About Linderhof Palace
Linderhof Palace in Bavaria is a grand country home created by King Ludwig II of Bavaria – one of several grand building projects the king undertook.
History of the Linderhof Palace
The only palace that Ludwig lived to see completed, Linderhof Palace’s origins are one of continual building and remodelling. Originally a hunting lodge owned by his father Maximillion II, Ludwig had the original farmhouse rebuilt in 1869, five years after his coronation. Gradually extensions were added to either side of the newly-christened “King’s Cottage” and with the added wing extensions the foundations for Linderhof Palace were complete.
Until 1874 the exterior of the u-shaped complex was a simple wood and plaster construction. However, in 1873 the final phase for the completion of the palace was approved by Ludwig – the entire complex was clad with stone, incorporating all the different structures under one roof. The final stage was to move the King’s Cottage, which looked out-dated next to the new stone-clad palace, 300 meters to the west.
With the relocation of the King’s Cottage slightly to the west of the palace, work on the gardens surrounding the palace was finally able to commence. Carl Von Effner, the court’s gardener, landscaped and designed the gardens surrounding Linderhof in a similar fashion to the plans at Herrenchiemsee Palace.
As with Herrenchiemsee, he was inspired by Louis XIV and the gardens at Versailles. A large pool was installed directly in front of the Hall of Mirrors and included fountains 25 meters high. A water cascade, still visible today, was created in front of the bedroom, with water flowing from the music pavilion at the top, down 30 marble steps towards the Neptune fountain at the bottom.
Between 1876 and 1878 Ludwig ordered the construction of various other buildings in and around the palace grounds. One was the “Venus Grotto” modelled on Wagner’s opera ‘Tannhauser’, lit by dynamos making it one of Bavaria’s first electricity works. Ludwig also purchased several exhibits from the World Exhibition in Paris, including the “Moroccan House” and the “Moorish Kiosk”, giving the grounds the “Oriental” feel that Ludwig longed after.
Linderhof Palace today
Today the grounds and palace have had little alteration since the 1880s when they lay complete. The oldest part of the palace complex, St. Anna’s Chapel, built in 1684 by the abbot Roman Schretler was refitted with stained glass windows under the direction of Ludwig and is one of the many features of the grounds worth a look.
The King’s Cottage today offers visitors an exhibition on the many stages of planning and construction work that took place to eventually create Linderhof Palace, including the influencing role Ludwig himself had on developing and planning the grounds.
The palace itself boasts elaborately decorated rooms, including a large bedroom, an audience chamber, dining room, several cabinet rooms and the Hall of Mirrors overlooking the water parterre and fountain. The rooms contain ornamental and decorative features surpassing those that inspired it, such as the Rich Rooms of the Munich Residence. Decorated in the Rococo style, the rooms have become an exhibition of the finest Bavarian and German craftsmanship of the late 19th century.
Getting to the Linderhof Palace
The Linderhof Palace is located deep in southern Germany, close to the Austrian border. It’s just over an hour’s drive from Munich, via Route 95 and Route 2 – the last few kilometres are a bit of a wiggle up from the mountains. Bus 9622 runs from Oberammergau (where there is also a station) via Ettal to Linderhof – it’s a relatively infrequent, so check the most up to date timetables before travelling to ensure you don’t get stranded.