Most people think of the concentration camp when they hear ‘Dachau‘ but this historical town in Bavaria has beautiful Renaissance and Baroque buildings and a palace! Dachau is around 30 minutes northwest from Munich by S-bahn and Dachau Palace is another 19 minutes on foot.

Palace on the hill
It’s a hike up to the palace!

Sitting on top of a hill, Dachau Palace offers a panoramic view of Munich and the Bavarian Alps (so be sure to visit when it’s sunny!). It began as a fortress in 1100 for the Counts of Dachau. When the last Count of Dachau died without an heir in 1182, Duke Otto I of Wittelsbach took over the fortress. The fortress was destroyed in 1398 and again in 1403. A century later, a four-winged Renaissance palace was built on the hill from 1546-77. It became the preferred country residence (I read somewhere that it was the preferred summer residence before Schloss Nymphenburg was chosen) of the House of Wittelsbach. In 1715, Elector Maximilian II Emanuel had the southwest wing remodelled in the Baroque style. Unfortunately, three wings were so badly damaged by the Napoleonic troops that, due to lack of funds, King Max Joseph of Bavaria had to have it demolished in the early 19th Century. Thankfully, the southwest wing remains, which includes the Banqueting Hall with its wooden Renaissance ceiling (dating back to 1564-66) and the Regency stairwell. Today, the palace hosts classical concerts and art exhibitions, as well as weddings and other special events.

The surviving southwest wing of Schloss Dachau

Aside from the palace, the court garden is certainly worth wandering around, especially during spring when all the flowers are in bloom. If it’s too hot, take a stroll under the Linden pergola. 

The court garden, the nursery, and the Linden pergola.

There is also a cafe in the palace in case you’re thirsty or hungry where you can sit inside or enjoy the view from the terrace.

View from the cafe / terrace

And whilst you’re in Dachau, why not explore the Old Town (Altstadt) and step into St Jakob Parish Church, which was built in 1624/25.

St Jakob Parish Church built in 1624/25 with 18th Century sun dial.

The photos below don’t do this steep path any justice but I recommend walking down/up the path!

Plaque showing one of three old gates that used to stand in Dachau. This one was the Munich Gate.

Address: Kurfürst-Max-Emanuel-Platz 2, 85221 Dachau, Bavaria, Germany

Hours: Tuesdays-Sundays April-September 9:00-18:00 / October-March 10:00-16:00

Admission: 2 Euros