The all-in-one tool for opening gates to Bavarian castles

Nymphenburg Palace | Photo by andreyshevchenko via 123RF
Nymphenburg Palace | Photo by andreyshevchenko via 123RF

The all-in-one tool for opening gates to Bavarian castles

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

So you’d fantasized your time spent stationed in Germany would be a wonderful springboard to exploring all of Europe. That was prior to 2020, when the world revealed it had other plans for you. In a period in which travel outside the borders of the country in which you’re based is anything from inadvisable to outright banned, what’s your Royal Highness to do?

In a country blessed with historical landmarks beyond compare, the Free State of Bavaria is certainly no slouch. From the mountain-ensconced Neuschwanstein Castle to the lakeside Schloss Herrenchiemsee and the elegant Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, its castles are justly famous and attract millions of visitors from around the world in a typical year.

And there’s something working hard to keep its assets in tip-top shape and accessible to the masses: the Bavarian Administration of Palaces, Gardens and Lakes, known as the Bavarian Palace Administration for short.

The Bavarian Palace Administration and its forerunners have been at their jobs for a good long time. In the constitution of 1808, the palaces and residences of Bavaria were declared part of the state’s heritage. As such, they could not be sold and were placed on a so-called “civil list.” In return, the state took responsibility for the maintenance of the properties and the financial needs of the royal court. Following the demise of the monarchy in Bavaria on Nov. 8, 1918, the properties included on the civil list were declared assets of the state, and the administration took on the name it keeps to date. As one of the largest public authorities responsible for museums in Germany, the administration manages 45 palaces, castles and residences, 32 historic gardens, 21 lakes and other properties. For an overview of the places under its watch, consult this map.

What does this mean to you? In addition to selling single-entry tickets to any given property, the administration sells a value-packed selection of passes for those with the time and desire to give Bavarian landmarks their rightful dues. Here’s a look at what they offer:

14-Day Tickets: This pass entitles the bearer to visiting as many properties as he or she can fit into a 14-day period. It costs 30 euros for a single person or 56 euros for a family consisting of two adult partners and their children under 18 years of age.

Annual season tickets: This pass, valid for an entire year from its date of purchase, offers the same access at a cost of 45 euros for a single person or 75 euros for the aforementioned family configuration.

“Königsschlösser” combination tickets: This special pass offers access to the palaces of King Ludwig II, including Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and the Herrenchiemsee, at a cost of 26 euros per person.

These passes can be purchased either online in advance (thus saving you valuable time upon arrival) or at the ticket offices of the properties themselves, except for at the King’s House on Schachen and the Dachau Palace. All passes are non-transferable. Passes are valid for admission, but won’t get you access to any special events (which by and large have been cancelled for 2020 anyway). Also note that some properties, due to their narrow rooms, have to remain closed as part of the protective measures for containing COVID-19. Read the complete terms and conditions before deciding if the pass is right for you and your family. If it is, brace yourself for the enchantment that’s sure to follow!

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