General museum tours
Schönbrunn palace overview

The name "Schönbrunn" comes from the words "schöner Brunnen", meaning "beautiful fountain". It derives from a natural spring that the Emperor Mathias discovered in the early 17th century on this spot. The palace was begun in 1700 by Emperor Leopold. Successive sections where added onto the palace throughout the 18th century. By the time of its completion Schönbrunn had become one of the finest examples of Baroque and Rococo architecture and design in Europe. Owing to its historical importance, its beautiful location, its magnificent architecture and the splendid layout of its gardens, this palace is among the very top sights in Vienna. The entire complex was taken up in the UNESCO's world cultural heritage list. We invite you to travel with us to far away times: In the state apartments of Schönbrunn palace we follow the traces of empress Maria Teresa and her husband Frances Stephen, look at the splendid "room of millions", the large and the small gallery, the room of Napoleon's son, the porcelain chamber, the rooms of emperor Frances Joseph and his wife Sissi, the apartment of the "evil mother in law" Sophie of Bavaria, the throne-bed of Maria Teresa, the desk of Marie Antoinette and many other witnesses of Austrian history. Finally we take a quick walk through the palace gardens, a marvelous example of baroque art of gardening which offers infinitely different panoramas and views.

This visit is an absolute must for everyone visiting the city of Vienna!

Highlights of the imperial palace "Hofburg": Imperial apartments and Silver collection

The Imperial Apartments and the Imperial Silver Collection at the Vienna Hofburg are among the most important cultural attractions in Vienna. Formerly the winter residence of the Habsburg dynasty, the Hofburg is still today hosting the office rooms of the Austrian president. We cannot disturb our president in his rooms, but what we can look at is anyway much more interesting. During a visit to the state and residential apartments of Emperor Frances Joseph and Empress Elisabeth we will talk about the every day life of the imperial couple as well as about their most private wishes, dreams and desires. Of course, we will also visit the recently opened Sisi Museum that seeks to give the visitor an understanding of the myths and reality surrounding the figure of Empress Elisabeth. Our last station is the Imperial Silver Collection - a fascinating museum containing the porcelain, glass and silverware once used at the imperial banquet table.

This museum visit can be combined with the walking tour "The imperial palace Hofburg"!

The Belvedere: residence of prince Eugene of Savoy

Belvedere palace was built from the plan of Prince Eugene of Savoy, and consists of two complexes: Lower Belvedere (1716) and Upper Belvedere (1722). It is widely considered one of the greatest masterworks of Austrian Baroque architecture. Since 1903 the entire building has been used for museum purposes. The museums in the upper and lower palaces offer an excellent and comprehensive survey of Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The 19th und 20th century collections also include a wealth of international art. In the Upper Belvedere you can see famous works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet or Vincent van Gogh and appreciate a splendid view of Vienna's inner city. Medieval and baroque works of art are presented in the Lower Palace, where most rooms have been preserved in their original state. During our visit of the Belvedere complex, we will not only look at some of the highlights of these splendid collections of art, but we will also get to talk about some of the most important periods of Austrian history: Archduke Franz Ferdinand who was later to be assassinated by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo used to live here with his family and the signing of the Austrian State Treaty, one of the most important Austrian historical events of the 20th century, took place in the Marble Room of the Upper Belvedere. Signed by ministers from the USSR, US, France, England and the Austrian minister of foreign affairs Leopold Figl, it signaled the beginning of Austrian independence and neutrality as well as the withdrawal of the occupying powers.

This visit can be done in many different ways: We can do a complete overview tour of the Upper and Lower Palaces and the gardens in-between, but if you wish we can also focalize on just the Upper Belvedere and its collection of art. The visit can even be combined with a panoramic sightseeing tour, such as "Vienna by tramway"! 

The imperial treasury: crowns and jewels

The imperial treasury ("Schatzkammer") in the Hofburg is one of the greatest treasuries in the world. Containing stunning exhibits that exemplify the power and wealth of one of Europe's most important empires, it consists of two sections: the Imperial Secular and the Ecclesiastical Treasuries. The first displays the crown jewels and an assortment of imperial riches; the other contains sacerdotal treasures such as shining gold, silver, and precious gems. The most outstanding exhibit in the treasury is the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which dates from 962, and its coronation robes, some of which date from the 12th century. Also on display are the imperial insignia of Austria (the crown of Emperor Rudolf II, the imperial orb and scepter of Emperor Matthias), worn by the Habsburg rulers from 1804 to the end of the empire. You can also view the 8th-century saber of Charlemagne and the 9th-century Holy Lance, a sacred emblem which was thought in medieval times to be the weapon that pierced the side of Christ on the cross. Among the other great historical objects on display in the Schatzkammer are the 15th-century Burgundian Treasure, stunningly rich in vestments, oil paintings, robes, and gems, as well as artifacts connected with the Order of the Golden Fleece, a historically essential medieval association of chivalry presided still today by the head of the Habsburg family.

If you should visit only one museum in Vienna, the treasury is the place to go!

Overview tour of the museum of fine arts

The building of the museum of fine arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum) in Vienna is one of the most important museum buildings in Europe. It was commissioned by the Emperor Francis Joseph I in 1858 as part of his project for enlarging the capital and realized by the architect duo Semper and Hasenauer in the style of the Italian Renaissance. The monumental building was designed not only to house the magnificent art treasures assembled by the Habsburgs over the centuries but also as a suitably impressive setting for them. Today, the objects on display in the museum are divided in eight different collections, ranging from Ancient Egyptian and Greek and Roman Antiquities to the Collections of Medieval Art to the splendid Renaissance and Baroque Collections, some of which are housed in the Hofburg and in Schönbrunn palace due to space limitations in the main building. During our overview tour we shall see the highlights of the picture gallery (masterworks by Arcimboldo, Bellini, Correggio, Giorgione, Mantegna, Parmigianino, Raphael, Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese, Canaletto, Caravaggio, Tiepolo, Hieronymus Bosch, Jan van Eyck, Sir Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Altdorfer, Cranach, Albrecht Dürer, Pereda, Velázquez and of course the worlds most comprehensive collection of Pieter Bruegel the Elder) as well as some of the most important objects in the other collections. You could spend days in the museum of fine arts without having seen and appreciated all of its exhibits, and it is merely impossible to show everything in the course of one single tour, but that is not at all the intention of this overview tour. The tour is conceived as an introduction to the art collections which you can use as a base for your own further explorations.

This tour is the ideal introduction to the riches of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, but is also suitable for all those who want to see only the highlights in very few time!

The imperial burial vault

The Imperial Crypt (Kaisergruft) lies underneath the Capucine Church and has been the final resting place for the vast majority of Habsburgs for centuries. In all, 146 people are interred here including 31 Emperors, Empresses and Kings. The first was Emperor Mathias, the last being Empress Zita in 1989 (although the Austro-Hungarian Empire ended in November 1918, she retained the title and privileges of an Austrian Empress and was buried with all the imperial pomp and circumstance). The coffins are housed in nine interconnecting vaults, with each sarcophagi fashioned from metal (either pewter or copper) with many being extremely ornate, as are the vaults themselves. The various crypts have different looks depending on when they were built. The founder's crypt is simple in decoration, the Maria Theresia crypt is designed full of baroque splendor and looks more like a mausoleum than a crypt. The new crypt was only built in the 1960s, when the coffins were re-arranged. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but an interesting place to visit nonetheless! Wandering around the dark vaults here, you will not only learn a lot about the genealogy of one of Europe most important noble families, but also about the changing culture of the dead through the centuries.

Please note that the imperial crypt is mainly a burial place and therefore not always accessible. We shall have to respect this fact when establishing our visitation program!

Overview tour of Saint Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stepansdom) on the central Stephansplatz is Vienna’s main place of worship, its 136,7 meter high south tower is the city's main landmark. Since there are few actual skyscrapers in Vienna, the cathedral still dominates Vienna's skyline as it has since it was begun in the 12th century. Saint Stephen's has many features that make it quite distinctive. For one, while the south tower was finished in 1433, the north tower remains uncompleted still today and it measures 68,3 meters, only half the height of the south tower. This gives the whole building a unique asymmetric appearance. The north tower houses the "Pummerin", Austria's largest bell, weighing more than 21 tons, made from cannons left by the Turks at the second siege of Vienna in 1683. Extremely characteristic is also the Stephansdom's enormous roof covered by colorful glazed tiles laid in geometric patterns. The interior of the church houses a wealth of art treasures, some of which can only be seen during a guided tour: the red-marble sepulcher of Emperor Frederick III (sculpted from 1467 to 1513 by Niclas Gerhaert van Leyden), the pulpit (a work from 1514-1515 by Anton Pilgram who put his own relief portrait underneath it as his signature), the Altarpiece of Wiener Neustadt (Wiener Neustädter Altar) - a Gothic winged altar from 1447 - and the tomb of Prince Eugene of Savoy, dating from 1754. The catacombs under the Stephansdom are a rather large labyrinth of tunnels and rooms that served as a burial place when the former graveyard at St. Stephen’s square became too small. In World War II the dome was severely damaged, but has been carefully restored.

This visit can be completed climbing the 343 steps up the south tower and enjoying a marvelous view over the city and the tiled roof or taking a lift up the north tower and seeing the great "Pummerin", Austria's largest bell!

Special museum tours
Salvador Dalí exhibition

Salvador Dalí was born on May 10, 1904 in Figueras, Spain. As an art student in Madrid and Barcelona, Dalí assimilated a vast number of artistic styles and displayed unusual technical facility as a painter. After having read Sigmund Freud's writings on the erotic significance of subconscious imagery and having established contact with the Paris Surrealists, a group of artists and writers who sought to establish the "greater reality" of man's subconscious over his reason, he became one of the worlds most important artists of all times and especially the worlds best-known Surrealist artist. He depicted a dream world in which commonplace objects are juxtaposed, deformed, or otherwise metamorphosed in a bizarre and irrational fashion. In Vienna's Salvador Dalí - Exhibition we will intensely discuss the life and the works of this outstanding genius and find out more about his relations to André Breton, Paul Eluard, Pablo Picasso, Sigmund Freud, Adolf Hitler, Alice in Wonderland and many others.

Attention: Due to special agreements, this visit is subject to different conditions than those published for all other visits on the "prices"-webpage - the maximum number of participants on this tour is 30, the duration is 1 hour approximately and the price is € 50,- excl. entrance fee!

Special tours of the museum of fine arts (Information on request)
Spanish painters in the museum of fine arts
Dutch painters in the museum of fine arts
Pieter Brueghel in the museum of fine arts
Italian painters in the museum of fine arts
The Egyptian collection in the museum of fine arts


Other special museum tours (Information on request)
Music, war and tournament - the life of medieval knights. A tour through the weapons collection in the Imperial palace
Overview tour of the collection of musical instruments in the Imperial palace