Every time I go to Vienna, I marvel at the grandeur of the city. Every building, fountain, and park seems regal. And big. Schloss Schönbrunn, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, is very big. This complex, belonging to the Habsburgs and used as their summer residence and hunting ground, consists of a palace surrounded by well-manicured gardens that include a labyrinth, a greenhouse, and even a zoo. Several water features are scattered throughout the park, as well as a roman ruin (actually a structure designed to look like a ruin, but it’s still cool) and a Gloriette, an elegant building perched on top of a hill with a fantastic view of the grounds and Vienna. The construction of Schönbrunn Palace began in 1695 and the surrounding park has been open to the public since 1779.
Though there were many tourists here, I could also see that the locals take advantage of this amazing outdoor space, located surprisingly close to the city center. Many Viennese come here to get their dose of cardio exercise by running along the gravel paths traversing through the park. Others use the time to relax on a grassy hill overlooking the palace and surrounding city. If you ever find yourself in Vienna, I would recommend spending the day here. Tour the palace, eat at the cafe, take a jog around the park, or be lazy and enjoy this piece of Viennese heaven under a big blue sky.