On the Sunday of my mini-vacay in Munich, I completely forgot that everything in Europe shuts down on this day. I was going to do some shopping but with the shops closed I decided to go visit Nymphenburg Palace and I’m so glad I did.
The palace is very close to the center of Munich and is just a 15 minute tram ride from the central train station. From the tram stop it is just a short walk to the grounds and main entrance of the palace. When I got there, I bought a combination ticket for 8 euros which gave me access not only to the palace, but also to the park and the parks’ palaces, and the carriage and porcelain museums. You can buy a ticket for just the palace which is 6 euros but I highly recommend the former!
Nymphenburg Palace was the summer residence of the Bavarian royal family since the mid 1600s and was inspired to be built by the birth of Max Emanuel, the heir to the throne. He led major developments of the palace throughout his reign and his successors made many revisions as well throughout the 1700s including some to the Great Hall, which is where the tour of the palace begins and was one of my favorite parts of Nymphenburg. The Great Hall has remained untouched since the mid 1700s which is pretty amazing since it’s still so gorgeous with the chandeliers, intricate design, and light filtering in through the windows.
Like any palace, there are multiple chambers and galleries to walk through. My favorite was King Ludwig’s Gallery of Beauties. He commissioned an artist to paint portraits of beautiful women of the court and of all classes of society and these portraits line all four walls. There should be more of these galleries today showing not only beautiful, but smart women too, no?
What I loved most about Nymphenburg though wasn’t the palace but its park! The park sits on the opposite side of the main entrance, behind the palace. When I first went outside, I thought I would just take a short stroll through it and be done. No, no. It is massive and so big that it even has its own mini-palaces and you need a map to guide you from one to the next.
As I started walking, I immediately admired the natural beauty and quiet of the park. Fall leaves littered the ground everywhere and everything was so still. Wouldn’t this be amazing to have in your backyard or to live nearby so you could go for a walk here everyday?
Once I stopped staring at the scene and stopped taking pictures of all the leaves, I kept on walking and arrived at one of the park palaces, Pagodenburg. As you can tell from the name, the design of this palace follows the Chinese style and the palace was used as a place of rest after residents and guests were out playing sports in the park. How nice it must have been to pop over here and take a nap after a work out.
I continued along one of the many paths within the park to a bridge where I could look back and see Nymphenburg in the distance. The park is truly enormous and standing on this bridge you realize how far you have walked.
Next I came to Badenburg palace. This is much larger than Pagodenburg and for good reason. Not only does Badenburg have rooms, a banquet hall, and a kitchen but most importantly it has a bathing pool. Based on the popularity of the Roman baths, guests and residents at Nymphenburg came here for a spa-like retreat.
I didn’t get around to visiting the other two palaces in the park as I was getting tired and very hungry. I must have walked around for an hour and a half or so in a giant loop. I would have gladly spent a couple more hours walking around in the beautiful park but I made my way back to the palace for lunch at a cafe before checking out two museums.
I first visited the Nymphenburg Porcelain Museum which houses a private collection of porcelain that decorated the palace back in the day. The Bavarian royal family loved porcelain so much that they opened up a porcelain factory and started an art institute to train porcelain artists. I much preferred the Marstallmuseum though which is where the palace’s riding stables used to be and now showcases beautiful court carriages, like the Coronation Coach.
On my way out of the palace and back to the tram stop I stopped at Backspielhaus for something sweet. I passed this place on the way into the palace and just looking through the window, this bakery looked amazing so I knew I had to try something. They have huge cake slices and mini tarts and cakes as well as breads and other pastries plus sandwiches and coffee. It’s in such a good location by the palace that I wouldn’t be surprised that it is always busy.
Everything was so tempting but I settled for a latte and a chocolate-cream puff with chocolate icing on top – a nice warm comfort from the cold outside. And right across the street from the bakery is the tram stop to take you back to central Munich.
Nymphenburg Palace is open everyday but I think it’s ideal to visit on a Sunday when you want to do something in Munich but everything is closed. It is so peaceful there away from the city center and you get to be close to nature strolling through the park. I think all of that is what Sundays should be about, don’t you?
Have you been to Nymphenburg Palace? What did you think?