During the fall one of the main draws to Munich is of course the Oktoberfest festivities, however, the Munich area has many historical sites to offer and are definitely worth checking out while you are there. One of the most famous sites is Neuschwanstein Castle, which is located in the village of Hohenschwangau. This castle is famously known for being the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Since we decided we definitely wanted to visit Neuschwantstein we included a tour of Linderhof Castle as well.
Linderhof Castle is located near Ettal Abbey which is about an hour and a half from Munich and was the first castle of the day. Linderhof is the smallest of the palaces built by King Ludwig II and was originally his father’s hunting lodge. From the looks of its now grandiose appearance, you would never have been able to tell that it was originally a hunting lodge.
The most interesting thing that we learned during our tour was that Linderhof Castle was based off of the Palace of Versailles in France. King Ludwig II had an infatuation with the King Louis XIV aka “The Sun King” who built Versailles. In Germany at that time, the King ruled alongside with government and was not an absolute ruler like King Louis XIV was. King Ludwig II felt that he should have had that same power and it is shown in all aspects of Linderhof Castle.
Additionally, King Ludwig II did not enjoy being in public and in the spotlight, that is another reason why he preferred this smaller and more private palace. The palace is very small and has only 10 rooms. During our tour we even saw his dining table, which was a very small and round, it really was only big enough to seat one person. My favorite room is probably the one that mimics the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. It is a room with the mirrors positioned in such a way that it looks like there is an endless hallway.
Linderhof Castle is built in the rococo style, which lends to a bright and airy feeling when you are inside, you can really see why King Ludwig spent so much of his time there.
Next we headed off to the village of Hohenschwangau where Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles are located. We were only able to tour Neuschwanstein, as the walk up to the castle is a bit time consuming. However, we were able to see Hohenschwangau from a distance.
Neuschwanstein is the largest of the three castles built by King Ludwig II, but he died before it was even close to completed. This castle is built around many works of Richard Wagner and it is seen throughout the rooms and adornments the ought the castle. King Ludwig II had a great liking for Wagner and his works.
The castle has never been completed, but had it been there would have been more than 200 rooms. So you can imagine the size of the castle and the considerable costs associated with building it! Soon after the king’s death, the government opened the castle to paying visitors as the construction of the castle had created enormous amounts of debt for the country. Steadily the number of visitors grew and grew and now the castle is one of the most visited destinations in Europe!
There are many tours that can take you to the castles. However, if you want to hop on the autobahn yourself and take your time at each palace, I think that would worthwhile. There is also public transportation that you can take to get to the castles.
We really enjoyed our time visiting the castles and taking in the scenic views of Bavaria. It is definitely not to be missed while visiting Munich and the surrounding areas.