Exploring Linderhof Palace Park
Set against an alpine backdrop along the rolling Bavarian countryside in Germany is a splendid palace with an amazing park. We spent part of the day visiting the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein but we also managed to explore the grounds of nearby Linderhof Palace. Come along with us and discover this royal gem.
King Ludwig II was a young king who ruled Bavaria for over 20 years before he was declared insane and drowned mysteriously soon after. Ludwig was a dreamer but with limited powers as a monarch. The eccentric king created three extravagant castles including Neuschwanstein Castle. Linderhof is the smallest but the only one finished and where he stayed the most.
Ludwig was a recluse. So, it was no surprise that Linderhof was set on a secluded area surrounded by forests and hills in the Graswang valley. This was one of his retreats and where he escaped into his fantasy worlds. The palace cannot be seen from the main road or the parking lot. The ticket center, hotel, restaurants and stores are in a small quad. It’s another 5-10 minute walk to the palace on a paved trail.
Along the way, we found these swans on a pond. They were lovely greeters to this enchanting setting.
Linderhof didn’t have towers and turrets and was smaller than many royal homes we’ve seen. The palace was built where Ludwig’s father’s hunting lodge once stood. This was the front portion of the palace.
Ludwig wanted to make this residence into a mini-Versailles since he was enamored with France’s Sun King Louis XIV. It was initially planned as a “modest villa” but turned into an ornate Rococo palace resembling some of the smaller French palaces.
We didn’t get to tour the palace interior due to poor time management. We were enjoying walking around the painted houses in Oberammergau so much that we lost track of time. But, we decided to do the 20-minute drive anyway to Linderhof to see the grounds that were still open and also free.
The palace’s interior can only be seen through tours which are offered in various languages and goes through 10 rooms. Like the other castles, no picture taking is allowed inside. We would have loved to see the extravagant Hall of Mirrors room.
The details on the palace exterior were also beautiful. The reliefs and statues on the building were built to honor the Bavarian monarchy. But, the inside was Ludwig’s imaginary, world and homage to Louis XIV.
The Park and Gardens
While the palace may have been the main attraction of the estate, the park and gardens played a large supporting role to make this one of Bavaria’s most beautiful places. The formal garden was made of large basin and fountain with gilded statues in the center. The fountain shoots 98 feet up into the air but it was probably shut off late in the day since we never saw it.
Behind it were three terraced gardens with a round temple as its crowning glory. A huge, 300-year-old linden tree to the right ,which this castle was named, still prominently stands. There was once a platform built into the branches where Ludwig ate a few times.
Ludwig’s garden designer, Carl von Effner, largely made the Linderhof Palace Park possible while fulfilling the king’s requirements of a mini-Versailles park. A very satisfied and happy Ludwig raised Effner to nobility status. I’d say it was much deserved seeing this magnificent finished park grounds.
There were pockets of gardens and flower beds surrounding the palace and everything was in full bloom during our summer visit. The west ornamental garden was enclosed in high hedges with a gilded fountain in the center. The statues depicting the four seasons surround it.
Behind the palace was garden with miniature waterfalls cascading down over 30 marble steps. The Neptune Fountain was at the bottom to gather the water flow. There was a Music Pavilion at the top with much of the countryside and majestic mountains behind it.
Some were a bit whimsical that made us smile.
My silly boy couldn’t resist pretending to drink from this cherub fountain.
The park also had other structures where Ludwig escaped to like Hunding’s Hut, the Moorish Kiosk, Moroccan House and St. Anne’s Chapel where he usually attended mass. But, the most popular attraction for visitors was the artificial Grotto. Unfortunately, it was part of the palace-guided tour and we couldn’t get in. Colored lights, flower garlands surround a small lake with a shell-shaped boat where Ludwig was once rowed around the lake.
Despite not doing the palace tour and seeing some of the other ground structures, it was a worthwhile trip to see Linderhof’s exterior and grounds. There was still so much to this area we have yet to see including more of Linderhof Palace so we would love to return.The sprawling park made this more kid-friendly than Ludwig’s other castles. My kids loved all the space to run around in the royal gardens. We hope you get the chance to explore Linderhof during a Bavarian visit.
- Check the times for the last tour. Tour tickets must be purchased at the ticket center (by the shops) before walking to the palace.
- Admission Price: 8.50 euros for adults and children were free. The park buildings have separate admission prices or a combination ticket can be purchased.
- Buy the 14-day Bavarian Pass which allows free entry to over 40 attractions and covers Linderhof. Family pass – 40 euro ($54 US).
- Use the restrooms before walking to the castle as there are no facilities at or near the palace.
- Tours are available in German and English and last about 25 minutes for the palace and 10 minutes for the grotto.
- Opening hours: April to mid-October daily from 9AM to 6PM; mid-Oct to March from 10AM – 4PM; Only the palace can be visited during winter.
- Go early or late. We had some areas of the grounds all to ourselves with no tour buses around.
*Have you visited Linderhof or Ludwig’s other castles?