A Peek at Linderhof Palace

Schloss Linderhof

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 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:

  • We purchased day passes (known as the Tagesticket) for the regional Oberbayern bus, which you can easily identify by its bright red exterior. These tickets allowed us to travel from Oberammergau to Garmisch and Schloss Linderhof all in one day. At 9,50 Euro / adult, this pass offers a better value if you want to visit multiple spots in Upper Bavaria in one day. We purchased our passes directly from the bus driver.
  • Opening times vary by season. Be sure to check Linderhof’s official site to confirm the hours and cost. If you’re visiting more than one of King Ludwig’s castles, consider the Königsschlösser combination ticket, which offers lower rates than if you purchased the tickets individually.
  • Finally, interested in learning more? Download the free app Ludwig II – Walking in the Footsteps of a Fairytale King from the iTunes store.
  • Need more inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from Germany.

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

46 Comments on “A Peek at Linderhof Palace

    • 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. Wow, Tricia, that was very interesting. I learned something about Germany and I got to see your beautiful pictures.

    • Gerard, how nice to hear that you picked up a few tidbits about Germany’s past via this post. Thanks for letting me know, and here’s hoping your week has been going well.

    • Britt, we haven’t seen the interior yet, but the gardens certainly were. I can’t imagine counting this as one of several of my own castles, as King Ludwig did.

    • 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!

  2. Looks like a beautiful sunshiny day. Those grounds and views are something to see. Can’t imagine this three or four times over. Definitely a fairy tale.

    • 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. :)

    • Darlene, me too! I especially like the more rustic ones. What are some of your favorites? Thank you, as always, for your encouragement, and thoughtful comments.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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?

      • 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!

  5. 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

    • 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.

      • 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?

      • 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!

  6. 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/

  7. 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!).

    • 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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