You have probably never heard of Schloss Herrenchiemsee, but you have probably heard of Schloss Neuschwanstein. What do these two castles have in common? They are both commissioned by King Ludwig II who loved building over the top castles. Schloss Herrenchiemsee takes a bit more planning to visit and in this blogpost I will explain exactly why you must visit and how you should visit.
King Ludwig II is known for his love of building over the top castles, of which Schloss Neuschwanstein is most famous. Schloss Herrenchiemsee is the lesser known one and turned out to be a hidden gem. It is a little hard to get to as it is located on an island in the Chiemsee. To be able to visit you must buy boat tickets too for € 10,50 per person. The boat tour takes about 15 minutes and after this you need to walk for about 30 minutes to reach the castle. The castle can only be visited with a guided tour, you can buy those tickets once you arrive to the island (€ 10 per person). It sounds a bit like a hassle, but the tour times match really well with the boat times, so it is very much possible to plan your visit for just the morning. There are some other sights and restaurants on the island as well, so you can also take your time and spend the day there.
King Ludwig II ran out of money while building Schloss Herrenchiemsee, so only about 20 rooms are completely finished. Even the exterior never got finished and two wings are completely missing. This doesn’t mean that it is not worth a visit, because the stories to be told about Schloss Herrenchiemsee and Ludwig II are absolutely mesmerizing. We joined a German tour and received an English translation, which worked well. We also received the opportunity to ask questions. The tour was really interesting and also covered Ludwig II’s suspicious death. Ludwig II was obsessed with French culture, so you will see that the castle was very much inspired by Versailles. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures inside, so I cannot show you all the blatant rococo details, insane chandeliers and fake marble, but I can promise you that you will want to visit! The large fountains outside kind of give away what you can expect from the inside. The gardens also haven’t been finished, but they are colorful enough to spend an hour in them. From a marketing perspective the not being allowed to take pictures inside is not very smart, I am sure that it would have been an Instagram hit. On the other hand, the capacity is limited due to the boat trip and I found the small group tour very agreeable.