Nymphenburg Palace Ultimate Travel Guide

Travel

Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

For me, no visit to Munich would be complete without a visit to Schloss Nymphenburg, or Nymphenburg Palace. It’s a little different than the nearby royal buildings. At Munich’s Residenz you can spend days touring the riches of the Wittelsbachs. Neuschwanstein is a fan favorite that is world famous as a massive fairy tale castle. But Nymphenburg is a little different. It’s almost as if it’s a suburban park that just happens to have a spectacular palace.

Maybe you’re your interests lie with the royal connection. Maybe you just want to experience life like a local. Nymphenburg Palace and Park is a great way to spend a day.

The History Behind Nymphenburg

While it might not seem far from downtown Munich and the Residenz, Nymphenburg was built as the summer residence for Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy. Italian architect Agostino Barelli, who is responsible for the bright yellow Theatine Church on Odeonsplatz, designed the palace. Construction began in 1664 and was completed in 1679.

As you might expect, the palace and property changed each time a new elector came into power. The initial palace wasn’t very large. It was under the rule of the couple’s son, Max Emanuel, that the palace was enlarged to what is seen today. Court architect Henrico Zuccalli added a structure to either side of the main building. The once cubist structure now had more of a flow to it.

Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Flowers outside of Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Geese outside of Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

While the earlier architects were influenced by Italian design, French tastes took over by 1715. It was then that Max Emanuel returned to Bavaria after living away for a period during the Spanish War of Succession. French talents, as well as local craftsmen, added to Nymphenburg by way of landscape and gardens, paintings and stucco work.

It was also around this time that the Nymphenburg garden pavilions began being erected.

Under the reign of Elector Maximilian III Joseph (reigned from 1745-1777), the palace became more lavish. The Great Hall saw a collaboration from Johann Baptist Zimmermann and François Cuvilliés the Elder. The Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory also took its spot at the front of the palace estate during this time. And you can still visit it there today!

Statue at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Statue at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Statue at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Statue at sunset at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Urn statue at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Gardens

While the palace at Nymphenburg is undoubtedly the draw for most visitors, the garden — and park! — are must sees.

If you approach from the front of the palace, near the parking lot, and pass through the arches to the garden you’re met with a visual surprise. The canals out front of the palace extend back as far as the eye can see through the garden. During the warm summer months, a gondolier offers rides. Flower beds and sculptures run parallel to the canal. In the distance, the water shimmers in cascading fountains.

The gardens originally began in the Italian style in 1671 before being redone in a French and then, under Friedrich Ludwig Sckell, English style.

Jogger in Nymphenburg Park in Munich, Germany.

Nymphenburg Park

Beyond the immediate palace and gardens is a wooded park. Trails meander throughout the property. They lead over old bridges and past countless birds, ducks and waterfowl. It’s back in the park areas that you’re more likely to find locals strolling, jogging or just meeting up with friends.

Sitting at Badenburg at sunset at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Monopteros at Nymphenburg Park in Muncih, Germany.

Park Palaces

One of the great pleasure of exploring the more than 400 acres of the park is you never know what you’ll find. If you search carefully, you’ll stumble upon Pan hidden under a tree with his flute. Elsewhere small palace buildings dot the landscape.

While these park palaces seem small, you’ll get a surprise once inside. They are really quite spacious.

Pagodenburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Pagodenburg

Built for Max Emanuel by Joseph Effner from 1716-1719, Pagodenburg is a 2-storey building. The downstairs features richly colored blue and white Delft tiles. Upstairs has several small Chinese-themed rooms.

Inside of Pagodenburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Badenburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Badenburg

Located at the far end of the park from the main palace, just off the Badenburg Lake, is the Badenburg building. It was also built by Effner but from 1719-1721. The building, appropriately, served as a private bathhouse with additional banquet rooms and a private apartment. Highlights of the banquet hall, like the stucco and ceiling frescoes by Jacopo Amigoni, were destroyed during World War II but have since been restored. The Roman-inspired bath is large enough for swimming!

Directly outside of Badenburg are benches. This part of the lake is a popular spot for birds and visitors looking for a quiet moment. The benches here are also a favorite spot of my husband and me. It’s easy to sit for hours watching the ducks and birds of all different varieties feeding, playing and simply living.

Across Badenburg Lake is Monopteros, or a Temple to Diana. The massive temple features lovely artwork on the inside of the domed roof and is a great place to sit.

Badenburg and lake at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Bathhouse in Badenburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Duck at Badenburg Lake at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Magdalenenklause at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Magdalenenklause

Tucked away not far from the Munich Botanical Garden, the Magdalenenklause was built by Effner in 1725-1728. Commissioned by Max Emanuel, he didn’t live to see the building’s completion. The project was, however, taken over by his son, Elector Karl Albrecht.

While the Magdalenenklause looks like it’s falling apart, the ruin appearance is intentional. Inside there is religious imagery. The single-storey building is a place for reflection.

Magdalenenklause at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Magdalenenklause at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Amalienburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Amalienburg

The newest of the park palaces is Amalienburg. Built between 1734 and 1739 by Karl Albrecht, the building was a hunting lodge and “small pleasure palace.” The building is lavishly decorated in rococo style. A hall of mirrors sits at the building’s center. All of the rooms of the building feature rich decorations with paintings, stucco work, wood carvings, and more.

Exterior details in Amalienburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Details in Amalienburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Interior in Amalienburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Tiles in Amalienburg at Nymphenburg in Munich, Germany.

Touring Nymphenburg Palace

Admission to Nymphenburg Palace and Park is free — unless you would like to enter the main palace or any of the park palaces. To enter the buildings there is a fee. I recommend getting the Bavarian palaces pass to save some money if you plan to visit multiple Bavarian palaces and castles or want to visit more than once.

In the main palace, a selection of rooms on the first floor are open to visitors. If you’re visiting during the winter, take note that the park palaces are not open. The main palace is open year round.

You will also find the Marstallmuseum on the Nymphenburg Palace grounds. The museum houses a collection of Nymphenburg Porcelain as well as a collection of historic carriages and sleighs.

Signpost at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany.

Tree hanging over Badenburg Lake at Nymphenburg Park in Munich, Germany.

Where To Stay
Make Munich your home base to explore Bavaria and the surrounding area.

Getting to Nymphenburg Palace

There is a parking lot with free parking directly out front of the palace. However, there some parking available.

There is a Schloss Nymphenburg stop on the Tram 17 line. However, it’s only a short walk from Romanplatz (tram lines 12 and 16). With the S-Bahn, the closest stop is Laim while Rotkreuzplatz is the closest U-Bahn stop. Both S-Bahn and U-Bahn are somewhat far away (more than a mile) so you’ll likely want to take a bus (or, from Rotkreuzplatz, a tram) unless you’re feeling energetic.

If you’re looking to spend a little more time at the palace and park, the nearby Hotel Laimer Hof is my must-stay hotel.

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From park to palace, the ultimate travel guide with everything you need to know about Schloss Nymphenburg, or Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany. #munich #germany #bavaria #travel #castle

From park to palace, the ultimate travel guide with everything you need to know about Schloss Nymphenburg, or Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany. #munich #germany #bavaria #travel #castle

All photos are my own.

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8 thoughts on “Nymphenburg Palace Ultimate Travel Guide

  1. This sounds like a perfect place for an autumn day! I loved the photo of the garden with a girl running – it made me want to go for a run as well. And those geese look so funny in front of the Palace.

  2. Wow this is like something out of an ancient fairy tale the grounds are gorgeous. It actually reminds me a little of Powerscourt in Ireland with its dramatic statuary and incredible statues.

  3. Wow, I’ve been to the palace twice and have never explored the gardens — I had no idea that all there were smaller palaces out there! Now I’ll have to go again 😉

  4. I have never heard of this place, but it is stunning! You could definitely spend an entire day walking around as the grounds are huge. Thanks for sharing!

  5. That palace looks incredible!! I will definitely have to add it to my must-see list for Germany 🙂 Great article with so much helpful information 🙂

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