See sites of royal splendour in Germany
Although Bückeburg was first referred to as a castle in records from the 14th century, it was not until the middle of the 16th century that the four-winged Renaissance palace was built. After the fire of 1732 the palace interior and exterior were both restored in the early baroque style. The new wing exemplifies the neo-baroque and neo-rococo styles. Bückeburg Palace has features typical of the Renaissance period. Its gables with rounded finials and the external scroll and shell decorations are a giveaway for this architectural style. The palace was built in Obernkirchen sandstone, the most popular building material of the day. Intricate woodcarvings can be admired in the chapel and the Golden Hall. Dating back to 1893, the imposing rococo banqueting hall is nine metres high and 24 metres in length, and has a second-storey gallery. The hall still provides the setting for royal functions. Outside in the beautiful gardens, typical baroque features include pergola walks, fountains and a maze. The mausoleum, a domed building 42 metres in height, lies just a short walk from the palace. Its magnificent interior is by the brilliant Berlin architect Paul Baumgarten. The mausoleum is the largest privately owned funerary monument in the world and still serves as the family burial place. Nearby attractions: Schaumburg Castle, which was first documented in 1110, sits atop the 225m Nesselberg and makes for a great day out in the Weser valley hills. To reach the fortified island of Wilhelmstein, which was built in the 18th century on a man-made island on Lake Steinhude, visitors must cross the water on board a traditional sailboat.