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Palaces Walking Tour (Self Guided), Munich

Among an array of attractions found in Munich, the city also boasts a conglomerate of palaces reflecting a variety of styles – Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo. The enormous palaces have a centuries long history over which some of them have been added to and rebuilt numerous times. While some were designed as royal residences, others were used as hunting lodges, temporary residences or castles. If you're keen on stylish, historical, palatial architecture, take this self-guided walk and enjoy the wonderful mix!
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Palaces Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Palaces Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Munich (See other walking tours in Munich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Alter Hof
  • Residenz Royal Palace
  • Palais Porcia
  • Palais Holnstein
  • Palais Preysing
  • Prinz Carl Palais
1
Alter Hof

1) Alter Hof

The Alter Hof (Old Court) of Munich is the former imperial residence of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and had been the seat of the Imperial Family for over 150 years until 1474, when it was moved to the nearby Residenz Royal Palace. After the first partition of Bavaria in 1255, the Alte Hof became the residence of Louis II, Duke of Bavaria in the then very northeastern part of the city. It was the first permanent imperial residence in the Holy Roman Empire under his son Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor.

The complex consists of five wings, namely: Burgstock, Zwingerstock, Lorenzistock, Pfisterstock and Brunnenstock, of which Burgstock, on the west side, is the most picturesque. Adolf Hitler is said to have painted it once. The St. Lorenz Chapel on the north side, which was demolished in the 19th century, once housed the regalia of the House of Wittelsbach which had ruled Bavaria for over 700 years.

Archaeological excavations revealed that a castle already existed on this site in the 12th century, making it the oldest surviving medieval structure in Munich. Like most of the Old Town, the Alter Hof has been extended and rebuilt several times throughout history, including major restoration work carried out in the 19th century and after World War II. Contrary to the western façade with its Neo-Classical style, the north façade carries Neo-Gothic ornamentation.

Today, a portion of the castle houses local government offices, while the west wing is occupied by the Vinorant Alter Hof, a popular restaurant and wine cellar. In summer, the inner courtyard, flanked by Renaissance arcades, often plays host to open-air concerts and theatrical performances.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Residenz Royal Palace

2) Residenz Royal Palace (must see)

The Residenz Royal Palace (or Munich Residenz) is the former seat of the Bavarian Government and the residence of dukes, electors and kings from the Wittelsbach family, rulers of Bavaria, who lived here between 1508 and 1918. Today, the palace houses a museum and boasts some of the finest room decorations in Europe.

Maximilian I of Bavaria commissioned the construction of the palace, then a small castle in the northeastern corner of Munich, in the early 17th century. In his time, King Ludwig I commissioned architect Leo von Klenze to expand it further toward the current proportions. The building was severely damaged by the World War II bombardments and was completely restored only in the 1980s.

Today, the Residenz consists of a museum, a concert hall, the Residenz Treasury, and the Cuvilliés Theater. The oldest part of the palace – the Antiquarium – is a magnificent, Europe’s largest Renaissance hall with statues from antiquity. The entire complex comprises 10 courtyards and 130 richly decorated rooms. The Treasury preserves jewelry and objects made of gems and precious metals belonging to the Wittelsbach family. The world’s most extensive coin collection of King Albert V, consisting of 300,000 coins, spanning from the ancient times to the early 20th century, is also displayed here. The palace is encompassed by a French-style garden with a fountain and a circular temple with replica of the Bavaria statue on top.

Why You Should Visit:
Versailles-like in its gilded opulence and glory, including the amazing courtyards.
The complex is huge, even more so now that several rooms and corridors have been renovated and opened to the public after many years.
There are an 'old' and a 'new' area to explore and a very good audio guide included with the ticket price.

Tip:
You can buy combined tickets to the Theatre and the Treasury for a complete experience.
The audio guide offers wealth of information about the artwork/rooms/historical events, so you can skip forward to the parts of the tour suiting your interest.
A full tour takes several hours, so you may want to split it into sections with a break for coffee & snacks.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Palais Porcia

3) Palais Porcia

Palais Porcia is a large mansion located near the Residenz Royal Palace in Munich, and is the city’s oldest surviving Baroque-style building.

The mansion was built in 1693 as a family home for the wealthy Fugger Counts, among whom were many bankers and generals, originated from Augsburg, Bavaria. It was designed in Italian Baroque style by the Swiss architect, Enrico Zuccalli, and was the first structure in such style built in the city. The Palais Porcia was purchased in 1710 by the scion of yet another wealthy Bavarian family, the Count Torring. The Elector Charles Albert bought Palais Porcia in 1731 for his mistress, Countess Topor-Morawitzka. In 1736, he commissioned François de Cuvilles to redesign the interiors in Rococo style. The building gets its name from the husband of Countess Topor-Morawitzka, Prince Porcia. Jean Baptist Métivier integrated a concert hall in the palace in 1819. He was commissioned to do the task by ‘Museum’, a cultural organization that had, at that time, purchased the building.

From 1932, the Palais Porcia has housed the headquarters of a prominent Bavarian-based German bank, the Bayerische Vereinsbank. The building was severely damaged by the World War II bombings, but was carefully restored after the war, between 1950 and 1952.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Palais Holnstein

4) Palais Holnstein

The Palais Holnstein is a large historic mansion commissioned by the Elector Charles Albert in 1733. It is regarded as the finest Rococo-style building in Munich.

The architect François de Cuvilliés, a Belgian-born Bavarian decorative designer, who popularized the Rococo style of building design in Bavaria, architected the mansion between 1733 and 1737. The Elector Charles Albert had it constructed as the residence for his mistress, Baroness Sophie Caroline of Ingleheim, and his illegitimate son through her, Count Franz Ludwig von Holnstein. He commissioned Johann Baptist Zimmermann, a well-known painter and master stucco plasterer, to decorate the interiors.

In 1821, the Palais Holnstein became the Archiepiscopal Palace, the Archbishops of Munich and Freising using it as their residence. The best known resident of the palace is Cardinal Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger who lived here after being appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI between 1977 and 1982. Later, he served as Pope Benedict XVI, from 2005 until 2013. As a Pope, he stayed at the palace once again during his visit to Munich in September 2006. Visitors are not allowed to view the interiors because of the building’s function as the Archbishop’s residence, but the magnificent Rococo façade is available for all to see.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Palais Preysing

5) Palais Preysing

The Palais Preysing was Munich’s first Rococo-style palace. It served as the residence of the Counts of Preysing and is located opposite the Residenz Royal Palace.

The Palais Preysing was designed and built by architect, Joseph Heffner, between 1723 and 1728 for Count Johann Maximilian of Preysing. The Preysing family built another palace nearby, called the Palais Neuhaus-Preysing. Locals distinguished between the two residences by calling the older one, the Elder Palais Preysing. The Palace Preysing was almost destroyed by the bombardment during World War II. It was restored in the 1950s and today houses high-end shops and boutiques.

Among other things, the palace boasts a richly decorated stucco facade. The interiors are also embellished with stucco decorations. A notable feature is a magnificent staircase flanked by female statues. Visitors are allowed to view the staircase.

The little alley behind the palace, called the Viscardigasse, which connects Residezplatz with Theatinerplatz, is better known to the locals as Drueckebergergasse. At the time, Hitler ordered that anyone who passes the Feldherrnhalle beer hall near the Preysing Place, should give the Nazi salute in honor of the Nazi sympathizers who were killed at the spot during a skirmish with the Bavarian Police, known as the Beer House Putsch. As a sign of resistance, the locals used the Viscardigasse to avoid saluting. Drueckeberger, is a slang word in German for those who do not perform their duty.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Prinz Carl Palais

6) Prinz Carl Palais

The Prinz Carl Palais is a Neo-Classical style building located in a park north of the Hofgarten in Munich. It is named after one of its owners, Prince Carl, the brother of King Ludwig I, who lived here between 1825 and 1875.

The Prinz Carl Palais went by the names Palais Salabert and Palais Royal after the previous owners. Originally, it was commissioned by King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria as a residence for the retired priest, Abbe Pierre de Salabert, who was his former teacher.

Built between 1804 and 1806, the Neo-Classical structure was designed by Karl von Fischer and the interiors were decorated by Jean-Baptiste Métevier and Anton Schwanthaler. The king acquired the building after the death of the Abbe in 1807. Ludwig I, who succeeded Maximilian I Joseph as King, gave the palace to his brother Prince Carl. After the death of Carl, it served as the seat of the diplomatic mission of Austria Hungary and later as the residence of the Bavarian Prime Ministers. Today, it serves as a venue for official receptions by the Bavarian State Governments.

The façade of the building is regarded as one of the finest examples of classical proportion with a portico that has a high pediment standing before a series of Ionic pilasters. Visitors to the Prinz Carl Palais thus get a chance to appreciate the opulence of German palaces in the 19th century.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Munich, Germany

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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Straddling the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps, Bavaria’s capital Munich is home to centuries-old buildings and numerous attractions.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles

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