A Peek at Linderhof Palace

Schloss Linderhof is the smallest of three castles built by King Ludwig II in Germany’s state of Bavaria in the mid to late 1800s. Simultaneously referred to as the ‘Fairy Tale King’ and ‘Mad King Ludwig,’ eccentric Ludwig is perhaps best known for having commissioned Neuschwanstein Castle, the so-called ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Disney Castle.’ He is said to have been obsessed with French culture, found inspiration in the architecture of Versailles, and reportedly wanted to infuse Bavaria with refined attractions. Linderhof Palace is the only one of his castles that the king lived to see completed.

In 1886, King Ludwig died under questionable circumstances, just days after he had been dethroned by the government on grounds that he was insane. Official reports maintained that the king died as a result of a suicidal drowning in a lake, but to this day, conspiracy theorists are quick to point out autopsy reports that the royal’s body didn’t show signs of drowning as there was no water in his lungs. A German author has even woven fact and fiction into a recently-released thrilled titled, The Ludwig Conspiracy.

In Oberammergau, where we’ve spent several months, King Ludwig is still fondly remembered. A street and cross country skiing race bear his name, and each year on the eve of his birthday, locals lug lumber to the top of a nearby mountain peak to erect a crown and cross, which they eventually set ablaze. While many people were reportedly infuriated that King Ludwig spent so much money on the sumptuous palaces, it is interesting to note how much tourist revenue they bring to Germany today.

When I was a baby, my parents first introduced me to Linderhof, but despite living in Heidelberg for more than ten years, I hadn’t returned until earlier this summer. On a hot afternoon that is rare for the mountainous area, Shawn and I spent a few hours strolling the grounds of Linderhof. We arrived too late in the afternoon to tour the palace interior and all the quirky outlying buildings (like the Venus Grotto in which the king was rowed over the lake in a golden swan boat ) but enjoyed a sneak peek of the palace’s elegant grounds.

Have you been to Schloss Linderhof or any of King Ludwig’s castles? Which one was your favorite?

Schloss Linderhof architecture and gardens 6
Construction on the pathways leading to the castle during our visit. The blue and white umbrella plays off of the Bavarian flag.

Schloss Linderhof Fountain and Architecture

Schloss Linderhof Grounds 1
Swans glide in a pond on Linderhof’s grounds. King Ludwig is sometimes referred to as the ‘Swan King.’

Schloss Linderhof architecture and mountains

Schloss Linderhof architecture and gardens 2

Schloss Linderhof 8

Schloss Linderhof architecture and gardens 4
The Temple of Venus (left) and a refreshing splash of water from a fountain on a hot summer afternoon.
Schloss Linderhof 7
One segment of Linderhof’s formal gardens.

Schloss Linderhof 1

Schloss Linderhof 3

Schloss Linderhof Grounds 2

Schloss Linderhof architecture and gardens 3
A couple gazes at the Neptune Fountain and Music Pavilion.

Schloss Linderhof architecture and gardens 5

Schloss Linderhof 6

Schloss Linderhof Grounds 3

Schloss Linderhof architecture and gardens

Schloss Linderhof 4

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • Opening times vary by season, so check Linderhof’s official site to confirm the opening hours. If you’re visiting more than one of King Ludwig’s castles, consider the ‘Königsschlösser Combination Ticket’, since it offers lower rates than if you purchased the tickets individually.
  • To make the trip independently via the German rail or by bus, consider getting the Bayern or Regio Ticket (website in German, but you can use Google Translate). These special tickets start at €20/25 for one passenger, and cost €6 for each additional passenger. You can use them to travel via bus and train throughout much of the region, making them a better deal if you want to make a few stops in a day. You can purchase tickets online, via a ticket machine, or in person.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about Bavaria’s beloved King Ludwig, you can download the free app ‘Ludwig II – Walking in the Footsteps of a Fairytale King’ from the iTunes store.
  • Are you looking for a guesthouse or hotel in Oberammergau? Before my parents moved there, Shawn and I spent two nights at the Gästehaus Hildegard (affiliate link). We thought the beds were comfortable, the owners were helpful and kind, and the breakfast was tasty. The guest house is centrally located in the town too, and it’s not far from the Tiroler Gasse bus stop. The train station is also only about 1 km away.
  • Need more inspiration as you plan your travels in Germany? My Germany guide includes more trip tips.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

46 thoughts on “A Peek at Linderhof Palace

    1. Cute, Andrew. I’ve only been to two of his castles. When I was a little girl visiting Neuschwanstein (Schwan = swan, to create “New Swan Stone Castle”) I mistakenly said “Neuschweinstein” (Schwein = pig) instead. Oops. :)

    1. Supposedly, this was King Ludwig’s favorite of his castles. We’re contemplating riding our bikes here in the coming days to go on a more proper tour of the palace. I’m curious to see the Grotto and Moorish Kiosk, as they are quite unusual.

      Speaking of nobility, are you tuning in to Downton Abbey tonight? I wish we could get it here in Germany!

      1. I’m no expert (Mick has the remote control and I have the laptop- suits us both :) ) but Mick says both and that you should be able to watch it on your PC??? :)

    1. Lynne, it was one of those glorious days that makes it easy to forget about the rainy ones. :) And I’m with you about this kind of opulence times three our four! I’d certainly be content with this most ‘diminutive’ of King Ludwig’s abodes. :)

  1. When I was in high school, I was an exchange student in Germany. My host family took me to see Neuschwanstein castle. Then, when my son was in high school, he went to Germany as an exchange student and his host family took him there, too. It’s been one of those funny connections between my son and I. So last Christmas, he painted a picture of Neuschwanstein Castle for me. I love it. And those connections make it my favorite castle.

    1. Juliann, it’s wonderful that you and your son have those enriching experiences in common. Perhaps a third generation of your family will follow in your footsteps someday? In what city were you an exchange student?

      Though I was never an exchange student, my family hosted four when I was in high school. They quickly became my international brothers and sisters.

      I bet the Neuschwanstein Castle painting has already become a family heirloom. That’s special. Thanks for sharing your anecdotes.

  2. Tricia, what a wonderful post, me as a Bavarian enjoyed it the most. King Ludwig was a real different character and kind of ahead of his time. He really enjoyed Arts and the beauty of live….. as he was suppoused to get married to a beautiful woman in his line of kingdom, he finally came out to be choosing a different gender in his love live…. I just recently watched a movie about his live, and I learned more about his sufferings as a king, which was not really easy for him. His ” craziness as he has being called” turned out to have created great buildings and supporting Arts ! I think Bavarians deny the fact that their king was gay…..Yes there is still a mystery about his death, but following different informations, it seems to be to that he ended his life on his own. Probably another denial of the Bavarians??!! Hope you are enjoying the Beauty of Fall where you are.

    1. Cornelia, thanks for sharing your thoughts about the man behind Linderhof and so many of Bavaria’s other architectural treasures. When we first got to Oberammergau, we were surprised to find that he’s still so beloved here. Your comments help explain why.

      We are actually lucky enough to be enjoying fall here in O-gau. We’ve been trying to make our way to the tops of the local mountains. On Monday, we went up to the Laber via the cable car, and yesterday we ascended the Aufacker. Did you do much hiking in this area when you were growing up?

    1. I must agree with you, Laura. Both have superb settings, but I like Linderhof’s more modest scale. :) Even modest isn’t quite the right word to describe such splendor!

      Have you been out and about enjoying the sunshine these past few days? We made it to the top of two Ammergauer mountaintops this week – by cable car (cheating) and by foot – and find ourselves missing the sun today.

      1. Hello sorry for my late reply. I try and make the most of the sun too when it shines here as the winters are so dark. You need all the Vit D you can get! How long are you staying in this area for? I hope you enjoyed your travels I must say I am very jealous.

      2. Laura, it looks like we’ll be here through early December. We’re technically taking a travel break, enjoying time with family and seeing bits of the area. Are you still Malta-bound soon?

      3. We got back two weeks ago, had two lovely weeks there. Staying put until Xmas when we will go to England for a couple of weeks. So maybe we should meet up soon for some local sightseeing!

  3. Hi Tricia, I visited Linderhof when I was a child. Now I must find those old photos…I also wrote a book report about King Ludwig when I was in the sixth grade. I wanted to live in a castle too! ;) Your Linderhof photos are beautiful. Cheers, Ruth

    1. Ruth, it would be fun to do a post interspersing the photos from your childhood and adult visits. Did you go to school in the U.S. or Germany? Like you, I also visited Linderhof as a little one, though I was still in a stroller at the time.

      1. Hi Tricia, I went to school in Germany for three years. I thought about a post with Munich photos from the ’70s and today. That might be fun. Do you have photos of you as a child at Linderhof?

      2. Ruth, I’ll have to find some of our vintage shots from Linderhof. I was just a baby (born here, but didn’t visit Linderhof during elementary school visits). What a great experience for you to have been a student here for three years!

  4. Nice pics, brings back memories :)
    Linderhof is definitely the prettiest of the lot! Neuschwanstein, could have been, I guess, had they managed to finish it.
    I took some pictures of the Starnberger See a few weeks ago, where King Ludwig drowned. There’s also a pic of the lake’s only island, Roseninsel, where he and Empress Sissi, for whom he built Linderhof, were said to have conducted their affair.
    http://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/cruising-around-lake-starnberg/

      1. No, thanks for posting yours! I like to see images from my home region I’ve not got many (they’re all in my head, lol) and I only started taking some this summer. But I don’t get back there very often…

      2. Belated thanks for sharing the recommendations to see these picturesque two lakes. I’ve made note of them (especially Walchensee) for next summer.

        …Would you believe we had quite a ‘delivery’ of snow last week here?!

      3. I’m happy to report that ours has melted here and we have sunny skies here. I’m with you – I like traveling to the snow, but not fond of living with it often. :) It is gorgeous from time to time though. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  5. A delightful post. Makes me feel as if I have been there! In fact, I have not. But it does remind me of a visit to Schloss Mirabell way back in the heady days of my inter rail trip (in 1987!).

    1. Thank you, Rachael. I’ve been to Salzburg several times, but have never visited Schloss Mirabell. I’m guessing some of the Sound of Music scenes must have been filmed there? Your inter rail trip sounds like great fun – how long was it?

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