PalaceTour: tales of knights and monarchs

Over two days, we accompany you through the world of castles and palaces in and around Düsseldorf: from ruins overgrown with ivy to the gardens of the baroque buildings.

Length: two days, by car.

Section of city map with the ports of call on the PalaceTour
Section of city map with the ports of call on the PalaceTour

First day

We begin the day in Düsseldorf’s city centre, where the (1) Schloss Jägerhof is located on the eastern edge of the Hofgarten (Court Garden) and where we look back on its relatively short, but eventful history: the building was completed in 1772, but just a quarter of a century later was plundered by French revolutionary troops. Restored again only in 1811 on the occasion of Napoleon’s four-day visit to Düsseldorf, the Prussians resided here in the 19th century. The palace was burnt out in 1943 during a bomb attack. After the end of the war, the Schloss Jägerhof was rebuilt. Today, it is home to the Goethe-Museum, a comprehensive collection on the life and works of the poet.

We carry on down the Rhine to the (2) Barbarossa-Pfalz palace in Kaiserswerth. Just like the Rhine boatmen in the 12th century, visitors interested in history should not simply just pass by the ruins of the medieval Kaiserpfalz (Emperor’s Palace). Emperor Friedrich I. "Barbarossa" expanded the castle in 1180 in order to be able to control the river traffic and levy custom duties. A particularly true-to-style arrival is thus via the Rhine: in the summer half-year, the Düsseldorf Weiße Flotte (White Fleet) offers trips between Kaiserswerth and Düsseldorf’s Old Town. Even if the Emperor’s Palace is bound to impress you the most, you should not miss out on visiting the Kaiserswerth district, where houses from the 17th and 18th centuries can still be found today. The mortal remains of St. Suitbertus are located in a gold-plated shrine in the basilica in close proximity to the palace.

With several court buildings and its English landscape garden, the (3) Schloss Dyck, situated around 30 kilometres to the west of Düsseldorf, is among the important cultural monuments in the Rhineland. The palace has remained almost unchanged since the middle of the 17th century; alterations such as the climbing garden make the palace attractive to younger visitors, too.


Second day

Our second day starts near to Dormagen, in the (4) Zollfeste Zons (Fortress of Zons), which attracts many sightseers with its charm of a medieval small town.

The next destination is situated on the right bank of the Rhine. We take the ferry, cross the river and travel to the (5) Schloss Benrath. The most famous of Düsseldorf’s palaces was built in the 18th century as a summer residence for the Elector Carl Theodor von der Pfalz. Today, it houses the Museum für Europäische Gartenkunst (European Horticultural Art Museum), amongst other things. A prime example of garden architecture can be found on-site: if the weather permits, you should absolutely go for a walk in the rolling parklands.

Just like the knights did once upon a time, you can – with a little bit of luck – join the celebrations at the (6) Schloss Burg in Solingen. However, for a true medieval experience, you have to select the right day: bazaars and jousting tournaments regularly take place in the summer half-year.


Alternatives: palace parks, beautiful gardens and chamber music

Many of Düsseldorf’s palaces will win you over with their surroundings: their parks are ideal for walkers, lovers of gardens and people looking for an idyllic spot of nature.

Especially in the summer months, the forest-like parks of the (7) Schloss Eller and (8) Schloss Heltorf palaces in Angermund are a cool oasis. Schloss Heltorf, with its rhododendron garden, has one of the most beautiful forest parks on the lower Rhine.

If you are looking to do some sunbathing on the banks of the Rhine, then go to (9) Schloss Mickeln in Himmelgeist. And fans of chamber music should attend a concert in the (10) Schloss Garath.