Vienna's Hofburg Palace Complex question

Old Dec 10th, 2002, 01:33 PM
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Vienna's Hofburg Palace Complex question

I will be on a tour in January. On one day only, I will be free to explore Vienna. I am considering spending that free day at the Hofburg Palace complex. I have never been to Vienna and do not know if I am understanding this site properly. Is the complex small enough that you can walk around from building to building or is it so large that you take transportation between the buildings?

The following sites are within the complex. Each has its own price listed. Is there a place where I can buy a ticket for admission to all buildings or some combination ticket? As I said I only have one day free and I am trying to squeeze in as much as possible. Do you have any recommendations of best sites and best methods for purchasing the tickets?


Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Austrian National Library)
Augustinerkirche (Church of the Augustians)
Die Burgkapelle (Home of the Vienna Boys' Choir)
Kaiserappartements (Imperial Apartments)
Lippizaner Museum
Neue Burg
Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury)
Spanische Reitschule (Spanish Riding School)
Old Dec 10th, 2002, 02:26 PM
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I think this website might give you the information you need -- The complex is small enough that you can walk around from building to building. While it is very interesting, I think you might find Schoenbrunn Palace to be grander. The gardens are wonderful and from the Gloriette behind the gardens, you have the most wonderful view of the city. You can take the U4 Ubahn directly to Schoenbrunn ( If I had a short amount of time in Vienna, I would opt for Schoenbrunn over the Hofburg. If you get to Schoenbrunn when they open, you could spend several hours there, go back to the 1st district and have lunch, then spend several hours visiting the Imperial Apartments at the Hofburg.
Old Dec 10th, 2002, 02:26 PM
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We were there in October. The Hofburg complex is very just walk from one building to the next. Our time was somewhat limited, so we didn't visit the whole complex. I am fairly certain that you can buy one ticket for everything. We went to the Hofburgkappelle (for mass on Sunday... definitely need tickets in advance, and be aware that you won't SEE the choir, but you will hear them. The did come to the front of the chapel for one song after mass). Also did the Lippizaner museum (and the morning training session at the Riding School). The best museum we saw in all of Europe was the Imperial Treasury... I wish we had more time there. We are really into history, and seeing some of the religious artifacts was just amazing.

Another place we wanted more time was Schonnbrun. We only had 1/2 day, and just walked around outside on the grounds. It's beautiful!

What this tells me is that I need another trip to Austria!!!!

Old Dec 10th, 2002, 03:55 PM
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If I had one free day in Vienna, I would definately spend it at Schoenbrunn Palace. You can get a ticket for all 40+ rooms and tour on your own with an audio guide. Then take the Disney like train around the grounds, or walk, through beautiful gardens and the most amazing greenhouse we've ever seen. The Glorietta has wonderful views. The carriage museum is grand. One ticket will do all of this, but I did not read the signs well, and had to pay extra for the greenhouse and train ride, cause I bought the wrong ticket.
At Hofburg, there is NOT a single ticket for all. The boys choir requires advance tickets, and only ten of the seats provide a view of the boys. And those, you have to lean out of the 4th floor balcony, and get an oblique view at that.
The tours of the Hofburg Imperial Treasury and the Imperial Apartments were well worth the hour or so each.
The complex is very compact.
Hope this helps.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 06:43 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies. They were very helpful. Especially because I was so confused. I was under the impression that Schoenburg was also part of the Hofburg Palace and just not named in this section of the website which I copied.

So now I think I will go to Schoenburg first thing in the morning then whatever time permits I will spend at the Treasury and apartments at Hofburg and then the other buildings.

Now here are 2 new questions.
Is is easy to get from Schoenburg to Hofburg by public transportation or should I take a taxi? How much time will this take?
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 07:09 AM
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Kjulie, Check the Spanish Riding School. It's generally possible to get tickets to watch them exercising, but if you can get tickets for a performance, grab them - it's sheer magic!
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 08:27 AM
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From Schoenbrunn, you can take the U4 Ubahn to Karlsplatz, then the U2 to the Museum Quartier stop. You will then just have to cross the Ringstrasse to get to the Hofburg Palace. It should only take about 10 minutes or so travel time on the Ubahn.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 08:58 AM
Bob Brown
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The Hofburg complex is virtually comprised of contiguous buildings. There are several separate tickets to be bought to tour everything. You can easily walk from one to the other, assuming that you are able walk at a normal pace. (I am not, but I got there anyhow.)

Schönbrunn Palace is interesting. We toured with audiophones and found it an interesting event. In fact, we have been through twice.
I think the 40 room tour is the best, but there is a lot of the palace that is off limits to visitors.

You will see the rooms occupied by Franz Josef and Maria Theresia as well as few more. Even though lavish in the best style of a powerful empire, I thought the rooms at least looked like real people had lived there.

Schönbrunn is not just the palace itself, however. There is a botanical greenhouse and a zoo. If the day is clear, a walk up the hill to the Gloriette is interesting. As you walk up, you can appreciate the efforts required to trundle an overweight Maria Theresia to the viewpoints. In her old age she was quite large and refused to walk. Afterall, she was the Empress and that title came with a large number of perks.

The U-bahn stop is very close to the palace entrance, but the building itself is a short walk across the courtyard from the gates. The Vienna U-bahn is easy to use, and works virtually on the honor system. I never showed my pass to anyone except a bus driver as I boarded. Do not, however, attempt to beat the system by freeloading your rides. The risk of a hefty fine outweighs the moderately low cost of a ticket, or a pass.

We bought the 72 hour Vienna pass both visits and used it to the hilt.

The pass entitles you to entrance fee discounts and use of the public transit system at no added cost. We reached the break even point on the first day.

I think you will have a good time.
Compared to the flamboyant razzmatazz of Paris, I found Vienna to be a little more orderly and even subdued. But the culture is just as sophisticated, and I found the people more willing to speak English, if they knew any at all.

In fact, at the Volksoper, when I approached the ticket agent who was in the lobby dispensing "will call" tickets for the performance, he spoke in good English to me right away.
I can navigate some in German, but the stereotypical appraisal of Americans is that we don't speak anything much except American English.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 01:14 PM
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Okay, this advice is great. I know that I can do Schoenburg and Hofburg on my own and I know how to get there. BUT, if the tour group offers either of these as optionals, should I take them in order to avoid lines, get a private guide or some other reason.

I remember when I went to the Vatican museum with a tour the line was outrageous for the others who choose to go on there own. However, the people who go on there own get to spend as much time as they desire at the works that interest them.

Is there any reason that I should chose the optional excursion to these places in lieu of doing on my own.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 01:28 PM
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Go early and time it to arrive about 15 minutes before they open. When the tour busses start arriving, the place becomes a madhouse. Public transport is cheap and easy to use. Try to see St' Stephans Cathderal - its about 3 to 4 blocks from the Hofburg.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 06:49 PM
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We were in Vienna in May. We arrived at Schoenbrunn a few minutes after it opened. We took the audio self-guided tour (covers 25 rooms I think and provides a great narrative) and then walked around the gardens and shot some pictures. We left around 11:30 and it was beginning to get crowded. It is best if you can get there early, but you shouldn't have near the crowds in January that you would have in the warmer months.

I also second the suggestion to visit St. Stephan's. It is the "heart" of Vienna.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 07:45 PM
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When you buy a ticket to the 40 rooms it is "timed." That is, the ticket will give you an admittance time. This is to control the flow of traffic. We were there in July, bought our tickets about 11:30 and it had a 12:00 time stamp. The gate will not allow you to enter until 5 minutes before your time. I would suppose the earlier you are there, the shorter the wait.
At any rate, the timed entrance has the effect of eliminating bunches of people moving through the rooms. It seems to work very well. We did not feel crowded inside the apartments. Also, many do not buy the 40 room ticket, and cannot see about 15 of the 40 rooms. It thinned out quite well after that.
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