I recently visited the magnificent Belvedere Palace while in Vienna and it was the highlight of my trip! This palace complex is one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited. In this article, I’ll tell you all about Belvedere Palace including what you can see and do there. I’ll also give tips to help plan your visit. Get ready for lots of great info about this must-see attraction in Vienna!
Belvedere Palace was constructed in the early 1700s for Prince Eugene of Savoy to serve as his super fancy summer home. The prince had two huge palaces built on a hillside overlooking Vienna. An important architect named Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt designed the palaces in an elegant Baroque style with lavish decorations. Construction took over 6 years because every detail had to be perfect. No expenses were spared to make Belvedere a palace worthy of royalty. Today it is still considered one of the finest examples of Austrian Baroque architecture.
Furthermore, the Lower Palace was utilized for festivities and parties. Meanwhile, the Upper Palace housed Prince Eugene’s living quarters and provided beautiful views of Vienna. Afterward, the palaces became home to other royals. Eventually, they were transformed into art museums in the 1900s. Now millions of people visit Belvedere each year.
Admiring Belvedere’s Breathtaking Architecture
Walking up to the Upper Palace, I was blown away by how gorgeous it appeared! The building has symmetrical wings with lavish decorations like statues, columns and gold trim everywhere. The walls are painted a stunning yellowish-white color that really stands out. My favorite part was the grand courtyard between the two palaces with arched walkways and elaborate fountains.
Moreover, the palaces contain incredible rooms like the Marble Hall with vivid red walls and the Golden Room totally covered in real gold! The stunning hall of mirrors has marble floors that reflect like a mirror. Every room has paintings on the ceiling, colorful marble, gold trimmings and amazing woodwork. You can feel how rich and fancy the Habsburg Empire was back then. The architecture is simply mind-blowing!
Exploring the Massive Palace Gardens
However, Belvedere isn’t just about the palaces – the gardens surrounding them are gorgeous too! The gardens have two sections:
Firstly, the Lower Belvedere Garden has a formal French-style layout with symmetrical flowerbeds, neat gravel paths, decorative pools and lots of marble statues. I loved the cascading hillside fountains and tiered terraces overlooking the city.
Secondly, the Upper Belvedere Garden is landscaped in a natural English garden style with lush green lawns, hidden grottos, winding wooded paths and tall trees providing shade. There’s a cool pond with a little island you can walk to.
The gardens are so big you can spend hours wandering around. On a nice day, seeing the colorful flowers in full bloom with the palaces in the background resembles a fairy tale scene come to life!
The Amazing Belvedere Art Museums
A major highlight of Belvedere Palace is the art museums located inside the palaces. The Austrian Gallery Belvedere has the largest collection of Austrian art in the world from the Middle Ages to today. Some of the most famous works here include:
- The Kiss by Gustav Klimt – Klimt’s most popular painting portraying a couple embracing. It’s worth a trip just to admire this golden masterpiece!
- Works by Egon Schiele – This Austrian artist created lots of great portraits and figurative paintings.
- The Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt – A colorful mural celebrating Beethoven’s 9th symphony.
Furthermore, there is a huge collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and more. I was stunned by how many famous paintings fill the Belvedere museums!
Tips for Visiting Belvedere Palace
Here are my tips for making the most of your visit to Belvedere:
- It’s open daily except Tuesday from 10am to 6pm. Arrive early to beat the crowds.
- Purchase tickets online ahead of time so you can skip the ticket line.
- The palaces are easily accessible by tram or bus from downtown Vienna.
- Join a guided tour of the palaces to learn more about their history and architecture.
- Wear comfy shoes for walking the gardens and be prepared for stairs inside.
- Stop for a snack at the onsite cafe with nice garden views.
- Check for special evening events like classical concerts.
Nearby Sights to See
The area around Belvedere Palace has other cool sights:
- Schönbrunn Palace – The massive former summer palace of the Habsburgs with gorgeous gardens.
- Vienna Botanical Gardens – Massive gardens with thousands of global plant species.
- St. Charles Church – Elegant Baroque church with a fountain in front.
- Vienna State Opera – Historic opera house offering tours and performances.
- Museums Quartier – Modern art museums, cafes, shops and public spaces.
There is so much to see and do right near Belvedere Palace!
Why Belvedere Palace is a Must-See in Vienna
So what makes Belvedere Palace such a popular attraction in Vienna? Here are some reasons why it’s a must-see:
- The palaces are architectural masterpieces exhibiting stunning Baroque elegance.
- The extensive gardens provide perfect relaxing walks away from the city crowds.
- It contains an amazing art collection you can’t see anywhere else.
- You can learn about Vienna’s imperial Habsburg history here.
- The location offers scenic panoramic views of the city.
- They host cool events like classical concerts in the palace orchards.
- It’s easy to access and located near other top sights.
- Kids and adults will both love exploring the palaces and gardens.
No trip to Vienna is complete without spending time at the magnificent Belvedere Palace complex!
Final Thoughts on Belvedere Palace
In conclusion, Belvedere Palace totally exceeded my expectations and was the best part of my Vienna trip. I was amazed by the lavish Baroque palaces, the massive landscaped gardens, and the awesome art museums. I learned so much about the city’s history while also seeing stunning works by Klimt and other artists.
From the elegant architecture to the scenic gardens to the convenient location, everything about Belvedere is impressive. I highly recommend visiting this palace complex when traveling to Vienna. It’s absolutely worth seeing this incredible attraction and you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience there like I did! Add Belvedere Palace to the top of your Vienna sightseeing itinerary for a truly awesome experience.