How do you imagine the paradise looks like? If it is green, warm, full of creatures, with birds singing and colourful butterflies flying around you, I think I found one! Butterfly Garden in Sayn is all of it or even more.
Long winter which we experienced this year was quite depressing, so I was looking for any place, where the plants are green and it is warm, but not too far. And I found one – Butterfly Garden, much closer than expected, even within the same country. Sayn is located 10-15 km from Koblenz (Germany). It lies close to the Rhine river, but not directly.
Butterfly Garden is the most popular attraction of this place. It was created by Princess Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn in 1987. The green houses are located in the English style garden surrounding the Sayn Palace.
The entrance is through the small souvenir store, where you can purchase everything butterfly related: porcelain, stationery, books or toys. Just before you enter this wonderful “butterfly world”, you can leave your belongings in the corridor, right before the main door. It is really warm and humid inside. So especially in winter time, you may need to leave your jacket there.
So what awaits you inside? First of all a lot of green, tropical plants, with gigantic leaves, which makes you feel like you’ve just entered a jungle. At the walls of the room there are display cases with butterflies’ pupae and small animals like turtles, stick insects or even an iguana.
In the middle part there is some kind of pond full of fish and Turtle Islands, which is connected to a mini waterfall. You can walk around the garden through 7 bridges, named after the kids of Princess Gabriela.
Every corner of this little place is planned with many details, so with every step you get more and more amazed.
Obviously, butterflies are everywhere. They fly freely around visitors. If you are lucky and you don’t move too much, they can even sit on you! Different spiecies vary in colour and size. Some of them are immediately visible, others hide within leaves and use some camouflage, like owl butterfly. Very often they sit on flowers or on provided plates with fruit. That’s the best place to catch them for a photograph.
Other eye catchy species are tropical flowers, like hibiskus, orchids, bottlebrush or bird of paradise (perfect plant for this place!). All of it is accompanied by the sound of singing birds. And unfortunately by the noise of shouting kids. That is the only disadvantage, so if only possible plan your visit on less popular date, not on weekend.
If you get a bit tired or overwhelmed with what is happening around you, plenty of benches are provided to sit down and relax. Some quail birds may come to you, probably looking for food and if you are lucky you can meet also their little chicks. They are really tiny and hiding in the bush or under the wings of their mummy, squeaking.
The Butterfly Garden is so pleasant that you will not want to leave. To spend there still a bit more time, there is a cafeteria in front of the green house and a whole English Garden to visit. In spring time taking a photo with a blooming magnolia in front of the Palace is a must!
However, it is still not all what Sayn has to offer. At the other side of the street, on top of the hill you will find Sayn Castle (Burg Sayn) from the 12th century. The path to the top is around 500 m long and very well labeled. Now there are just ruins, but it is worth to climb a bit for a nice view from top.
Below the Castle there is a Sayn Palace (castle, palace and beautiful garden all in one place – I told you it is a paradise). This one was built in 19th century, but was heavily damaged during the World War II. What we see now is a restauration. Inside the palace, in its museum rooms, you can get to know more about the history of the place and the family of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn. The exhibitions contain a lot of portraits, sculptures or even a family tree. A very interesting Princess Room has a display of the history of weedings in the family, with plenty of photos and even wedding dresses.
The interiors have an attractive combination of original and modern element, especially visible at the main staircase. My last tip would be to also look inside the Palace Chapel.
How to get there?
From Koblenz with bus 8. It takes around 30 minutes. The ticket is 4,9 euros one way. The bus starts at the main train station in Koblenz (Hauptbahnhof) and you go to the final stop in Sayn. It stops exactly in front of the Palace. More information is provided on the VRM website.
If you come by car, there is a parking space right next to the Butterfly Garden.
Opening and tickets
The Butterfly Garden is opened only between 1st March and 2nd December.
There is a possibility to buy combined tickets for garden and palace together, which is cheaper than separate tickets and costs 9,5 euros.
Detailed information can be found on the website: sayn.de