Opening hours are long to visit Schloss Herrenchiemsee Castle on Herren Island in the Chiemsee Lake near Munich in Bavaria, Southern Germany. Tickets to see the palace are only sold on Herren Island.
Schloss Herrenchiemsee Castle is the most opulent palace built by Bavarian King Ludwig II during the nineteenth century. It is less famous than the Disney-like Schloss Neuschwanstein – the popular neo-Romanesque castle he built near Füssen. As a result, crowds are less common at Herrenchiemsee Castle and like the king’s third folly – Schloss Linderhof Palace – tickets here can only be bought on-site and without advance reservations. Fortunately, opening hours are long too and there is seldom much of a wait as tours are frequent. Bus tours are sometimes available from Munich but far less common than to Neuschwanstein.
Herren Island in the Chiemsee Lake, Bavaria
Schloss Herrenchiemsee Castle is on Herren Island, the largest island in the Chiemsee Lake in Southern Bavaria in between Munich and Salzburg. During the Middle Ages, monasteries were built on the two largest islands in the lake. The one for monks was on Herreninsel (meaning Men’s Island) to distinguish it from Fraueninsel (Women’s Island), which still has a working nunnery.
Several buildings are near the boat landing – the most important for most visitors is the Besucherzentrum (Visitors’ Center) where tickets to the palace are sold. Other buildings here include the Altes Schloss (Old Castle), which houses the Museum in the Augustinian Monastery with paintings of the Chiemsee area and a gallery dedicated to the works of Bavarian painter Julius Exter – both are of lesser interest to the foreign visitor.
- The Schlosshotel Herrenchiemsee is in a mansion and although not particularly luxurious (or too pricey) does allow guests to stay on the peaceful island in the evenings after day-trippers have left.
It is an easy twenty-minute stroll to the Neues Schloss (New Palace), also referred to as the Königsschloss (King’s Castle) or simply Schloss Herrenchiemsee. The interior can only be seen on a compulsory guided tour lasting just more than half an hour.
- A horse-drawn wagon makes the journey from near the boat landing to the palace in about fifteen minutes. It is available only from mid-April to late October.
No motorized vehicles, or indeed bicycles or scooters, are allowed to operate on Herreninsel, which makes the island ideal for strolling. A 7-km (4.3-mile) marked trail allows visitors to see the best sights on the island.
- The Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee and most of the island are accessible to wheelchair users.
Buy Tickets for Schloss Herrenchiemsee Castle in Bavaria
Tickets for Schloss Herrenchiemsee are only sold at the Besucherzentrum (Visitors’ Center) near the boat landing on Herrninsel. Reservations for individuals are not possible. Tickets bear the time of the tour of the interior of the palace – all other sights may be seen at leisure up to six months after the tickets were bought.
End 2020 — individuals may requests reservations at least a week in advance by email. It is a manual process, so a longer notice period would be more successful at busy times. Tickets are still sold onsite but may sell out faster than usual due to the smaller groups. Also, note that the King Ludwig Museum is closed for the rest of 2020 due to construction work.
Many, if not most, visitors see only the Neues Schloss and adjacent King Ludwig II Museum. The following ticket offers are available:
- The Gesamtkarte Insel (Combination Ticket) gives admission to the Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee, King Ludwig II Museum, as well as the museum and galleries in the Augustinian Monastery (Altes Schloss). This ticket is €9 and valid for six months — only the Schloss must be seen on the guided tour of the day of purchase.
- The Einzelkarte König Ludwig II.-Museum gives admission to the King Ludwig Museum. This ticket is €5.
- The Einzelkarte Augustiner-Chorherrenstift (Augustinian Monastery Ticket) gives admission to the museum and galleries in the Old Castle (Altes Schloss). This ticket is €5.
- Kombiticket Königschlösser (Royal Palaces Combination Ticket) is valid for six months and gives one entry into each of the three royal castles of King Ludwig: Herrenchiemsee, Neuschwanstein, and Linderhof. It cost €26 but note the next offer below – the validity period is shorter but includes all three plus many more sights.
- Even better value for visitors to Bavaria is the two-week and annual Bavarian Castles and Palaces season tickets. The two-week ticket is €30 for adults, or €56 for a family, and includes many of the top sights in Bavaria managed by the Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung.
Children under 18 years old (groups excluded) have free admission but should register a time for the tour of the palace at the ticket window.
Admission to Herren Island itself, the parks, and gardens are free.
Opening Hours of Schloss Herrenchiemsee Castle
All sights on Herren Island are open daily except January 1, Shrove Tuesday (Fasching), and December 24, 25, and 31. Like many other major tourist sights in Bavaria, Schloss Herrenchiemsee is open on Monday.
Opening hours are daily from April to mid-October from 9 am to 6 pm and from mid-October to March from 9:40 am to 4:15 pm. The last tours of the palace start an hour before closing time. The Julius Exter gallery is closed during the winter season.
Tours of the palace take around 35 minutes with tours in German available continuously and usually in English at least once per hour. Hourly tours are also available from July to September in Italian, French, and Spanish.
The fountains (Wasserspiele) in front of the palace play twice per hour for about 15 minutes at a time from early April to early October.
Several transportation options are available to Schloss Herrenchiemsee. It is an easy day trip from Munich but also a great stop en route to Berchtesgaden, Bad Reichenhall, or Salzburg in Austria. Day-trip tours are also often available from Munich — less common in the colder months.