Germany’s palaces are like something out of a fairy tale. Whether rising out of the forests or sprawling across luscious meadows, they’re architecturally impressive and breathtakingly beautiful. Drive a short distance out of Munich and you’ll find some of the finest Bavarian castles in the country, like Linderhof Palace and Neuschwanstein Castle, built by King Ludwig II. Take a day trip from the city to explore our pick of the most captivating castles in Bavaria.
Linderhof Palace is the former home of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria. Given the nickname ‘Fairy Tale King’ for his love of beautiful palaces, Linderhof was his pride and joy. While it isn’t the biggest in Bavaria, it is one of the most charming, set within a large estate of landscaped Baroque-style gardens, nestled in a picturesque valley. The large park is full of fountains, monuments, secret grottos, and historical out houses, while the main building’s highlights include the captivating Hall of Mirrors and the grandiose bedroom with its intricate golf leaf walls.
Another of King Ludwig II’s commissions and certainly the most famous one, is Neuschwanstein Castle, which unfortunately wasn’t completed during the King’s lifetime. One of the most impressive structures on the Bavarian skyline, the castle seems to float above the forest canopy, its white turrets standing out in a sea of green trees. The castle embodies the magical appeal of medieval German architecture, while reflecting a 13th century Romanesque style. The building is so captivating, both inside and out, that it has featured in films such as The Monuments Men, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. Itl also served as model for Walt Disney’s world famous Sleeping Beauty Castle, which is found in each of his parks today. Visitors interested in exploring Neuschwanstein Castle must book a guided tour hosted by an expert from the castle.
Nymphenburg Palace has a long and regal history. It is situated in the west of Munich and reached easily from the hotel. Built as a summer residence for the likes of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, the palace was also the birthplace of King Ludwig II. The façade of the sprawling palace, which has expanded many times since its construction, has a distinctive Baroque design, while the estate with its striking pools and elaborate gardens is the epitome of royal grandeur. Nymphenburg Palace is one of the most famous sights in Munich. As well as three grand pavilions, the palace also houses two intriguing museums, the Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain and Marstallmuseum, the Museum of Carriages and Sleighs, as well as the Nymphenburg Porcelain manufactory, where the tiles for The Charles Hotel’s bathroom decorations were made.
One of the most picturesque Bavarian castles, Herrenchiemsee is also one of the hardest to reach. Accessible only by boat, it lies on the island of Herreninsel on Chiemsee Lake. The island was acquired in 1873 by King Ludwig II, who built a regal palace modelled on the Palace of Versailles for the then-ruling King Louis XIV of France. Visitors can take a boat trip across the lake to tour the palace with its stunning State Staircase and Great Hall of Mirrors. While there, it’s also worth exploring the island, which is home to a beautiful park and the historical Augustinian Monastery, which encloses a museum and two art galleries.
Schleissheim Palace is located just to the north of Munich, making it one of the easiest Bavarian castles to reach from the hotel. The complex comprises three palaces, Old Palace, a 14th century renaissance country house; Lustheim Palace, a 15th century Italian-style garden villa; and New Palace, a 16th century Baroque chateau. Between the distinctive palaces is a beautiful landscaped garden surrounded by a vast canal network. Visitors can explore the palaces, discover artworks and porcelains in the grand collections, walk through the extensive parklands, and even enjoy a cold beer at the estate’s beer garden.
From Medieval castles to art deco hotels, discover another kind of German architecture at The Charles Hotel.
Image credits: Neuschwanstein Castle © Anton J BrandlLinderhof/iSTock and Konrad Rainer/iStock, Nymphenburg Palace © Jirobkk/iStock, Linderhof Palace garden © veratomankova/iStock.