The Architectural Splendor and Palaces Tour (Self Guided), Munich

Munich city is a conglomerate of palaces that reflects a variety of styles. The enormous palaces have a long history and some of them have been added to and rebuilt over the centuries. While some were built to be royal residences, others were used as hunting lodges, temporary residences or castles. The palaces reflect a wonderful mix of renaissance, baroque and rococo styles of architecture.
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The Architectural Splendor and Palaces Tour Map

Guide Name: The Architectural Splendor and Palaces Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Munich (See other walking tours in Munich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Prinz Carl Palais
  • Theatine Church
  • Palais Preysing
  • Palais Holnstein
  • Palais Porcia
  • Residenz Royal Palace
  • Alter Hof
  • Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)
  • Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)
  • St. Michael's Church
  • Justizpalast
Prinz Carl Palais

1) Prinz Carl Palais

The Prinz Carl Palais is a building in neo classical style 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 previous owners of the building. It was commissioned by King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria as a residence for a retired priest, Abbe Pierre de Salabert. The Abbe was a former teacher of the King. It was built between 1804 and 1806. 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 Carl. It is served as the seat of the diplomatic mission of Austria Hungary after the death of Prince Carl 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 Neoclassical structure was designed by Karl von Fischer and the interiors were decorated by Jean-Baptiste Métevier and Anton Schwanthaler. The facade 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 get a glimpse of the opulence of German palaces in the 19th century while viewing the Prinz Carl Palais.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Theatine Church

2) Theatine Church (must see)

The Theatine Church of St Cajetan is a Rococo structure that was the first Baroque style religious building in Munich. It was originally built for the order of Theatines from Italy.

The Theatine church was commissioned in 1662, by the elector, Ferdinand, and his consort, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy to give thanks for the birth of their long-awaited son and heir Max Emanuel. It was designed by the Italian architect, Agostino Barelli on the lines of the Sant'Andrea della Valle Church in Rome. The church is clad almost entirely in white stucco giving it a bright, airy Mediterranean appearance.

The design of the Theatine Church later influenced the architecture of many churches in Southern Germany. The original architect, Agostino Barelli was succeeded by another Italian, Enrico Zucalli, who designed the 71-meter high dome and two 70 meter high towers. The rococo façade was designed by François de Cuvilliers and his son in 1738. The interior stucco decorations were by the Italian sculptor Nicolo Petri and the statues were made by Germany’s Wolfgang Leutner. The great black altar was designed by Andreas Faistenberger. The crypt of the Theatine Church holds the graves of Max Emanuel and his parents and a small chapel within the church holds the graves of King Maximilian II and his consort.

Why You Should Visit:
There are a number of churches with fascinating interiors in Munich, and this one stands out among the others - the white interior.
The white marble with beautiful ornate work is very beautiful in natural light, while the exterior is famous for its yellow color and rococo style.
Free to enter and nicely air-conditioned – a great spot for a break on a hot summer day.

You can conveniently visit this church before or after spending time at Residenz nearby.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6:30am-7:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palais Preysing

3) 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 houses high end shops and boutiques today.

The Palais Preysing has 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 Palais Preysing called the Viscardigasse that connects the Residezplatz with the Theatinerplatz is better known to locals as Drueckebergergasse. Hitler ordered that those who pass the beer hall near the Preysing Place called the Feldherrnhalle should give the Nazi salute in honor of Nazi sympathizers who were killed at the spot during a skirmish with the Bavarian Police called the Beer House Putsch. As a sign of resistance, 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
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 designed the Palais Holnstein between 1733 and 1737. The Elector Charles Albert had the building 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.

From 1821, the Palais Holnstein became the Archiepiscopal Palace. The Archbishops of Munich and Freising use the building as their residence. The best known resident of the palace is Cardinal Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger who lived here after he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI between 1977 and 1982. Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI. He stayed at the palace again during his visit to Munich in September 2006 after becoming Pope. Visitors are not allowed to view the interiors because of the building’s function as the Archbishop’s residence but the magnificent Rococo facade is available for all to see.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palais Porcia

5) Palais Porcia

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

The Palais Porcia was built in 1693 by the Fugger family of Counts. They were a wealthy family of bankers and generals from Augsburg in Bavaria. It was designed in Italian Baroque style by the Swiss architect, Enrico Zuccalli and was the first structure in Munich built in the style of Baroque Palaces of Italy. The Palais Porcia was purchased in 1710 by the scion of another Bavarian wealthy 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 the time purchased the building.

From 1932, the Palais Porcia became the headquarters of a prominent Bavaria based German Bank, the Bayerische Vereinsbank. The building was severely damaged by the World War II bombings but was renovated and restored after the war by the bank between 1950 and 1952.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Residenz Royal Palace

6) Residenz Royal Palace (must see)

The Residenz Royal Palace in Munich was the seat of the Bavarian Government and the building where the Dukes, Electors and Kings belonging to the Wittelsbach family who ruled Bavaria lived between 1508 and 1918. Today, it houses a museum with the finest room decorations in Europe.

Maximilian I of Bavaria commissioned the construction of the Residenz Royal Palace. At the time, it was a small castle located in the northeastern corner of Munich. Ludwig I commissioned architect, Leo von Klenze to expand the structure to its present proportions. The building was severely damaged by the World War II bombardments and was completely reconstructed only in the 1980s.

The Residenz today consists of a museum, a concert hall, the Residenz Treasury and the Cuvilliés Theater. The Antiquarium of the palace is Europe’s largest Renaissance hall. The complex has 10 courtyards and 130 richly decorated rooms. The treasury preserves the jewelry and objects made of precious stones and metals belonging to the Wittelsbach family. The world’s most extensive coin collection of King Albert V consisting of 300,000 coins from the ancient world to the early 20th century is also on display. The palace is surrounded by a French-style garden with a fountain and a circular temple with the replica of the statue of Bavaria on top.

Why You Should Visit:
Versailles-like in its gilded opulence and glory, including the amazing courtyards.
This is a huge complex, and 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.
The oldest part of the Residenz is the Antiquarium – a magnificent hall with statues from antiquity.

You can buy combined tickets with the Theatre and the Treasury for the complete experience.
The audio guide allows you to access more information about the artwork/rooms/historical event, or skip forward to other parts of the tour if you've lost your interest.
A full tour takes several hours, so you may want to break your stay into separate sections with a trip away from the building for coffee & snacks.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Alter Hof

7) Alter Hof

The Alter Hof was the old residence of the Wittelsbach Royal family that ruled Bavaria for over 700 years. It was the main seat of the Royal Family for over 150 years until 1474 when it was moved to the nearby Residenz Royal Palace.

The Alter Hof is a complex of buildings that date back to the 12th century. They are the oldest medieval structures in the city. It was built as the royal residence of Holy Roman Emperor, Ludwig IV. The building has been extended and reconstructed several times. Major restoration work was carried out in the 19th century and after World War II. A portion houses local government offices today and the Vinorant Alter Hof, a popular restaurant and wine cellar occupies the west wing.

The Burgstock, Zwingerstock, Lorenzistock, Pfisterstock and Brunnenstock are the five wings that make up the Alter Hof complex. Among them, the Burgstock on the west side is the most picturesque. The St. Lorenz Chapel once housed the imperial regalia before being demolished in the 19th century. The inner courtyard is flanked by renaissance arcades. The western facade has a neoclassical style while the north facade has a neo-Gothic ornamentation. Open air concerts and theater performances take place in the courtyard in summer.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

8) Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) (must see)

The Old Town Hall was the seat of the Municipality of Munich until the construction of the Neues Rathaus in 1874. It stands on the eastern side of Marienplatz and was left untouched, unlike many other buildings that were demolished to make way for the New Town Hall.

The Old Town Hall was built between 1470 and 1480 based on a design by architect, Jörg von Halsbach. The renowned architect also designed the Frauenkirche in Munich. It had a late Gothic style at the time of its construction. It was remodeled several times and was altered to a neo-Gothic style between the years 1861 and 1864. Two tunnels were built through the building to make way for traffic between 1877 and 1934. It was the venue of the famous speech of Joseph Goebbels that led to the attack on German Jews called Kristallnacht and marked the beginning of the Holocaust. The Altes Rathaus was severely damaged during the World War II bombings and was extensively restored based on its 15th-century design.

The Altes Rathaus, today, hosts the offices of the city council, some administrative offices and a Toy Museum set in four rooms in its tower. There is a souvenir & gift shop on the first floor that sells unique souvenir items – in particular replicas of the wooden sculptures called The Morris Dancers by Munich sculptor, Erasmus Grasser.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the finest historical buildings to see at Marienplatz. Just as with the other ('new') town hall, you can go up the stairs to the top. The inside on the ground floor is absolutely gorgeous too, looking exactly how many expect German buildings to look.

The Altes Rathaus tower now serves as a Toy Museum (Spielzugmuseum) and providing yet another bit of fun is the Juliet Capulet Statue, located on the side of the building. This was a gift from the city of Verona to Munich in the 1970s.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

9) Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) (must see)

The New Town Hall was built in the 19th century at a time when the city of Munich enjoyed great economic prosperity. The Old Town Hall was found to be too small to function as the office of the local government and a new building was constructed nearby.

The site for the New Town hall was chosen near the Old Town Hall on Marienplatz in Munich. Twelve buildings were demolished to make space for the new structure. It was designed by young architect, Georg Hauberrisser who was 24 years old at the time. The building was constructed between 1867 and 1908.

The New Town Hall building has a Gothic Revivalist architectural style. It has 400 rooms and covers an area of over 9000 square meters. It faces the Marienplatz and there is a small garden at the back called the Marienhof. The Ratskeller restaurant occupies the basement and the first floor has a balcony from where visitors can view events like football matches and concerts taking place on Marienplatz. The 85 meter main tower is accessible using elevators. One of the main attractions of the New Town Hall is the mechanical Glockenspiel or Carillon with two levels. The upper level has dolls reenacting the wedding of Duke William V and Renate of Lorraine and the lower level has dolls performing the Schäfferltanz, a dance arranged as a celebration to mark the end of a plague epidemic.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Michael's Church

10) St. Michael's Church

The St. Michael's Church in Munich is the largest religious structure built in Renaissance style north of the Alps. It is managed by the Jesuit order and was built by the Duke of Bavaria, William IV, as a center for the Counter Reformation in response to Martin Luther’s protestant reforms of Christendom.

St. Michael’s Church was first built between the years 1583 and 1588 and was designed by an unknown architect. The church had an extensive barrel vaulted roof and a tower. The tower collapsed and damaged the newly constructed choir in 1590. After the accident, a grand choir and transept were added to the original structure and the church was consecrated in 1597.

The St. Michael’s Church is a masterpiece of design. The facade is divided by three cornices horizontally with figures portraying the agenda of the Counter Reformation. The figure of the Archangel Michael by sculptor Hubert Gerhard is placed on the ground floor niche. The stone figures in the other niches are of Dukes and Kings of Bavaria. The interior has a nave without aisles that gives it a bright and airy appearance. There is a magnificent Triumphal Arch in front of the choir. The three story high altar has another sculpture of St Michael fighting the devil by Christoph Schwarz as the altarpiece. The crypt holds the graves of members of the Wittelsbach Royal family who ruled Bavaria and those of the sculptor, Giovanni da Bologna and Eugène de Beauharnais, the son of Napoleon’s wife Josephine.
Sight description based on wikipedia

11) Justizpalast

The Justizpalast is the old courthouse of the city of Munich. It is the finest example of late 19th century German architecture combining Baroque and Renaissance styles.

The Justizpalast was designed by the architect, Friedrich von Thiersch and built between the years 1890 and 1897. This was a time when Germany and Austria saw an economic upswing and the structure has an extensive glass dome covering an area of 67 meters to reflect the prosperity of the times. It was found to be too small for the law courts and in 1905 Friedrich von Thiersch designed the nearby Neue Justizpalast. The Gothic style structure was built between 1906 and 1908. It was damaged during World War II and lost the original interior ornamentation.

The Neue Justizpalast today, houses the Bavarian Constitutional Court and the Higher Regional Court. The most visited part of the building is Room 253. It was here that the People’s Court conducted a sham trial presided by the notorious pro Nazi Judge, Roland Freisler and condemned members of the non violent anti Nazi group, ‘The White Rose’ to death. The sentence was pronounced against Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst at noon on 22nd February 1943 and they were beheaded four hours later. There is a permanent exhibit about the trial in the room and a memorial to the students who died opposing the ruling regime and standing up for their principles.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Munich, Germany

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Munich is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
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Munich Introduction Walk I

Bavarian capital Munich boasts an eclectic mix of historic and modern architecture owing to the careful reconstruction of centuries-old buildings and new landmarks built after World War II. In the Altstadt (Old Town), central Marienplatz square carries landmarks, such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall). To find these and other historic attractions of Munich, follow this orientation walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
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Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
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It would be a pity to leave Munich without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Munich, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. You find them in the shops located in Munich Altstadt, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles

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