I remember as a small child the stories that my parents would tell me about their time in Germany. My father was stationed in Wertheim during the Vietnam era when my parents were newlyweds and in their early 20’s. I would listen to them tell stories of real life castles and their favorite was always the Linderhof Palace. My mother would show me pictures of the Palace and tell me that the rooms were “made of gold”. This had quite an impression on me as a child. They would tell me that one day they would love to visit this castle with me. Fast forward almost 50 years…now I am living in Germany and they are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. What could be more perfect?
Last week my parents finally made that dream come true when they decided to spend their anniversary here with us.
As soon as I found out that they were coming, I began to plan our excursions. Linderhof Palace (Schloss Linderhof) in Southwest Bavaria is the smallest of three palaces built by King Ludwig II. It is one of the many great creations of the “Mad King” of Bavaria.
While we were not permitted to take any photographs on the inside of the castle (you can however get a virtual tour online), I can confirm that it is indeed “made of gold”. Not exactly gold as I had imagined (it’s gilded gold) but still very impressive with LOTS of gilded gold, ivory candelabras, carpets made from ostrich plumes, tables made of amethyst and an entire room of mirrors that evoke the illusion of a never ending avenue.
Apparently, King Ludwig II kept odd hours and preferred to be awake during the night and sleep during the day. The “Hall of Mirrors” was designed for the thousands of candlelight reflections. Interestingly, the upstairs dining room where Ludwig ate has a large section of floor that could be lowered, along with the table and chairs into the kitchen. This way the staff could set the table and raise it back up with a pulley system so that the King could eat without having to see or talk to anyone. A bit odd I think, but whatever, he was the King.
It is more than just a day trip from the Kaiserslautern area. It took us about 5 hours to drive from our home to the Palace. We arrived around noon, grabbed a sandwich from the cooler and bought tickets for the 1 p.m. English tour.
The palace from the outside is equally impressive with golden fountains and beautiful facades.
The Moorish Kiosk is a separate structure as you walk toward the Venus Grotto (or cave as we call it in the states). It was closed for repair, but we did manage to sneak a couple of pictures of the outside and inside. This building is most famous for its notable “peacock throne”.
© Cheryl Koller
We spent almost 3 hours touring this castle and its gardens. At this time of year, the gardens are not filled with flowers. However, the walk through the property is an explosion of colors.
We even spent some time with the swans!
After living in Germany for over 2 years, I am growing a little weary of churches and castles. However, Linderhof Palace is definitely on my list of top castles to visit!
Since we knew that we would be staying overnight at Edelweiss Lodge at Garmisch, we decided to use the latter part of the afternoon to visit King Ludwig’s “other” castle. Linderhof is not the most famous or grandiose of Ludwig’s homes. That would be Neuschwanstein.
Those who grew up before we knew television was bad for children will know that this castle was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle and the castle that was featured in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
At one time Neuschwanstein was regarded as a waste of resources. Actually, it is rumored that the cost of this particular castle was part of the reason that King Ludwig was deposed as King. He did not live to see this castle completed and only spent a few nights there during construction.
I had already toured Neuschwanstein in the spring of 2014 with my daughters, so I was not terribly disappointed to discover that we missed the tour cut off by a little over an hour. We were able to view the castle from the outside and do a little shopping in the nearby stores.
I do wish that I could have shared the view from the top of the castle with my family. In reviewing my pictures from last year’s trip, it is quite breathtaking.
What You Need to Know
Linderhof Palace opens its doors April to October from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The winter brings shorter hours, with visiting times lasting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is 8.50 € for adults. Children under 18 are free.
Neuschwanstein Castle opens its doors April to October 15 and tickets are sold from 8 a.m.until 5 p.m. In early October, the hours are decreased and tickets are sold from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Admission is 12 € for adults. Children under 18 are free.
How to Get There
The drive to Linderhof Palace is approximately 5 southeast of Kaiserslautern, 5 hours south Wiesbaden and 3 hours south of Stuttgart.
The drive to Neuschwanstein Castle is 4 hours and 30 minutes southeast of Kaiserslautern, 4 hours and 30 minutes south of Wiesbaden and 2 hours and 30 minutes south of Stuttgart.
For train details, click on DB Bahn.
Author’s Profile: Cheryl Koller is a native of Georgia. She is a DOD spouse, mom of 4 daughters (2 adults, 2 teens), thrill-seeker, avid traveler, and lover of food and wine. She is a self-proclaimed Freedom-Preneur and Blogger currently living in Ramstein with her family.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Cheryl Koller