When you think of the most beautiful palaces in Munich, most tourists will come up with world-famous names like Neuschwanstein, Nymphenburg or the Residence Palace in the city center. But there is one, I almost never hear: Schleissheim palace.

Statues inside the park of Schleissheim palace
The beautiful garden of the palace

Truth be told, there are so many things to do in Munich that even I, as a local, sometimes have trouble keeping up. But I am telling you, skipping Schleissheim palace is a mistake. It’s one of the very few places in Europe where you can still visit an authentic baroque garden complex that remained virtually unchanged in the past 300 years.

The fountains at Schleissheim Palace in Germany
View of the castle from the park

PS: In case you interested. I compiled a list of the most beautiful palaces and castles near Munich.

Here is what you need to know about Schloss Schleißheim.

Front view of Schleissheim Palace in Munich
The front of the palace

Germany, as the country you may know now, didn’t really exist until the 19th century. Before, it was a crazy quilt of hundreds of bigger and smaller duchies, free cities, dioceses, and shires. Together they formed what was known as the Holy Roman Empire with a non-hereditary kingship. Instead, 7 powerful prince-electors elected each new emperor.

Marmor statue of Prince-Elector Max Emanuell II Bavarian National Museum, Munich
Marble statue of Max Emanuel II. in Bavarian National Museum

Now, why do I mention this? Elector Max Emanuel II. (1679 – 1726) was secretly hoping to become emperor. Unlike many other rulers of that time, he didn’t have a palace to match that status. So, in 1701 the construction of the Neue Schloss Schleißheim started.

There already was a smaller palace in Schleissheim (which was thereafter called “Old Palace Schleissheim”) and the new design planned to incorporate the old part into a gigantic french complex with four wings. All in all, it would have probably been bigger than Versaille itself, can you believe it?

Model of Schleissheim Palace
A model of how the palace was supposed to look

Well, history wasn’t very kind to Max Emanuel and he never was crowned emperor. Actually, he went into exile and construction of Schleissheim palace only continued after his return in 1715. The new budget didn’t allow for all the baroque splendor, so architect Joseph Effner had to downsize things a bit.

The Summer palace was barely finished in 1726 when Emanuel died and it more or less fell into disuse after that. You see, Nymphenburg palace is quite a bit closer to the city center, so most of his successors favored it.

But as early as 1819, the palace was opened to the public and served as an art gallery. In that process, Leo von Klenze altered the facade a bit, but no trace of it remains today. Schleißheim palace was hit by two bombs in April 1945 and the reconstructions restored the original.

Inside Schleissheim palace

The ground floor of Schleissheim Palace, Munich
The ground floor of the palace

Walking through the grand portals of the palace, you’d never guess it was never really finished and never really used. Even the garden rooms on the ground floor are quite impressive and richly decorated. There’s stucco on every surface.

The art gallery inside Schleissheim Palace
The art gallery on the ground floor of Schleissheim Palace

These days, an art gallery found its home here. It’s a branch of the Bavarian State Painting Collection, which also runs the world-famous Pinakotheken in the city center. Baroque paintings, most of them with a direct or indirect connection to Max Emanuel are on display. Quite fascinating in fact!

View of the staircase in Schleissheim Palace Munich
The grand staircase of the palace

Take your time exploring the gallery and then take the monumental staircase to the first floor where you will find the state apartments and the grand gallery.

Staircase and cupola of Schleissheim Palace in Munich
View of the cupola above the staircase

Staircases served an extremely important function at court and this one is quite unique as it’s crowned by a magnificent cupola. The novel idea would later be copied by Balthasar Neumann when he designed the Residence in Würzburg.

The White hall in Schleissheim Palace Munich with huge ceiling frescos
The White Hall on the second floor of the palace with the gigantic war paintings

From here, you can already see the gigantic White Hall with its overly large paintings and magnificent ceiling frescos. The paintings are actually the largest of its kind in Germany are depict famous war scenes from the life of Max Emanuel.

The Victory Hall inside Schleissheim Palace
More war paintings inside the Victory Hall

The Victory Hall right next is similar in size and design. Again, it’s all about glorifying the war efforts of the prince-elector – an effort to bolster his prestige to all visitors. Even today, you cannot help to be impressed by the sheer size of everything.

The Grand Gallery of Schleissheim Palace
The Grand Gallery of Schleissheim Palace

The crown jewel of the palace complex is probably the Grand Gallery. With a length of 57 meters and a beautiful view of the garden, it was always meant to display outstanding paintings. Both the gigantic chandeliers and the marble consoles are outstanding masterpieces of baroque court design.

Sidenote: Most people might not be aware that back then the actual building and the ground weren’t the cost driver. Crystal chandeliers were extraordinarily expensive and only reserved for the most prestigious of rooms.

The state rooms of Schleissheim Palace in Munich
The endless corridors of the staterooms

You’ll find the apartment of the king and the queen to either side of the Grand Gallery. Not much of the original interior remains, which is no big surprise. Most of the rooms are more or less empty. Such staterooms were never filled with much furniture to begin with (mostly just chairs) and it was a rarely used summer palace on top of that.

The State Bedroom of Schleissheim palace in Munich, Germany
The state bedroom of Max Emanuel

The state bedroom is one of two true highlights you need to see. Every inch is covered with gold, frescoes, and silk. Quite the show!

The private chapel of Max Emanuel in Schleissheim palace
The stunning private chapel of Max Emanuel

At the far end of the staterooms, you cannot help but notice the private chappel of Max Emanuel. It’s completely covered with the most intricate marble and stucco inlays (so-called scagliola) and probably underlines the true power and wealth of the bavarian prince-electors like nothing else.

The magnificent park of Schleissheim palace

The baroque park of Schleissheim Palace in Munich
View of the park from the Grand Gallery

What can I say? The actual reason you should be visiting Schleissheim Palace is the park. You see, the interiors might be stunning and spectacular, but to tell you the truth they are not truly unique. There are 20 other palaces in Bavaria alone where you can see similar staterooms. Bamberg, Würzburg, Herrenchiemsee, or even the Residence in the city center are probably more spectacular.

Statue in the garden of Schleissheim Palace
A Hercules statue inside the park

Schleissheim’s garden, on the other hand, is quite unique and massive. You see, most formal court gardens were transformed into landscape gardens in the 19th century. The pleasure games and strict etiquettes of baroque life at court had changed drastically and so did the gardens.

The Grand Cascade of Schleissheim Palace
The huge water fountains inside the park

Probably because Schleissheim was never really in the center of attention, things more or less stayed the same. There is a huge cascade, a grand channel, statues wherever you look, and of course hedges and flowers.

Line of sight on Schleissheim Palace munich
Artificial water channels inside the park

Once, the park allowed for lines of sight towards the nearby towns of Freisingen, Garching, Unterföhring, and Munich. Most of them are now overgrown or blocked by buildings, though.

Park and Palace in Schleissheim, Germany
endless flower arrangements inside the formal garden

The park is quite huge and you should definitely reserve some time to walk through it. At the far end, you will be able to find two of the remaining pavilions that once marked the end of the unfinished architectural vision Max Emanuel had. The whole park was meant to be surrounded by buildings. Ever since 2005, at least the tiny Renatus chappel is once again open to visitors.

Lustheim Palace

Lustheim Palace in Schleissheim, Munich
The beautiful Lustheim Palace at the end of the park

When Max Emanuel married Maria Antonia of Austria in 1685, he built here a palace in Schleissheim. A beautiful gem at the very end of the baroque park sitting on an artificial island.

The porcelaine museum inside Lustheim palace
The outstanding porcelain museum inside Lustheim palace

The pleasure and hunting palace is more like a big mansion and is now home to an outstanding collection of early Meissen porcelain. It’s the second most important collection of its kind in the world (right after the one in Dresden) and one of my personal highlights.

Inside Lustheim palace near Munich
The grand hall inside Lustheim Palace

Even if you are not a big fan of porcelain, I’m sure you will enjoy the wonderful rooms and halls inside the petite palace.

The Old Palace Schleissheim

The old Schleissheim palace
The Old Palace Schleissheim

On the other side of the street, you get to see the Old Palace Schleissheim. It’s actually quite an interesting place as Prince-Elector Wilhelm V. built it as a retirement seat. It was meant to be a quiet place for contemplation and prayer.

The little palace was heavily damaged during World War II and the reconstruction started as late as 1970 and the old interiors were only partially restored. Today, you find a very peculiar museum inside: Traditional religious festival decors from around the world called “Das Gottesjahr und seine Feste”. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but quite fascinating nonetheless.

How to get to Schleissheim Palace

The palace in Schleissheim near Munich, Germany

It’s roughly 12 kilometers from Munich’s city center to Schleissheim Palace and it only takes about 30 minutes to get there with public transport. You got two options:

  1. Take suburban train S1 from the central station to Oberschleiheim and then either walk (1,000 meters) or take Bus 292
  2. Take subways U6 to Garching-Hochbrück and then Bus 292 to Oberschleissheim Palace

In summer, you could possibly also rent bicycles to get there. It only takes about 40 minutes. There are bicycle lanes everywhere in Munich, so it’s actually a nice idea if you want to see my hometown from a different perspective. I, at least, always take the bike.

Schleissheim Palace opening hours and ticket prices

close-up of the facade of Schleissheim Palace
  • April – September: 9 am – 6 pm
  • October – March: 10 am – 4 pm

Please note that the fountains only operate between April and September.

Ticket price: 8 Euro (6 Euro reduced price for students, etc)

If you only want to see the New Castle, then it’s 4,50 Euros (3,50 reduced). Audio guides are available, but no regular tours.

So, this was my little Schleissheim Palace guide. Hope you enjoyed it and I was able to persuade you to visit! Feel free to ask your questions in the comments below.

The fantastic Schleissheim Palace in Munich. If you are looking for hidden gems in Munich, then you have to check out this place. The baroque masterpiece is beyond beautiful and has a wonderful park | Munich travel guide | Germany travel
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