Belvedere Palace is one of the common postcard subjects of Vienna. It is truly a beautiful building, though there is more behind the pretty facade. It is worth a few hours to come and explore both the grounds and the art museum in the main building. Come to walk around the gardens and feel a prince. In a city already known for grand buildings, this place still can make a statement.
While this is the typical postcard view, the the best part of this place for me are the gardens, not in fact the building.
Home of the Kiss
The main palace building, translated out of German as actually Belvedere Castle, was once the summer home of a prince in the 1700s and now home to an art museum. I am not so much the art museum fan, but it was worth it to go through, especially if you have never seen the inside of such a baroque palace. The intricate details are worth looking at. The museum is also home to a large Gustav Klimt collection including The Kiss, another common postcard and one of his most famous paintings.
The Gardens and their Illusions
My favorite part of the whole complex are the gardens. They trail out from the Upper Belvedere, where the main art collection is, out in a long rectangle down the hill toward the lower Belvedere and stables. When I came as a summer school student, our guide explained that the garden was built in elongated rectangles to make it look longer than it actually was. From the windows of the main building it does seem to stretch out. Even without illusion, the gardens are still large enough to wander peacefully without much danger of overcrowding.
Getting to the Front Gate
Although the gardens in the back are the highlight for me (a non-museum person), definitely come in the front gate. The entrance is grand and has a reflection pool for some neat shots of the main building.
You can get to the front gate from Tram/Subway Stop: Südbahnhof (South train station).
Belvedere Website in English for more information