of chestnut trees. It leads to the “Rosarium”, a rose garden. Near this Rosarium, there is the Eastern Naiad Fountain.
From there, head towards the palace using Hundshofallee.
I particularly enjoy the small boulevards and lanes parallel to the main “Finstere Allee”. Along “Lichte Allee”, there are beautiful lanes which are covered with tunnels which turn into the autumn colours.
When you reach the main square behind the palace, I do recommend to also explore the other side towards the Meidling gate.
I really like the diagonal lanes which are flanked by statues. Pretty spots on that side are the Najadenbassin, Taubenhaus (pigeon house), Engelsbrunnen (angels fountain) and the Roman ruins.
If you still want to explore more, I highly recommend to walk up to the Gloriette. It is quite steep and you will get some good exercise. But I promise you, the view will not disappoint.
Before you walk up, do pay attention to the beautiful lane leading diagonally up on the side of the Gloriette – the colourful lane leads to the so-called “Small Gloriette” and you can spot the small building with a coppola.
When you walk past the fountain and uphill, do not forget to always look back and enjoy the beautiful view.
Treat yourself with a break and take in the beautiful views of Vienna. On a sunny day, you can see as far as to the other side of the Danube river.
The Gloriette is the building on top of the hill. Today, there is a café. Behind the Gloriette, I spotted some herons.
Walk down Gloriettestraße towards Maxingstraße in Hietzing.
Pass by Tirolerhaus and the gate to the zoo. It looks as if you could not walk further, because you will see a green fence right ahead of you. But there is a path turning slightly to the left which will lead you down until you reach the Palmenhaus.
For me it was very unexpected – I thought it would be a “normal” path until I reach a gate. But towards the flatter part, there were many different types of trees and bushes. All of them were in the most beautiful yellow, orange and red colours.
Walk towards the Palmenhaus and back to the exit at Hietzing. (Even if it sometimes seems that there was an exit gate, the closest is the Hietzing gate.)
Is It Worth to Visit the Palace?
When visiting Vienna, I recommend to visit one of the two main Habsburg palaces – the Hofburg in the city centre or Schönbrunn.
A regular ticket for the Imperial Tour is EUR 18 (about USD 21), EUR 22 (about USD 26) for the Grand Tour. Unless you are particularly interested in the rooms decorated in oriental styles, I think the Imperial Tour is enough to learn more about the life at the court.
In busy, non-Covid-times, visitors received a dedicated time slot. Schönbrunn is one of the most popular tourists sights in Vienna and has become increasingly busy. Hence, it is usually a good idea to book tickets online in advance because you can choose a time slot. I then also recommend to go there right after the palace opens as it can get really busy during the day.
At the time of publishing this article, the palace was empty due to Covid-19-related travel bans and I was able to enter right away. I saw about 10 people in total during the Imperial Tour and during the part of the Grand Tour I did not meet a single other visitor. I have never seen the main square in front of the palace empty up until the autumn of 2020.
I do have to say that EUR 18 is on the higher side for museums in Vienna. If you plan to visit additional attractions at Schönbrunn (e.g. the zoo or the maze) or further museums in Vienna, I advise to check the special tickets involving more locations.
How to Get to Schönbrunn
Schönbrunn Palace and its imperial park are conveniently located between two subway stations of the “U-Bahn” line U4. If you want to start by visiting the palace, I recommend leaving at Schönbrunn station. If you come to enjoy a walk, leave at Hietzing station.
Just one important note: tickets for the palace have to be bought at the main gate – the one near Schönbrunn U4 station. You cannot buy them at the entrance of the palace. Therefore, when you come from one of the side entrances, like the one near Hietzing station, you will have to walk to the main gate first.
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All information based on the information on the official website of Schönbrunn and provided at the location. as of the date of publishing/updating and based on the personal visit of Elisabeth Steiger. We cannot accept responsibility for the correctness or completeness of the data, or for ensuring that it is up to date. All recommendations are based on the personal experience of Elisabeth Steiger, no fees were received by the recommended places above.