A visit to the Nymphenburg Palace and the gardens in Munich, Germany is one of the top things to do in Munich. The tour of the palace complex comprises of a Grand Hall, the royal apartments, and rooms decorated with rich frescoes and artwork, the palace gardens and the museums displaying ornate chariots and fine porcelains. The mansion was a gift from Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria to his wife Henriette Adelaide of Savoy to mark the birth of their son and the heir to their throne Maximilian II Emanuel.
The Nymphenburg Palace building was originally a private mansion in an open countryside completed in 1675. It was extended over a period of time by various rulers of Wittelsbach dynasty into a magnificent palace as we see today making it the favorite summer residence of the former Bavarians rulers. The galleries and pavilions extending from the central pavilion, the opulent ornamentations of Grand apartments and the expansive Baroque gardens were all added later on mostly in the 18th century.
The palace is half an hour ride away from the city center, though there are direct trams from Karlsplatz they weren’t working during our visit due to construction work. Hence we had to take an underground plus tram. The tram stop is on the main street and from there you need to walk some 10 minutes to the main palace building entrance.
We walked along the water canal to the large central courtyard the Cour d’ Honneur with a small pond and central fountain. The pond had several ducks and swans which is a great place to spend some time if you are visiting with kids. It was actually packed with families taking pictures of the birds. These canals were laid out to divert water into the garden from the River Wurm located two km away as a source of water for fountains and flora.
Tickets and Opening Times
The tickets can be bought from the counter at the entrance of the main palace. There are separate tickets for the palace, the museums and the park palaces you can also buy a combined ticket for a reduced price. Check for prices and more details here.
Main Palace Tour
We started with the opulent Grand Hall. The breathtaking hall is resplendent with beautiful frescoes all over the ceiling with paintings of nymph and Flora the flower goddess in an Arcadian landscape. Fine stucco work which is a masterpiece artwork of Johann Baptist Zimmermann from mid 18th century can be seen adorning the frescoes.
The flight of stairs descending down into the garden back of the palace is said to be used for the ceremonial entry for the guests into the hall. On either side of the Grand Hall are some 20 rooms decorated with paintings and lavish furnishings.
The north side apartments and rooms could be approached through the North Gallery which displayed paintings of the aerial view of palace complex and its evolution over time. The rooms with lavishly decorated interior have several pictures of Max Emmanuel’s family and portraits of his children in rooms decorated in Rococo style with ceilings paintings of god and goddesses and rich stucco work. The interiors were originally Baroque and the Rococo and NeoClassical elements were added later as the palace was extended and refurbished by different rulers.
The south side rooms were accessible through a South Gallery decorated with paintings similar to the North Gallery. The rooms display lavish furniture and family portraits.
The most well-known being King Ludwig I’s ‘Gallery of Beauties’ which exhibits the portraits of 36 women from diverse social classes from daughter of a shoemaker to the daughter of King which were painted by Joseph Stieler.
Another room of interest for us was the former bedroom of Queen Caroline where King Ludwig II was born in 1845. This was of particular interest to us after visiting the Neuschwanstein castle and learning about the intriguing and mysterious story of Ludwig II who was popularly known as the ‘Mad King Ludwig’.
The building which houses the Marstallmuseum and the Nymphenburg porcelain museum was originally the private stable of the Wittelsbach family.
MarstallMuseum (Chariot Museum)
The museum displays over 40 carriages and sleighs owned by the Wittelsbach family, most of which have witnessed the royal coronation procession.
The first one which we saw was the magnificent coronation coach of Elector Karl Albrecht with ornate embellishment. Each of the eight horses wore richly decorated harnesses. The right side wall shows a depiction of the splendor of the procession.
The room also displayed numerous ornate sleighs which also includes child’s sleigh used by princes and princesses and the sleighs used for hunting.
The last room in the hall had few ornate gala coaches and sleighs used by Ludwig II for hunting and leisure purposes.
On the other side of the room where more coaches which were simple compared to the ones we saw but elegantly decorated.
Nymphenburg Porcelain Museum
On the upper floor is a unique collection of Nymphenburg porcelain from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The collection consisted of beautiful tea sets to vases and sculptures which were used as centerpieces on the tables.
The Palace Chapel is located in one of the north pavilion accessed through Cour d’honneur in front of the main palace. The chapel features a baroque altar and colorful frescoes over the ceiling.
The garden was expanded by Max Emmanuel in 1700s along with a canal dug out to divert water from the River Wurm to the park. The garden was further re-landscaped in the 1800s to add meadows, lakes and winding paths creating a classical landscape garden. The verdant sprawling palace garden is a great place for Nature walks, for jogging or just to spend some quality family time. The Baroque garden apart from the extensive green space has numerous small palaces and pavilions including a huge parterre with fountain.
Nymphenburg Garden Palaces
Amalienburg was the hunting lodge of Maria Amalia wife of Elector Karl Albrecht. The sumptuously decorated suite of rooms in Rococo style includes the ‘Hall of Mirrors’, the largest room at the center of the pavilion and the bedroom with rich stucco work, wall carvings, and paintings which is something not to miss. The kitchen is decorated with colorful Dutch tiles and a Pheasant room with painted linen ornamentation.
Magdalenenklause (Hermitage of St Mary Magdalene)
Magdalenenklause is located north of the Grand Parterre and houses the Grotto Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene and Electors’ apartments with simple decorations of oak paneling.
Pagodenburg stands in the northern part of the palace garden along with a garden parterre and aPagodenburg Lake. While the ground floor is adorned with Dutch tiles and beautiful ceiling painting the upper floor is decorated with Chinese wallpaper and lacquer painting.
Badenburg and Badenburg Lake and Monopteros left
Badenburg is located in the center of the southern part of the palace garden amidst lush green landscape. The pavilion comprises of a high banqueting hall with rich stucco work and ceiling frescoes and the suite of rooms. Not to miss here are the splendid decoration of Dutch tiles and ceiling painting. There is also a neoclassical monopteros temple standing on the banks of Badenburg Lake.
Know before you go
Backpacks and heavy luggage are not allowed inside the palace. There is a free locker room where you can leave your luggage and belongings.
There are lifts to the first floor of the main palace which houses the Grand Hall and the apartments. The Porcelain Museum is also housed on the first floor which is also accessible by lift.
During the summer season (April to mid-October) one can experience a slice of Venice right here in Nymphenburg palace gardens with the gondola rides offered every day on the central canal.
The garden palaces and the chapel are closed during winter even the fountains are not operational. Check for the times before you plan your visit.
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