Nymphenburg Park Palaces

nymphenburg-palace-munich
STEP INSIDE: Take a tour of the Nymphenburg park palaces (like me).

NYMPHENBURG PARK PALACES: As if Nympenburg Palace wasn’t grandiose enough.
Its royal residents also built a series of smaller chateaus in the Palace Park.

The Wittelsbachs used these retreats for swimming, throwing parties, hunting and a rare spot of navel-gazing. They’re also known as the Lustschlösser, or “pleasure palaces” and it’s fun to go through them and pick out your favourite.

Sometimes kings would peruse another kind of “lust” inside (wink, wink). They were handy houses for late-night trysts with beautiful mistresses, well away from the room where the queen slept.

Tips for touring the Nymphenburg Park Palaces

Start from the main palace’s southern wing outside the Marstall Museum. A 5min walk east will take you to the grandest of the small palaces…..

amalienburg
NOBLE: Karl Albrecht built this palace for his wife, who loved hunting. @ Nymphenburg Park Palaces

…the Amalienburg

This is where aristocrats would dance into the wee hours with their wigs and frilly glad-rags reflected into eternity.
It’s a rococo masterwork, built by Prince Elector Karl Albrecht (1739) for his Austrian sweetheart Maria Amalie. Part hunting lodge, part ball-venue, the first chamber you visit is the Dog’s Room, lined with elaborate bunks for highborn hunting hounds. The adjoining the Blue Cabinet was a living room and showcase for hunting trophies. The yellow and silver-stuccoed Rest Room next door has a cot for the weary.

amalienburg-hall-of-mirrors
REFLECT: The Hall of Mirrors hosted balls and banquets.

You then go through to the showpiece Hall of Mirrors, where royal balls took place. Imagine a party powered by dozens of candles, their light intensified to the Nth degree by the mirrors on the walls – the effect must have been amazing.
Next up is the Hunting Room, its walls packed with portraits of the chase.
The Kitchen, covered by tiles with Chinese and Dutch motifs, rounds out the Amalienburg.
Continue south along the path around to the right along the canal. You’ll pass the former menagerie to the left and see a little village of white-washed houses to the right.
Keep going on to my personal favourite of the Nymphenburg Park Palaces….

..the Badenburg

badenburg
BATHING HOUSE: The Badenburg has its own heated pool.
@ Nymphenburg Park Palaces


badenburg-banquet-hall
FINE: The Banquet Hall is two storeys high.

This Schloss sits on the shore of a sizey lake. The Badenburg was where the royals would go for a languid dip in a huge heated pool.

You enter into the airy Banquet Hall with its white-stuccoed walls embracing an elaborate ceiling fresco overhead. Image the regents entertaining nobles here before inviting a few lucky souls back for a dip in the bath.

Pass through the Anteroom to the left to see the bedroom, decked with Chinese-themed wallpaper. Through a small door here is the so-called “Affenkabinett” or “monkey cabinet", a richly decorated dressing room and study.
The pool is back through the Anteroom to the right– you enter into a marble-panelled gallery overlooking the basin.

badenburg-bath
DIVE IN: The bath see from
the gallery above.

Ruler Max Emmanuel was so inspired by the luxury of Turkish baths he built this one for himself in 1722. The original water-heating system still works. Peer down to the bath tiles to see inlaid Dutch windmills.

Back outside again take a breather and look across the lake. See the Greek temple on the far side?
It’s called the Monopteros and honours the Greek über-god Apollo.
He’s not the only Greek deity in the palace park, as you’ll find as you cross over the bridge and see the statue of Pan, the god of shepherds. Continue on past a long field where, if you’re lucky, you’ll see a few deer moseying about.

Cross another bridge across the central canal and work your way around another lake to the smallest palace, the cute little…..

pagodenburg
LAKESIDE: The Pagodenburg sits by a same-named lake to the north of the Central Canal. @ Nymphenburg Park Palaces

...Pagodenburg

This has got to have one of the flimsiest excuses to ever to build a palace but if you’re the ruler of a kingdom then hey, you can indulge yourself.
Prince Elector Max Emanuel built the Pagodenburg (1718) as a place to relax after a croquet-like game called “pall mall”. The “Pagode” in the name is an 18th century reference to the cherub-esque idols found inside.



pagodenburg-rest-room
PLACE TO CHILL: The Rest Room upstairs in the Pagodenburg.

You step into a small blue-and-white Entrance Hall smothered with over 2000 Dutch tiles. A closer look reveals mini-portraits and landscapes.
The courtly fascination with all things Chinese continues upstairs – think dark wooden panels and rice paper wallpaper, offset by Parisian furniture.

Once you leave the Pagodenburg, follow the path back towards the main palace. Branch off to the left before you reach the Grand Parterre and you’ll find the (seemingly) oldest of the Nymphenburg small palaces….

...the Magdalenenklause

magdalenenklause
GHOSTLY: The Magdalenenklause was designed to look like a ruin. @ Nymphenburg Park Palaces


magdalenenklause-grotto-chapel
EEIRE: The Grotto Chapel has an almost unearthy glow.

This dilapidated little temple was where the royals came to peace out.

The building (built 1728) was designed with a ruined hermit’s cottage in mind, its brickwork exposed behind crumbling plaster.

This was a place of refuge for pondering “the
religious contemplation of the transitoriness of earthly lives”.
It’s also the only palace I’ve ever been into where you are required to put on oversized bathroom slippers and slide around.

magdalenenklause-slippers
PROTECTIVE: Magdalenenklause slippers.

It helps protect the original parquet floors. The rooms are all dark and dreary except the Grotto Chapel, studded with bucket-loads of colourful seashells and stones.
The ceiling fresco is a tribute to Mary Magdalena.









The Details

Location: The Nymphenburg park palaces are spread throughout the Nymphenburg Palace Park (Schlosspark) in Munich's west.
Phone: 089 17 90 80
Website:

www.schlosser-bayern.de

Open: ▪The Amalienburg is daily the year round. The other park palaces are open daily from April to October 15 from 9am to 6pm and closed during the colder months.

▪Everything at Nymphenburg is closed on January 1, Shrove Tuesday and December 24, 25 and 31.
Cost:

▪Nymphenburg "combination tickets" cost 10€ (8€ concession) from April 1 to October 15. They cost 8€ (6€ concession) from October 16 to March 31.
This ticket gives you access to the Nymphenburg Palace, the Marstallmuseum, the Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain and the Nymphenburg Park Palaces mentioned above (the Amalienburg, Badenburg, Pagodenburg and Magdalenenklause).

▪You can see the park palaces for 2€ (1€ concession) individually or 4€ (3€ concession) for the lot of them.

▪Another option is the "14-day ticket" which gives you entry into over 40 palaces and castles across Bavaria for 20€ (36€for partner and family tickets).

Directions:

▪To Nymphenburg Palace, take any S-Bahn to Laim. Head to the left once you leave the station and it's a 20min walk along Wotan Strasse and left at Romansplatz (or you can take bus No 51 from Laim).

▪You can also take Tram No. 16 or 17 from outside the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station), or No 12 from Rotkreuzplatz (direction Romansplatz or Amalienburgstrasse).

▪See here for Munich transport maps.

Map:

nymphenburg-map

Click on the map to see a larger version to print out.


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