Linderhof Palace – Ettal, Germany - Atlas Obscura

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Linderhof Palace

Ettal, Germany

A small but immensely extravagant palace built by the "Night King." 


Of the three palaces “Mad” King Ludwig II had built, the Linderhof Palace was the only one he saw completed. Unfortunately for him, it was also the smallest. Prior to the Linderhof Palace, the grounds had been home to the Königshäuschen, Ludwig’s fathers’ old hunting cottage. The cottage was dismantled and rebuilt in 1869 to make room for Linderhof.

Though much smaller, the architecture of the magnificent palace is extravagant with ivory candelabras and a carpet made of ostrich down. Inspired by Versailles, Ludwig created a mirror image of “Sun King” Louis XIV’s bedchamber and styled himself the “Night King.” Like his Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof was also deeply inspired by composer Richard Wagner. Many rooms sport the themes of some of Wagner’s greatest works.

Amidst the forested mountainous terrain, Ludwig built huge ornamental gardens that borrowed styles from a number of other countries and eras. Perhaps the most extravagant is the “Venus Grotto,” a man-made cave lake with a waterfall. Ludwig enjoyed rowing across it in a golden shell-shaped boat. Ludwig had 12  electrical dynamos installed for the illumination of the grotto.

Know Before You Go

Prepare for rain; it is common. The inside tour takes less than an hour to complete. Exploring the gardens will take a minimum of an hour, longer if you see them all. There is free parking on-site. Photography and video inside are strictly prohibited.

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