Linderhof Palace, Neuschwanstein’s pretty little sister

A grand day trip in Bavaria, Germany

Linderhof Palace is a miniature Versailles in the foothills of the Alps in the German Bavaria. In a magnificent garden setting, Linderhof is sometimes missed by tourists rushing passed to its big brother, Neuschwanstein Castle, down the road. You shouldn’t make the same mistake.

Linderhof Palace Bavaria.
Linderhof Palace was “mad” King Ludwig II’s French hideaway in Bavaria.

Our first proper visit to Linderhof Palace took place on a beautiful autumn day in September. The first time we tried to visit in summer, our plans were rudely interrupted when C accidentally put petrol (gas) in our diesel car. The palace is about 90 km from our home in Tyrol, Austria and a perfect day trip destination. This is what we learned from our visit.

5 reasons to visit Linderhof Palace

The flexibility of fewer crowds

While Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace are in equally beautiful settings, the latter receives far fewer visitors. There were no lines at the ticket office when we arrived shortly before 10:00 on a Sunday. That means palace tour waiting times are shorter and taking pictures in the vast garden landscape is a pleasure.

Linderhof Palace tours.
Short tour lines on a beautiful autumn day at Linderhof Palace.

Another advantage is that you’re not bound to a specific tour date and time as is the case when booking tickets in advance for Neuschwanstein.

Amazing park features

The palace may be small, but the surrounding park is filled with many gems inspired by Ludwig II’s flights of fancy. These include the Venus Grotto, an artificial version of the Blue Grotto on Capri, and the Moorish Kiosk where the king sat on his peacock throne.

Linderhof Palace and park.
Walking around the park surrounding Linderhof Palace is a royal treat.

Value for money

Entering and exploring the palace gardens is free. In addition, the Linderhof Palace tickets which include a guided tour are very reasonably priced at €8,50 for a regular adult ticket while kids under 18 are admitted free of charge.

Location

Apart from Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof Palace is only a short drive away from three more must-visit places in Bavaria. They are Ettal Abbey with its jaw-dropping baroque basilica, the town of Oberammergau where the world-famous Passion Play is held, and the UNESCO World Heritage Wieskirche.

Pilatushaus, Oberammergau.
Enjoying an ice-cream in front of Pilatushaus, Oberammergau.

Informative palace tour in different languages

The Linderhof Palace tours are led by enthusiastic guides who make Ludwig II’s life in his French hideaway come alive. The regular tours are available in English and German while tours in other languages can be arranged on request. The guides also hand out thick information folders in languages like Spanish, Italian, and French to visitors who don’t understand English or German.

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Linderhof Palace Hours

DATES HOURS
Linderhof

Palace

April – mid-October 09:00 – 18:00
mid-October – March 10:00 – 16:30
Moroccan House & Moorish Kiosk mid-April – mid-October 09:00 – 18:00
mid-October – mid-April CLOSED
Hunding’s Hut & Gurnemanz Hermitage mid-April – mid-October 11:00 – 18:00
mid-October – mid-April CLOSED
Waterworks mid-April – mid-October 09:00 – 18:00 (fountain half-hourly)

Note: All Linderhof Palace buildings are closed on 1 January, Shrove Tuesday, and 24, 25 and 31 December.

🙁 : The Venus Grotto is undergoing extensive restoration work which will last until 2022. I know it’s a huge let-down but believe me if I tell you the rest of Linderhof Palace is still worth a visit.

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Linderhof Palace Tickets

Our Linderhof Palace family ticket cost €17. This included the English guided tour of the palace interior as well as the admission to the other park buildings.

Given the quality of the tour as well as our enjoyment of the park with all its beautiful features, I thought this was extremely good value for money.

In winter, when the smaller park buildings are closed, the price of Linderhof Palace tickets is adjusted accordingly.

Here is a breakdown of the pricing structure for Linderhof Palace tickets:

Regular adult ticket €8,50 (€7,50 winter)
Kids under 18 Free
Park buildings only €5
Gardens only Free
Parking €2,50 for cars
  • You can’t pay by credit card if your Linderhof Palace tickets come to less than €20. So make sure you have enough cash on you when visiting.
  • Maybe it was because we visited in the low season, but no-one asked to see our tickets when visiting the Moorish Kiosk and Moroccan House.

Tip: Combine your Linderhof Palace tickets with tickets to Neuschwanstein and the Herrenchiemsee New Palace if you intend to visit all three.

The Königsschlösser Combination Ticket is valid for 6 months and costs €26, saving you €3,50 on the regular admission fees. Take note that you must still reserve your Neuschwanstein tour online since this ticket won’t help you to skip the lines at the castle.

INTERESTING FACT

The royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof are on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites together with Herrenchiemsee.

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Getting to Linderhof Palace

Getting to Linderhof Palace can be tricky and time-consuming if you rely on public transport. Arriving by car or coach tour from Munich is by far the most convenient way to get here.

Linderhof Palace map

By car

Linderhof Palace is reached in around 1,5 hours from Innsbruck or Munich. The address to enter in your GPS is Linderhof 12, 82488 Ettal, Germany. The quickest route from both cities is via the town of Oberau.

You can continue on to Neuschwanstein and Füssen on the small country road passing Linderhof.

  • If you’re planning on spending time in the Bavarian capital before heading for the country, here is a great itinerary for exploring Munich in 2 days.

By train and public bus

Getting to Linderhof Palace by train is only possible in combination with a public bus from nearby Oberammergau, Oberau or Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Bus 9622 leaves from the Oberammergau train station (bahnhof) at regular intervals and stops at the palace entrance. The bus stop is called Schloss Linderhof.

From Oberau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen you can take a bus to Ettal and change there to Bus 9622.

By bus only from Munich to Linderhof Palace

The FlixBus between Munich and Füssen/Kemptener Straße stops at Linderhof only when a booking is made at least 60 minutes in advance. Please check their website for up-to-date schedules.

FlixBus to Linderhof
The FlixBus timetable at the entrance to Linderhof.

Munich to Linderhof Palace tour by coach

As you can see, it’s quite complicated and time-consuming to get to Linderhof Palace if you don’t have a car. This is one instance when investing in a coach tour isn’t a bad idea.

A full-day Munich to Linderhof Palace tour including a stop in Oberammergau costs from €77.

If you want to combine a visit to the royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, there are different tour options available. The major benefit of a tour is that it’s likely to get you fast-track entry at Neuschwanstein.

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Why Mad King Ludwig built Linderhof Palace

Linderhof Palace is the only one of King Ludwig II’s Bavarian castles/palaces which he lived to see completed.

The “mad” king set out to recreate the palace and gardens of Versailles at Linderhof but later moved this ambitious project to the island of Herrenwörth in the Chiemsee.

As it is today, Linderhof is the result of various building and rebuilding operations that developed around the hunting lodge of Ludwig II’s father, Maximilian II.

Linderhof Palace
A French inspired palace in the middle of Bavaria.

Although he relocated his Versailles project to the Chiemsee, Linderhof Palace is still very much a French palace in design and decor. It was built in the style of the second rococo-period.

The king loved creating alternative worlds where he could immerse himself in faraway places. It’s said that he lived as a recluse in Linderhof Palace. When touring the palace rooms, it’s obvious that no provision was made for guests.

WOW FACT — Between 1863 and 1886, when Ludwig II died, a massive total of 8,460,937 Goldmark was spent on the construction of Linderhof.

Highlights of Linderhof Palace

Interior

Hall of Mirrors

Based on a room with mirrors in the Munich Residenz, this one takes it to the extremes in typical Ludwig II fashion. A multitude of golden-framed mirrors covers almost every spot along the walls of the room, creating fascinating reflections wherever one looks.

King’s Bedroom

An elaborate room in gold and royal blue to resemble that of King Louis XIV in Versailles. Look out for the paintings above the doors which show scenes from the French court. You’ll see Louis XIV’s morning reception, a carousel in the gardens of Versailles, and a picture of the marriage of the Dauphin in the Hall of Mirrors of the French Palace.

Dining table

Another one of mad King Ludwig’s idiosyncrasies was to dine alone and out of sight of his servants. The “wishing table” (after the Brothers Grimm fairy tale) was lowered through the floor with a crank mechanism to be set in the room below. It’s still in working order (the only one of its kind in the world) and if you’re lucky the guide will demonstrate it to you.

This is what one of Ludwig II’s cooks, Theodor Hierneis, wrote about this ritual in his memoirs:

He (the king) wants no one around him (during mealtimes). Nevertheless, the dinners and suppers must always be large enough to serve at least three or four people. This way, although the king always sits down alone to eat, he does not feel alone. He believes himself to be in the company of Louis XIV and Louis XV and their lady friends, Madame Pompadour and Madame Maintenon. He even greets them now and then and carries on conversations with them as though they really were guests at his table.

Note: No photography is allowed inside Linderhof Palace. My advice is not to fret about it. Enjoy the tour and listen to the tour guide without worrying about getting pictures.

Moorish Kiosk

Ludwig II bought this Oriental-looking structure in 1876 after it first appeared at the World Fair in Paris in 1867. Integrated into the park landscape around Linderhof Palace, the king loved to read and drink tea in the Moorish Kiosk.

Moorish Kiosk Linderhof Palace.
A piece of the Orient in Linderhof Palace Park.

You can peek through glass walls at a colourful peacock throne, glass chandelier, and marble fountain. If the sun is shining, you’ll see beautiful colours reflecting off the stained-glass windows.

Moroccan House

The Moroccan House, another structure from a Paris World Fair, first stood in the Stockalpe near the Austrian border. It was moved to Linderhof Palace in 1998.

Moroccan House Linderhof Palace.
A Moroccan pavillion dating to the Paris World Fairs of the 1800s.
  • The Moorish Kiosk (1867) and Moroccan House (1873 and 1878) are the oldest surviving structures from the Paris World Fairs. Seven of these fairs were held between 1855 and 1937 to showcase all things French. The Eiffel Tower (1889) is perhaps the most famous creation of a World Fair.

Gardens

The gardens and park of Linderhof Palace is a fine example of mixed styles including Baroque parterres and Renaissance-style terraces with lots of inspirational elements from English, French and even Spanish landscape gardens.

Linderhof palace gardens
View from the eastern parterre next to the palace.

Water parterre and royal lime tree

The geometry of the garden area with large pool and fountain right in front of the palace is disturbed by a 300-year old lime or (in German) Linde tree which gives Linderhof its name.

Linderhof Palace fountain and lime tree in garden.
Waiting for the fountain to shoot into the air. You can see the famous Linde tree on the right.

Three terraces

There are three Italian-inspired terraces with ornamental flower beds behind the large pool. The views of the surrounding countryside are beautiful from this elevated position.

Terrace at Linderhof Palace.
The terracotta pots are typical of Italy.

Western parterre

This decorative garden was the first to be completed at Linderhof in 1872. It boasts two gold gilt fountains – one of Amor, the god of love, and one of Fama, the goddess of fame. There is also a bust of King Louis XIV of France.

Decorative garden at Linderhof Palace.
The fountain featuring the gold-gilded Fama is a highlight in the Western parterre garden.

Eastern parterre

Another decorative garden where the French influence is indisputable. There’s another gold gilded fountain featuring Amor, this time shooting an arrow. And guess who the stone bust is of? Louis XVI, of course! (M reckoned it was Beethoven when I asked him if he knew who it was  😀 )

Bust of King Louis XIV at Linderhof Palace.
The bust of the one and only Louis XIV.

The Royal Lodge 

The path to Linderhof Palace passes the old hunting lodge which was originally where the palace is now. Ludwig had it moved in 1874 and often lived in it while the palace was built. The Royal Lodge is now home to different exhibitions.

Royal Lodge Linderhof Palace
Royal Lodge window framed by pretty autumn foliage.

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Tips for a pleasurable Linderhof Palace visit

  1. Give yourself enough time to explore the gardens and park so that you don’t feel you missed out on something when leaving.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. It’s a short walk to the ticket office and then 10 to 15 minutes along a gravel path to the palace from there. You also cover quite some distance walking to the Moorish Kiosk and the Moroccan House. Fortunately, there are no serious hills.
  3. Wear a hat and sunscreen. Even the autumn sun was quite potent while walking around the gardens.
  4. Take water with you. While there are a shop and restaurant near the ticket office, you can’t buy anything at the palace itself.
  5. Bulky items aren’t allowed inside the palace. There are lockers close to the entrance where you can small to medium-sized bags and other items. Lockers for bigger bags or suitcases are available opposite the Schlosshotel near the ticket office.
  6. There is free wi-fi between the palace and the terraced gardens above the water parterre as well as around the ticket office and in the beer garden.

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Danik

I love to check this palace out. I love checking out palaces and castles in central europe and this one does look stunning. Putting this on my list 🙂

Carol Colborn

Would you believe we are in Oberstaufen just 1 1/2 hours away by car? The problem is my husband doesn’t want to drive anymore and the train rides are so long with so many changes!

Leah

Linderhof Palace is gorgeous! And does have a similar feel as Versailles, without the massive crowds. I’m so happy to learn about this little gem, as I can’t stand fighting crowds.

Stevo Joslin

What an interesting place! I didn’t know Neuschwanstein had a little brother! I’d love to see the dinner table come down by handcrank, I can’t believe the mechanism is still in working order! Too bad they don’t allow photography inside. I guess that means we’ll have to go visit ourselves! It really does look like Versailles! It really does pay to be crazy and rich! Thanks for sharing!

Linda

I did not know there was a mini Versailles. And in Bavaria at that! Although I am sure Versaille influenced the design of a lot of palaces. We saw the French influence in St Petersburg. I love that Linderhof Palace will be a much quieter tourist spot. Lets you really enjoy the atmosphere. We would definitely go searching the Venus Grotto. Great to find a spot like this with free admission! However, I would want to pay for a tour to learn more of the history. The hall of mirrors would be fascinating. As would the gardens when the flowers… Read more »

Fiona Maclean

Linderhof looks so beautiful – its a perfect place to visit isn’t it – I really didn’t realise that someone in Germany would be so set on recreating the palace and gardens of Versailles. Definitely worth a trip

Andra

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of this Linderhof Palace. I love to discover places which are skipped by tourists as they go to the more touristic sites. It looks like an amazing place filled with history. I actually wouldn’t mind enjoying a cup of tea Moorish Kiosk as the king. Bookmarked! Thanks

Hannah

Linderhof Palace looks like an amazing day out. I love manicured gardens, and this definitely looks like it delivers on grand gardening! I love anything Worlds Fair related, so to see the Moorish Kiosk and Moroccan house would be high on my list!

Jennifer

It does remind me quite a bit of Versailles. Can you visit just the gardens without doing the interior tour? Sometimes after touring so many castles, they all start to become the same. But the gardens look beautiful!

Christina

Bavaria’s palaces are amazing and Linderhof Palace is one of my favourites. The stories about the mad king seem real when the guides recount tales of King Louis as you walk through the palace. The gardens are fantastic too.