It is funny. Every time I visit a castle or a palace I plan to take just a “few” pictures and to concentrate simply on the most beautiful perspectives. When I took a Sunday excursion to Schloss Nymphenburg just this weekend, I left home with the same intention. But who would have known that my attempt would fail big time? Well, I have cut down my collection by over 70 photos, still leaving over 140 reasons to visit this gorgeous palace next time when in Munich.
Schloss Nymphenburg, or Castle of the Nymphs, is an impressive Baroque palace in the Western center of Munich, only 20 minutes by tram (Line 17) from downtown (with the MVG App it is very convenient to plan your public transportation within the city and the surrounding area). It is still used as the summer residence of the former Bavarian rulers, the House of Wittelsbach, and can be toured throughout the year.
The construction began in 1664 and the main pavilion in the center was completed by 1675. It was expanded continuously over the centuries and by 1826 it even surpassed Versailles in France by diametric measures. Nymphenburg was the birthplace of the legendary fairytale king Ludwig II who gave orders to build the world-famous Neuschwanstein castle.
Heart of the central pavilion is the so-called Stone Hall. This grand hall reaches out over three levels and is an impressive piece of art. You can very well imagine that this must have been the site to many glamorous ballroom events.
To the left and the right of the Stone Hall lie different kinds of bedrooms and other living spaces of the former rulers. The all are fitted in opulent Baroque, Neoclassical or Rococo styles, including the elegant green bedroom where King Ludwig II was born.
As mentioned before, the palace is still being used as residence for the present Wittelsbach descendents and therefore not all parts of it are open to the public. The small family chapel lies in the outer Northern pavilion, just to the right of the center building when approaching the castle from the tram station. Compared to the sumptuously fitted interiors of the palace itself, the chapel seems rather down-to-earth. It still is a beautiful example of typical Bavarian Baroque.
In order to get to the other mini palaces that are absolutely worth seeing, one has to enter the beautifully arranged park behind the main building. It is laid out in English manner and covers almost 229 square kilometers. It is open to the public and a popular recreational site for locals and tourists to simply promenade or run errands.
Closest to the palace lies the Magdalenenklause. Built as a Faux Ruin it was intended as a retreat for meditation. The interiors are neatly done with dark wood-paneled walls and ceilings, creating a homely and very comfy atmosphere. It is considered to be an early representative of German hermitage and the close connection to the Christian religion is omnipresent.
As you can see, it was not the best weather to take a long walk. But I had my umbrella with me that kept me safe and sound from the rain. And there are lots of beautiful views to enjoy and a wide range of birds to find and watch while strolling around.
One of my favorite outdoor palaces is the Pagodenburg. It is located North of the Magdalenenklause and served as a tea house. The building was designed as an octagonal pavilion with a the lower level fitted with precious Dutch Delft tiles while the upper level was completely done in Chinoiserie. Simply gorgeous!
Romantic pathways in form of neat little bridges connect the different sections of the garden that are separated by canals.
At the end of the center channel lies the Grand Cascade. It was designed in red marble and decorated with statues of Roman and Greek gods. From here, you may enjoy a wonderful view along the canal onto the center pavilion of Schloss Nymphenburg while watching the geese feed their offsprings.
Just on the other side of the central canal, a short walk away from the Grand Cascade, lies the Apollotempel, a neoclassical monopteros. Like the one in the English Garden, this building is a wide-known symbol for the Romanticism era.
Just pass Lake Badenburg and a little hidden between trees and bushes you will find the Pan sculpture on top of an artificial spring.
At the Southern shore of Lake Badenburg thrones the same named Badenburg. It was erected between 1718 and 1722 and was at that time the only building in Europe that had been designed as a designated bath house with a large swimming pool inside.
Between Schloss Nymphenburg and the Badenburg lies the well house that houses the pumping station for the palace´s many fountains.
One of the most impressive small palaces (and the last one before reaching the main building again) is the Amalienburg. This Cinderella style castle was intended as a hunting lodge in 1739 and includes a hall of mirrors and a kennel room for the hunting dogs. The extremely imposing and detailed decorations can be well described as European Rococo style at its best. It is the only of the four additional palaces with an own kitchen and the design of the mirror hall reflects the surrounding nature inside the premise. A masterpiece, really!
The last stop was the Marstallmuseum. It houses one of the world´s most significant carriage collections including pieces out of three centuries from German, French and English royalties. Highlight among the wide selection of carriages and sleds is the coronation coach of Emperor Karl VII.
The second floor is occupied by the Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain. The collection showcases masterpieces of traditional handmade and painted porcelain that is still fabricated these days, particularly focusing on Art Nouveau collectibles.
Now that we have finished the tour of the entire premise, it looks like that you do not necessarily have to visit the palace yourself, lol. I really tried to keep the visual tease on a low-level, but Schloss Nymphenburg offers such a wide array of amazing architecture and fine arts, you simply have to come and take a closer look with your own eyes. Even on a rainy day as I did.
The ticket price for the palace itself and the adjacent park palaces is 11,50€ per person and is, in my eyes, absolutely worth it. When touring the center pavilion, larger bags and backpacks can be stored in lockers inside the main entrance where you will also find toilets. You can also buy for each landmark a separate ticket if you are not planning to tour the entire area. Yet I would say that you would miss out on something.
For further information about the history of the castle, the location and the opening hours visit the Schloss Nymphenburg homepage. I hope, I was able to spark your wanderlust once again. Munich is great to visit at anytime of the year, so make sure to spare a few days when passing by the airport:).