Ludwig II, who was crowned king in 1864, began building and developed the first building projects for the Linderhof in 1867/68 at the same time he laid the foundation stone for Neuschwanstein Castle
Unlike Neuschwanstein, Linderhof was fully completed by King Ludwig II while he was still alive
While staying in Füssen (South Bavaria) at Hotel Hirsch, I left early after a breakfast buffet for an excursion to the Linderhof. After an hour drive I arrived at the Linderhof Castle and Gardens.
This Palace, which resulted from a long period of construction and renovation, is the only larger palace building King Ludwig II experienced complete. Ludwig was a loner and created his own empire with the Linderhof Castle, his palace all for himself.
A simple Hunters lodge gradually became the Linderhof palace and Gardens for Ludwig to take refuge. Despite poor transport routes and inaccessible terrain, construction work was completed in 1878 and Linderhof became the King Ludwig ll favorite fairytale castle, where he spent most of his time.
At the beginning, the core of the construction was a former Hunting Lodge of his father Maximilian II, which was then located on today’s palace forecourt.
The transformed Hunting Lodge from Maximilian ll (per Wikimedia). Ludwig II already used this property as crown prince on hunting trips with his father and was familiar with the property.
Neither the planned project of a palace based of Versailles, nor the plans for the construction of a large Byzantine palace were carried out. Ludwig ll by no means created a copy to those models here, but something new of his own.
Below you see the Linderhof Palace anno 1874, a historic photo from Atelier Hanfstaengl. King Ludwig II lived there until 1886 for a couple of month until he moved to the Neuschwanstein castle
The Linderhof Palace follows the “Pleasure Palace” type, which originated in France in the 18th century and was soon built in palace gardens across Europe. The splendid furnishings are a mixture of the French, but also the Bavarian Rococo.
Unfortunately I could not enter the Linderhof palace interior because of Covid. I was told by the guide that even for a monarch, the exquisite rooms are furnished in the most spectacular way, and the quality of the craftsmanship is beyond comparison. Among other things, he skillfully made use of optical illusions, for example he made rooms appear larger with mirrors.
The Linderhof Palace Garden
The large park within the Graswang valley that surrounds the ornamental garden follows the models of English landscape gardens, with groups of trees and winding paths, taking into account the natural conditions. The formal garden is almost cross-shaped, the center of this cross is the castle with the large basin in front of it.
The Garden in front of the castle is based on a cross-shaped geometry. It is dominated by a large water basin, the Fountain of which rises up to 22 meters high due to the natural pressure alone.
The Music Pavilion and Neptune Fountain
Behind the Linderhof Palace is the so-called Music Pavilion, from which the water flows down the step-shaped steps of the cascade until the horse figures of the Neptune fountain spew into a basin shortly before the castle. In front of which a large bourbon lily of blue flowers is planted.
(Caskade with Neptun Fountain und Music Pavilion, Photo by Wikimedia)
The Venus Grotto
The huge, artificial Venus Grotto, built in 1876/77, is very interesting and not least in terms of technological history. It was electrically lit with carbon lamps, for which 24 dynamo machines provided the electricity. With the help of colorized glass, the grotto could be illuminated in different colors.
Along the main axis oriented in a North-South direction, the garden climbs up the slope in front of and behind the Venus Grotto, following the course of the terrain and its structured by terraces and stairs.
A wave machine moved the small artificial lake. The water could be heated in order to reach a pleasant bathing temperature. The Venus Grotto consists of a brick core, the frame is made of iron girders, a wire mesh and canvas that supports the base that is made of plaster.
I was not able to step inside, below you see what the interior of the Venus Grotto looks like
On the way I was able to discover a variety of ornamental buildings of different styles on a tour through the castle park. The Moroccan House and the Moorish Kiosk nearby were originally built by other builders for world exhibitions
The Moorish Kiosk
A beautiful Arcade with climbing plants leading down to the the Linderhof castle