Castles of Bavaria
Germany is full of castles. In our month-long adventure in Germany in the summer of 2015, we saw 5 castles, 4 in and around Munich and 1 castle two hours away. We purchased the 14 day castle pass for 2 or more people for 44 EU, which covered entry into all castles in the state of Bavaria. There is also an annual pass for 65 EU. Kids are admitted free into castles. So though it sounds like a no-brainer, you might want to calculate whether it is a good deal for your situation. On our visit to castles, we saved about 15 EU to 20EU with the Castles Pass, since my husband was not always able to accompany us. Admission into the castles that we visited ranged from 6 EU to 12 EU per person. All of the castles we visited had door-to-door public transportation (with short bouts of walking). Here are the Castles we visited:
Built by King Ludwig II, this castle is the inspiration behind the Walt Disney Castle in U.S.A. Tours are by reservation only. Get tickets early (available online) as we learned the hard way. Don’t miss the Marienbrucke bridge for a one of a kind view of the castle. We enjoyed a horse carriage ride down from Neuschwanstein. There is a hiking trail uphill as well, which I believe takes about an hour to complete, but we did not have enough time. Food and gelato were readily available just below the castle, but on the expensive side. There is also a trail that leads to Neuschwanstein Castle from the town of Fussen. See Fussen post for more details on the town and the castle.
Neuschwanstein, Bavaria, Germany - the Inspiration of the Walt Disney Castle
Opened in the 1600's, the Nymphenburg is a beautiful, huge castle with many buildings outside from the main castle. It was the summer residence of the Bavarian monarch, the House of Wittelsbach. Don’t miss the Carriage Museum. It has beautiful grounds for a nice walk. Plan to spend most of the day there if you want to see everything. We visited this palace grounds twice and I'm still not sure if we saw it all.
Nymphenburg Castle, Munich, Germany
Located in downtown Munich and opened in the 1300's, the Residenz was the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarch, the House of Wittelsbach. It was the center of government and the royal palace of Bavarian dukes and electors from the 1500s to the 1900s. Today it serves as a palace museum and it is the largest city palace in Germany. The Antiquarium is a must see!
Antiquarium at Residenz Palace, Munich, Germany
The Blutenberg began its life as a hunting lodge, being first documented in writing in 1400's. It now houses the International Youth Library. We enjoyed an hour or two curled up with a book, overlooking the courtyard, in a castle with a water-filled moat surrounding it. Admission fee of 1 EU/adult into the library. Kids under 12 free.
Castle with water-filled moat around it, Blutenburg Castle, near Munich, Germany
Schleissheim was another summer residence of the House of Wittelsbach. At Schleissheim, there are three castle buildings built at different times. The New Palace was not completed in construction since the heir to the Bavarian crown had lost Bavaria in war. Years later, only the main wing was completed. What is constructed is quite impressive. I appreciated seeing the part of the castle that housed the castle staff where people can now rent as apartments to live in. What struck me was the size of the staff quarters, it looked as big as the palaces themselves, except, I'm sure with a higher population density. We admired the beautiful garden canals while taking an afternoon snack break. I hear there is a biergarten closeby as well, which provides a beautiful sunset view of the castle.
Admiring Schleissheim Castle, near Munich, Germany