Pink petals were slowly falling from trees and “just married” were posing and smilling to their photographer. A group of Chinese students made a picnic among daffodiles. Plenty of tourists came to Schwetzingen to see cherry blossoms and enjoy this special time of year.
One of the prettiest seasons is early spring with all the blossoms around. Cherry blossoms are one of the most picturesque. Every year plenty of tourists go to Japan to participate in Hanami. But also in Germany there are some places to look at the flowers. Many people visit Heerstrasse in Bonn. Another beautiful place worth visiting and definitely less crowded is Schwetzingen and its palace gardens.
Schwetzingen is a small town in Baden-Wurttemberg, very close to Heidelberg and Mannheim. Palace and its gardens are just 10 min walk from the train station. The impressive peachy-coloured Palace is visible from far away. Before you enter it is worth to stay for a moment at the Castle Square (Schlossplatz). All the buildings look like from a fairytale. You can stop here for a coffee or famous “white gold” – asparagus and some regional wine. Since Schwetzingen is a German capital of asparagus, in the corner of the squere you will find a bronze monument showing a lady selling vegetables to a small girl – Spargelfrau. If you are lucky you can also meet a spargel queen. She is elected during the annual Asparagus Festival.
Both asparagus and palace gardens used to be available only to privilaged royals. Now everyone can come for a walk to this beautiful location. Entrance fee is around 5 euros.
What grabbed my attention from the beggining were intense peachy/coral tones of the buildings. It was a perfect combination with blooming flowers and fresh green leaves. It was also a nice contrast to modern architecture with all the sad grey buildings. To enter the gardens you have to purchase a ticket. On weekends there are a lot of people there, so be patient. There is so much to see inside, that I strongly recommend to plan a whole day for this trip.
Apart from the gardens you can also see the Palace and Rococo theatre, but only as a guided tour. More details about it can be found on the Schwetzingen Palace website.
I started my visit from the garden with cherry blossoms. It is visible from the distance and a lot of people were going the same direction. In order to come at the right time you can actually follow the progress of blossoms with Kirschblütenbarometer. It is available on their website. They publish updated photos every week.
This garden is really special. There are plenty of cherry trees. It is a spectacular view when they are in full blossom.
Under the trees there was a “carpet” of daffodiles.
In the background, behind the fence, there was a pink mosque, which was perfectly matching all the pink petals. There is also a lot of grass around, so you can make a picnic. Whole families come to spend some time looking at those beautiful flowers. Kids are running around and catching the petal rain. I met also a lot of photographers and “models”. There is quite a competition for the best spot, but you just have to be patient. Be also careful if you are allergic to bee stings. A lot of insects fly around the flowers.
From Japanese garden I moved to the Turkish one were the Mosque is. It was built as a symbol of tolerance and is perfectly fitting the pink of cherry blossoms which are now left behind. It is absolutely worth seeing the mosque inside. Especially look at the ceilings.
Opposite the Mosque you can find a pond with swans and ducks and the view to the Mercury’s temple. It is possible to enter the temple and walk around the pond to have a look from different angles.
English and French Garden
Part of the garden was inspired by the one in Versailles. Therefore there are a lot of geometric flowerbeds. On the other side, there is also more romantic part with English-style landscape, but they perfectly merge.
Seems like all the ponds are connected, so every now and then you have to cross a little bridge. They are usually wooden and white and some of them look really old. At some point you may feel like in a labirynth.
The interesting part of it is that while looking for a new bridge or path, you discover some new parts of a garden. This way I found fake ruins with an imitation of aqueduct and little magnolias’ garden with various magnolia species. It is possible to go to the top of the ruins, check exactly how the water system works and enjoy the view.
April is probably the best time for daffodiles, cherry trees, grape hyacinths and magnolias. The collection in Schwetzingen includes e.g. Magnolia x loebneri with prestigous Award of Garden Merit.
Everywhere in the garden you can easily find a bench to sit down and rest. Because it is a lot of walking, you may need to relax. In addition, it is a perfect place to practice what is called slow travel. You can take your time taking pictures, sketching, writing. Another option is to just simply look at the plants or chase some little animals, e.g. squirells or green parrots, which are very popular in German parks.
If you are interested more in art you can visit one of 3 museums located in the garden:
- Lapidarium in Orangerie with original sculptures from the garden,
- Gartendokumentation, which tells the story of garden design and its renovation
- ehxibition of garden tools, which presents how the work of gardeners was in the past
Finally, a nice way to end the trip is to try some asparagus dishes in the Schlossrestaurant.
In conclusion here is the list of what to see in Schwetzingen Palace Gardens:
◊ Cherry Blossoms
◊ Turkish Garden with the Mosque
◊ Mercury’s Temple
◊ fake ruins
◊ magnolias’ garden
◊ Bath House
◊ Apollo Temple
◊ Rococo theatre
◊ Schwetzingen Palace