Magnificent halls, well laid-out gardens: a royal summer seatEven a king needs a break from time to time. When the days got warmer, the court and all its trappings used to move to one of the summer residences outside the city gates. As there was no need for heating in the hot weather, the summer palaces are often larger and even more splendidly furnished than the actual seat of government.
Palace gardens: playful splendour and forgotten fruitsOutside the city walls there was plenty of space for wonderful gardens. Today, visitors can stroll and relax in true regal style in the palace gardens of the summer residences. For example, in the precisely laid-out Baroque garden of the prince-bishops’ summer residence at Eichstätt, now home to a botanical garden.
Formal hedging, water fountains, pavilions, artistic ruins and grottoes – the playfulness of the Rococo era can still be felt in the gardens of the palace at Veitshöchheim. This former summer palace of the Würzburg prince-bishops was later used by the Bavarian kings. In the historic kitchen garden visitors can sniff at almost forgotten varieties of fruit and vegetables, such as winter purslane and hyssop, or apples with names like Golden Pearmain, Gewürzluiken and Champagne Reinette.
Linderhof Palace: luxury, oriental magic and stage sets in the parkKing Ludwig II built four grand castles and palaces in Bavaria. In the relatively small palace of Linderhof, the king spent the summer in extravagant splendour: gilded ornaments and tapestries, paintings, crystal chandeliers, velvet and silk – exactly how you might imagine the summer palace of the luxury-loving Fairy Tale King to be.
In the grounds of Linderhof Palace, Wagner enthusiast Ludwig II reproduced several stage sets from his operas: the “Venus Grotto” from “Tannhäuser”, “Hunding’s Hut” from "Valkyrie” and the “Hermitage of Gurnemanz”, a chapel-like structure from "Parsifal". In the Moroccan House and the Moorish Kiosk, visitors can still get a sense of the king’s fascination with the Eastern world.
Magical luxury: the king’s mountain lodge at SchachenIn contrast, the king’s mountain lodge at Schachen appears relatively modest – but only at first glance. Inside the wooden chalet, the whole glamour of the Orient is revealed in the “Turkish Salon”. Where the monarch used to celebrate his birthday and name day every year, visitors now gaze in awe at the gilded ceiling, oriental rugs and precious candelabras straight from A Thousand and One Nights. A fountain and colourful mosaic window complete the illusion.
As well as his castles and palaces, Ludwig II also owned twelve mountain lodges, including the royal residences at Herzogstandsattel and Tegelberg as well as the Halbammer Hut at the “Wild Hunter”. He regularly retreated to these lodges in order to enjoy the peace and the fresh mountain air. Unlike the lodge at Schachen, they are surprisingly spartan for a Fairy Tale King. Perhaps even a king needs an occasional break from the pomp, splendour and majesty of Bavaria’s palaces.
Further information on summer residences of the Bavarian nobility