Schönbrunn Palace, gardens, and related sights are well-served by public transport (subway, tram, and bus) and by parking.
First thing you need to do is call up this interactive map, then keep on reading.
From the centre, the U4 subway takes you to the palace and there are two relevant subway stations.
The first is conveniently titled “Schönbrunn” and is the best for reaching the main palace and gardens.
Assuming you’re coming from the city centre, exit the platform to the west (the train’s direction), where you can see the lifts. At the top of the lifts or stairs, cross over the glass bridge (over the tracks) and keep going straight on to a paved walkway.
This walkway takes you between a car park on your left, and playing fields on your right. After a short distance, it hits a main road at a pedestrian crossing. The palace grounds are on the other side of the road behind some buildings.
Cross over the road and go right along the sidewalk. Keep going for a couple of minutes until you reach the main entrance to the palace grounds. You’ll recognize this through the aforementioned two white stone columns with gold eagles perched on the top.
The other subway station is “Hietzing” and is the best for reaching the Palmenhaus, Wüstenhaus and zoo.
Whichever platform you reach at Hietzing, you can only exit to one side. Go up the lifts or take the stairs. When you emerge, look south – the wall you can see bounds the palace gardens.
Cross over the road on the left. There are two pedestrian crossings, and on the wall at the end of both you’ll see “Schönbrunn” written in big red letters. If you want to go to the palace, go left; just keep walking until you reach the main gates.
If you want to visit the Palmenhaus, Wüstenhaus or zoo, go right. Follow the sidewalk around (it bends left) and keep going. Eventually, you’ll see a church ahead of you, a post office on your left, and just past the post office a large park entrance. Go in there. You’ll find a map display inside.
If you then go straight ahead, you’ll go through the gardens and eventually hit the palace. For the three other attractions mentioned above, keep to the right, past the panorama train stop, and turn right as soon as you can (after just a few meters).
This brings you onto a wide walkway which goes directly to the zoo, passing the Palmenhaus on your left (which you can see straightaway) and the Wüstenhaus on your right.
Tip: the lifts at Hietzing station are not in the covered building. Instead, you’ll find them outside to the east, on the other side of the tram tracks.
Tram and bus
Trams 10 and 60, and bus 10A, all have a stop called “Schloss Schönbrunn,” which is opposite the main entrance. If the latter is not obvious (it should be), look for the huge gateway flanked by two giant marble columns topped by golden eagles.
Just before you reach the gates, look out for a display board by the road with a map of the area and details of opening times.
Buses 8a, 56A, 56B and 58A take you round the back, and drop you on the road marked “Elisabethallee”. Get off at the stop Montecuccoliplatz and go southeast down “Elisabethallee” until you reach the entrance to the car park on your left. Go in there right to the far end.
That leads to a marked entrance into the park on the right. Go in there and continue down the lane until you reach a “crossroads”. Immediately on the left is the top zoo entrance, the right-hand path takes you to the Gloriette. And straight on takes you down (eventually) to the main palace. All around you is the park.
There is a paid car park nearby (Schönbrunner Schloßstraße). Drive past the palace on your right and you’ll see the car park on your left.
Another option is to drive to the free car park intended for zoo visitors at the rear of the park area (Seckendorff-Gudent-Weg 1). That’s likely to have space unless it’s a weekend, holiday, or a particularly fine day.