Laxenburg, Austria – The play park of emperors

Laxenburg is a town in the federal state of Lower Austria /Niederösterreich located to the south of the capital city, Vienna. Laxenburg is well known for its castles. It has three: the Altes Schloss (old castle), the Blauer Hof (Blue Court) and Franzensburg Castle. For a small town of under 3000 people, this is quite a high ratio of castles-to-population at just under 1:1000.

The big attraction in Laxenburg is, therefore, the castles, all located conveniently in one Schlosspark (castle park), which is larger than the town itself and contains all three castles.

Unfortunately, we visited the Schlosspark at the wrong time of year. The castles in the park close during parts of December/January, so we were not able to go inside. It also explains why we were the only ones there at the time. Therefore, I only have pictures from the outside, such as the one featured below:

While we were not able to visit the castles themselves, the park was still open (from 10AM to 6PM during the week except Friday and until 7PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and cost €2.60 for adults for the whole day (€1.50 for children). It was nice to wander around looking at the castles from the outside. Warning: castles are used for events and concerts so they may not be in the picture perfect condition. Sound and lighting techs may be setting up for the next performance.

While December was not a great time for the castles, it was a good time for the Christmas Markets. The Schlosspark has a long-ish road that leads up to it. Where this road starts (so at the end away from the park) is the town hall and a large Catholic church, in front of which the Christmas Market takes place. As in many towns, Laxenburg is then bedecked with Christmas decorations, mostly in the form of lights, trees, and small huts reminiscent of alpine structures where one can purchase food, drinks and many items as gifts for loved ones.

The city hall (Rathaus – advice house) in Laxenburg alongside the church decorated for the winter season with the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) arranged in a U-shape in front. We happened to go on a day when the town was empty of tourists and shoppers.

While we did not necessarily see much, a trip to Laxenburg is highly recommendable for the atmosphere. For the part of the castles, I would not recommend going in December or January due to the closure; however, the Christmas Market is worth seeing. With this dilemma, one just has to make two trips!

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