Linderhof Palace, located near Ettal, was the only one of the three palaces commissioned to be built by Bavarian King Ludwig II that he lived to see completed. Ironically, it was the least crowded of the three, at least as far as Julia and I experienced. That, combined with it’s gorgeous beauty and the immense fun we had wandering around the park made it our favorite of all three even if it was softly raining the whole time we were there.
After leaving Füssen, we made the relatively short drive here, winding our way through rolling green hills and red-orange dotted mountains in the background, autumn colors painting the whole landscape in lovely shades. Immediately as we pulled into the half empty parking lot, we know the experience here would be different than at the other two castles we had visited so far.
The architectural queues that signify it’s Versaille inspiration are less overt here than at Herrenchiemsee. Though Ludwigs deep admiration (what some would call obsession) with the French Sun-King are still very present here, in general everything feels more…private and intimate. This probably has to do with the size, as Linderhof is the smallest of the three palaces but maybe also with the fact this is the one he spent most of his adult life in, as a retreat from the world he didn’t quite wish to be a part of.
Same as with the other castles we visited, you can only go inside with a guided 30 minute tour and taking photos of the interior is strictly prohibited. Once again though, we lucked out with a relatively small group that day and we had a chance to linger a bit longer in the rooms and really look at all the exquisite details in each. This virtual tour of the palace is pretty neat at giving you a good idea of what we saw inside, though of course the feeling of almost being overwhelmed by the grandeur is hard to replicate (I highly suggest you google the search term “Porcelain chandelier Ludwig” and see what I mean) .
Once we were were done with the tour we headed back out and while we saw plenty of people head back out to the parking lot, probably because of the sprinkling rain, we stayed behind to wander around some more. Statues, fountains, pergolas, majolica vases- it seemed every time we rounded a corner or took a step to the side, there was yet more to see. And since it was at the end of the day we had most areas almost all to ourselves to lean in closer to all the little details, to fall further into the lull of this fairytale like landscape.
Eventually though, the rain went from a light drizzle to something more persistent and with closing hour approaching fast, we made one final photographic effort and climbed up the stairs facing the palace to have a chance to look out over it all. Rain falling down over us and our hands cupping our cameras to keep the droplets away from the lens we stood there, legs more than a little tired from all the walking we had done that day and just…took it all in. Perhaps summertime would have been a nice time to visit, weather-wise, but looking a the brilliant riot of colors that fall had brought to the landscape, I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful time to have been given the chance to come here.
As we made our way slowly back to Julias van I knew it was going to take me a while to actually well and truly believe that I had visited a place like this. I’ve said it numerous times in the posts i’ve written about this trip but, that feeling of being somewhere else- in a fairytale or in a whole other world- its hard to shake off when you visit places like this. This would turn out to be the last of King Ludwigs II’s castles we would visit, as the weather took a turn for the worse the next day but having this be the last one I got to visit, there were no regrets whatsoever lingering in my mind when I departed Germany two days later. Besides, getting a a chance to explore a rainy picturesque Mittenwald and learn more about the Partenkirchen side of Garmich-Partenkirchen the next, it more than made up for missing anything.