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Schonbrunn Palace vs Hofburg Palace – which is better?

Schonbrunn Palace vs Hofburg Palace

Tourists wonder if they must visit Schönbrunn Palace or Hofburg Palace because, however different they may be, they are also similar in many aspects. 

For instance, they both are – 

  • Former residences of the Habsburg monarchs
  • Iconic landmarks showcasing diverse architectural styles
  • Known for its historical events

Based on your schedule and interests, we will help you decide whether to visit Schönbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace, or both.

Schönbrunn Palace vs Hofburg Palace

This insight will come in handy for you when it comes to choosing between Schönbrunn and Hofburg Palaces.

Aspect Schönbrunn Palace Hofburg Palace
Location Southwest of Vienna Center of Vienna
Size 1.6 square kilometers 240,000 square meters
Architectural Style Baroque architecture with Rococo elements Various architectural styles, including Baroque, Neo-Renaissance, and Gothic
Gardens Extensive gardens with fountains, sculptures, and the Gloriette Smaller gardens, courtyards, Spanish Riding School
Imperial Residences Former summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs Primary winter residence in the past and currently, office of Austria’s president 
Attractions Tiergarten (zoo), Gloriette, Privy Garden, Orangery Imperial Apartments, Spanish Riding School, Treasury
Cultural Offerings Museums, art collections, historical exhibitions Museums, imperial collections, ceremonial rooms
Historical Significance Site of historic events and royal ceremonies Witness to pivotal moments in Austrian history
Accessibility Convenient public and private transportation Easy access from the city center


The Schönbrunn Palace is in Vienna’s elegant Hietzing district, while Hofburg Palace is in the city’s heart, in the central Ringstrasse

The distance between the two palaces is 5.9 km (3.6 miles), and it takes 30 to 40 minutes to reach the palace by public transport. 

As Hofburg Palace is in the central city, you can vouch for its accessibility.

However, Schönbrunn Palace offers you the best experience if you have longer hours.

Historical Significance 

Both palaces are known for their architecture, the legacy of imperial family residences, and the cultural events of Vienna. 

While Schönbrunn Palace served as the summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family, Hofburg Palace functioned as the winter residence and epicenter of Imperial courts. 

Schönbrunn Palace’s history spans over 300 years, from being a recreational hunting ground to the current tourist spot. 

Hofburg Palace’s history dates back to the 13th century when it was built in Gothic architecture. The major transformation happened in the 18th century when the palace structure was redesigned in the Baroque style. 

Schönbrunn Palace has 1441 rooms designed in Baroque style, of which 40 are currently available for tourists to visit. 

Hofburg Palace comprises 18 groups of buildings and a stunning 2600 rooms.

Both palaces share almost the same historical significance, from the era of their original construction to the transformation of structures.

However, Hofburg Palace still has a powerful representation in Austrian politics as it serves as the official residence and workplace of the country’s president. 

Hofburg would be your ideal choice if you are interested in knowing the current Austrian political space.

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Attractions in the palaces

Schönbrunn Palace is more magnificent than Hofburg Palace. Schönbrunn Palace is 1.6 sq. km (about 0.62 sq. miles), while Hofburg is 240,000 square meters (2,600,000 sq ft).

Apart from the royal palaces, Schönbrunn Palace has gardens such as The Great Parterre, Privy Garden, Orangery Garden, Maze and Labyrinth, fountains—Angel Fountain and Neptune Fountain—and attractions such as Roman Ruin and Zoo.

With its massive structure, Hofburg Palace has several attractions, such as the Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum, and Imperial Silver Collection. 

You can also visit Café Hofburg, Schweizerhof (Swiss Courtyard), In der Burg Courtyard, Burgkapelle (Royal Chapel), Neue Burg Balcony, Spanish Riding School.

Attractions-wise, Hofburg offers you a wider range than Schönbrunn Palace.

If you travel with your family, Schönbrunn Palace offers you the best experience with its zoo and gardens.

If you are interested in exploring Spanish tradition and heritage, Hofburg Palace, with its age-old Spanish Riding School, is a wise choice. 

To witness adventure, buy this Spanish Riding School Lipizzaners Performance ticket and enjoy the 90-minute European Gala performance. 

If you want to know more about the school, this Vienna Spanish Riding School Guided Tour will let you discover the legacy of a 450-year-old operational school.

Entry Tickets

Entry tickets to both attractions are almost the same price. 

Schönbrunn Palace Tickets

Schönbrunn Palace Tickets
Image: Schoenbrunn.at

The Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens tour ticket will allow you to discover the beauty of the majestic palace and its surroundings. 

You can choose from three types of tours – individual tours, small groups, and private tours.

This two-hour skip-the-line ticket includes entrance to the palace and gardens, tour guide, audio device, and transportation to the palace.

Visit the Palace, Great Gallery, Hall of Ceremonies, and gardens. 

The ticket for adults aged 19 and above costs €54; the ticket for children aged between seven and 18 costs €45. Infants up to six years are allowed free of charge.

Recommended Reading: Inside the Schonbrunn Palace

Hofburg Palace tickets

If the historical stories fascinate you, this Sisi Museum, Hofburg, and Gardens Tour offers a great opportunity to learn about Vienna’s Imperial history. 

The 150-minute tour covers a visit to Hofburg Palace, Sisi Museum, Spanish Riding School, and Burggarten.

You can access a live tour guide in any of the following languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, or German. 

The ticket for adults aged 18 and above is €49; it costs €44 for children aged seven and 18, and the ticket for infants up to 5 years cost €6.

Tour Duration

You will need a minimum of two hours to visit Schönbrunn Palace, while the Hofburg Palace needs around two and a half hours.

However, there is so much to see at both the Vienna attractions that you can spend the whole day. 

Recommended Reading
# Schonbrunn Palace Concerts – what to expect, duration, tickets
# Restaurants at Schonbrunn Palace – menu, location, timings
# Belvedere Palace or Schönbrunn Palace – Which is better?

Check out all the things to do in Vienna

This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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