The Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany, is where you’ll find this Baroque marvel. In German, Schloss Nymphenburg means the Palace of the Nymphs. Looking like it’s straight out of a Disney palace, this is a must on your list of things to do in Munich! The Nymphenburg Palace Park is one of the premier royal palaces of Europe.
It’s even more extensive than Versailles! Having changed a lot (as castles do) over the years, the Nymphenburg Palace has been the principal summer residence for the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach. All of this, making it one of the most famous sights in München! And hence why I made sure it was on my list for my one day in Munich! If you have more time in Germany, check out Baden-Württemberg, which is south-west Germany.
The Nymphenburg Palace in Munich
The original shape of the Nymphenburg summer residence was just a large cubic pavilion. Built in 1679 with a court church, several outbuildings, and a small garden surrounding it. Its current day size is due to elector Max Emanuel who reigned from 1680-1726. Today it not only encompasses the original pavilion but the Nymphenburg Park around it.
Over the years, the palace has gone through several incarnations. Bringing with it several different styles, such as baroque, rococo, and neoclassical. The baroque facades themselves are 700 meters (about 2297 feet) in width. As you walk through the palace, you begin to see the many different styles that encompass this magnificent Munich palace.
The Marble Hall / Great Hall
The central building you start the audio-guided tour in is the original part of the Nymphenburg Palance. In the Marble Hall or the Great Hall, you’ll find ornate rococo stucco-work. Honestly, it’s breathtaking. Considered one of the best large-scale interiors in the late court Rococo style.
If you look up, there’s a gorgeous and colossal ceiling painting depicting Olympian heaven, symbolizing the duty of the ruler to bring and receive peace. In reference to its namesake, nymphs pay homage to the nymph Flora who has become a goddess. The Marble Hall / Great Gall has been unchanged since 1758. It’s considered an authentic rococo room and is simply a marvel to behold.
The North Salettl
After his return from exile in France in 1715, Max Emanuel, who reigned from 1679–1726 began decorating his summer residence. This hall is an intact example of the French style of interior design at the time. You’ll see his portrait and that of his second wife, Therese Kunigunde, here. Lots and lots and lots of gold adorn this room. On the walls, clock, dresser, frame, etc. I can’t find any figures on how much it cost to build Nymphenburg Palance in Munich, but I can only imagine it’s a LOT!
There’s even more royal opulence in the antechamber, but what caught my eye was this table. It is from the Medici court workshop in Florence, Italy. The Medici’s were avid supporters of the arts. They financed the invention of the piano and opera, funded the construction of Saint Peter’s Basilica and Santa Maria del Fiore. They were also patrons of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo.
Guest Apartment Bedchamber
This suite was a guest apartment from the mid-18th century onward. Around 1803 the rooms were redecorated to what you see today. The portraits of ladies on the wall are considered the Little Gallery of Beauties. They feature only women of the court at Nymphenburg Palance in Munich. The ceiling painting is of the sea goddess Thetis and dates from around 1674. Thought I honestly think she looks like Medusa a bit with that hair.
The North Gallery
The North Gallery was the ceremonial entry point into Max Emanuel’s apartment, which is now inaccessible. In this gallery, visitors of Nymphenburg Palace would wait here for an audience with his majesty. It’s the same ruler whose portrait is in the North Salettl. Here instead of showing off his military might, he wanted to show his capability as a builder.
Having a painting of your palace, at that palace, seems a bit much to me. It’s kind of like when celebrities wear photos of other celebrities. We get it! You’re famous! And this is not the only painting in this gallery, and there are TONS more!
The Imperial Bedchamber
On either side of the bed are, again, the electoral couple Max Emanuel, and Therese Kunigunde are seen. The imperial bed depicts the room’s original function but dates from a later period. The flower goddess Flora is painted on the ceiling, tying into the namesake once more. She looks about ready to celebrate to me, holding those wreaths of flowers aloft.
The Chinese Lacquer Cabinet
One of the things I noticed about the Nymphenburg Park Palace was how much it took from other cultures. Here in the Chinese Lacquer Cabinet, you can see the Asian inspiration. It is completely covered with panels showing scenes from a Chinese novel. I don’t recall seeing Chinese decor in any of the other palaces or castles I’ve visited before, so this was new to me. Have you seen this before? Let me know in the comments!
Antechamber and Writing Cabinet of Elector Karl Theodor
Man, these royals loved their antechambers! During the final extensions of the Nymphenburg Palace in 1795, these antechambers were added. Two galleries were widened, and three cabinets were added. One as a writing room, seen above, and one was a coffee room. Fancy a Starbucks anyone?
Salon / King Ludwig I’s Gallery of Beauties
Something the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich is famous for is it’s Gallery of Beauties. Created for King Ludwig I, who reigned 1825-1848, they were initially intended for the Festsaalbau (Festival Hall Building) of the Munich Residenz. This series of paintings was a commission from the King. Surprisingly, they feature not only ladies of the court, but women from all classes of society. Thirty-six portraits were created, one of which has since been lost. Since the original commission, two more were added.
The most well-known portraits are the “Schöne Münchnerin” (the Beauty of Munich) Helene Sedlmayr, who was the daughter of a shoemaker. Unfortunately, Helene, it’s in my photos. They’ve been renovating, so I either missed her or she wasn’t on the wall due to restoration. The “Spanish” dancer Lola Montez, who was the cause of the revolution in 1848, is the other famous painting. That is when Ludwig I was forced to abdicate. You’ll find her in the right photo on the bottom left above.
The Queen’s Study
Another example of the royals of Nymphenburg Palace using icons of other cultures is in the Queen’s study. Busts of pharaohs made of gilt bronze hold up the table. Even the chairs have busts and feet inspired by the Egyptians. During the Napoleonic era, Egyptian fashion was all the rage. It’s a large part why the King Tut tomb was such a big deal to find!
The Queen’s Bedchamber: Birthplace of King Ludwig II
One of the rooms that have retained its original furnishings is Queen Caroline’s bedchamber. With the addition of the children’s furniture and various personal possessions, it was made to look private.
In 1842, the Bavarian Crown Prince Maximilian (II, who reigned 1848 – 1864) and his wife Marie of Prussia took up residence in Nymphenburg Palace. On August 25, 1845, Marie of Prussia gave birth to the heir to the throne, who would become Ludwig II, in this room. He was christened the following day in the Great Hall. The future King and his brother Otto are seen here as children in the two busts dating from 1850.
You’ve probably heard of King Ludwig II, known as the Swan King, der Märchenkönig (“the Fairy Tale King”), or the Mad King. His cousin and friend, Empress Elisabeth, said that “The King was not mad; he was just an eccentric living in a world of dreams. They might have treated him more gently, and thus perhaps spared him so terrible an end.” You can listen to an excellent podcast about him, his famous castles (Neuschwanstein Castle, the one that inspired Walt Disney), and his untimely death on Noble Blood.
Taking an Audio Guided Tour
There are no regular guided tours in Nymphenburg Palace in Munich. However, you can get an audio guide that is available in German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese (Mandarin), and Japanese. It costs 3.50 euros for individuals. Groups of 15 people or more, get a cheaper rate at 2.50 euros per person. If you are dead set on a guided tour, they do allow you to pre-book special guided tours in English for groups.
Nymphenburg Palace Hours
As they are currently restoring Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, some sections of the palace may be unavailable to you on your visit. Make sure to check their official site before visiting to see what the Nymphenburg Palace hours are. The last entry to all Nymphenburg Park buildings is 20 minutes before closing time.
Nymphenburg Palace, Marstallmuseum with museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain
April to 15 October: daily 9 am-6 pm
16 October to March: daily 10 am-4 pm
April to 15 October: daily 9 am-6 pm
Nymphenburg Park Palaces (Amalienburg, Badenburg, Pagodenburg, Magdalenenklause)
April to 15 October: daily 9 am-6 pm
16 October to March: closed
Public holidays: Everything closed on 1 January, Shrove Tuesday and 24 / 25 / 31 December
Nymphenburg Palace Tickets: 2020 Admission Prices
Again, make sure to check their Nymphenburg Palace ticket prices before you go. They may be different from those stated below. We just did the Nymphenburg Palace ticket for 8 euro as we were only in Munich for one day. If you have more time, you have the option of a few other tickets.
Combination ticket “Nymphenburg”: With this ticket, you can visit the palace, the Marstallmuseum (carriages and sleighs), the Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain, and the Nymphenburg Park Palaces (Amalienburg, Badenburg, Pagodenburg, Magdalenenklause). Please note, in winter, the park palaces are closed.
1 April-15 October:
15 euros regular · 13 euros reduced
16 October-31 March:
12 euros regular · 10 euros reduced
8 euros regular · 7 euros reduced
Marstallmuseum with Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain
6 euros regular · 5 euros reduced
Combination ticket “Parkburgen” (Nymphenburg Park Palaces)
5 euros regular · 4 euros reduced
Nymphenburg Palace in Munch: How to Get There
To get to Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, I took public transportation. You can get there by driving; however, if you only have one day in Munich as I did, then public transportation is the most convenient. The public transit in Munich was a little more confusing than I’m used to, but I was still able to get around rather easily. I used the S-Bahn to get there from my hotel, but you can also take U-Bahn.
- S-Bahn (suburban railway) to “Laim”, then bus to “Schloss Nymphenburg”
- U-Bahn (underground) to “Rotkreuzplatz”, then tram to “Schloss Nymphenburg”
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