Royal castles and palaces

Five exquisite castles and palaces along the Danube

Castle to castle, fortress to fortress: these historic buildings are strung along the Danube like pearls on a string. Many of them housed crowned heads who were master builders. Medieval castles became imposing palaces, and so a journey along the Road of Emperors and Kings means an immersion in the most diverse eras and architectural styles.

The Linz Castle on the Schlossberg

The "Burg zu Linze" was first mentioned in a deed of donation from the year 799. Emperor Frederick III was responsible for its conversion into a castle; he used the walls as his residence. In the course of history, the castle served as an imperial refuge, a military hospital during the French Wars, a prison and barracks.

Today, Linz Castle houses Austria's largest universal museum. On more than 10,000 square meters, it offers exciting insights into the natural, cultural and artistic history of Upper Austria.

Linz Palace Museum
Schlossberg 1, 4020 Linz

Opening hours:
Tue-Sun: 10 am - 6 pm
Thu: 10 - 21 h
Monday closed

Linz Castle
Artstetten Castle in Lower Austria

The Habsburg heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand had the castle, which is mentioned for the first time in the 13th century, rebuilt and modernized according to his ideas. Together with his wife Sophie von Hohenberg and their children, he spent carefree moments in his summer residence.

Many exhibits portray the happy everyday life of the imperial family, while others show the tragedy of the imperial family. On the ground floor of the palace, for example, there is a replica of the car in which the heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were shot in Sarajevo in 1914.

The couple's two sarcophagi stand in the family crypt, which is located under the forecourt of the chateau chapel.

Artstetten Castle
Schossplatz 1, 3661 Artstetten

Opening hours April 1 - November 1:
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Museum and Family Crypt: daily 9-17:30 (last admission 17:00).
Palace park: daily 9-13:00 (last admission 12:30)

Artstetten Castle
The Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is certainly one of the most beautiful Baroque palaces in Europe. Like so many castles along the Danube, the history of the magnificent building goes back to the Middle Ages. Since the beginning of the 14th century, the estate was known as "Katterburg" and came via detours into the possession of the Habsburgs.

Originally, the castle was located in the middle of a forest, which the Habsburgs used for extensive hunts.

Over the years, the hunting lodge became a pleasure palace, and the name Schönbrunn was first mentioned in 1642. The reconstruction work continued constantly until certainly one of the most glamorous times of the palace began under Empress Maria Theresa.

In addition to the palace, the palace park with its zoo, Gloriette and orangery is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vienna.

Schönbrunn Palace
1130 Vienna

Click here for the opening hours of the castle and castle park

Schoenbrunn Castle
The castle in Bratislava

The castle in Bratislava dominates the cityscape and is also called "the upside-down table" because of its silhouette. Those who climb the castle hill via one of the three gates are rewarded with a magnificent view of the Danube and the city.

A building from the 15th century served as the basis for the current construction, but archaeologists were able to trace the construction of this strategically important point back to the time of the Celts.

Like the other palaces and castles, Bratislava Castle changed over time. Maria Theresa used the rooms for representational purposes, her son Joseph II did not attach any importance to the building. In 1811 the castle burned down almost completely. It was not until the 20th century that it was extensively renovated and today serves as a museum.

Castle in Bratislava
Hrad, 811 06 Bratislava, Slovakia

Opening hours:
Nov. 1-March 31: daily except Mondays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (last admission 4 p.m.)
1.April - 31.October: daily except Mondays from 10-18 h (last admission 17 h)

The Castle Palace in Budapest

In Budapest, too, the Castle Palace towers high above the city. The former royal residence occupies the entire southern part of the castle hill. With a length of 400 meters and a width of 200 meters, it is the largest building in Hungary.

The history of the first castle on this site dates back to the 13th century. From then on, the palace was characterized by different stylistic periods. During the Second World War the castle was almost completely destroyed. Historians used this opportunity to research the history of construction and reconstructed the old walls.

Today, the Castle Palace houses important museums. The Hungarian National Gallery represents a cross-section of Hungarian art history with more than 100,000 exhibits. The South Wing houses the History Museum and the Castle Museum. Visitors can admire precious manuscripts in the Szecheny National Library.

Budapest Castle Palace
Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary

Opening hours:
Hungarian National Gallery: daily except Mondays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Budapest Historical Museum: daily except Mondays from 10-16 hrs.

Budapest castle
Memory list for travel planning
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