In the outskirts of Munich, you can find the beautiful Schloss Nymphenburg which started out as a summer residence and was given as a gift the wife of Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria for the birth of their son and future heir to the throne who would eventually build Schloss Neuschwanstein and more. Pretty fancy gift for giving birth to a child, wouldn’t you say?
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Eventually it was expanded and enlarged into the many different buildings, pavilions and the massively beautiful outdoor gardens in the popular French style in the front and the back of the castle, which include several different pavilions. This is the perfect day trip from Munich to see how the Bavarian royalty lived in style.
Immediately, upon entering the palace grounds, you are enclosed by the palace walls and aristocratic homes. The impressive front façade of the palace with its massive golden lamps and the water fountain, swimming with swans welcomes you to a palace of beauty.
As soon as you walk into the entrance of the palace, you are in the palace gift shops and where you can buy your tickets for the palace and its pavilions. The gardens are free to walk around or even have a picnic in. Large bags or backpacks must go in a locker, located also in the gift shop area.
From the gift shop, you walk up the stairs and are immediately welcomes to the entrance of the Grand Hall with its stunning artwork on the ceiling.
The Grand Hall is one of the most beautiful halls I have ever had the pleasure of standing in. There are frescoes and intricately carved stucco in light pale colors on every inch of the walls and they will leave you breathless. You can take a guided tour of the palace with a guide dressed in costume to add to the historical effect of the palace. I was in complete awe staring up at the ceiling and the walls. The Rococco style has been perfectly preserved in its original condition since 1758 with shiny, dangly chandeliers fit for a princess!
There are tours of the palace with “actors” dressed in costume. They will give you the history of the palace as you move from room to room, and may even play a little part to make the history come alive. My first time to the palace, a woman in her fancy dress danced in the Great Hall with such elegance it seemed as if I was truly at a masquerade.
To both the left and the right of the Great Hall are waiting rooms where guests of the King and Queen waited before being received. Both were beautifully decorated with exquisite paintings and furniture.
Among one of the main things to see at the palace is the Gallery of Beauties from King Ludwig I of Bavaria who commission Joseph Stieler to paint 36 beautiful women from all sections of society. The painter produced the ideal image of feminine beauty, preferable to the King’s taste. There is one thing that all 36 women have in common and that is they are almost all brunettes, with some dirty blondes with pale skin. One of the most popular paintings is of a young 17 year old girl from Munich who was the daughter of a shoemaker, Helene Sedlmayr.
Further into the palace, you can see the Queen’s Bedroom which is where King Ludwig II of Bavaria was born. (He would later build the Neuschwanstein Castle). Her room still has all of its original furnishings that was made in 1815!
As there isn’t so much to see inside the palace, we decided to buy a full day ticket to all of the different pavilions throughout the entire palace grounds. Before we continued to walk on, we sat down in the palace gardens on a bench with a view of the back of the palace to have a small picnic. This was a great idea as the weather was perfect and it gave us some down time in between checking out the palace and the pavilions.
As we began to walk around the gardens, you can see the different statues lining the main walk way from the palace. It was very fashionable during the 1700’s to copy the French style gardens, which stretch out behind the palace with meandering walkways through covered forest. It was built and designed following the styles from the Palace of Versailles in Paris for Elector Max Emanuel. Throughout the park are four small pavilions, symmetrically laid out on either side of the park. At the very end of the palace gardens, you can find the Large Cascading fountain. Here we stopped for a long while to watch a beautiful swan in the process of bathing. From here you will have a fantastic view of the back of the palace with the long Central Canal, which now offers a gondola ride for tourists and lovers for 15 euros per person for 30 minutes.
As we walked along the palace gardens in the direction of the Large Cascade at the very end of the garden, we stopped to check out the Pagodenburg Lake and the palace’s first pavilion to be built, Pagodenburg. It was designed in the popular Chinese style and was built for the purpose of rest and relaxation. Once inside, you are surrounded by beautiful, hand painted blue and white Chinese porcelain on the first floor. Upstairs is a small bedroom with beautiful green and red furnishings while the Black Salon has paintings of flowers and birds.
Next we walked along Badenburg Lake and stumbled upon the Monopteros on the edge of the lake with stunning landscape surrounding it. Here people were laying and sitting on the steps, enjoying the sun or having a picnic with a view across the lake of the Badenburg pavilion. We stopped for a while to enjoy the views of the endless number of swans swimming in the lake.
Once across the lake and inside the Badeburg, we were greeted by more stunning ceiling frescoes and stucco as we walked into the pavilion. This building contains the magnificent electoral swimming pool which is a great example of bathing at court.Too bad there wasn’t any water in it! I could easily spend my days swimming here and lounging around in one of the beautifully decorated rooms decorated with more rare Chinese wallpaper that replaced precious Chinese tapestry that had seriously deteriorated over time due to light pollution.
Finally, we made it to a small pink and white pavilion called Amalienburg which is a small pleasure palace and hunting lodge for his wife, Maria Amalia, a daughter of Emperor Joseph I. Again, we were amazed by the stunning silver stucco and the baby blue walls in the circular Hall of Mirrors. This would be Karl Albrecht’s precious legacy and is now one of Europe’s architectural creations from the Rococo age. Further into the pavilion is the Kitchen for an Electress designed in a Dutch style and combined with more Chinese hand painted blue and white porcelain. I could imagine, lounging around after swimming at Badenburg in the yellow tapestry hunting lodge room, waiting for my meal to be cooked up before eventually dancing the night away in the Hall of Mirrors. Yes, I have an inner Princess in me! Just don’t tell my husband that!
Towards the end of our day trip, we finally ended the palace excursion by checking out the Marstall Museum which are former stables that now house a collection of stunningly large and gold carriages used by previous Bavarian rulers. The most magnificent belong once again to King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was known to have a very extravagant taste in all things beauty. We see this the most in his beautiful castles throughout Bavaria such as Schloss Neuschwanstein, Schloss Herrenchiemsee and Schloss Linderhof. He had such an extravagant taste that could never be satisfied and he eventually went bankrupt and was removed from the throne before his untimely death.
Not only are there the overwhelmingly large and golden carriages, but also many different variations of sleighs, which the king used for night time trips into the mountains. Most of the sleighs have enough room for one person while some have enough for two people to snuggle up warm together before sleighing off into the cold mountain evening.
If you’re interested in visiting Germany and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!
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