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Built as a summer palace and hunting lodge for Elector Palatine Charles Theodore, who ruled Bavaria in the mid-18th century, this pink confection is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved castles in the region. French architect Nicolas de Pigage labored on the massive winged palace and its 148 acres of gorgeously landscaped gardens for nearly 20 years, completing it in 1770. The rooms in the main castle are sumptuously decorated with enormous chandeliers, opulent frescoes, marble floors and statuary galore. Some furniture is still original to the palace, including richly carved console tables and a delicate lady’s writing desk. The wings have been converted into two museums, one covering natural history in the lower Rhine, the other European garden art. But it’s the park and gardens that are the real draw, with an enormous pond and canal surrounded by magnificent trees, lush flowerbeds and of course, more statues. Sadly, the Elector visited the palace only once. Benrath is about 6 miles from the city and an easy 45-minute tram ride. Entry to the main palace is only with a guided tour; book in advance for an English one. There’s a special “hidden spaces” tour that takes you behind the scenes to the servants’ staircases and rooms. Tours are limited to eight people, so email visitor services ahead of time.
Benrather Schloßallee 100-106
|Opening hours:||Tue-Fri 10:30am-5pm; Sat, Sun 10:30am-6pm|