Schönbusch Palace - History and Facts | History Hit

Schönbusch Palace

Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, Germany

Arguably more famous for the park and green spaces than the schloss, Schönbusch in Bavaria is a magnificent 18th century English landscaped garden, one of Germany’s earliest and most impressive.

Image Credit: Reinhard Frank / Shutterstock

About Schönbusch Palace

Sitting neatly in a loop of the River Main, Schönbusch is a 475-acre park – previously a deer park owned by the archbishopric of Mainz – to the south of the town of Aschaffenburg in the Franconia region of Bavaria.

History of Schönbusch Palace

In 1775 using the ideas of his minister Wilhelm von Sickingen, Archbishop of Mainz Friedrich Carl von Erthal reversioned the deer park into a magnificent garden in the English Landscape style, perhaps the first example of this style in southern Germany. The garden was completed five years later by renowned garden designer Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell and includes lakes, walkways, artificial hills, water courses, stunning flora and fauna, a maze and a number of neoclassical buildings and structures.

Originally known as Kurfürstlicher Pavillon, or ‘the Electoral Pavilion’ and built by architect Emanuel d’Herigoyen between 1778 and 1782, the neoclassical schloss was the first structure built in the gardens and includes ten state rooms filled with exquisite Louis XVI-style furniture. Regulations allowed the public access to the park when the Archbishop was not in residence.

Through the 1780s, other buildings were added including a village with farm buildings, shepherd’s cottages and a dining pavilion, an observation tower, the Rote Brücke or Red Bridge, the Philosopher’s House, the Temple of Friendship and the ominously-named Devil’s Bridge.

The French occupied in Mainz for periods in the 1790s, and Schönbusch was neglected as a result. In 1814, Schönbusch became a royal park – the maze was added shortly afterwards. Restorations were undertaken throughout the 20th century. Today, the former kitchen building is home to a permanent exhibition telling the story of the park and the schloss is open for guided tours.

Schönbusch Palace today

Today, the former kitchen building is home to a permanent exhibition telling the story of the park. The palace itself is only open to the public via guided tour. It’s worth taking some time to wander through the park, particularly if the weather is nice – the picturesque and highly landscaped gardens are gorgeous year-round.

Getting to Schönbusch Palace

The schloss and gardens are on the outskirts of Aschaffenburg. The easiest way to get here is by car by Rte 26 / Darmstadterstrasse – there’s parking on site. Aschaffenburg itself is about 40 mins from Frankfurt. 

Trains run regularly between Frankfurt and Aschaffenburg – from the hauptbanhof, take bus line 3 to the schloss and park.