The Castello di Miramare is one of the highlights for anyone visiting Trieste. The historic building (more a “mansion” than a “castle”) includes a museum and an expansive park and marine reserve located around it. It can easily be a full-day affair if one decides to enjoy the premises slowly. It’s so lovely, I chose to visit it twice on two separate trips to Trieste within the year. (For more info on what to do in the city, check out my past post on top attractions in Trieste.)
The Castello was completed in 1860, a commission by Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg, who later became Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico (yeah, the history is fascinating). It became Maximilian’s primary residence, where he lived with his wife, Charlotte of Belgium (later known as Empress Carlota of Mexico). Needless to say, it’s a grand palace filled with stunning decorative art while offering splendid views of the Gulf of Trieste.
Aside from visiting the Museo Revoltella in the city, actually entering the Castello was something I missed during my first trip to Trieste. During my second visit, I decided (unwisely) to walk to Miramare from Trieste. And though it was a nice walk, it was very long. This leads me to my first tip: Buy bus tickets in advance, especially if you’re visiting on a Sunday when newspaper stands are closed. You can buy bus tickets at Trieste Centrale railway station. (Use Google Maps to find the best bus route to take.) You’ll want to buy a return ticket before departing as well, because there really aren’t any places to buy tickets on the way back. Many visitors don’t realize this and are forced to run the risk of returning without a ticket. I was told by one of the museum workers that this is so common the bus drivers are used to it, however you can still get a ticket if you’re caught, however unlikely.
On the way to the Castello, you’ll find a lovely promenade where locals sunbathe during sunny days. Numerous hotels and bars line this street. There are playgrounds, parks and nice views of both Trieste and the Castello. Within the premises of the Castello, you can find a gelato stand and a cafe, Caffè Massimiliano, selling coffee, snacks and drinks (they’re heavy handed while making a Spritz). Other than these options, there’s not much to eat around here, so pack some food for a picnic before you leave.
Tickets for the Museo Civico, the interior of the Castello, can be acquired easily at the ticket counter. There are also complimentary lockers where you can leave your things while you explore (bags and backpacks must be stored before entering). While their website says photography isn’t allowed, there were no rules forbidding photography when I visited, and I suspect there really aren’t any today.
I highly recommend taking your time exploring the surroundings after your visit to the museum. There are numerous paths and views to discover, as well as other attractions like the castelletto, the stables and a building dedicated to educating children on wildlife (I can’t recall the name). You can also hunt down the Sphinx and the United States Army memorial.
The best part about the Castello di Miramare is that most of what you can enjoy is completely free. For anyone looking to get some nature while saving some money, this is a royal thing indeed.
For more info, check out the website for the Castello di Miramare.