Schonbrunn palace at night

Schönbrunn Palace, an iconic symbol of Vienna’s rich history and royal elegance, offers a unique experience that transcends the usual daytime visits. When the sun sets over Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace transforms into a nocturnal spectacle, inviting visitors to explore its illuminated beauty and partake in special nighttime events. This article explores the enchanting world of Schönbrunn Palace at night, detailing the various activities, tours, and experiences available to visitors during the evening hours.

Schönbrunn Palace at Night: An Overview

Originally built as a summer residence for Emperor Leopold I in the late 17th century, Schönbrunn Palace has long been a centerpiece of Austrian cultural life. By night, the palace sheds its daytime persona and adopts a quieter, more mysterious ambiance, making it a perfect setting for an evening filled with history, music, and lights.

Nighttime Tours and Experiences

1. Schönbrunn After Dark: Schönbrunn offers exclusive evening tours titled “Schönbrunn After Dark,” where visitors can explore the state rooms and private apartments of the imperial family after regular hours. These tours are typically guided and provide a detailed look at the personal and political lives of the residents, all illuminated by the soft light of chandeliers, creating an intimate atmosphere that daytime visits cannot replicate.

2. Concert Series in the Orangery: The Orangery at Schönbrunn, a sophisticated Baroque building that once hosted elaborate feasts and events, now serves as a venue for classical music concerts. Nearly every evening, the Orangery is filled with the sounds of orchestras performing works by Mozart and Strauss, two composers intrinsically linked to Vienna’s musical heritage. These concerts often include performances by ballet dancers and opera singers, adding to the regal experience.

3. Christmas and New Year’s Markets: During the festive season, Schönbrunn Palace hosts one of Vienna’s most beloved Christmas markets. As night falls, the palace and its courtyard sparkle with decorations and lights, creating a magical winter wonderland. Visitors can enjoy warm drinks, traditional Austrian food, and a variety of handicrafts. Similarly, the New Year’s market offers a charming experience with its festive decorations and joyful celebrations.

Dining at Night

Dinner Experiences: Several dining options are available within the palace complex, where visitors can enjoy a meal combined with a concert or a tour. The most famous is the dinner-concert experience, starting with a candlelit dinner followed by a classical music concert in the Orangery. This combination of fine dining and exquisite music under the roof of one of Vienna’s most historic buildings makes for an unforgettable evening.

Special Nighttime Events

Schönbrunn Palace occasionally hosts special events and temporary exhibitions that are available in the evening. These can range from themed historical events, such as masquerade balls and imperial parties, to modern art installations that use the palace as a backdrop. Checking the palace’s official website for the latest events is recommended as these special occasions provide a unique way to experience Schönbrunn.

Tips for Visiting at Night

  • Advance Booking: Many nighttime events and tours at Schönbrunn are popular and can sell out quickly. It’s advisable to book tickets well in advance.
  • Dress Appropriately: Evening events at Schönbrunn often have a formal or semi-formal dress code, especially if they include a concert or dinner.
  • Arrive Early: For events like concerts, arriving early can provide a better choice of seats and a little extra time to enjoy the palace’s evening ambiance.
  • Weather Considerations: For outdoor events, especially in the colder months, dressing warmly is essential, as evenings can be quite chilly.


Visiting Schönbrunn Palace at night is a distinctly different experience from its daytime counterpart. The nighttime brings a sense of tranquility and grandeur to the palace, making it an ideal time for those looking to enjoy its historical and cultural offerings in a more intimate setting. Whether it’s through a guided tour, a concert, or a special event, experiencing Schönbrunn Palace after dark is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Vienna.