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Herrenchiemsee palace with fountain

Herrenchiemsee palace – Tribute to the sun king

Munich outback

estimated reading time: 7 Minutes

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Short info Accessible and… Off we go😊

Starting pointYour hotel in Munich
End pointYour hotel in Munich
Trail conditionsGravel roads
Route length180km
Total duration6 hours
Anfahrtszeitca. 1 hour
ContactJörg Hildebrandt | +49 173 / 3722480 |
Food servicePalace restaurant
Toilet accessibleam Schiffsanleger Herrenchiemsee,
im Königsschloss und im Chorherrenstift
NotesCastle and canons’ monastery
accessible via ramps
all doors at least 90cm wide
Photography and filming
are prohibited in the castle

Introduction / Arrival Chiemsee

The drive from Munich to the Chiemsee takes about 1 hour by car. There we board the ship, which takes us in about 30 relaxing minutes on the water, with a fantastic wide view over the Bavarian Sea, the Chiemsee, to the Herren Island.

Herreninsel is the largest of the three islands in Lake Chiemsee. It is 2.5 km long and 2.1 km wide. There are only a few buildings on Herreninsel, such as Herrenchiemsee Castle, the canons’ monastery, the lakeside chapel and some farm buildings. The then resident Herrenchiemsee monastery was founded as early as the 7th century. Until the 19th century, the whole island was still owned by this monastery.

While the royal castles of Linderhof and Neuschwanstein embody the medieval romance of chivalry, this castle was intended to be a monument to the revered Sun King, King Louis XIV of France. However, Ludwig II never aspired to a seat of government with a court society, but had Herrenchiemsee Castle built as a private residence in whose spacious corridors and rooms he could spend his time undisturbed.

Herrenchiemsee Palace is the most splendid and expensive (approx. 16.6 million marks) of Ludwig’s palaces, even though it is largely unfinished. 50 of 70 rooms are in shell, painted canvases hid the unfinished rooms at that time, when King Ludwig II inhabited his new castle, and only for about 10 days.

The New Palace

herrenchiemsee with statue and fountain
Herrenchiemsee palace

For the huge construction project, even a steam-powered material railroad was installed from the jetty to the construction site and a total of 600 workers were hired. 9 million bricks and almost 5 kg of gold leaf were used.
At 75 meters long, the Hall of Mirrors is larger than the one at Versailles and has 23 large mirrors instead of 17. 1,848 candles were provided to illuminate the hall.
The dining room houses a retractable dining table (“Tischlein-deck-dich”), which could be moved down one floor to set the table. A kitchen, however, did not exist.
Even the chandeliers could be lowered mechanically to fill them with candles; up to 40,000 candles per stay were used to make it easier for King Ludwig II’s night owls to walk around.
A wonderful experience is the Herrenchiemsee Festival, which annually transforms this hall, the Hall of Mirrors into a concert hall. An experience for eyes and ears, which you will not forget so quickly.
It is not necessary to mention that the Parade Bedroom was imposingly and splendidly laid out and furnished. From the Parade Bedroom one looked directly into the Court of Honor. Especially the blue glass sphere in front of the king’s bed exudes a certain magical light, which is quite different from that of the other rooms. The king’s court theater master is said to have worked for almost a year on painting the sphere before the light finally met the king’s expectations.
The grand staircase is covered by an ultra-modern glass roof construction that suggested an open sky.
(Ambassadorial staircase in Versailles: Like all power-obsessed regents, Louis XIV made the way of approaching sovereign person grandiose for himself and humiliating for his visitors).

On the first floor is the marble bath, which holds about 60,000 liters of water when filled.
The castle was equipped with very modern technology at that time. Thus, it had a hot air heating system (nowadays district heating) supplied by a large boiler in the basement.

Garden facility

Herrenchiemsee Castle with gardens
Herrenchiemsee palace with gardens

Work on the gardens began in 1882 – four years after the foundation stone of the palace was laid. A 120 x 240 meter garden. At the king’s death in 1886, the garden sections along the important main axis with its famous fountains and water features had been completed, while the Apollo Fountain and the landing stage remained unfinished.

The original plan was to recreate the park in the style of Versailles in the Graswang valley near Ettal. Since the existing area proved to be too small, Ludwig II acquired the Chiemsee island of Herrenwörth for his project in 1873. In exchange, Linderhof Palace was built in Ettal.

The Old Castle

Old castle (canons' monastery) with castle restaurant
Old castle (canons’ monastery) with castle restaurant

Herrenchiemsee is probably the only island in the world with two castles. In addition to the New Castle of King Ludwig II, there is also the Augustinian Canons’ Monastery, which is also called the “Old Castle”. The Archbishop of Salzburg had the Augustinian Canons’ Monastery built around 1130. King Ludwig II acquired the monastery and subsequently had private rooms set up in the complex. Since 2001, the north wing of the monastery complex has housed a picture gallery with paintings by the painter Julius Exter. The former monastery is one of the oldest monastery complexes in Bavaria. In the course of secularization, the monastery on Herrenchiemsee was also abolished in 1803.

Just as the Palace of Versailles itself has always been at the center of history, in post-war Germany Herrenchiemsee Island also moved into the large-scale historical field of significance: from August 10 to 23, 1948, the Constitutional Convention worked out the draft for today’s Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany on Herrenchiemsee Island in the rooms of the former Augustinian Canons’ Monastery – a two-week marathon sweetened only by beer, wine and cigars.

Palace restaurant

The Schlossgaststätte – a place of power in the Chiemgau. This has already served the creators of our Basic Law as a meeting and inspiration place… Bavarian dining pleasures in the restaurant with a unique view over Lake Chiemsee, in the beer garden under shady chestnut trees with a freshly tapped beer and regional delicacies! And in winter, a cozy atmosphere with royal tranquility.

Renken fillet with white wine foam, beetroot ragout with boiled potatoes and apricot strudel. Sounds delicious, right?

Circular trails

Herreninsel with castle
Herreninsel with castle

The short circular trail is about 5 km long, the longer relaxing circuit around the whole island, amounts to about 9 km. Forests with old tree giants, orchards, avenues that invite you to stroll, always beautiful views of Lake Chiemsee and the Alpine panorama in the south.

The paths in the northern part of the castle park are mostly well passable, are level or have only slight inclines. The southern part has rather uneven forest paths with more inclines.

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Wow – this is how adventure without borders works.

Just contact us : +49 (0)174 / 192 7106 or per eMail:

See ya… 🙂

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