Not to be confused with Luxembourg.
I can’t take credit for this trip – it was all Hendy’s idea, although he cannot remember where he found out about the Laxenborg castles because they are not featured on any of the Lonely Planet Guides we have (and we have many.)
It’s becoming a problem.
Anyway, though I cannot imagine why this isn’t a prominent feature on the travel guides because it’s a pretty spectacular place.
The little town of Laxenborg itself is 30min south of Vienna so we had to venture outside the Viennese public transport system. But what is another step out of our comfort zone to us mighty explorers? (We’re lucky we’re not married because it almost ended in divorce.)
Here, at the major bus station, I learnt about international buses which until this point had been a completely foreign concept to me.
Luxenborg is a quiet place. The high density apartments of the city are replaced with townhouses or country homes with decent sized gardens. The roofs are all tiled red brick and the plaster facades are various shades between cream and muted yellow. The church is old and beautiful, the major public buildings are old and beautiful and even the cute little ice cream shop is old and beautiful. So, you know, same old Austria!
The highlight of Laxenborg are the Palace Gardens (Schlosspark Laxenborg). They are Austria’s largest historical landscape garden, stretching across 280 hectares of woodland and meadows. Being so close to Vienna, they became a favoured spot of the Hapsburgs, Vienna’s own version of the Windsors (or is it the other way around?). The very chatty park ranger was excitedly point out the spot where Empress Sisi (Austria’s own Lady Di) swam when she stayed here.
Littered across the park are historical landscaping structures dating back to the 18th century. There’s even a jousting yard. The two centre-pieces of the park are the Franzensburg Castle and the Alte Schloss (old castle). The Fransensburg is now a museum full of crazy fancy stuff and pigskin wallpaper and a room full of spikes and a fake dungeon that and can enter on a guided tour for €11.
Entrance to the park itself is only €2,60 with an additional €0,80 for a park map, which I would recommend. This place is big.
From there it’s like any day at the park. People are walking their dogs, having a picnic, kids are playing in the playground. There are plenty of walks you can do, or there is the option to just meander around (which we did). I understand the walking tracks take up to 5 hours to complete all – we were in the park for about 4 hours all up.
It is a very pretty place in the late spring. The trees are lush with fresh growth and there are sill dapples of wildflowers in the meadows. Most of the park is shaded by trees, so even in the heat of the day you’re not going to die in the summer heat.
How’s the weather back home? Are you breaking into double digits? Didn’t think so.
If you can’t be arsed walking, there’s a little train thing that slowly weaves its way through the main walking ‘track’ (wide asphalt road). Apparently there is also a guided tour of the park, but all the landscape features have plaques in English so you won’t miss out on history if you were to do it yourself.
Because, you know, history is so hard to come by here.