We toured the Munich Residence Palace for so long (3 hours) I wish we’d packed a lunch! The complex covers over 400 acres with more than 100 rooms, halls, and gardens. The first castle was built in 1385 and various rulers added on until the end of the Monarchy in 1918 (King Ludwig III). It was a good place to be during a freak snowstorm and architecturally overwhelming from the first hall.

Take a peek at the Residence Palace website for a floor plan and stunning photos. There’s more there than I could include here. Had we additional days in Munich, I’d choose to return here and see everything we missed. There are ten courtyards that must be stunning when in full spring bloom.

There are numbered informational signs at room entrances. The numbers match your simple-to-use audio guide. As always, Americans are spoiled with the default secondary language being English. We read and listened and I forget half what I learned in the moment, but in the moment, it’s important!

Portrait covered walls of the Ancestral Gallery of the Munich Residence

The tour starts in the Ancestral Gallery with a huge array of portraits featuring former elite rulers and families. It’s gilded and long with massive windows and doors on one side. I can imagine suitably impressed visitors strolling through in awe.


Another stunning room is the Antiquarium, which is 216 feet long. I can’t find the width but since it began as a statuary gallery and then became a dining hall, it’s wide! This is the oldest room in the Residence Palace museum. I liked the platform at one end where the princess sat to dine. Yes, please, I’ll have a seat there.

Antiquarium Hall full of statues and paintings

Two Unique Rooms

The oddest room is the Shell Grotto. Rick Steves gives a thorough explanation here. It’s a massive fake grotto that replaces the original destroyed in WWII. Although it’s striking, it’s also a tad creepy. I didn’t want to get too close or spend too much time examining it.

My next favorite room is The Black Hall. The original room was constructed in 1590 and thankfully rebuilt in 1979, including the ceiling mural. It’s a wonderful illusion to stand dead center and look up. The flat painting becomes vaulted and three dimensional. Isn’t it great when artists fake us out? 

Court Church of All Saints

So far, everything in the Residence Palace is impressive. Then we entered the Court Church of All Saints. Even though you can only tour the upper gallery, it is stunning enough. The  nave is now used for concerts and lectures. There are thousands, hundreds of thousands, of bricks comprising this church. It’s hard not to get stuck in place, gawking at the craftsmanship needed to create the church. In writing blogs, I try to research facts to fill in the marvelous aesthetics I see. No matter how much I search, I can’t find any estimate of the number of bricks used here! Re-opened in 2003 after a massive restoration project, you’d think there would be geek like me keeping track of pallets. Ah, well. Let’s just go back to finding the church mind-boggling.

Imperial Hall of the Residence Palace

The next opulent room is the Emperor’s Hall aka the Imperial Hall. Stepping through the tall door, it’s easy to imagine the galas that would have taken place here. And those that still may. Overly tall windows topped by oval windows topped by square windows face the Imperial Courtyard. That’s how we found the residence’s Christmas Market where we grabbed snacks and mulled wine.

Aren’t These Names Fun

  • Charlotte Rooms (She redecorated.)
  • The Yellow Staircase (Yes, it’s a broad yellow-walled staircase.)
  • Green Gallery (Again with the colors! Green walls covered with portraits.)
  • Ornate Rooms (They truly are.)
  • Four White Horses Hall (It was named for a ceiling mural of Apollo on a horse, but that was destroyed long ago and not replaced.)
  • Nibelungen Halls (As near as I can figure, Nibelungen in German mythology means a race of Scandinavian dwarves. If anyone can provide clarity on that one, please do.)
  • Rich Chapel (I stood agape at the deep blue walls adorned with gold gilt and silver.)
  • Koenigsbau (Royal Palace) (Royal rooms for the king and queen.)
  • Steinzimmer (Stone Rooms) (Made of various types of marble and stucco marble.)

This list could keep going with the reliquaries, the East Asian and Treves rooms … the connected museums. I’ll sum it up with it being so worthwhile that if you have time, inquire into passes.

A Note on Craftsmanship Throughout the Residence Palace

When we took a guided tour of our Library of Congress (highly recommend), we learned about the builders. There existed a need for places to be beautiful and statuary to have meaning. We don’t see much of that anymore. Which leads me always back to the questions of: Who built it? How were they paid? Were they paid? Did they feel adequately compensated? Were any of them women? 

Yes, my questions go on and on. And that, my friends, is why I love taking tours and wandering through museums, and learning. Always, always learning.

When You Go

  • Residence Palace ticket details are found here, including some discounts. At 10E a person (Alex is older, so was 9E), it’s a deal with the included audio. (Note: At Nymphenburg Palace, it was 12E a person plus the audio guide and we only saw 20 rooms out of hundreds.)
  • Hours change throughout the year, so check the site. Last entrance time is 4:00 or 5:00, but don’t do that, you’ll miss too much. 
  • Includes coat check. (I couldn’t see that you are to tip.)
  • Includes free audio guide, don’t skip it.
  • If you’re in Munich for the Christmas Markets, the Residence is near the Odeonsplatz in the Imperial Courtyard.

We were in Munich for the Christmas Markets. Read about that adventure here.