Take a Germany day trip to Herrenchiemsee New Palace

Photo by pabkov
Photo by pabkov

Take a Germany day trip to Herrenchiemsee New Palace

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

A palace so beautiful it rivals Versailles is tucked away on a Bavarian island in Lake Chiemsee. Herrenchiemsee New Palace was designed by King Ludwig II and is dripping with Baroque details, grandiose rooms, sparkling chandeliers and majestic views of the surrounding lake.

BAROQUE SPLENDOR

Like something out of a fairytale, the Herrenchiemsee New Palace stands as a monument to the monarchy on Herreninsel and has no practical function, making it all the more amazing. The palace was modeled after Versailles, and the intention of King Ludwig II was to create a “temple of fame” for King Louis XIV of France. Despite never being completed, it is proudly referred to as “Bavarian Versailles.”

Construction on the Baroque palace began in 1878 but was still incomplete when King Ludwig II died in 1886, causing sections of the palace to later be demolished. However, many of the rooms were completed and are open for ogling. The main rooms are fabulous examples of 19th-century interior design, some of the best in existence. The king’s rooms are decorated in French rococo style, dripping with gold and rich blue fabrics.

The ground floor of the south wing houses the King Ludwig II Museum. It opened in 1987 and chronicles the king’s life through a series of portraits, busts, photographs and original state robes. Here you will also find information about the other royal residences the king built, including Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace.

Outside the palace is also astounding, as Court Garden Director Carl von Effner made plans for a garden that resembled Versailles. This too remains incomplete, but sections along the main axis, including glittering water features, are finished. Visitors can stroll through the park gardens and around the lakeside path on the island. Don’t forget to stop and drink in picture-book perfect Bavaria while admiring the mountains that dominate the landscape just past the lake.

ON THE ISLAND

The king’s island is in Bavaria’s largest body of water, Lake Chiemsee, also known as the Bavarian Sea. This small piece of land is home to not only the palace but also a former Augustinian Monastery, a farm housing the National Stud and the Lakeside Chapel of the Holy Cross. The monastery is known as the Old Palace, built between 1645-1730, and is one of Bavaria’s oldest. It was dissolved in 1803 during secularization, but the building still stands today and houses a museum. The four wings create a rectangular courtyard that is full of beautiful roses.

The Lakeside Chapel of the Holy Cross, dating back to 1697, sits on the north side of the island. The interior is not accessible, but the bright blue exterior with a steeple reaching to the heavens makes for a tranquil stopping point.

GETTING THERE

Lake Chiemsee is located in Bavaria near Rosenheim. It is approximately three hours southwest of Stuttgart. To get to the island, book a trip with Chiemsee-Schifffahrt. Their boats depart all year round from Prien/Stock and Gstadt harbors and offer free parking on site. Once you arrive, the palace is about a 15-minute walk from the pier. To feel like a royal yourself, take a horse-drawn carriage from the pier to the palace.

The Herrenchiemsee New Palace is an exceptional example of Baroque splendor, from its lavishly decorated interior rooms to the lovingly tended garden. Spend the day wandering around the island and soaking up all the history King Ludwig II left for us to admire.

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