Imperial Itinerary: Visit Vienna’s best Imperial attractionsJanuary 14, 2015 1:44 pm
The Austrian Empire was one of the most powerful in the world and was also the world’s second largest country in Europe (after the Russian Empire). The Austrian Empire ran from 1804 to 1867, overlapping with the Roman Empire and resulting in a dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary.
The Habsburg monarchs were the founders of the Austrian Empire, starting with Emperor Francis I. Throughout the Habsburgs long reign they lived in their dynastic city and centre, Vienna, where they ruled their empire and their people during the 19th century.
With the Vienna PASS you can discover Vienna’s historical culture for free and revisit the famous palaces, halls, courtyards and mansions to relive the imperial era.
One of Vienna’s most impressive historical buildings, is Schönbrunn Palace, the Habsburg’s summer retreat. Built in 1642, it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and visitors are invited to take part in a fascinating Grand Tour to admire its vast estate. Schönbrunn Palace is complete with 1,441 rooms – all styled individually – including a zoo and Roman ruins within its large gardens and parklands surrounding.
The Palace was a place of prestige – it even hosted the young Mozart’s first concert (at the tender age of 6!) in the stunning Mirror Room. You can admire the changing styles throughout the Empire as their successors moved through the years. From Empress Maria Theresa to Empress Sisi you can expect silk wallpapers, huge paintings and priceless ornaments from centuries past.
If you visit Schönbrunn for the day you can also explore the world’s oldest zoo, built in 1752, by Emperor Franz I, as well as visit the public gardens, the Privy Garden, the baffling maze and a labyrinth. The Gloriette is also a must-see on your visit, as is the Orangery Garden, a French styled Orangery based on the one at Palace of Versailles.
With the Vienna PASS you can save €12.50 on entry as the pass will let you in for free.
Hofburg Imperial Palace
The Hofburg Palace is Vienna’s central Imperial Palace. Within the expansive former Austrian power-house are museums, galleries and treasuries waiting to be explored. Hofburg Palace was originally a fortified castle, dating back to the 13th century. Once nicknamed the city within a city the palace is built up of 18 wings 19 courtyard with over 2,600 rooms!
Visitors to Hofburg Imperial Palace can enjoy free entry into a number of collections and museums. It’s a great place to go to explore Viennese culture and learn more about the Austrian Empire and its rulers. As it was home to the Habsburgs for over 600 years, the Imperial Apartments are well worth a visit. Not short on space, it was common for the family members to own not only a room but a wing of their own when they were in residence. You’ll be able to see each individual style from Rococo to Baroque and Empire style – dependent on who lived where.
When you come to Vienna you’ll learn all about Empress Sisi, if you don’t know about her already. The Sisi Museum explores the life of Empress Elisabeth (her real name) through personal artefacts, clothes, poetry and even her imperial carriage. Learn about this wonderful and influential Habsburg monarch in this interesting exhibition. The Imperial Silver Collection is also one to admire before you leave; here you’ll learn all about court dining and rules of etiquette and its evolution over time. Food for thought!
Enjoy free entry to all the museums and collections within Hofburg Palace with the Vienna PASS and save on entry!
The Imperial Treasury within Hofburg Palace is home to the crown jewels of Austria. Within one of the most important buildings in the capital – and country – the Imperial Treasury holds the Emperor’s Crown of the Holy Roman Empire which dates back to 962, as well as symbolic collected pieces like the narwhal’s tooth – believed to be the horn of a unicorn.
The Treasury stemmed from the middle age trend of keeping all collectables, trinkets and valuable items in a private room, called Schatzkammern. Now, the Treasury is curated of collections including the Secular Collection where visitors can see royal objects belonging to the Habsburg monarchs, from the Imperial Crown to the Imperial Sword, as well as the Holy Lance.
The Imperial Treasury is also home to priceless gems and precious stones – including one of the largest emeralds in the world! Among other pieces include the Agate Bowl (once believed to be the Holy Grail) as well as objects from Emperor Napoleon.
With the Vienna PASS you’ll be able to see the crown jewels and precious collections for free – saving €12!
Imperial Palace Schloss Hof & Schloss Niederweiden
Set outside Vienna centre, in quiet rural Austria, Schloss Hof was once owned by the eccentric Prince Eugene of Savoy. The former royal country estate is grand, lavish and breath-takingly stunning, covering over 120 acres including grounds, orangery, terraces, baroque gardens and even a petting zoo and a farm!
Within the area you’ll also be able to visit Schloss Niederweiden, the country lodge that was once used for hunting – but more famously to host lavish and expensive parties away from the prying eyes of those in the city. Here it didn’t matter how much noise was made! Niederweiden is a French style Palace which you can tour for free and travel back in time to the imperial days.
Visitors can enjoy both estates and palaces and learn about the Habsburgs past times and how they liked to entertain whilst they visited their ‘out of town’ abodes.
Visit these two imperial estates for free with the Vienna PASS and save over €14!
Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding School is a Viennese institution with a longstanding royal tradition linked to the monarchy, court and gentility of imperial Vienna. The Spanish Riding School has been around since the first half of the 1700s and is as much loved today as it ever was.
Traditionally, Lipizzan horses perform haute école equestrian skills in front of an audience at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. This stunning Baroque riding hall is the perfect backdrop to this classic Viennese tradition of equestrian dressage. There are a number of performances throughout the year which will need to be booked in advance, however, Vienna PASS holders are invited to use their passes to enjoy a free performance of the Piber Meets Vienna performance in the summer, or stop in at the morning exercises, weekly throughout the year.
Visit the Spanish Riding School and experience one of the most unique imperial traditions in Vienna. It’s one of the must-see things to do in Vienna and definitely one to tick off your list. If you want to go and visit a performance, we would advise you to check and book in advance to avoid disappointment as schedules may change at the last minute.
Save €14 upon entry to the Spanish Riding School with a Vienna PASS!