In the heart of Vienna, next to the Ringstrasse and the old part of the city, we have the Hofburg Imperial Palace, current residence of the President of the Republic of Austria and royal residence of the Habsburgs for more than 600 years.
Visiting the Hofburg Palace is a must if you travel to Vienna and it is a network of buildings that will surprise you and where the Sisí Museum is also located, one of the main attractions of Vienna.
Making a complete visit is almost impossible, so you must prioritize. Of course, we recommend the Imperial Apartments and the Sisi Museum as a minimum.
Brief history of the Hofburg Palace
The oldest part of the Hofburg Palace, also called the winter palace since during the summer the residence moved to Schönbrunn Palace, dates from the 13th century.
From that moment, the palace was expanded with various buildings, acquiring the appearance that we can see today.
The largest expansion of the palace took place from 1847 when the walls surrounding Vienna began to be demolished by order of Francisco José I, one of its most famous tenants together with his wife Sisí.
Today, we can see a museum dedicated to the empress, the royal apartments, the court silverware, the riding school and several museums that will give you an idea of the greatness of Austria’s imperial past.
The Imperial Apartments of the Hofburg Palace
In every self-respecting royal palace we find a series of rooms where its tenants lived and this palace could not be less.
These are the imperial apartments, a must see.
In total, you can visit 19 rooms that summarize the more than 600 years of history of the Habsburg dynasty, paying special attention to Franz Joseph I, perhaps the best-known Austrian emperor.
The imperial apartments of the Hofbug Palace are perfectly decorated with the furniture of the time and its ornaments and among them are the private ones where the emperors slept and lived unofficially and also the office or the official rooms.
Even a bathroom that we can see as it was at the time. The best thing is that we can visit it with an audio guide in Spanish so as not to lose any detail.
What to see in the Sisí Museum
Created a few years ago, the Sisi Museum takes a journey through the life of the Austro-Hungarian Empress from her youth to her last days.
The most interesting thing is that it is not a typical museum in which aspects of his life are exhibited in different rooms, but rather you do it by going through different rooms of the Hofburg Palace.
With the audio guide you will learn part of her life, her obsession with beauty and thinness and her well-known rebellion, ending the story with her murder.
You can see objects of the empress, dresses, portraits and many other curiosities that make this museum one of the most visited in Austria.
We can also see her jewelry and even the black coat with which her body was covered after the Geneva attack that cost her her life.
The Silver of the Court, the least interesting of the Hofburg Palace
Actually this part of the visit is not very interesting.
But we include it because its visit is included in the same ticket as the Imperial Apartments and the Sisi Museum and it is the first part of the tour, so it is necessary to go through here to get to the interesting part.
We have to say that if you had to pay a separate ticket for the silver shop, not so many people would visit it.
In this area we can find crockery, glassware, cutlery and many silver objects that were owned by the imperial kitchen. If you are not very interested you can quickly visit this museum but if you like the subject, you will surely be amazed.
Other places to visit in the Hofburg Palace
Although the most visited by tourists are the above attractions, there are also other places of interest that may interest you.
One of them is the Spanish Riding School, a select institution dedicated to dressage founded in 1571
You can take a guided tour of the Spanish Riding School knowing the training of the Lipizzaner horses that are in it.
Another very interesting place is the Chapel of the Imperial Palace. It is the oldest part of the palace and on Sundays the famous Vienna Boys’ Choir sings accompanied by the music of the State Opera. Without a doubt, a delight for the ears.
You also have several museums to visit, most notably the Art History Museum and the Natural History Museum, which are located across the Ringstrasse in twin buildings.
But you also have the Ethnological Museum, the Papyrus Museum, the National Library or the Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments, among others.
If you want more information about the visit and even buy tickets, you can go to the official page of the Hofburg Palace.