In the south of Bavaria at about 90 km far from Munich we are going to discover Chiemsee Lake to visit one of the castles – maybe the least known by Italians – of Ludwig II, the mad king of Bavaria: the Herrenchiemsee Castle.
The castle is in the centre of the Chiemsee Lake and is easily reachable by boats linking Prien to the islands where it stands. The castle is opened all over the year but the best time to visit it is certainly Spring and Summer, from May and then, when the fountains are activated: they gives wonderful water games.
The boat leaving from Prien goes towards Herreninseln Island (the island of men) where the castle stands and then berths also to the Fraueninseln island (the island of women), where it’s possible to visit a monastery of Benedictine nuns (where you can also stay overnight), the botanical garden and the shop which cannot be missed.
The crossing towards the castle lasts 20 minutes about and to pass the time while waiting you can enjoy a very good apple strudel on board at affordable prices.
At the berth you see in front of you a wood. The only path takes you to the ticket offices where you can buy the castle’s admittance ticket and the passage by coach, too. The prices are affordable and we decide to have an entry as lords.
Gardens, fountains and water games
Once crossed the thick wood we are left gaping: in front of us there are gardens finely cared which extends as far as the eye can see.
The water games dances for us on music rhythm and vary during the day, thanks to sound equipments opportunely scattered in the park. The gardeners work daily to draw hedges and fix flowers, in a context which combines happily with the lake atmosphere where we are.
Tour at Herrenchiemsee Castle
The tour at the castle is impressive and we are not entered its rooms, yet. The architecture remember Versailles and it’s just with this idea that Ludwig II had projected it, trying to look back on all the splendour of the Louis XIV court.
The inside isn’t less among refined stuccoes, big huge stairs, original furniture and the bedroom of Ludwig II (90sqm!) where the majestic canopy bed peeps out. Here the king was used to grant an audience in the morning and in the evening.
The tour ends in the mirrors gallery that alone deserves the journey: the splendour of the mirrors and the greatness of the candelabra are set off by the rays of sun. Entering this room you are really left gaping.
Furniture and avant-garde technology
Like every self-respecting castle of Ludwig II also the technology has its self-respecting niche. Do you remember the Neusschwanstein Castle and that the mad king disliked to meet people? Here, too, there’s a table laying itself linked to a system of pulleys from the kitchen in the lower floor to avoid the king was disturbed by the presence of waiters and valets.
Canals and gardens
The wonder to discover in this place are not over, yet. Going out the castle, with it behind you, you realize what before you miss since you arrived from the wood: a long water canal getting inside from the lake flows close to the castle’s gardens.
Here the vegetation was cut artfully to allow the look canalizing towards the limpid waters with a wonderful effect. The taste and refinement of Ludwig II are meticulous in each castle.
Before embarking towards Fraueninseln island we go to the little cloister where with the same ticket of the castle it’s possible to admire the sumptuous frescoes on the ceilings.
We take again the boat which arrives every 30 minutes; a nice and relax walking ahead of us. The monastery is warm, the nuns live their religious life as there aren’t tourist there but anyway they are very kind if you stop and talk to them.
As we finished the tour of the monastery, we go to the little shop of the nuns where are sold jams, liquors, sweets and other herbal local products.
A bit of taste, prices are affordable so we take home a little piece of Fraueninseln among liquors and jams…
Arriving early in the morning means fully enjoying the day and the two islands and be able to park free in the nearest parking to the ticket office.
In Prien the availability of the hotels for the night is very wide and with quality. It’s enough to go away 10 km about to find typical Bavarian and much cheaper family business accommodations.