The Town Full Of Castles! Things To Do In Ludwigsburg

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Let’s take a cultural expedition through the charming city of Ludwigsburg, where Baroque grandeur meets enchanting street scenes. This guide will take you through the best experiences Ludwigsburg has to offer, from stunning castles to serene parks.

Nestled in the swathe of Baden-Württemberg just ten minutes from Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg unfolds like a living museum, vibrant with palaces and blooming gardens that feel plucked straight from a fairytale. I don’t think I have ever been somewhere that’s so full of grand castles.

things to do in LudwigsburgPin

The pulse of Ludwigsburg is best felt through its fusion of past and present—where one moment you’re tracing the footsteps of dukes and poets, and the next, you’re relaxing in a beer garden. It’s also just a nice place to walk around.

Whether you’re marvelling at the opulence of Ludwigsburg Palace or delighting in the city’s rich culinary landscape, the air here is thick with the promise of discovery. Join me as we explore the jewels in Ludwigsburg’s crown, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this historic city.

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A Brief History of Ludwigsburg

Ludwigsburg, a city in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany, is steeped in history, its origins dating back to the early 18th century. It was in 1704 that Eberhard Ludwig, Duke of Württemberg, decided to establish a new residence.

He started by building a hunting lodge which would later evolve into the grand Ludwigsburg Palace, one of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany to this day. This majestic structure, often referred to as the “Versailles of Swabia,” became the cornerstone around which the city developed.

Unlike many European cities that have medieval roots, Ludwigsburg was planned on a drawing board. Its baroque city layout with straight, expansive streets and evenly distributed plazas echoes the era’s predilection for order and aesthetic balance.

As the palace expanded, Eberhard Ludwig dictated that a town be built to house the craftsmen, builders, and court attendants. This new town became officially known as Ludwigsburg in 1718.

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Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

The 18th century saw Ludwigsburg flourish as a cultural center, drawing poets, philosophers, and musicians. The city’s prestige continued even after Eberhard Ludwig’s death when Duke Carl Eugene took over and further embraced the city’s potential for grandeur and enlightenment.

He established the Hohe Karlsschule, an elite military academy that once counted the famous German poet Friedrich Schiller among its students.

Throughout the 19th century, Ludwigsburg transitioned from a ducal residence to a more civic-oriented city. It survived the turbulence of the Napoleonic Wars and became part of the Kingdom of Württemberg. The city continued to grow, albeit more slowly, through the Industrial Revolution, largely preserving its Baroque charm.

The 20th century brought significant challenges; Ludwigsburg faced destruction during World War II. However, it emerged from the war relatively unscathed compared to many German cities, saving much of its historic architecture.

Today, Ludwigsburg is known not just for its beautiful Ludwigsburg Palace and its surrounding gardens, but also for its vibrant cultural scene, which includes the renowned Ludwigsburg Festival. It is a city that melds history with modernity, still reflecting the grand aspirations of its founder and the rich tapestry of its development over three centuries.

Top 8 Incredible Things To Do In Ludwigsburg

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The streets near the station actually reminded me of Manhattan

The majority of places on this list of things to do are within walking distance to each other and the Ludwigsburg train station. The exception is Monrepos Lakeside Palace which is a little further. You can take buses to help cut down the journey time, but they won’t take you all the way there. It’s a pretty city to walk around and I was glad I didn’t take a bus. I fully enjoyed all my time here.

You can find all these places to visit in Ludwigsburg on the map here.

1. Explore the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace (Residenzshloss)

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Ludwigsburg Residential Palace (Residenzshloss)

Affectionately deemed the “Versailles of Swabia,” the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace is not simply a building but an embodiment of the grandeur of German baroque architecture and the cultural prowess of the ducal power.

Its inception dates back to the beginning of the 18th century when Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg laid foundations with the vision of creating not just a residence but a symbol of his sovereignty. This architectural colossus spans over 452,000 square feet, and with 452 rooms, it boasts an expanse unsurpassed by few palaces in Europe.

The palace deserves its standing on this list for the sheer breadth of experiences it offers. Visitors can explore the Marble Hall, with its opulent ceiling frescoes, and grand chandeliers, offering a striking introduction to the palace’s splendor.

In the Ancestral Portrait Gallery, portraits of the ducal lineage peer down, a stark reminder of the human history that permeates these walls. The palace’s lavishly adorned Theater is another feather in its cap — an authentic 18th-century court theater, complete with original stage machinery. This was my favorite part. Since you’re not allowed to take photos inside, I couldn’t take one to show you. But you can click here to see some.

Apart from the splendor of the main rooms, the palace also houses four museums, each a prominent cultural institution. The Baroque Gallery presents a rich collection of European paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, displaying the art and sensibilities that shaped the era.

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Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

The Fashion Museum offers an extensive look at sartorial history spanning over 300 years, with costumes and accessories that narrate the evolution of style and social mores.

Meanwhile, the Ceramics Museum showcases a vast and impressive array of porcelain and faience, unfolding the changes in taste and craftsmanship over time.

There is also a Theatre Museum which you can visit as part of your tour entry, but sadly, it’s only in German.

The grounds are also gorgeous so factor in some time to wander around them. They take up 30 hectares and have French, English and Medieval designs. However, they do have an extra charge – see the next item on this things to do list!

The Residential Palace stands as a testimony to the opulence of the time but also serves as a reminder of cultural heritage’s endurance. Intact despite the passage of centuries, the palace’s rooms preserve the atmosphere of a time when dukes and duchesses waltzed through the halls.

The vast majority of this palace and its interiors are original. Thankfully, it didn’t suffer damage in WWII.

It’s not only an encounter with the architectural finery; it is an educational journey, a multisensory immersion into the baroque era’s art, fashion, and lifestyle. Its ability to evoke awe and transport visitors back in time is what makes the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace so awesome and a not-to-be-missed experience.

Visits through the palace are on tours only. These depart every half hour in German or at 1:15pm and 3:15pm in English at the time of publishing. Over the winter months, these tours are decreased. Some of the museums don’t open on weekdays and not at all in winter.

The tour was well and truly worth it. I have done many palace tours in Germany and, if I’m honest, I’m often bored as I’m not that interested in palaces. HOWEVER, this was one was very different. The guide was great, the palace is amazing and I felt I learned a lot while having a good time. My only gripe? At one hour long, we only saw a small part of the palace. I wish it had gone longer.

Check the latest opening hours and tour times here before you go. If you don’t want to pay to access the gardens (see Blühendes Barock coming up next), you need to enter the palace via Schlossstraße. Note that there is a gardens-only exit here first then a bit further along is the entrance to do the tours. This confused me (and many others) for a moment.

2. Wander Through Blühendes Barock

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Blühendes Barock

The Blühendes Barock garden, established in the 1950s on the grounds of the Residential Palace, was envisioned as a perennial garden show. It has since blossomed into a charming array of ornamental gardens, hedge mazes, and water features.

These picturesque surroundings not only envelop you in the serenity of green expanses and symmetrical designs but also serve as home to the Baroque Garden Show, which tells the history of gardens from the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicist period straight through to Victorian England.

You can enjoy a French-style park where everything is just right from the perfectly trimmed hedges to lawns that are in perfect shapes. There’s an English-style park that even has some vintage amusement park rides like a merry-go-round as well as a boating lake. You also won’t want to miss the medieval garden.

It’s a botanical journey and an escape to nature that’s enriched with historical significance. And of course, there’s always a palace nearby.

It is closed over winter. Entry tickets include entry to the Märchengarten (coming up next)

3. Discover Märchengarten (Fairy-Tale Garden)

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Visiting Rumplestiltskin

Tucked away within Blühendes Barock, Märchengarten, also known as the Fairy-Tale Garden, is an enchanting destination especially beloved by children. It’s a definite must-see in Ludwigsburg if you have kids in tow.

It brings storybooks to life with representations from Grimm’s Fairy Tales and other classic narratives. Charming animatronics and interactive stations allow kids to engage directly with the tales. You can tell Rapunzel to let down her hair (in German, of course) and look into Snow White’s stepmother’s magic mirror.

With over 40 scenes from fairytales, thi is a magical place.

4. Visit Schloss Favorite

Ludwigsburg Schloss FavoritePin
Schloss Favorite

Schloss Favorite, with its delicate Rococo design, stands out as a noteworthy destination in Ludwigsburg due to its illustrious past and stunning architectural details.

Just a 5-minute walk from Residenzshloss, it was erected in the 18th century as a hunting lodge and summer residence for Duke Eberhard Ludwig. This smaller, yet captivating, edifice offers a glimpse into the leisurely pursuits of the nobility.

The exquisitely adorned interior, with its intricate stucco work, richly furnished rooms, and a rare collection of Asian and European porcelain, underscores the luxury of the era. It’s in a Neoclassical style with Empire-style furniture.

You can take a 20-minute guided tour that illuminate the lives and excesses of the ducal occupants. Unfortunately, these must be arranged in advance and you can’t see inside the palace any other way. Click here for more details.

Beyond the elegant walls, the surrounding 72 hectaress of parkland beckons which is a wildlife reserve for deer.

Schloss Favorite isn’t merely a point of architectural interest; it’s a portal back to the regal opulence of the past, set within a pristine natural environment that complements the palace’s exquisite beauty.

5. Relax at Monrepos Lakeside Palace (Seeschloss Monrepos)

Monrepos Lakeside Palace (Seeschloss Monrepos)Pin
Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The neoclassical Monrepos Palace sits like a pearl nestled on the shores of its namesake lake, Monrepos See. A creation of the 1750s, it still retains a genteel atmosphere where visitors can enjoy leisurely walks, meals, or serene boat trips on the lake.

The palace and its picturesque grounds are a favorite among visitors seeking respite from the urban hustle. By taking a guided tour, you can grasp the regal lifestyle of Duke Frederick II, who used the palace as his summer retreat, while enjoying the tranquil lakeside views.

It’s a beautiful sight. Unfortunately, castle tours need to be arranged in advance and require groups of ten or more. Find more information here. You can come and enjoy the outside though.

There’s also a winery, restaurant, golf course and hotel here.

Monrepos is a few kilometers northwest of the other palaces, but there is a nice path to take you here from Schloss Favorite. Otherwise, a car is the best way to get here.

6. Visit the Ludwigsburg Museum

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Ludwigsburg Museum

The Ludwigsburg Museum is a cultural treasure trove, showcasing the city’s journey from its birth to modern times. The museum’s collection spans prehistory and early history to the city’s founding in the early 18th century, with a special emphasis on the Baroque era.

There is information on the design phase of Ludwigsburg, what it was like living here in the 1720s, the lives of the more famous people that lived here and much more.

Besides historical artifacts, the museum also offers special exhibitions on art, culture, and history that change periodically, ensuring there’s always something new to discover. It’s also housed in one of the oldest baroque buildings in the city.

Entry is by donation.

7. Stroll Through Marktplatz

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Marktplatz

Marktplatz is the vibrant historical hub of Ludwigsburg. Surrounded by baroque architecture and dating back to the 18th century, it thrives with energy that reflects the city’s affluent cultural heritage.

Surrounded by picturesque buildings and both a Catholic and Protestant church, there’s also a central fountain with a statue of Duke Eberhard Ludwig, the city founder.

8. Enjoy a Beer at Brauhaus Ludwigsburg

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Brauhaus Ludwigsburg

After all that exploring of the things to see in Ludwigbsurg, it’s time to relax at Brauhaus Ludwigsburg, a modern-day sanctuary for beer enthusiasts.

Revel in the convivial atmosphere, as you quaff expertly crafted beers made with age-old recipes. The Brauhaus not only captivates with its local brews but also pleases the palate with regional culinary delights that perfectly complement the beers on tap, serving as a perfect backdrop to unwind after a day of exploration.

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My Swabian Plate – so good!

I ordered a “Schwabenteller” which is a plate of different typical Swabian food. So good! It was big though so save your appetite for this.

Located right by the train station, you are all set to head back to Stuttgart after if that’s where you are staying.


Stuttgart is just a 10-minute train ride away so you can easily visit there too as part of exploring Ludwigsburg. I also recommend a half day trip to Esslingen.

How To Get To Ludwigsburg

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Ludwigsburg station

Taking a trip to Ludwigsburg, the baroque treasure nestled in the state of Baden-Württemberg, is simpler than you might imagine. Regardless of where in Germany you’re starting from, a well-connected web of transport makes reaching this charming city both straightforward and enjoyable.

If you’re zooming in from afar, consider booking a flight to Stuttgart Airport. From there, a mere 30 kilometers separate you from the grandeur of Ludwigsburg. You can hop on the S-Bahn to Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (the main station) and then catch a direct regional train to Ludwigsburg that runs frequently and ensures you’re there in a heartbeat.

Train travel is particularly convenient in Germany. From cities like Berlin, Hamburg, or Munich, you can take advantage of the high-speed ICE trains to Stuttgart. Once you arrive, the regional trains will carry you to Ludwigsburg station in just 9 minutes. This segment of your journey is not just quick; it’s also an opportunity to sit back and watch the picturesque German countryside glide by.

Click here to check out Deutsche Bahn schedules and prices.

Maybe you’re already close by, exploring the sights and sounds of Stuttgart. Ludwigsburg is a stone’s throw away, and public transport options abound. The S-Bahn, tram, and bus lines intersect at Hauptbahnhof, offering you smooth access to Ludwigsburg. Some regional trains arrive in as little as nine minutes.

For those who love the allure of the open road, driving might be your path of choice. Germany’s Autobahns are famous for their efficiency, and well-signed exits will guide you to Ludwigsburg from any direction.

Click here to check out car hire options and prices.

Final Words

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Ludwigsburg

Ludwigsburg exudes a charm that entices you with its blend of cultural heritage and vibrant modernity. From strolling around the resplendent Ludwigsburg Palace, with its magnificent baroque architecture, to a boat ride with a glass of wine at the Monrepos Lakeside Palace, the city offers a feast for the senses.

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, in particular, is a must visit if you are anywhere near this area. I can’t recommend a tour of this palace enough. But the town itself is also great to wander.

As our exploration of Ludwigsburg concludes, it’s clear that this city is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Baden-Württemberg. Whether you’re seeking a captivating journey through history or simply a leisurely day surrounded by the peaceful beauty of the baroque gardens, Ludwigsburg promises an unforgettable experience that resonates long after you depart its cobblestone streets.

Read our our guide to nearby Stuttgart here, Tübingen here and Esslingen here. Find more guides to Southern Germany here.

Sharon Gourlay in the Rhina Valley

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon first fell in love with Germany back in 2000 on her first visit. She loves the long history, the picturesque Old Towns, the castles, the food, everything really! Since then, she has visited many times and loves writing about Germany here so you can enjoy it too. In fact, Sharon loves German culture so much that she sent her kids to a German primary school in Australia. She especially loves Berlin and towns with charming Old Towns like Celle and Quedlinburg. Sharon also has a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and understands the nitty gritty of travel planning. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to Germany whether it's your first or tenth time!

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