Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace were the two places on my itinerary for the 6-day southern Germany trip. Neuschwanstein Castle is well-known for its fairy tale story and being a Disney inspiration, while the Linderhof Palace is less known.
King Ludwig II had never lived in Neuschwanstein Castle, a dream of him. But the superfluous Linderhof Palace is the only large palace King Ludwig II lived to see completed. My visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace was a journey to the dreams and realities of King Ludwig II.
Arranging the entrance tickets
Since Neuschwanstein has far more visitors than Linderhof Palace and its tour is often booked out for a whole day, our family made a reservation for Neuschwanstein before planning your Linderhof visit. However, on the day we planned to visit the castle, all early slots were no longer available. We could only book the tour starting at 16:00.
At Linderhof Palace, it is also possible to make reservations for tickets. But we didn’t do so since we decided to be there early in the morning. And, we also had no problem to book the next available tour on-site, which started at 11:00.
Many organized tours start in Munich. When you keep reading my experience below, you would consider joining an organized tour seriously.
Check the parking situation of Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace
Parking situation outside the Linderhof Palace
The parking area outside the Linderhof is spacious. Private cars can park in one of the two parking areas with a total of 550 parking spaces. It would take us only a few minutes to walk to the entrance from the parking place.
Parking facilities near Neuschwanstein Castle
The parking situation in Hohenschwangau is not optimal during the peak seasons. Officially, there are four parking areas. Since we had to pick up our tickets at the ticket centre, we opted for the P3 parking area.
However, things turned out to be complete differently. First, there wasn’t any parking space available in the P3 when we arrived there. Then, because some roads were blocked temporarily for the tourist crowds, we had to take a detour to drive back to the centre and continued looking for the parking spaces. Finally, after having waited for a half-hour in front of the P1 parking area, we got our parking spaces.
Itinerary of visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace
We had to visit Linderhof Palace early enough to join the Neuschwanstein Castle tour on time. Our itinerary for the day was:
- 09:30 – 10:30 Visit the parks and gardens outside the Linderhof Palace
- 11:00 – 12:00 Join the organized tour of Linderhof Palace
- 13:30 – 14:00 Have a quick Lunch in Hohenschwangau
- 14:00 – 15:30 Viewing the Neuschwanstein Castle from Mary’s bridge (Marienbrücke)
- 16:00 – 18:00 Join the guided tour in Neuschwanstein Castle
- 18:30 – 22:00 Dinner in the quaint town centre of Füssen
Visit the parks and gardens outside the Linderhof Palace
I like the palace’s park, which covers a total area of approximately 58 hactares, more than the palace. Today’s park features ornamental gardens, miniature waterfalls, various types of trees, and buildings. It could take a couple of hours to wander around the park. Originally, King Ludwig II wanted to recreate the palace and gardens of Versailles. But it was impossible to fit into this narrow valley of the site.
The best view of the palace is from the terraced gardens. From the three Italian styles of terraces on the slope known as the “Linderbichl”, I could have the whole view of a geometric garden area dominated by a large pool in front of the Linderhof Palace.
One of the interesting sites is Venus Grotto, the artificial dripstone cave with its lake and waterfall. It was a scene from Richard Wagner’s opera “Tannhäuser”. Venus Grotto features a royal seat, a Lorelei rock, and a gilt boat in the shape of a shell. Unfortunately, it was closed due to restoration work.
Join the organized tour in Linderhof Palace
The Linderhof Palace originated from a forester’s house, which King Ludwig II ordered to rebuild at the beginning. Then he appointed it as the Loyal Hunting House. The Building phases started with the east wing extension of the Loyal Hunting House, and then the addition of the west wind. Afterward, the building had the new façade and roof.
Before the construction of the southern part, the King ordered that the Loyal Hinging House be moved 300 metres to the west. The last phase was to the extension of the bedroom in the north. However, King Ludwig II did not live to see the completion of the new bedroom.
To take a picture is forbidden inside the palace. The tour was also very informative and last around one hour.
Viewing the Neuschwanstein Castle from Mary’s Bridge (Marienbrücke)
The best place to view the entire castle is from the Marienbrücke, a bridge named after the Queen of Marie. Originally, the Marienbrücke was a wooden riding bridge built over the Pöllat gorge. In 1866, King Ludwig II asked the Stegs & Co (today’s MAN AG) to replace this bridge by with iron structure.
The shuttle bus near the “Alpsee” parking area P4 (below Hohenschwangau Castle) took us uphill to the bridge. We bought the bus tickets in a small house next to the bus stop. Since many people took the bus, we waited half an hour before we could get on a shuttle bus.
The ride took only a few minutes. But then, from the bus stop near Mary’s Bridge, we had to queue to get on the bridge. Once on the bridge, we had the jaw-dropping view of the entire Neuschwanstein Castle. Nevertheless, it only took a few minutes to make some awesome pictures.
A digital board next to the bridge shows how many people are on the bridge at the same time. It makes sure that the total number of visitors doesn’t exceed the limit.
Alternatively, visitors can walk uphill to Mary’s Bridge in about 45 minutes. From the bridge, it is another 15 minutes of walking to the entrance of the Neuschwanstein Castle.
Join the guided tour in Neuschwanstein Castle
The castle is a fantasy world of King Ludwig II. He was so much looking forward to living there, as he told Richard Wagner, the man he greatly admired. In his vision, the castle should be in an unapproachable but one of the most beautiful locations. And, the castle should remind his divine friend Wagner of “Tannhäuser”. King Ludwig II should feel himself being a real king in this fantasy world. He wanted to remain an eternal mystery to himself and others. And, he made it.
During my first visit to the castle years ago, I couldn’t see some rooms because they were not open to the public. This time, it took us much longer to complete the tour since we had seen more places. It was quite stressful after the first tour in Linderhof Palace and the activities before this tour.
Neuschwanstein is much bigger than the Linderhof Palace. We had a lot of walks during the tour. On its official website, visitors can have a virtual tour of the interior and the castle complex. And, the tour is also very informative and had an inside view of the King’s dream world.
How to reach Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace
Linderhof Palace (Linderhof 12, 82488 Ettal) is in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey.
Take the A95 motorway and the road B2 to Oberau. Follow the signs in Oberau to the road B23 (Ettaler Straße). Outside Ettal, turn left to the road St2060. In Linderhof, turn right to reach the palace.
Take the train (www.bahn.com) to Oberammergau. From Oberammergau, there is a bus connection to Linderhof (bus 9622).
Neuschwanstein Castle (Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau ) is on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.
Take the A7 motorway (direction Ulm-Kempten-Füssen) until the end. From Füssen, follow the road B17 to Schwangau first, then the signs to Hohenschwangau
Take the train to Füssen, then the bus to Neuschwanstein (stop “Hohenschwangau Neuschwanstein