Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg) was the pleasure palace of the kings and electors of Bavaria (unlike the Residenz which was the "work day" palace). The palace itself is a 17th century Baroque confection, with halls and apartments in gold and white. Even more impressive are acres of parkland, where the Bavarian rulers hunted stags, boated on canals in gondolas, played games outdoors, and relaxed in high style.

From Munich, it's an easy 20 min tram wide on tram #17, get off at "Schloss Nymphenburg" and it's a short walk. You know you're getting close when you arrive at the lake in front, with white swans elegantly gliding through the water.

Tip: The park is free. Separate tickets are available for the Palace Apartments, the Marstall Museum, and Park Palaces (smaller palaces located in the park itself), as well as a combination ticket for all three. Everyone in the family will enjoy the Marstall Museum. The Palace is fun for older kids and teens, but isn't terribly interesting for young kids. If you buy the combination ticket, our favorite park palace is the Badenburg.

Palace Apartments - When you come up the sweeping staircase, you'll find yourself in the Great Hall, decorated with gold and white columns, and frescoes on the walls and ceiling, decorated with flowers, rainbows, and yes, nymphs.
You can wander through the audience rooms and living quarters of the kings and queens, but we recommend spending time in the Gallery of Beauties. In the early 19th century, Ludwig I commissioned portraits of beautiful women of the time. The details of hair, jewels and clothing in these portraits are fascinating.
Nymphenburg Park - The park has acres to explore, with fountains, cascades, artificial canals, lakes, and forests.
Head in the direction of Badenburg Lake, following trails through the woodlands with little streams and canals. The paths are gravel or paved, okay for a stroller. Kids will see ducks (the baby ducks are adorable) bobbing on the water - the locals bring bread and feed the ducks.
The lakes, fountains, and canals in the park are a huge engineered waterworks. Those interested in the engineering will want to stop off at the Green Pump House to see the pump mechanisms.
For a fun walk, stroll down to Badenburg Lake, then look for the statue of Pan playing the flute (the statue is hidden in the trees next to the trail that goes east west at the head of the lake). Continue around the lake, on either the east or west side, until you come to the Grand Cascade, then walk back up the Central Canal.
Tip: If you bought the combination ticket, stop into the Badenburg, a spiffy 18th century bathing pavilion. Inside, you'll see where the aristocrats bathed, banqueted, and wrote at a silver writing table (something to think about for the kid's room at home ...).
Marstall Museum (Carriage and Sleigh Museum) - At the Marstall Museum, kids can see splashy gilded state carriages of the Bavarian royal family (many of them would have done Cinderella proud on her way to the ball), as well as hunting sleighs, a miniature indoor sleigh for children, and merry-go-round.
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