Do you enjoy fairy tales? In the woods and hills of Europe fairy tales were born. Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty. Stories of heroism, romance and villainy overcome by good are woven into the landscape. Two hours from Vienna you will find a castle lifted from the pages of a story book. Schloss Schallaburg offers manicured gardens where fairies play, playgrounds where dragons prowl and towers where #girlboss princesses rescue themselves. If you’re looking for things to do in Austria with kids, Schloss Schallaburg is an idyllic day trip from Vienna.
A playground where enchanted creatures roam
The 900-year-old castle blends near millennial-old ruins with Renaissance flair. Schallaburg is a gorgeous patchwork of architectural styles. For families, the more recent architectural features are among the best. In the moat outside the castle’s forecourt you will find one of the best children’s playgrounds in Austria.
In keeping with centuries-old traditions of uber palace security, the playground is well guarded. Dragons patrol the slides, swings, balance beams and climbing frames. But don’t worry, the dragons welcome all visitors who’ve paid the castle’s entrance fees. Children young and old can scale a dragon’s back and slide down. The playground area has picnic tables and places to rest while the munchkins explore. The only drawback is the pebbles on the ground — they’re not ideal for kinderwagons.
Unearth a Renaissance wonderland
Beyond the playground the castle’s long history collides in a labyrinth you can explore. Let the kids burn energy as they run in the Grand Arcade Courtyard or climb the stairs to the walkway above. Hunt through the terracotta columns adorned with figures: Can you spot a woman with a fruit basket, a jester, a queen, a musician, a mother and her babies or an old man with a really long beard?
The labyrinth continues beyond the terracotta courtyard. An archway takes you to an older part of Schloss Schallaburg. Here the orange tinted colour scheme changes to monochrome. Terracotta arcades give way to black and white columns. Gaze up at the black and white tower or go below ground to the quiet, eerie crypt. Wander down into the excavations and venture back through time. It’s the world of King Arthur.
Kid-friendly gardens made for play
Looking for things to do in Austria with kids? Turns out there is a warm Italian garden in the cold Austrian hills. Remodeled in the 1970s, the Renaissance garden marries the formality of an Italian oasis with the family-friendly atmosphere of an Austrian park. The garden chairs invite you to relax while the wide open spaces welcome rambunctious youngsters. You could play peek-a-boo among the formal hedges, stroll through the fruit orchard or even try archery. In an emergency, the tucked away spaces among manicured lawns are also ideal if your three-year-old has gotta go…
The details parents want to know
How to get there: You can catch a bus from Melk train station to the castle. More detailed travel information is available on the Schloss Schallaburg website.
Pebbles aside, Schloss Schallaburg is wheelchair and kinderwagon friendly. The paths are wide and, while hilly, they’re not too steep. If needed, you can rent a wheelchair. There are lifts in the main castle area. Bathrooms and coat storage are available.
There is a cafe on the castle grounds. The Schloss Schallaburg website also provides information about where to find local Austrian cuisine.
Schloss Schallaburg runs exhibitions and events. Check the Schloss Schallaburg website for up-to-date information.