Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

Sharing is caring!

On a windy spring day during my recent spring break to Europe, I visited one of the top tourist draws in Vienna. Many years ago, I spent an afternoon here in this beautiful capital of Austria. During a post graduate jaunt through Europe, I met a friend in Vienna, and we came here to walk around and enjoy the surroundings. This short trip was my one and only visit to Vienna. On this return trip, I planned to spend four nights in Vienna. A number one priority was a re-visit to Schönbrunn Palace and specifically to walk the Schönbrunn Palace Garden area.

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace from the back across the gardens

Related: Hiking Zarnesti Gorge in Romania

Getting to Schönbrunn Schloss

I grabbed an Uber from my hotel, put on my adidas track suit, and in 15 minutes I was let off directly in front of the palace. They have a convenient circle to drop you off and pick you up at, so it is not even necessary to cross the street. Entrance to the grounds appears free. I walked through the gates and there was no kiosk, gates, or guards, so I continued through in between two pillars to the front of the palace.

Hapsburg selfie

Schönbrunn Palace Garden selfie

Visiting the inside of the Schönbrunn Palace was not on the agenda

I am not much of an inside castle person. This is why I keep referring to the visit as Schönbrunn Palace Garden as I came here to walk and enjoy the area just outside and around the palace. If you came to this blog looking for information on touring the inside, you will be disappointed. I took pictures of the front and then continued around the side of the enormous castle and proceeded around back.

In case you are interested in an inside visit, the palace is open from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m. daily and the cost is 29 Euros. The gardens are open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the entry is free.

Schönbrunn Palace garden walk

When I visited in 1993, it was in July, so it was considerably greener and a lot more flowers were in bloom. This trip was late March. Although the weather was getting warmer, only a few hearty early bloomers were starting to emerge in the garden and the forest floor surrounding the grounds.

Vienna gardens

The gardens are not as pretty an early March when the leaves and flowers are not out, but it is still worth a visit.

The Schönbrunn Castle is an ideal place to wander. My intention on this trip was to take a lot of pictures of the castle and the surrounding grounds, and get a lot of walking in. The  Palace Garden visit did not disappoint on either respect.

Panorama Train

If you would prefer to be driven around the garden, check out the funky Panorama Bahn or train

Hapsburg Summer gardens

Gardens to the right of the palace

Schönbrunn Palace history

At the end of the seventeenth century, Emperor Leopold I commissioned the building of an imperial hunting lodge for his son, Crown Prince Joseph. Joseph later became Emperor Joseph I. Over the next hundred years, the grounds grew and became an imperial summer residence. The focus of court life playing host to the key figures of Europe.

Related: Normandy Scholar Program at Tennessee perked my travel interest

Garden walk statues

There are many statues along the walk and all over the place

The Hapsburg dynasty ruled for more than six centuries. If you are interested in artifacts from their rule, then I would recommend touring the palace itself. There are more than a thousand images that can be found throughout the inside of the palace. The Hapsburg Dynasty collapsed after World War I. The monarchy in Austria and Hungary is no more, but the palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

Schönbrunn Palace Garden

Gloriette and gardens

Gloriette Vienna

The Gloriette from the back stairs of the palace

Walking the Schönbrunn Palace Garden 

The gardens extend for approximately 1.2 km from east to west and 1 kilometer from north to south, but this does not mean one can only walk 2 kilometers. There are many meandering paths one can explore. I spent about 2-3 hours walking around the gardens. I got in about 8 kilometers of walking, which is about 5 miles.

Ominous skies Vienna

Ominous skies while walking the Schönbrunn Palace

Once you walk out of your taxi or uber in front of the palace, you want to walk around the palace to your right. There are many great vantage points of the palace as you walk around it. Once behind the palace, there are steps you can climb. These steps give a great vantage point of the gardens and the beautiful Gloriette in the distance on the hill. 

Gloriette Schönbrunn Vienna

Gloriette in all its glory

Admiring and walking to the Gloriette

The Gloriette was built in 1775 and is a triumphal arch with arcaded wings built on top of Schönbrunn Hill. During the 19th century, the inner hall was often used as a dining area. There is now a café there, so you can sip some coffee where the Hapsburgs once dined.

Schönbrunn Palace through the Gloriette

Schönbrunn Palace photo taken through two pillars of the Gloriette

The pathway between the palace is a flat gravel area with sections of garden. There are three paths that lead to the Gloriette. These are flat as a pancake, but once you get near the Gloriette, the path goes straight up for perhaps 50 meters. This is the only incline in the gardens, so the rest of the paths are easy to walk.

Schönbrunn Hill view

The view of the palace from Schönbrunn Hill

Atop the Gloriette at the Schönbrunn Palace Garden

The highlight of walking to the top of the hill, besides visiting the café, is that you have an unbelievable view back towards the garden, the palace, and even the neighboring areas of Vienna. Also, once you are on top of the hill, there are many meandering trails through the woods.

Vienna Garden

Fake Roman ruin framed on a walkway coming down from the Gloriette

There are several choices one can make when walking back down. You can walk straight back down the same way or you can walk parallel to the Gloriette in either direction and walk down a number of side trails. All paths down the hill eventually lead back to the palace.

Hapsburg Summer Palace

My last view of the Schönbrunn Palace as I walked away

If you are a runner, bring your running shoes. You can check this map for the trail distance and plan out a jog or a hike. For those wanting to explore with all the effort of walking or running, there is a Panorama Train for an additional 12-15 Euros. For more information, check out the informative website on the palace.

Adventure on!