Schloss Linderhof, a fantasy castle of Bavarian King Ludwig, is a small, opulent palace in a park with fountains and grotto near Oberammergau and Ettal in the Alps in Germany.
Schloss Linderhof is the smallest of the opulent palaces and castles built by Bavarian Mad King Ludwig II. It is the only one of his fantasy castles that was mostly completed. The more famous Disney-like Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle and Versailles-inspired Herrenchiemsee Palace were both far from completion at the time of Ludwig’s mysterious death in 1886.
Schloss Linderhof Palace in the Ammer Valley, Bavaria
Linderhof Palace’s origins were a more modest hunting lodge in the Ammer Valley. During the 1860s, Bavarian King Ludwig II (1864-1886) started remodeling the lodge. As was common with Ludwig II, he frequently changed his mind and altered his building plans. In the end, Ludwig moved the lodge deeper into the part and built the small but opulent Schloss Linderhof Palace instead.
In contrast to King Ludwig’s other palaces, Linderhof was mostly completed by 1876 but he continued to add features up to his death ten years later.
Schloss Linderhof has a relatively modest floor plan measuring only 30 x 27 m (98 x 88 feet). In comparison, the Hall of Mirrors in Schloss Herrenchiemsee, King Ludwig’s Bavarian Versailles copy is 75 m (246 ft) long.
The palace has Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo style features, which blends fairly harmoniously. The interior is very opulent with rich guild work and no square inch unadorned.
Schloss Linderhof Park Gardens
King Ludwig II once harbored dreams of creating a Versailles-like park at Linderhof. However, the Ammer Valley was simply too narrow for such grandiose gardens, which Ludwig simply transferred Schloss Herrenchiemsee, his most spectacular palace.
As a result, the park at Linderhof remains much more modest. In front of the palace is a large formal pool where a fountain spews water up to 22 m (72 ft) high. Note the large 300-year-old lime tree that Ludwig left in place despite its effect on the symmetry of the formal gardens. The Venus temple at the far side of this pool gives the best views of Schloss Linderhof.
The park has several further structures bought by or associated with King Ludwig II. These structures are mostly open in summer only.
- The Venus Grotto (Venusgrotto) at Schloss Linderhof is an artificial cave inspired by the first act of Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser. (Currently closed for renovations – fully until 2021 and parts until 2023.)
- The Moorish Pavilion (Maurischer Kiosk) was bought at the 1867 Paris World Fair by King Ludwig for the park at Schloss Linderhof.
- The Moroccan House (Marokkanisches Haus) was bought by Ludwig II at the 1878 Paris World Fair but was only erected at Linderhof Park in 1998.
Admission to the park is free. Large parts of the park are suitable for wheelchairs and strollers but the interior of the palace is completely inaccessible to wheelchairs.
Visit Linderhof on Day-Trips from Munich
Schloss Linderhof Palace is in the Ammer Valley near Oberammergau and the monastery town Ettal. It is a popular day-trip destination from Munich and a great side trip from the popular Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle. Day-trip tours from Munich often combine Linderhof with Neuschwanstein, as well as other sights such as Oberammergau and the UNESCO-listed Wieskirche.
See also Visiting Schloss Linderhof for more details on tickets, opening hours, and transportation when visiting Schloss Linderhof Palace.