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Hofburg Palace picture in Vienna
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Details

  • Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.8
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  • Value
    3.0
  • Facilities
    3.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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Unlike Vienna's other royal residences, Hofburg is like a city within a city. Sitting on the southwestern edge of the Innere Stadt, the 13th-century palace shelters several individual attractions, and if you want the full royal experience, you'll need to spend at least half a day here.

Experienced travelers say it's best to start in the middle of this massive complex and work your way out. The oldest parts surround the Swiss Court, named for the Swiss guards who used to patrol the area. And from there you'll find the Kaiserappartements (Imperial Apartments), more than 2,000 rooms where the royal family lived. Only a dozen or so are open to the public. Take some time to explore the Kaiserappartements' Sisi Museum, which offers insight into the life and death of Vienna's beloved Empress Elizabeth. Then swing by the Imperial Silver Collection or the butterfly house. (For more information about the Kaiserappartements, click here.)

Next on the itinerary: the Burgkapelle (Royal Chapel). Visit on a Sunday to hear the Vienna Boy's Choir singing during Mass, then go check out the Spanische Reitschule (Spanish Riding School) where sugary-white Lipizzaner horses are raised and trained. Tickets are rather pricey, but you can sit in the bleachers and watch performances and training sessions for free (For more information, check out the school's website).

Don't tire out yet – you should also take a few minutes to see the sprawling Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square), and the huge statues of Archduke Karl (who defeated Napoleon's troops at the Battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809) and Prince Eugene of Savoy (who defended Austria from an Ottoman invasion in 1683).

The Hofburg Palace is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 or 6 p.m. depending on the season. Prices vary depending on which attractions you wish to see. Visit the palace's main website to plan your visit.

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#1 St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) Towering above the streets of the Innere Stadt, this massive cathedral is the true centerpiece of Vienna. St. Stephen's has stood in this very spot since the early 12th ... Read more » Angel Villalba / Getty Images

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#3 Schonbrunn Palace Originally constructed in 1696 as a hunting lodge, Schonbrunn Palace later became the official Hapsburg summer residence. Under the supervision of Maria Theresa (the only female Hapsburg ruler), Schonbrunn evolved ... Read more » Anita_Bonita / Getty Images

#4 Naschmarkt Every Monday through Saturday, hundreds of vendors flock to this market in the Wieden District (located just south of the Ringstrasse) to sell fruit, meat, dairy products and other local ... Read more » Leonsbox / Getty Images

#5 House of Music (Haus der Musik) Vienna has long been a musical epicenter. It was here that renowned composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Mahler and Strauss lived, composed and performed. So it's hard not ... Read more » Courtesy Haus der Musik

#6 Tiergarten It began in 1752 as an exotic menagerie amassed by Franz Stephan, the husband of Maria Theresa (the only female Hapsburg ruler) and the country's Holy Roman Emperor. Today ... Read more » Katja Vymyslicky / Flickr

#7 MuseumsQuartier Straddling the southwest section of the Ringstrasse, the MuseumsQuartier is an enormous cultural institution comprising numerous top-notch museums. If you're interested in art, head to the Leopold Museum, which ... Read more » Gryffindor / Wikimedia Commons

#8 State Opera House (Staatsoper) Since 1869, this State Opera House has been the city's premier venue for the performing arts and a major focal point of Viennese life. Its directorship is one of ... Read more » babyichuk / Getty Images

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#10 Hofburg Palace Unlike Vienna's other royal residences, Hofburg is like a city within a city. Sitting on the southwestern edge of the Innere Stadt, the 13th-century palace shelters several individual attractions ... Read more » Westend61 / Getty Images

#11 Museum Judenplatz Judenplatz earned its name back in the 13th century when it was first designated as the Jewish Ghetto. For centuries, this neighborhood remained the epicenter of Jewish life in Vienna ... Read more » zoonabar / Flickr

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Hofburg Palace is massive, so plan on spending a lot of time here if you want to see everything it has to offer. Westend61 / Getty Images

zoonabar / Flickr

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