The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz

Spread over an enormous area, this Garden Kingdom in Germany brings together a string of landscaped parks with magnificent palaces and public buildings.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany

Describing this World Heritage Sites as a ‘kingdom’ seemed odd before I arrived. Now that I’ve seen some of it for myself, the word makes sense.

The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz takes up an enormous amount of space around the German city of Dessau – about 140km2, in fact. But it doesn’t feel like one single site.

It feels, as the title suggests, like an entire realm stretching out in every direction with royalty, citizens, businesses and land for agriculture and recreation.

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany

The kingdom was conceived in the late 18th century during a time known as the Age of Enlightenment. It was the idea of Prince Leopold III of Anhalt-Dessau who had just returned from a grand tour of Europe with an architect friend.

He was inspired by what he had seen across the continent and his vision was to integrate art, education and economy throughout the landscape in a harmonious way.

To achieve this, the design moved on from the more formal Baroque concept of gardens, popular in Germany at the time, to achieve a more naturalistic impression of boundless landscapes.

And that’s just what you can see today – gardens becoming parks, parks becoming forests, forests becoming fields, fields becoming towns.

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany

In all of this flowing natural greenery, particular sites have come to define a visitor’s experience of the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz. Because although the aim was to have it seem boundless, the reality is that boundaries have formed around specific highlights.

There’s the Dutch-inspired Oranienbaum palace and park, the modest but idyllic Luisium house and gardens, the Georgium landscaped gardens with its sculptures and English style, and the Rococo palace of Mosigkau.

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany

But the most important part of the realm is Wörlitzer Park and Wörlitz Palace within it. It was one of the first English gardens in continental Europe and large parts of it were open to the public from the very beginning.

An expansive artificial lake in the centre of the park is the focus of the design, with the palace built at a key position near the shoreline.

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany
Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany

Although I can see some people boating on the lake, and others walking through the gardens, I don’t have a lot of time to explore the large area properly.

I decide to focus my time on the Wörlitz Palace, which can only be visited as part of a guided tour.

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany

The palace was finished in 1773 and was used as the residence of Prince Leopold III and his wife. The tour takes me through the ground floor rooms with their stunning design, artwork and other collections.

Each room has a slightly different style and it’s the intricacies that exist which really bring them to life.

Whether it’s the way the walls have been painted, the artwork hanging on them, the furniture or even the crockery in the dining room, so much of the ideals of the whole kingdom are encapsulated in this home.

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany

Visiting the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz

The kingdom site is so large, you could easily spend several days seeing all the main sections of it. If you’re keen to do that, the best way to approach it is to do one section each morning and one each afternoon.

If you do a tour of the main building in each area, there won’t be much time to squeeze much more in each day.

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, Dessau, Germany

The Georgium Palace is another highlight and is much closer to the centre of town. The Luisium is also easy to reach from Dessau. It might be possible to do both of them in a morning or afternoon if you are relatively efficient.

Where is the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz?

Wörlitzer Park is located on the edge of the town of Wörlitz.

You can see it on a map here.

How do you get to the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz?

To get to Wörlitzer Park, catch the train to Dessau.

From there, you’ll need to catch the special Dessau-Wörlitz Railway from the main station or catch bus 334 from the bus terminal.

When is the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz open?

Wörlitzer Park is open to the public at all times.

Wörlitz Palace is open at the following times:

April and October: Tuesday – Sunday, 1100 – 1700
May – September: Tuesday – Sunday, 0800 – 1700
November – March: Closed

How much does it cost to visit the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz?

Entry to Wörlitzer Park is free.

Entrance to Wörlitz Palace costs €6 for adults and €4 for concession.

More information

You can find out more information at the official website for the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your time exploring the Garden Kingdom, it is advisable to plan ahead to make the most of your visit.


Here are some of my suggestions for places to stay in Dessau, which is worth staying for a night or two to see the Garden Kingdom.


For a nice and comfortable affordable hotel, try Hotel Kuehnauer Hof.


If you’re interested in a family-run guesthouse with a beer garden (who isn’t?) then have a look at Landhaus Dessau.


For a really nice modern hotel, DORMERO Hotel Dessau is a great four star place.


For another good four star accommodation in Dessau, have a look at the Radisson Blu Fürst Leopold Hotel.

Time Travel Turtle was supported by DB Bahn, the German National Tourist Board and Youth Hostels in Germany but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.


This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

2 thoughts on “The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz”

  1. Hello Michael, wow! it’s looking likes just another paradise on earth. It’s comfortable for eyes. I will visit this place in my life. Really the gardens are beauty of earth. Thanks for sharing.


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