Anyone who enjoys basking in a little bit (okay, a lot) of the opulence of a bygone era will appreciate spending a few blissful hours exploring the palatial Munich Residenz. With a history dating back to the 14th century, this impressive structure was the official residence of Bavarian dukes and kings from 1508 until the early 1900s. It became a public museum in 1920.
Inside this massive complex, architecture meets artistry, and the extraordinary design elements you’ll see represent a number of important styles and eras, including Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and neoclassical. You’ll gain fascinating insight into how the rich and powerful once lived. Set aside some time to take in its beautifully preserved collections of porcelain, furniture, tapestries, sculptures, paintings, silver, regal jewels, gems and ivory.
The oldest room in the Residenz – the Antiquarium banquet hall – is a real show stopper. This majestic hall stretches for 66 metres, where exquisite Renaissance frescoes lavishly blanket everywhere you look. In the 16th century, Duke Albrecht V wanted a great space in which to showcase his collection of antique sculptures and ordered this room built; construction finished in 1571. Check out its many ceremonial rooms, chapels, and apartments. Outside, the Residenz has a remarkable 10 courtyards and a court garden that dates back to 1613. Thanks to restoration efforts, the 16th-century waterworks still supply water to the elegant garden fountains today.
The Residenz is right in Munich’s city centre; the nearest U-Bahn (underground) stop is Odeonsplatz. The museum is open daily; opening hours are 9am to 6pm from March 28 through mid-October and 10am to 5pm from mid-October through most of March. It’s closed on Shrove Tuesday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. From the Residenz, you’re also within walking distance of the enormous English Garden, whose natural beauty makes this city park a favourite among locals.