What comes to mind when thinking about German castles? Maybe the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein in the German Alps, or the beautiful Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam? They are both stunning castles, but there are more palaces and castles in Germany than these most famous ones. We have visited one of the most impressive Bavarian castles; Schleissheim Palace, just outside Munich.
Germany is said to have more than 25.000 castles and, the most famous German castles and palaces were built by King Ludwig II, often referred to as “the Mad King”. He built several castles in Bavaria, such as Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee palaces. In addition to these more famous ones, there are several other less known palaces and castles in Germany.
One of them is the baroque jewel Schleissheim Palace, perfect if you are looking to make some day trips from Munich. It is located in the suburbs of Munich, so a visit here can easily be combined with vising Munich or other places of interest in Bavaria. Expect to get lost in time in the beautiful rooms of the palace or when wandering the Baroque park.
TIP: Curious about other castles in Bavaria? Read Christine’s post Neuschwanstein – worth a visit?
Schleissheim Palace – three palaces in one
Schleissheim Palace (Schloss Schleißheim in German) is not as famous as many other castles in Bavaria, but it certainly is one of Bavaria’s most impressive and largest palace complexes. Visiting Schleissheim is like having a Kinder egg; you get three things for the price of one.
The complex consists of three seperate buildings: Altes Schloss Schleißheim (old palace), Neues Schloss Schleißheim (new palace) and Schloss Lustheim (a hunting lodge). All palaces are enclosed by a beautiful baroque garden, including a canal system, which Elector Max Emanuel (r. 1680-1726) let realize by French landscape gardeners and architects.
TIP: Read our post from Schwerin Castle – another beautiful German castle
Short about the history of Schleissheim Palace
In the beginning, castles were built as defence, and later palaces were built to impress, and for that, there’s no exception here. At the end of the 17th century Elector Max Emanuel planned with his architect Henrico Zucalli to build a new, extremely ambitious, four-winged palace complex since he soon expected to were the imperial crown. Time went by, and history had other plans for the Elector. The War of the Spanish Succession was on, and the Elector lost control of Bavaria for some years. This again led to interruptions in the construction of the palace.
Change of plans – but still an impressive palace
The Elector had been in exile in France until 1715 and could not build the palace as planned. They now constructed a single-winged palace, instead of the four-winged as originally planned. Despite this, they were able to create an impressive over 300m long Baroque palace. Just after they completed the New Palace, Elector Max Emanuel died in 1726, so he never really got the pleasure of truly enjoying the spectacular Bavarian castle he let build.
The park of Schleissheim Palace
Start your visit to Schelissheim Palace in the gardens. Here you will get a good overview of all the buildings of the palace complex, and the three individual palaces. The park surrounding the palaces is large and beautiful. It is one of the few preserved Baroque gardens left in Germany.
Take your time to stroll around, along the canals and, enjoy the great view of the impressive facade of the New Palace.
TIP: Read Marguerite’s post about top activities in Bamberg if you plan to explore more of Bavaria
The palace interiors
Once you got your ticket to enter the palace, you probably will not come out of wonder. The interior in the many different rooms in the places is nothing but stunning.
The grand staircase will lead you up to the private state apartments of the Electoral couple. From here the route will lead you through the Banqueting Hall, the Hall of Victories and, to the most beautiful room in Schleissheim; the Great Gallery. Here, the Bavarian State Painting Gallery presents a collection of excellent Baroque paintings. They exhibit paintings from big names such as Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Joseph Vivien. It is not only a stunning palace to visit, you will also get to see important pieces of art.
The Old Schleissheim Palace showcases religious paintings and sculptures, while the Lustheim Hunting Lodge has an exhibition of masterpieces from the porcelain manufactury in Meißen.
TIP: Read our post about weekend trips from Berlin to Saxony where we also visited above-mentioned Meißen
The perfectly located beer garden
On the palace grounds, you will find the Schlosswirtschaft Oberschleißheim restaurant and beer garden. This huge Bavarian beer garden seats up to 1000 people and roots back to 1597 when the founder of the Hofbräuhaus brewery retired here. The palace restaurant catered to the construction workers at the New Palace, and today this beer garden is the perfect place to enjoy Bavarian hospitality in the shade of the huge chestnut trees growing in the garden.
Before you go – plan your visit to Schleissheim Palace
- Combined ticket for all three palaces: €8
- Single entry to the New Schleissheim palace: €4.50
- Single entry to the Old Palace: €2,50
- Single entry to Lustheim Hunting Lodge: €3,50
- Visit by public transport:
- S1 (direction Freising) to Oberschleißheim
- Walk 15 minutes – signs along the way show the direction
- Visit by car: Large parking just outside the palace grounds