fun to do kids hofburg vienna austria   Travel for Kids
  | Vienna
     
   

Vienna – Hofburg Palace area

Hofburg Vienna
The Hofburg was the imperial palace of the Habsburgs, and today it houses the President of Austria. Originally a fortified castle, the Hofburg expanded into numerous wings and courtyards, including the Stallburg, a stable palace for the imperial horses, and home to the Spanish Riding School and Lipizzaner stallions. After visiting the Hofburg, kids will have a whole new impression of family houses on a grand scale.
Hofburg Vienna
  Treasury (Schatskammer) – Make this your first stop, the Treasury where you can see the amazing crown jewels of the Habsburgs. Feast your eyes on bejeweled crown of the Holy Roman Empire, an embroidered red velvet coronation robe draped with ermine, golden orbs, a whopping big emerald, golden rose bush, reliquaries crusted with jewels, ceremonial swords and scepters, tiaras, coffers with bits of the true cross, and a royal crib. Free audio tours in English, and the Schatskammer is less crowded if you come earlier in the day.
Horburg Vienna  

Arms and Armor Museum (Neue Burg, Heldenplatz) – Check out the cool collection of arms and armor – shiny armor for tournaments, armor from the 1400s and 1500s for use on horseback, fancy "costume" armor (not for war or tournaments), two sets of boy's armor, armor for horses, plus crossbows, swords, helmets, and pointy metal shoes.

   

Kunsthistorisches Museum (Maria-Theresien-Platz) – This is a biggie, similar to the Louvre, chock full of Greek, Roman & Egyptian goodies, as well as masterpieces of European painting. In the Picture Gallery, kids will have fun with Winter and Summer, paintings where people's faces are constructed of fruits and vegetables by Arcimboldo, a Madonna with two adorable babies by Raphael, and the best collection of paintings by Pieter Bruegel, such as The Hunters in the Snow, Children's Games, and The Tower of Babel.

   

Schmetterlinghaus (Imperial Butterfly House) – Once a part of the royal palace, wander through an indoor tropical garden, filled with exotic butterflies, colorful flowers, little waterfalls, ponds with fish. Open daily, year round (and a great place to nip into if the weather is cold and rainy).

   

Horse-drawn carriage ride – Pick up a horse and carriage (fiaker) in front of New Castle, and pretend you're one of the imperial family, riding around Vienna.

   

Spanish Riding School – Horse lovers in your family will want to see the glorious Lipizzan stallions in performances at the Winter Riding School. The Winter Riding School was built in the 18th century by one of the Habsburg emperors, and the gilded Baroque setting for this amazing show is unforgettable. The bad news is that there are no performances in July and August, and shows in June sell out, so buy tickets well in advance. Kids under 3 aren't allowed, but children ages 3 - 6 are free, if the child sits on the parent's lap. Click here for the schedule and more information.

   

Lipizzaner Museum – If you come to Vienna in July or August, and the stallions are out of town, taking it easy down on the farm, your best bet is to head to the Lipizzaner Museum, across the street from the Winter Riding School, in the Stallburg (Stable Palace). The museum has film of the Lipizzaner show at the Winter Riding school, paintings of horses, harnesses and uniforms, and a gift shop where you can purchase charming stuffed animal Lipizzaner horses.

   

Volksgarten (People's Garden) – If you have little ones in tow, head over to the Volksgarten. In summer there are two sandboxes with water pumps for water and sand play and shade to lie out on the grass. This quiet park with rose gardens and fountains is a great spot to bring sandwiches and each out on the benches in warm weather.

   

Concerts – From May to October, listen to the sounds of Johann Strauss and Mozart, performed by a full orchestra in the Hofburg Palace, every Tues., Thurs. and Sat. A formal setting, these concerts aren't for little kids who get wiggly, but will be truly memorable for kids who are musically inclined.

      If you don't make it to a concert, in summaer all around the Hofburg, listen for buskers, violinists playing classical music in the shaded hallways.
kids books vienna
     
A Bird in Winter  
A Bird in Winter
Helene Kerillis, Stephane Girel

Before you visit the Picture Gallery in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, read this charming story, inspired by Pieter Bruegel's painting The Hunters in the Snow. Little Mayken rescues a bird in the snow, and hides it in her village, until the bird is ready to fly again.

 

     
(More children's books on other Austria pages)

 

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