After we spend three days in Stuttgart we then visited the city of Ludwigsburg, which is only about 15 km north of the Baden-Württemberg state capital. The Ludwigsburg Palace is considered one of the largest original baroque buildings in Europe. In addition, several pleasure palaces and extensive gardens characterize the image of the former residential city.
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Things to know about Ludwigsburg
Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg had a spacious and representative castle built outside the old capital Stuttgart in 1704 in order to be able to pursue the hunt. In order to get closer to his goal of increasing his rank to the Elector, he planned from 1709 an entire residence city directly to it. Ludwigsburg is therefore a classic planned city – i.e. it has not grown organically like many other cities over centuries, but was planned almost completely on the drawing board. On the main axis of the city lies the Residenzschloss and around the rectangular market square a street grid was planned, which divided the city into blocks. Avenues served to loosen up the streetscape. Finally, Ludwigsburg received its town rights in September 1718. In the same year, the Duke moved the capital of Württemberg from Stuttgart to Ludwigsburg. Over the decades, Ludwigsburg has become increasingly well-known throughout Europe – not least due to numerous pompous celebrations and impressive ballet and opera performances. In the Second World War, Ludwigsburg was largely spared, the city was only 2% destroyed. Today, about 94,000 people live in Ludwigsburg. The city belongs to the Stuttgart region and the European metropolitan region of Stuttgart.
The Ludwigsburg Palace
The Ludwigsburg Palace was built between 1704 and 1733 by Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg. It is one of the largest original baroque palaces in Germany and is therefore often referred to as the “German Versailles”. In the course of its history, the castle was used in different ways: first as the residence of the dukes, later as the summer stay of the first King of Württemberg. Since 1919, the castle has belonged to the state administration. The castle survived all wars with almost no destruction.
Today you can visit the castle as part of a guided tour. This is included in the entrance fee of 8.50 EUR per person. If you would also like to visit one of the four museums (Ceramics Museum, Fashion Museum, Baroque Gallery or Apartment Carl Eugen), you can purchase a supplementary ticket for 3 EUR per person. Unfortunately, we did not manage to visit the castle from the inside on this day. But we will certainly make up for that again.
The Palace Park – Blooming Baroque Ludwigsburg
The Residenzschloss is surrounded on three sides by a park of over 30 hectares, which is referred to as the “Blooming Baroque”. For this garden you pay a separate entrance fee of 10 EUR per person.
When the former residence under Wilhelm I was moved from Ludwigsburg to Stuttgart, the gardens around the palace were opened to the public in 1828. After the park atrophied and overgrown in the following decades, the new garden director Albert Schöchle had the idea of holding a garden show on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the castle. After extensive redesign measures, it was opened in April 1954 and was very well received by the visitors. The garden show was so successful that it was decided to turn the garden show planned for 6 months into a year-round garden show, which has now existed for 67 years.
You should definitely bring a lot of time with you if you want to see the Blooming Baroque, because the complex is very spacious. From the north and south garden with its artfully landscaped flower beds we had the most beautiful views of the Residenzschloss, but we also really liked the rest of the garden: Colorful water lilies in the orangery, a beautiful avenue, the Schüsselesee with fountain, a collection of historical play equipment and flowers, shrubs and bushes blooming everywhere.
Our tip: In autumn, you can visit the world’s largest pumpkin exhibition in the Blooming Baroque, which will be installed here for three months. Hundreds of thousands of pumpkins, more than 600 different pumpkin varieties as well as figures, sculptures and various pumpkin delicacies await visitors.
The Fairytale Garden
A few years after the opening of the Blooming Baroque, the Fairytale Garden was opened to create an attraction for children and to bring the adults to a visit to the Blooming Baroque. The idea worked, because the fairytale garden was an absolute hit and a magnet for visitors. Even today, you can still marvel at over 40 fairy tale scenes in almost unchanged form, which the then garden director Albert Schöchle had set up in 1959. The fairytale garden can be visited with your entrance ticket for the “Blooming Baroque”, i.e. there is no separate entrance fee.
We walked through the fairytale garden for a while and looked at various fairy tale scenes such as the brave tailor, Snow White, Hansel & Gretel, Max & Moritz, Little Red Riding Hood and many more. We really liked the attention to detail with which the fairy tales were visualized. We were also a bit surprised how few fairy tales from childhood you actually know in detail. The fairytale garden is definitely something for young and old 😉
The Favorite Castle
The baroque palace ensemble in Ludwigsburg also includes the baroque Favorite Castle, which is located directly opposite the Residenzschloss. The castle was built between 1717 and 1723 and was used by the rulers during hunts, for festivities and as a summer villa. It is located in a very extensive park, which was originally created for a pheasan farm. The wildlife park has been a nature reserve since 1937 and is the oldest nature reserve in Baden-Württemberg, which today is home to game and foxes, pheasants and many bird species.
The park around the castle is accessible free of charge; only for the visit of the castle an entrance fee is due.
Around the market square in Ludwigsburg
After our visit to the castle park and the fairytale garden, we made a small detour to the market square, which is only a few minutes walk from the castle. The central, very spacious square was designed in the 18th century and is bordered by several arcaded houses, as well as two opposite churches. South of the market square you will find the town hall and the Ludwigsburg Museum, which shows the versatile, 300-year history of the city.
We really liked the day in Ludwigsburg and we can highly recommend a visit to the city. Ludwigsburg is a wonderful destination from Stuttgart. You can easily spend a day alone in the “Blooming Baroque”, the fairytale forest and the Residenzschloss and have a perfect mix of culture, nature and a lot of fun.