Vienna highlights: a fall garden tour at Schonbrunn castle and enjoying autumn colors (updated 2023)
Ah fall in Austria is really a spectacular time to be visiting Vienna and enjoy some of the wonderful gardens like Schonbrunn, on the outskirts of the city. It seems like all the autumn colors are just starting to come out now with those saturated colors popping out around the gardens Even while the annuals are being pulled out of the rotating garden beds, the gardens are still presenting a wonderful fall show that dazzles.
The beautiful trees and shrubs around Schonbrunn are dressed in a shocking palette of crimson, ochre, sienna and burnt orange. It is very festive walking through these topiary allees lined with these squared off maple trees in vivid yellows, greens and oranges below. Leaves floating around pathways stir up my senses and imagination – adding excitement and crunch underneath each step I’m taking through these gardens.
Weather and best time to visit Schonbrunn in fall time
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, is a stunning destination, especially during the fall season when the gardens transform into a vibrant display of autumn colors. Here’s what you can expect in terms of weather and the best time to visit Schönbrunn in the fall:
**Weather at Schönbrunn in Fall:**
Fall begins in September, and the weather is generally pleasant with daytime temperatures ranging from 59°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C). Evenings can be cooler, so it’s advisable to bring layers.
October is when the fall foliage starts to show its full splendor. Daytime temperatures range from 50°F to 61°F (10°C to 16°C), and evenings become chillier. Rainfall is moderate.
In November, the fall colors persist, but temperatures continue to drop. Daytime highs range from 41°F to 50°F (5°C to 10°C), and nights can be quite cold. Be prepared for occasional rain and overcast days.
**Best Time to Visit Schönbrunn in Fall:**
The best time to visit Schönbrunn Palace in the fall is typically in October when the gardens are adorned with vibrant autumn foliage. This month offers a delightful combination of comfortable weather and picturesque scenery.
Here are some additional tips for your visit:
While October is an ideal time for fall foliage, it can also be relatively crowded, especially on weekends. Consider visiting during weekdays to avoid larger crowds.
Schönbrunn Palace offers guided tours that provide insights into its history and architecture. It’s a good idea to book your tour in advance, as they can fill up quickly during peak tourist seasons.
If you’re a photography enthusiast, the fall colors create a stunning backdrop for capturing the palace and its gardens. Early morning or late afternoon provides the best natural lighting.
Since you’ll likely spend time outdoors exploring the gardens, wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler moments.
Don’t forget to visit the Schönbrunn Zoo, one of the oldest and most renowned zoos in Europe, which is located on the palace grounds.
Overall, visiting Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna during the fall offers a unique and visually captivating experience. Enjoy the crisp air, beautiful foliage, and the rich history of this imperial palace and its gardens.
There are so many grand allees at Schonbrunn. It’s fun to follow them to something interesting like a folly or fountain located at the end of each path. These landmarks punctuate the ends, and you can explore all around them and be rewarded with nice vistas of the grounds, or a nice view back to the main palace. The gardens at Schonbrunn presents everything on such a monumental scale, so everything you see is grandiose including: fountains, grottoes and statues that you should come up close to and investigate.
Wouldn’t you like to come over and explore the aviary?
A side garden below still has the summer plantings which will soon be pulled out. I’m not sure what they will replace these with for wintertime, or do you think they will they just leave it bare during winter? Hopefully not, it sounds too bleak compared to the fall glory in these gardens.
More summer annuals with garden statues
A sculptural Vignette against an autumn palate
The folly at the end of this promenade is so striking and mysterious at the same time. A scary looking face in the middle creates this strange and underworld feeling above the grotto. I’m sure this is intentional and makes you want to explore all around this huge edifice. Beautifully restored statues balance each end of the grotto, and create a beautiful vignette against the yellow maples n the background. Above the grotto is a large Egyptian obelisk capped with a golden eagle. I had to climb up and around the small hill, behind the grotto, hoping to find a marker or explanation of the sculpture or symbols. But, I didn’t find anything except a nice view looking back towards the palace grounds.
Graceful fountains adorn the gardens at Schonbrunn
The garden exudes this electrifying atmosphere, even though it’s very quiet outside and you almost have the place to yourself. In between these elegant topiary trees below are these stoic statues that lining the walkway, and lending an air of formality and royal splendor. The warm color scheme continues throughout the entire grounds of the palace and present a magnificent showcase. This is such a wonderful walk and I’m really enjoying every moment touring the gardens – I’m just glad I took so many amazing pictures that I can look back and revisit this incredible garden.
The main promenade garden against these striking yellow maples
Along the main promenade fronting the palace, a crew of gardeners are starting to pull out all the summer annuals which are past their prime. Hopefully something cheerful will still be planted, prior to the cold and dull winters that will soon come to Vienna.
Behind the promenade is this prominent fountain adorned with sculpture and fronting a large crescent shaped pond. It seems like everything in the gardens are really grandiose, just the right scale to match the palace itself.
Detail of the central fountain at Schonbrunn
Visit the main gardens of Schonbrunn palace
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is renowned for its stunning gardens, which are a masterpiece of Baroque landscaping. Here are the main gardens to visit at Schönbrunn:
Great Parterre (Grosser Parterre)
This is the grand entrance garden and the largest parterre in Europe. It features symmetrical flowerbeds, sculptures, and fountains. The Neptune Fountain at the center is a prominent feature.
Privy Garden (Privatgarten)
Located behind the palace, this smaller garden was once reserved for the imperial family. It’s an intimate space with manicured hedges, fragrant flowers, and a tranquil atmosphere.
Orangery Garden (Orangeriegarten)
This garden surrounds the Orangery, a greenhouse that housed exotic plants during the colder months. Today, it’s a delightful place to wander, with neatly trimmed hedges and colorful flowerbeds.
Crown Prince Garden (Kronprinzengarten)
This garden is named after the Crown Prince Rudolf and features a mix of French and English landscaping styles. It includes a picturesque pond, ornate statues, and meandering paths.
Maze Garden (Irrgarten)
A highlight for visitors of all ages, the Maze Garden is a labyrinth made of hedges. Challenge yourself to find the center and the viewing platform for a rewarding view of the garden.
Roman Ruin (Römische Ruine)
This garden features a faux Roman ruin with a reflecting pool. It was designed to evoke the grandeur of ancient Rome and provides a picturesque backdrop for photos.
While not a garden in the traditional sense, the Gloriette is a magnificent structure that overlooks the palace and gardens. You can climb to the top for panoramic views of Schönbrunn and Vienna.
This sundial garden features a large, ornate sundial surrounded by carefully landscaped flowerbeds. It’s a charming spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of the palace grounds.
Obelisk Fountain (Obeliskenbrunnen)
Situated near the Great Parterre, this fountain features an obelisk as its centerpiece. It adds an air of grandeur to the entrance of the palace.
Palm House (Palmenhaus)
While not a garden itself, the Palm House is a striking greenhouse housing a wide variety of tropical and subtropical plants. It’s worth a visit for its lush greenery and unique architecture.
Each of these gardens at Schönbrunn offers a distinct atmosphere and visual appeal. As you explore the palace grounds, you’ll be transported back in time to the opulent world of imperial Vienna while enjoying the beauty of these meticulously maintained gardens.
Can you ever get tired of this view?
The baroque structure at the top of the crest overlooking the main palace is the Gloriette monument. With symmetrical arcades and a central pavilion, it is now being used as a restaurant. Originally the Gloriette was a monument built to signify an accomplishment in war, now you can relax in the cafe and enjoy the panoramic views of the city below.
A detail of lions at the entrance of the Gloriette
After a nice walk up to the Gloriette, I decided to take a break and have a nice lunch. Below, I ordered a nice beef and cheese crepe with a simple salad and it was just the perfect meal. I also ordered a side of salmon carpaccio. After such a long and strenuous walk, I thought I deserved it… and yes it was fresh and tasty. Overall lunch was wonderful, and the views looking out to the palace and gardens were spectacular and worth the uphill climb to top.
Looking for other places to eat near Schonbrunn?
While there are a variety of dining options within Schönbrunn Palace itself, the surrounding area offers 10 additional local restaurants for those looking to savor Austrian cuisine and more. Here are some places to eat near Schönbrunn:
1. **Café Residenz**: Located within Schönbrunn Palace, Café Residenz offers a selection of Viennese pastries, coffee, and light meals. It’s a great place to relax after touring the palace.
2. **Gloriette Café**: Situated at the top of the Gloriette, this café provides a picturesque setting with panoramic views of Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens. Enjoy coffee, cakes, and light snacks.
3. **Schönbrunner Stöckl**: A charming restaurant near the palace, Schönbrunner Stöckl serves traditional Austrian dishes in a historic setting. You can dine in the cozy interior or on the terrace.
4. **Meierei im Stadtpark**: This restaurant offers a blend of Austrian and international cuisine and is located in the Stadtpark, not far from Schönbrunn. It’s known for its elegant dining room and garden terrace.
5. **Restaurant Glacis Beisl**: Situated in the Glacis Park, this restaurant provides a relaxing ambiance and a menu featuring Austrian and Viennese dishes. Outdoor seating is available during warmer months.
6. **Café Restaurant Residenz**: Located within walking distance of Schönbrunn, this restaurant serves a variety of Austrian dishes in a historic building. Their outdoor terrace is perfect for a leisurely meal.
7. **Hollmann Salon**: A bit farther from Schönbrunn, in the Freihausviertel district, you’ll find this stylish restaurant offering a fusion of Austrian and international cuisine. It’s known for its creative dishes and cocktails.
8. **Schloss Concordia**: Situated in the Meidling district near Schönbrunn, this charming restaurant is housed in a historic building and serves Austrian and Mediterranean cuisine.
9. **Restaurant Plachutta**: Famous for its traditional Viennese beef dishes, Plachutta is a short drive from Schönbrunn and offers a classic Austrian dining experience.
10. **Schönbrunner Stadtsalon**: Located near the palace, this cozy café and restaurant serves Austrian specialties, including schnitzels and pastries. It’s a convenient option for a meal after your palace visit.
These dining options near Schönbrunn offer a range of choices, from casual cafés to upscale restaurants, allowing you to enjoy Austrian cuisine and international flavors in the vicinity of this magnificent palace.
Maples of every fall color and shape, do you have a favorite?
Check these other places to explore around Vienna area
Conclusion to visiting the fall gardens at Schonbrunn, Vienna
Visiting the fall gardens at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is a journey into a world of natural beauty and imperial grandeur. As you wander through the meticulously landscaped gardens, adorned with vibrant autumn colors, you’ll be transported to a bygone era of opulence and elegance.
The Great Parterre, Privy Garden, and Orangery Garden invite you to explore the harmonious blend of architectural marvels and lush greenery. The maze and Roman Ruin add an element of enchantment and mystery to your stroll.
Standing atop the Gloriette, gazing out at the palace and the gardens below, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas that capture the essence of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The fall season, with its crisp air and golden foliage, provides a unique backdrop for your visit. It’s a time when the palace grounds come alive with the vibrant hues of autumn, creating an unforgettable visual spectacle.
As you conclude your visit to Schönbrunn’s fall gardens, take a moment to reflect on the beauty, history, and cultural significance of this remarkable place. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of nature, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Schönbrunn Palace’s fall gardens offer an experience that lingers in the memory, a testament to the enduring legacy of Austria’s imperial past.
Thanks for visiting the fall garden at Schonbrunn. If you enjoyed the post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons below, thanks. Also, please check out my earlier post highlighting the main palace at Schonbrunn here or check out my tour of The Belvedere palace here.