Tucked into a narrow valley some 11.5km west of Ettal, Ludwig II’s Schloss Linderhof was originally a hunting lodge belonging to Ludwig’s father Maximilian II. The palace was enlarged and re-clad between 1870 and 1878 by Georg Dollmann, who was later to design Schloss Herrenchiemsee. Unlike that palace, Linderhof was actually completed during Ludwig’s lifetime. It looks relatively modest from the outside, but the elaborate neo-Rococo interiors are anything but: the riot of gold leaf reaches a crescendo in the king’s staggeringly ornate bedroom, which is the largest room in the house.
The park surrounding the Schloss is delightful, and is particularly known for its fountains, which perform every half-hour from April to mid-October. There are several highly theatrical follies in the grounds, including the Maurische Kiosk (Moorish kiosk) and the spectacular Venus-Grotte, an artificial cave with a lake, fake stalactites and stalagmites, and a golden barge with cupid as a figurehead – all inspired by Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser.