Castles and mountains. Those were the two things that my Mom and friend wanted to see during our short tour of Bavaria (southeastern state in Germany). After spending a day roaming Munich, we had one full day left to see castles and mountains. The big question was, “Where should we go?”
During our deliberations, another inevitable question came up, “Should we go to Neuschwanstein?”
Neuschwanstein is probably one of the most well-known castles in the world. Many Disney aficionados know it as the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Tourists flock there and for good reason – it is stunning.
I visited Neuschwanstein Castle years ago and while I agree it’s a sight to behold, I know the caveats. During this trip, the distance from our accommodation to the castle would mean that there would be no time to see anything else. Touring mountains would be axed from our list. We needed other options.
Fortunately, our gracious hosts really knew Bavaria. Given our wishes of castles and mountains, they immediately suggested Linderhof Palace. They described it as a smaller, but beautiful, castle tucked into the mountainside. I had never heard of it before, but it sounded promising.
Nonetheless, when you’re on the brink of deciding to forgo a visit to an iconic spot, in favor of a lesser-known locale, there is always a fear of missing out. I did not know when my Mom and friend would return to Bavaria and I did not want them to regret not going to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
The night before our castle trip we sat down at the dinner table and discussed what to do. As we deliberated, one of our hosts said something that sealed the deal for Linderhof Palace. “When you go to Linderhof Palace, you really feel like you’re somewhere special.” We were sold.
Background and Practical Information
Linderhof Palace, like Neuschwanstein Castle, was commissioned by King Ludwig II in the 19th century. It’s the only castle that Ludwig II saw completed in his lifetime. Ludwig II is known as ‘the reclusive king’ and given the private and serene atmosphere of the palace and its surroundings, it’s not hard to see why he spent a lot of time there.
Linderhof Palace is located in Ettal, Germany. You can reach the palace by car and there is plenty of parking. Here are 3 tips if you’re driving:
- Address: If you have a GPS, here is the address: Linderhof 12, 82488 Ettal, Germany
- GPS Tip: I found that simply navigating to the town of Ettal was enough because there were plenty of signs for Linderhof Palace once you reached the general area.
- Parking Fee: There is a 2.50 euro parking fee for cars. You pay for parking upon arrival. It’s a one-time fee that’s good for the whole day.
Alternatively, if you’re taking public transportation, you can get there by taking a train or bus to the neighboring town of Oberammergau and then transfer to a local bus (look for 9622) to Linderhof. Here are 3 things to know:
- Name of Bus Stop: There is a bus stop right at the entrance of Linderhof and it is called ‘Schloß Linderhof’.
- Frequency of Buses: There is usually a bus every hour or hour and a half from the Oberammergau train station (Bahnhof) to Linderhof starting at 9:30am-6:30pm during weekdays. On the weekend, the frequency decreases and buses start later and end earlier. Holidays are questionable. Check the bahn.de for further details. You can switch the site to English.
- Bus Trip Length: From the Oberammergau main station, the trip to Linderhof can take anywhere from 25-40 minutes.
The palace’s hours depend on the time of year and it’s roughly open from 9/10am – 4/6pm. Check the official website for the actual times: http://www.schlosslinderhof.de/englisch/tourist/opening.htm
5 Reasons to Visit Linderhof Palace
Here are 5 reasons why I think Linderhof Palace is worth visiting:
1. Location, Location, Location
The location of Linderhof Palace is pretty amazing. Various structures on the grounds were built into or on bedrock. I have to agree with our hosts. You really do feel like you’re somewhere special.
2. Flexible Budget Options
In comparison to other castles, Linderhof Palace has a good range of pricing options. Regular tickets for the palace and buildings cost 8.50 euros, seeing just the buildings cost 5 euros, and visiting the Royal Lodge costs 2 euros. If you’re under 18, you’re admitted for free, which can be great for families. If you’re a student, you’re eligible for a reduced ticket, which is a euro off the regular ticket. Linderhof Palace is also part of the ‘Königsschlösser’ ticket, which allows you to visit all three of Ludwig II’s castles (Neuschwanstein + Herrenchiemsee) within 6 months for 24 euros. Check the official site for the most current ticket prices here. Finally, if you just want to roam the palace grounds, known as Linderhof Park, that’s free.
3. Frequent Palace Tours in English
The only way to see the inside of the palace is by taking a guided tour. This is what you pay for when you opt to see the palace in your admissions ticket. I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to wait too long for a tour (15-20min) from when we bought our entrance ticket. Furthermore, there are fairly frequent tours in English. If you’re not fully comfortable communicating in English or German, there are written guides in different languages so that you can follow along. The tour lasts about 25 minutes. It was well-paced and engaging. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures inside the palace, but there are plenty of other things to take pictures of around the grounds.
4. More Buildings to See In Addition to the Palace
I’m a person who gets super excited when a restaurant offers a sample platter or a tasting menu. I like a little bit of everything. The nice thing about Linderhof Palace is that there are a number of other buildings to see when you visit. If you’re visiting during the winter, you can only go in the palace and the Royal Lodge. However, if you’re visiting during any other season, there are plenty of buildings to check out.
5. You Can Spend a Good Part of the Day Roaming Linderhof Park
The palace grounds are known as Linderhof Park and you can truly spend a good part of your day roaming it. There are manicured green lawn, ornate sculptings, and patches of forest all around. And let’s not forget those mountain views! The expansive grounds also ensure that the park and palace don’t feel too busy. Sure we saw other people, but it never felt like the place was overrun with fellow tourists.
I’ll go ahead and say it. Linderhof Palace is my favorite German castle. Well, at least it is so far. While the palace is small, the real winner here is the surrounding grounds. The mountainside setting and unique buildings really make Linderhof Palace worth a visit.
Have you visited Linderhof Palace before? What did you think? If not, do you have questions? Let me know in the comments below!