Schwetzingen is centrally located between Mannheim and Heidelberg. This unassuming German town is full of surprises and is surrounded by sheer beauty. After recently venturing to another Baden-Württemberg castle, we were thrilled to see the spectacular gardens as well as to find out about the town’s world-renowned annual music festivals.
Upon approach, Schwetzingen is very much like other German towns with half-timbered buildings, a town square and impeccable neatness and cleanliness. However the closer we traveled to the palace, there was a distinct difference in the state and stature of this once cultural and political seat for Palatine princes.
The Schloss (castle) dates back to 1350 when it was a small moated castle and hunting lodge. In the 1700’s, Prince Elector Johann Wilhelm commissioned work to be done to increase the palace space and gardens.
Unfortunately, the castle is closed until the spring of 2016. It was very difficult to find this information on the castle’s website, but it’s there. Despite the renovations, we still managed to fill a full-day trip of seeing the never-ending gardens (€5/person.
Another highlight of this castle is the theater. Of special note, the Rococo Theater in the north wing of the palace was the first theater in Europe to include galleries. I am looking forward to returning after the completion of the renovations to see this ornate and majestic entertainment venue.
The magnificent gardens of Schwetzingen immediately take your breath away. We were overwhelmed with the attention to detail in the many gardens of this estate. It’s worth noting to take a good pair of shoes as the grounds are extensive. The gardens are walkable, but it took us a little over two hours to finish most of them.
Our first stop was in the garden museum, introducing us to the many phases of expansion of the gardens over the years. A great deal of restoration began around the 1970’s and continues today to maintain the integrity and authenticity of each garden’s intent.
As we walked the gardens, we could definitely see the difference between the influences of the time, style and design. Because I love to garden, I could see the strict, linear lines of early 18th century French gardens. But then we would turn a corner and be pleasantly surprised by the free-spirit English features intertwined into the design.
Turkish Garden & Mosque
Roman Bath House
Bath Changing House
I was not able to take a good photograph of the End of the World artistic display as public access was not granted close to the exhibit. However, I can tell you the illusion it created left me wondering about the artist’s technique.
Today, Schwetzingen is most notably known for their annual music fests. A fest for all seasons, the Schwetzingen community embraces and celebrates the classics.
Fall – Mozart Society Schwetzingen Concert Series
This Fall enjoy a celebration of the beauty of Mozart until October 14, 2018.
Winter – Winter in Schwetzingen Baroque Fest
Together the Austrian Baroque and Heidelberg Philharmonic Baroque Orchestra present this concert series beginning November 29 and continues to February 9, 2018.
Spring – SWR Festspiele
This fest is one of the most popular music fests of Schwetzingen. For a whole month in spring, beginning in late April and finishing in late May, this annual musical celebration is well-attended each year.
One of the best discoveries of Schwetzingen is its proximity to both of the beautiful cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg. Traveling to Schwetzingen is definitely worth a day-trip. But by making a weekend of it, you would be seeing the best this area has to offer. Be on the lookout for my upcoming blog on Heidelberg to wrap it altogether.
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Author’s Profile: Wendy Payne is a military spouse and lives with her family in Stuttgart, Germany. She is a freelance writer, blogger and photographer. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga and sharing Europe with people.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Wendy Payne