Linderhof Palace

Schloß Linderhof (above) was built by Bavaria's King Ludwig II (aka 'mad' Kind Ludwig). It's one of four extravagant palaces Ludwig built in the Bavarian countryside. The most famous of these is Neuschwanstein, the 'Cinderella' castle that looks like a medieval fortress. Herrenchiemsee, built on an island in Lake Chiemsee, mimics Louis XIV's palace at Versailles. A wooden chalet on the Schachen Alp is the least known of his structures, partly because getting there requires a minimum 3 to 4 hour hike. From the outside it looks like a simple (if large) alpine hut, but inside is a different story.

Schloß Linderhof is my favorite. The only one of the palaces that was actually completed in Ludwig's lifetime, this rococo jewel box is where he spent much of his time. In addition to the main palace, there are numerous smaller buildings scattered around the extensive gardens. Don't miss the Venus Grotto, a breath-taking walk (literally) above the main palace. The artificial cave was built to host private opera performances for the king, and includes a small lake with a swan-shaped boat.

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