Herrenkymsee Castle, location and history

Bavarian Versailles Herrenkimsee on Lake Kimsee

Herrenkimsee is considered a perfect replica of the residence of the French kings in Versailles. Luxurious interiors, unique works of art and a picturesque park.

Development history

The history of the Herrenkimsee castle began in 1878. It was at this time that King Ludwig II of Bavaria had the idea of building another secluded palace, where he could think alone and enjoy the beautiful scenery. For this purpose, the monarch, who later suffered from a serious mental disorder, purchased the island of Herren on Lake Kimsee, the largest freshwater body of water in the region. Herrenkiemsee Castle is easy to find on the geographical map: it is located almost in the middle between Salzburg and Munich, about 60 km from the latter.

The “highlight” of Herrenkimsee is almost identical architectural style with the famous French Versailles. During the construction Ludwig II constantly reminded the architects that all elements of the building must be in the spirit of Louis XIV – his idol.

The castle was to be fully equipped for the future sovereign’s needs: central heating, elevators, toilets and hot running water. For the XIX century Herrenkimsee became a true benchmark of comfort for a country holiday.

What to see in the country residence

In the photos taken at Herrenkimsee Castle, the interiors of the main building are really impressive. Not only is it not inferior to the Versailles residence, but it even surpasses it in luxury. During the lifetime of Ludwig II only 20 out of 70 rooms were furnished, but even in the 21st century the wealth of decorations attracts the attention of tourists. The king did not skimp on spending money, so for the palace purchased or made to order the most unusual and beautiful sculptures, statues, porcelain, antique furniture, paintings and other decorative items.

The palace is a must-see:

Main Vestibule

From which you can directly access the palace park. It is decorated with a huge sculpture of a peacock made of bronze.

The monumental grand staircase

Almost indistinguishable from the staircase of the Envoys in the residence of the French monarch. It holds a marble key, which, according to the sculptor’s design, is surrounded by statues of the goddess Diana and her faithful nymphs.

The Room of the Guards

The halberds of the royal guards who guarded Ludwig II are in here.

Hall of Mirrors

If we compare the photos of the respective rooms in Versailles and Herrenchiemsee Palace, it becomes clear that the Bavarian gallery is many times larger than its prototype. The room is magnificently lit both by day and at night thanks to the 17 large arched windows, over 30 gigantic chandeliers and over 40 chandeliers.

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Bedroom of Ludwig II

The Bavarian monarch adored the blue hue, which is why all the furnishings in the apartment are in this color. The windows look out over the palace garden and the lake, and the dim, diffused light of the blue, ball-shaped lamps sets up an idyllic mood. The central exhibit here is the royal bed with a canopy, decorated with gilt and paintings telling of the love affair between Adonis and Venus. The King’s toilet set made of porcelain of the highest quality looks very original.

The king’s study

The center of furnishings here is the desk on wheels made of mahogany and fully copying the furniture from Louvre. The velvet drapes are in green and have golden edging along the edges. The fine vases for the mantel were made to a special order at the Sevres porcelain manufactory.

Dining Room

The room has an oval form and is decorated in the Rococo style. There is a large dining table which was taken up to the dining room by an elevator after it had been laid. Thus Ludwig II had his meals in complete privacy.


In the middle of the room there is an oval-shaped swimming pool and the walls are painted with paintings depicting Venus, Diana and Neptune bathing.

The Council Hall

The ceiling of the room is decorated by a large fresco which takes its inspiration from the Roman myth of Mercury. In the picture the omnipresent god of cunning and trade from Olympus gives people advice on what to do in one or another situation. The windows are covered with blue velvet drapes on which the lilies of the Bourbon dynasty are embroidered – another reminder of the era of the French “Sun King”. The clockmaker Schweitzer from Munich produced a unique astronomical clock for this room specially commissioned by the king, with depictions of the zodiac constellations, the planet, the moon and the sun.

Tours of the castle

Start your tour of the palace with the gardens, which were created by Carl von Effner. Their prototype was also the park of Versailles. The original water parterre creates an unusual atmosphere in the western part of the garden.

There are several fountains with figures of Roman and Greek goddesses of love, hunting and fertility installed in their center. Two small pools are decorated with sculptural compositions depicting Glory and Fortune.

The most beautiful of all is the central fountain, the Source of Latona, which is unparalleled in Bavaria. Its design elements are realistic images of deities, amphibians and reptiles.

The gardens are ideal for relaxing after a tour, thanks to the many benches, exotic flowers and decorative shrubs, and the constant chirping of birds. Rows of lime trees are planted to the west and east of the building and descend directly to the lake, forming a giant shady avenue. Wild deer, which are not at all afraid of man, can often be found on the grounds. In remote corners of the garden there are remnants of the railroad, which was used to bring construction materials to the palace.

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After that it is worth a visit to the Museum of King Ludwig II. Its exhibitions are dedicated to the life and work of the romantic visionary king and are located in the south wing of the palace. The museum holds sketches of the monarch’s crazy architectural designs, his baptismal shirt, photographs, portraits, and furnishings from his residence in Munich.

Tourists also enjoy visiting:

  • The museum store, where porcelain figurines, clocks, plates, etc., can be purchased for a price starting at 10 EUR;
  • A cozy cafe with Bavarian cuisine on the first floor, the menu includes cheese pâté, soup with liver dumplings, fish platter, white sausages and much more.

Rules of Admission

The Castle is open daily: from April to October from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from November to March from 9.40 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. (the museum is open at this time of year from 10 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.). Walks around the island and entrance to the palace for children under 18 years are free, but children under 12 years can see Herrenkimsee only if accompanied by an adult. The cost of an adult ticket is 8 EUR. It is strictly forbidden to take photos and use cell phones inside the castle.

How to get to the castle

After landing at Munich Airport, you should immediately take the train to the town of Prien. If you are interested in how to get from Salzburg to Herrenkimsee, in Mozart’s homeland you should also buy train tickets to this locality.

In the summer, there are regular trains from the train station to the pier on the shores of Lake Kimsee (only in the summer season). A return ticket for an adult costs 10.7 EUR and for a child 5.3 EUR. The train timetable is available at www.chiemsee-schifffahrt.de.

From the pier every 20 minutes there is a ferry to the island of Herren. On arrival, in the warmer months tourists are welcomed by a horse-drawn carriage, which takes 15 minutes to reach the palace gates.

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Herrenkimsee is rightly considered a masterpiece of palace architecture of the XIX-XX centuries, which is visited annually by thousands of tourists from around the world.

Herrenkimsee Castle: How to get there and what to see

cherrenkimsee castle photo

At the southern edge of the Old Town lies the large palace complex of the Princes of Thurn and Taxis, who ruled Regensburg. Herrenkimsee Castle is often compared to Versailles itself. It is situated on an island Herreninsel, near the village of Schwangau, surrounded by the beautiful Lake Kimsee. How to get to Herrenkimsee Castle and what it is interesting for tourists.

Herrenkiemsee Palace – the Bavarian Versailles

Herrenkimsee Castle on Lake Kimsee, the prototype of which is the famous Versailles, was built in honor of Louis XIV. The interior design of Herrenkimsee Palace is truly unusual and of course unique.

The halls and all the other rooms are filled with expensive furnishings, even the china was custom made. The tapestries and all the embroidery is also unique and has no analogues. In the ballrooms, the decoration is exactly the same as in the French Versailles, and the mirror room even surpassed it in decoration and size.

Herrenchiemsee Castle: How to get there from Salzburg or Munich

Our way to the castle started from Füssen, and our next stopping point was Munich. In any case, if you get from Munich or Salzburg you need to buy a train ticket to the Prin am Chiemsee station.

I will tell you about our way. We walked from our “nest in the attic” to the train station in Füssen, though it was a bit far.

The ticket had an exact indication (as always) of which track our train would be on, as well as which track it would arrive in Munich. Everything worked out as written this time.

At Munich’s main train station, we went straight to look for the luggage lockers. The station is more understandable than in Berlin, it is easy to find anything.

There are many lockers (automatic), cells of three sizes, depending on the size of luggage. The cost per day storage from 4 to 6 euros; in the large cell can accommodate two or three bags. You can change banknotes in the machine. There are no handheld lockers.

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After shoving two bags and a laptop and leaving with a backpack, we went to study the schedule and buy some buns for the trip. There were plenty of things, but there were plenty of buns in the numerous buffets, and coffee could be taken with us in a lockable cardboard cup.

We had to get to Ludwig Herrenkimsee Castle. It was necessary to go to the Prin Kimsee station. There was no need to take a ticket: the same “Bavarian ticket” with which we came from Füssen was valid.

The ride to the Prin-Kimsee was a little over an hour. On the way one could meet picturesque fields and typical Bavarian houses.

The train station.

After arriving at the station, you have to go to the station of the local “historical” railroad. “The children’s train will take you to the ferry pier. It takes about ten minutes.

The old steam train to Herrenkimsee

The ferry is full of people (it was Sunday); some of them are dressed in the national Bavarian clothes.

The ferry sails first to the “men’s” (“herren”) island. That’s where the castle is located. Then you can go to the “female” island (“Frauen”); there is a monastery. We bought a combined ticket. Moreover, with the “Bavarian ticket” there was a small discount.

Ferry to Herrenkimsee

We floated on the lake on a crowded ferry for about half an hour. Still at the ticket office of the “historic” train we met a Muscovite, not bad at speaking English. Then we spent part of the time together.

On the island from the pier to the castle it takes about thirty minutes to walk through the woods and the park. You can ride a horse-drawn carriage. We were lucky with the weather, and we walked.

Herrenkimsee Castle: detailed tour description

The park here is impressive, decorated with many beautiful fountains. The castle and the park are arranged in about the same way as Peterhof: from the castle to the lake there is a main avenue surrounded by these fountains. From April to October 15, the large museum is open from 9:00 to 18:00, and in the other months of the year until 16:15. One visit costs 8 €.

It is worth noticing that on the way to this palace, moving along the lake, you can enjoy the unique beauty of the local nature and the panorama of the Alps, and after 20 minutes admire the most stylish and expensive design of Ludwig II.

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Herrenkimsee Castle


As I said, Ludwig was guided by the example of Versailles. And he (or his architects and builders) succeeded very well.

Sculptures in the park

Before the tour of the castle (you can get inside only with the tour), it was about thirty-forty minutes (tickets for the tour, we bought on the pier).

Park area

So we were able to walk, take pictures, so to speak, to prepare and get into the atmosphere of this place.

Angel Sculptures

Backpacks and bags must be placed in an automatic storage cell. You have to put 1 euro in the coin slot to close the cell; when you take your bag, a coin will come back.

Sculptural composition

Sculptural composition by the fountain

We were very lucky to have a guide. In many castles, if there is a Russian-speaking guide, then most often it is a representative of the local nationality, who knows Russian to some extent.

Fountain in Herrenkiemsee park

Lion sculpture

Here we worked with a Russian woman who lives here. Quite interesting told us about Ludwig. In general, all the interior decoration of Herrenkimsee palace amazes with luxury and beauty. Especially nice to realize that it is not some kind of remake of history, but the original exhibits.

Castle interiors

Castle master



Winter garden of the castle

After the tour, we had an appetizing lunch at a restaurant by the castle and walked through the park and woods.

Sculpture of a woman with a child

It was hot, and for some reason we were very tired; we did not go to the “women’s” island.

Sculpture of a woman with a child

We got to Munich by the same route. Then we took the streetcar (using the same “Bavarian ticket”) to the Hotel Imperial in Munich-Passing, where we had a room booked. The room was a single, but the offer was on sale for two – we put an extra bed. Of course it was a bit cramped, but functional and we were happy with it.

The main thing at this hotel was not the room but the breakfast. Wonderful in variety and quality, buffet, quite worthy of a five star hotel (and it is a three star); moreover, it was included in the room price. Interestingly, there were two separate breakfast rooms: for the Chinese and for “the rest of the world”.

But, that’s when we got there in the evening, there was a problem to eat anything. On Sunday, most of the stores are not open (and neither are many of the eateries). The wife laid down for a nap, and I went to get food. Got pizza at an Italian pizzeria three blocks from the hotel.

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