Schwerin Palace: Neuschwanstein of the North
The Schwerin Palace was built over an old Slavonic fortress in the mid-19th century. The modern-day palace has been nicknamed the Neuschwanstein of the North, alluding to its architectural and scenic beauty. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered among the most important buildings of the Romantic Historicism, and houses the State Parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Much of the modern palace was built by Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin between 1845 and 1857. He commissioned the most influential architects of his time: Gottfried Semper from Dresden; Ernst Friedrich Zwirner, the Cologne Cathedral master builder; and Friedrich August Stüler, the Prussian king’s court architect to rebuild the derelict palace. Drawing inspiration from French Renaissance castles, the final result was the beautiful masterpiece you see today.
The palace is a perfect day trip from Hamburg, only about an hour away. Located on an island inside a lovely garden and vast parkland, the pretty, neo-Renaissance style castle dominates the landscape. Its grand living quarters and sumptuous ceremonial rooms are all open to visitors to admire. Be sure to check out the Museum Schloss Schwerin, which presents artworks and artifacts mainly from the 19th century on three floors. There is also a porcelain collection with exhibits from Meissen and KPM (Royal Porcelain Manufactory), as well as a gallery of royal artifacts.
Also located nearby is the Gallery of Old & New Masters. It’s a four-minute walk from the castle and has one of the finest collections of European art. It houses collections of Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as works by famous artists, such as Rubens, Rembrandt, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Frans Hals.
Adult tickets are 8.50 euros and 6.50 euros for those eligible for discounts (school children, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, basic military and civilian service personnel and unemployed persons). Free admission is granted to those under 18 with valid ID. Public guided tours are 3 euros and 2 euros for discounted. From April 15 to Oct. 14, the palace is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The rest of the year, the palace closes one hour earlier. For more information regarding tickets and times, visit the castle’s website.
If you’re hungry before or after your visit, check out some of the local food joints in the city center. Rosterei Fuchs is a great place for brunch and coffee or tea. For those craving German or seafood dishes, check out Lukas. Friedrich's Restaurant sells German and European dishes, and is the number one recommended restaurant in Schwerin according to TripAdvisor.
To get to Schwerin Palace from Hamburg, take a train to Schwerin Hauptbahnhof (there should be one every 30 minutes or so). From Schwerin HBF, take bus number 10 or 100 to Alten Garten/Schloss Schwerin. For those driving, there’s free parking on Grüne Straße, a five-minute walk from the castle. There is also paid parking in front of the Staatstheater, Graf-Schack-Allee and Geschwister-Scholl-Straße.