Residenz and Royal Palace Munich
9 AM to 6 PM
October-March (September 20 to March 31)
10 AM to 5 PM
This sprawling maze of a museum of Bavarian porcelain, silver, and paintings opened in 1920 in the former palace of the Wittelsbach Royal Family; parts of the complex date from 1385. Bombed during WW2, the palace has been immaculately restored and is once more a treasure trove of delights formed around a series of ten courtyards in a range of architectural styles reflecting its growth over the centuries. The most beguiling halls are the Grottenhof, built as a summer palace in 1589 for Duke Wilhelm V and featuring an eccentric grotto lined with extravagant froths of sparkling crystal and colored shells, plus the Königsbau, completed in 1835 and famous for its paintings depicting scenes from the medieval epic Nibelunglied. The palace’s two chapels are flamboyantly ornate, with frescoes arched ceilings and gaily patterned marble floors, while the Treasury reveals the exotic Crown Jewels of the Wittelsbachs. The Cuvilliés-Theater, opened in 1755, was destroyed in 1942 but with great foresight its highly ornate Rococo fixtures and fittings had been removed. These are now re-installed in modern surroundings, with the red swags, frisky cherubim, and gilt décor as good as new. The splendid formal gardens surrounding the palace are perfect for taking a breather.