Castle fantaisie – with mum-after


Only five kilometers west of Bayreuth stands in the tranquil village Donndorf the Castle Fantaisie with sprawling Castle Park. Although the castle was actually built for the market count couple Friedrich and Wilhelmine von Brandenburg-Bayreuth, the completion of the complex has not been experienced by either. For the gardens and the castle were custom-made two noble ladies responsible, both named Friederike Sophie, and the grandson of the second lady.

The carpet garden at the sculptural group is replanted every year

Little used and always neglected – a sad story

The beginnings of the aristocratic residence go back to the late Middle Ages. The Renaissance-style hunting lodge belonged in 1533 to the ancestral seat of the Vogtland-Thuringian noble family Lüchau, who serve as senior officials in the service of Market Count to Bayreuth stood.

When the then owner of Lüchau died without heirs, the possessions fell back to the market count. This began in 1758 with the construction of a new castle: a north-facing, three-winged complex in the style of Villa Doria Pamphilj, the couple on one Italy travel had inspired. The construction began to falter within a very short time, when Wilhelmine, the wife of the market count, died in the same year. When the market count followed her two years later, the castle was under construction.

Main Entrance Schloss Fantaisie, today the garden art museum is located here

Duchess Elisabeth Friederike Sophie von Württemberg

Eight years after her marriage with Carl Eugen of Württemberg, the marriage was finally failed. Elisabeth Friederike Sophie moved back from Stuttgart to her parents‘ house at just over 30 years old. As the only child of the market count Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth she inherited after the death of her parents – the mother had already died five years earlier – the Donndorfer castle. Full of energy, she took the interior work in the castle in their hands and designed everything according to their own ideas for their summer residence. The garden was built in Rococo style. A labyrinth, a cascade and the Neptune fountain come from their time. Her life’s work she lovingly called “Fantaisie”.

Neptune Fountain in front of the stairs to the viewing platform, including the former Hall of Mirrors

Since the Fantaisie Palace was not suitable for a winter stay, Elisabeth Friederike Sophie, who had meanwhile gained her independence from the Stuttgart Court with the help of her uncle Frederick the Great, spent the cold months of the year in the Old Palace in Bayreuth. When Elisabeth died in 1780, the plant began to decay.

Duchess Friederike Sophie Dorothee of Württemberg

Only when Duchess Friederike Sophie Dorothee of Württemberg, a cousin of Elisabeth Friederike Sophie, had to flee France from the French revolutionary troops did life come back to the old walls. In 1793 she acquired the estate and had the now somewhat overgrown garden expanded and redesigned to her liking.

In this beautiful sandstone building you can marry today at the castle Fantaisie

However, out of awe of her cousin, she left the rococo garden unchanged. In the adjacent hillside forest she expanded the park in the style of the sentimental landscape garden. The result was a mausoleum, a straw hut and a catacomb as well as the pillar of Eintracht. But even this owner did not stay long in the sovereign apartments and their elaborately decorated garden, because only two years later she followed her husband to Stuttgart.

The dark rock grotto

Duchess Friederike Sophie Dorothee had a mock-funnel with several urns placed in a large rock in order to reproduce an ancient burial ground in memory of beloved deceased. The contained urns have long since disappeared and due to vandalism in the mid-1990s, the entrance had to be closed with bars to prevent further overexploitation.

Duke Alexander II.

Duke Alexander II of Württemberg led the castle to a new climax. As a grandson of Friederike Sophie Dorothee he used the castle from 1839 to 1881 as a summer residence. In his over 40-year presence, he changed the plant mainly by equipment elements of historicism.

The replica of the maze contains a fountain in the middle

The duke lived together with his second wife. He had bought the former middle-class girl from his spouse in Frankfurt. Even today, the conversion made by Alexander II shapes the architecture of the castle. On the side of the park he raised the central building and the side wings by one floor, on the side of the courtyard were added two turrets as extensions.

So-called coburg stones in the palace park Fantaisie

After several changes of ownership finally addressed in 1937, the National Socialist Teachers Association in the castle Reich School Donndorf-Bayreuth on. Unfortunately, much of the historic fabric was lost. The three-year use as a sanatorium by the American power of capture did not necessarily contribute to the preservation of the plant.

The bathing or fishing house in the palace park Fantaisie was built around 1860

Free State of Bavaria

Since 1961 the castle Fantaisie is owned by the Free State of Bavaria. While the residence was initially sublet to companies such as Photo-Porst, in the 1990s a complex renovation of the castle followed. Even the individual garden areas were carefully set and reconstructed until the beginning of the 21st century.

On the steep southern slope in the park is a small vineyard with pavilion

Garden Museum

After taking over the castle and the park The former summer residence between 1994 and 1998 was extensively renovated by the Bavarian Palace Department. Since the summer of 2000, Germany’s first museum, which deals exclusively with garden art, is located in the approximately 20 rooms of the castle. The Garden Art Museum in the Castle Fantaisie shows original design elements from the different epochs of German garden art: Rococo, sensibility, romance and historicism.

Rear view of the Garden Art Museum with cafe in Schloss Fantaisie

Particularly impressive are not only the numerous etchings and illustrations that depict the castle and the gardens at different epochs, but also the botanical books, which explain in detail the cultivation of exotic and native flowers, vegetables and ornamental plants.

Castle Fantaisie

Bamberger Str. 3

opening hours

The park is open all year, the entrance is free.

Garden Museum

  • April to September: 9am – 6pm
  • until October 15: 10am – 4pm
  • closed on Monday
  • October to March: closed

entrance fees

  • Children up to the age of 18: free
  • Adults: 3,50 Euro

Winding paths lead past rocks and mature trees

Castle Park

The castle park is open all year round and can be reached via various access gates. A few parking spaces are right between the main entrance to Castle and the pretty Hotel Fantaisie next door. On the opposite side, so in the northeast of the castle park more free visitor parking is available. The distance to the castle is about 850 m from here.

Of many design elements in the park, only parts have been preserved

TIP: detour to the Salamander valley

It was only by coincidence that I discovered this amazing sandstone canyon when I was exploring the Fantaisie palace park in Donndorf / Eckersdorf near Bayreuth. At the western exit stood a nondescript shield with Salamander. And fortunately, I let myself be tempted. Just a quick detour, but it has it all. A wild ravine, right and left sandstone cliffs. And a few big chunks that have tumbled into the valley over time. And if you’re out in rainy weather, you have the chance to see one of the pretty little fire salamanders life. The circular trail is only 1.8 kilometers long and can be perfectly combined with the castle park visit. READ MORE


Michaela Trapp, by courtesy of Bavarian Administration of State Palaces, Gardens and Lakes. © Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung


Take enough time to visit the Fantaisie Palace and the Castle Park. In the immediate vicinity there is also a great circular walk across the Salamander. It is also worth a detour to Sanspareil and to Castle Zwernitz, both are only a short 20 minute drive away. We used a long weekend for an extensive tour of the facilities and a short hike.

If you arrive early, you should take something to eat and drink. When I visited the castle, the cafe was open from 11:00 clock. Fortunately, at the end of the Bayreuther Straße is a REWE market with a bakery, where you get a latte macchiato and a pretzel or something sweet in the morning.

If you are already there: Go absolutely still the 1.8 kilometer Runds durchs Salamandertal! For me an absolute highlight among the sights at the castle Fantaisie.

You might also be interested in this:

Castles, castles and monasteries

Whether it’s moated castles, aristocratic houses or medieval knight castles – Franconia has an extraordinary wealth with regard to these once playful, sometimes defiant and fortified buildings. What these ancient walls could tell is fascinating. Tales of intrigues and power games, conquests and wars, tales of smiles and shudders still fill the palace halls, ruins and gardens of the former residences of kings, princes or even bishops. READ MORE

parks & private gardens

Classic, romantic, contemporary or poetic, rural, cozy and playful – the Parks and gardens in Germany invite you to unwind, discover and stay with an incredible variety. Gardens of whatever kind are popular attractions from a botanical as well as an artistic point of view. The green islands provide undisturbed relaxation and relaxing leisure – and often for a lot of culture. READ MORE

walking tours & Excursions in Bavaria

Hiking is one of the most popular leisure and vacation activities in Bavaria. And for a good reason. Bavaria is not only characterized by the Alps and low mountain ranges, traditions are also very important in the southern federal state. But above all, it is the forests that shape Bavaria to a not inconsiderable extent and make the region an attractive home and a popular holiday destination. Everywhere there are wonderful hiking trails, where you can enjoy the many cultural and landscape spaces. We selected and tested some of them. READ MORE

Have you already considered a holiday destination in Franconia and are now looking for some highlights in the region? Then simply enter the search term in the SEARCH field on the top left!

Related Posts

  • Castle rheinfels

    Over the Rhine – Burg Rheinfels. You are here: Over the Rhine – Burg Rheinfels The most powerful landmark of St. Goar is Rheinfels Castle . It is the…

  • Ehrenburg: Children’s birthday on the knight’s castle, Ehrenburg

    Living castle The extraordinary children’s birthday Birthday on the adventure castle Anyone who dreams of celebrating his birthday on a veritable…

  • March 2013

    Archive for the month: March 2013 Prof. Katzorke expresses himself unveiling in the FAZ In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 23.2.2013 an article by…

  • Amusement parks at the family hotel friedrichshof in bavaria

    Amusement parks around the Friedrichshof Start from our family hotel in Obertrubach to the most exciting leisure parks in Bavaria. Experience ultimate…

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Christina Cherry
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: