While my family was visiting me a few weeks ago we got a chance to tour two of King Ludwig’s castles, Linderhof and Neuschwanstein. Better known as the mad king, Ludwig had a thing for building extraordinarily over-the-top castles and a reputation for being a one man wolf pack, so to speak. King Ludwig never married, but was devoted to the arts and showed a particular fondness for the operas of Richard Wagner. Odds are you’ve heard of Neuschwanstein, better known as Cinderella’s castle or “that one cool castle that’s plastered all over Pinterest.” Bonus points to those of you who knew that a second, much more decadent castle also existed in Bavaria.
Based on the pictures you might not initially believe me when I say that Linderhof was even more ornately decorated than Neuschwanstein. A much smaller building, Linderhof was Ludwig’s preferred residence and was set up in such a way that he could navigate the entirety of the main floor without having to see anybody.
You guys, this palace was packed with decorations. I actually felt a bit claustrophobic walking around in it because every little nook and cranny was so ornately decorated. Of the two tours, I felt like I learned the most about King Ludwig from my visit to Linderhof because he loved the palace so much. The gardens surrounding the palace are beautiful as well, and the view of the mountains on the walk to the palace grounds is amazing. Unlike Linderhof, Neuschwanstein was never completed due to the King’s untimely (and quite mysterious) death. However, the tour of the castle takes you to quite a few rooms, many of which are dedicated in some way to Richard Wagner. I loved how the walls of Neuschwanstein told the stories of various lovers from Wagner’s works and how the rooms had no coherent theme to them. Ludwig’s odd personality definitely was on display here, as shown by the fake grotto he constructed outside of his bedchamber (which is just one example of many).
If you ever get the chance to visit Neuschwanstein, I definitely recommend that you hike up to the bridge overlooking the castle. You’ll be able to get a postcard-worthy photo of the grounds from there, and it’ll also give you an excuse to grab an ice cream cone on your way back down.
I really don’t think I could choose which castle I like better. Both had stunning interiors, and they each added to the eccentric history of King Ludwig. One thing I would note about Neuschwanstein, however, is that you must take an audio tour that’s very tightly regulated. At times, I felt a bit rushed and wasn’t able to fully oogle each room before getting moved to the next one. That being said, both castles absolutely need to be put on your bucket list because they are simply stunning.
What other castles do you guys recommend visiting?