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Schönbrunn Palace - Austria

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna Schonbrunn Palace, ViennaSchonbrunn Palace, ViennaSchonbrunn Palace, Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace is located just outside the centre of Vienna and was once the summer residence of the Habsburg family, Austria's rulers. The palace is enormous with over 1400 rooms and is set in a vast expanse of parkland and gardens. There's a zoo hidden in the gardens somewhere and many of the paths that criss cross it are wide enough to drive a coach through.

Part of the palace is open to the public and the tour takes you through some of the private rooms of the emperors. Some of these are lavishly decorated with intricate carvings and wall panelling. The highlight of the tour is the massive banqueting hall with its huge chandeliers, filling the centre part of the palace. There are some fantastically detailed paintings of important events, one celebrating the wedding of a Habsburg princesses showing a whole park filled with a procession of horse drawn coaches containing everyone of importance from within Europe.

The gardens are really huge, with the paths shaded by some very old trees. There's a maze and a labyrinth in the grounds which are great fun with entertaining puzzles and trick fountains. Further up the gardens on the top of a hill is the massive Gloriette monument. It's a huge and imposing columned building with a cafe in the middle. There's a roof terrace that offers a fantastic view over the parkland, with the huge palace and the city's spires below.

Schönbrunn Palace is a great place to visit, extremely grand and imposing and with a fantastic wealth of attractions in the grounds. There are nightly concerts in the orangerie and larger summer events are held in the central part of the gardens.

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