Ludwig II is probably the most famous and most popular king Bavaria ever had. A good part of his fame can be attributed to the impressive castles he built.
But what castles did Ludwig II, the so-called fairytale-king, build?
Ludwig II built several castles earning him the name Fairy tale king. These castles are Neuschwanstein castle, Herrenchiemsee castle and his favourit, Linderhof castle. He also built a lodge that`s named the King`s house on the Schachen.
Let`s find out more!
Neuschwanstein castle, more on it here, is not only King Ludwigs II best-known castle, it is also one of the most prominent buildings in all of Germany.
It was planned as a private residence right next to Ludwigs‘ childhood home in southwestern Bavaria. Construction started in 1869 but due to the kings’ deposition and his untimely death, it was never completely finished.
Here you can find my article with more information about king Ludwigs’ tragic story.
Neuschwanstein Castle is built in the architectural style of Historicism. Meaning that it revived long gone styles of architecture, medieval architecture in the case of Neuschwanstein castle. Inside the building is heavily inspired by heroic sagas like Lohengrin or Parzival.
Ludwig II paid for the castle with his own money (and with a serious amount of debt that would later become one of the reasons for his deposition). He did not use public funds.
At the time of Ludwigs death in 1886, more on the topic here, Neuschwanstein castle wasn`t even close to finish.
Prince-Regent Luitpold, Ludwigs` successor, decided to finish the castle in a simplified way and to open it to the public only 6 weeks after Ludwig II had died in 1886.
Plans for gardens and a 300 ft high keep were discarded and only 6 weeks after the King’s death the building was opened to the public.
The utilization as a tourist attraction was a full success. The accumulated entry fees from the years 1886 to 1899 enabled the royal family to pay the debts that had been accumulated during the construction.
Until this day Neuschwanstein castle is one of the prime destinations for tourists.
My advice: If you want to visit Neuschwanstein castle I would highly recommend booking your tickets in advance!
Otherwise, there is a good chance that you will not get tickets. And that would be a shame since Neuschwanstein castle might be a little bit crowded but also absolutely breathtaking.
Please read the following paragraphs for Ludwigs’ other, less crowded, and also extremely impressive castles.
For more information about visiting Neuschwanstein castle, you might want to check out the official website here.
Herrenchiemsee Castle is another one of Ludwigs II`castles. It is not only less known but usually also a lot less crowded.
Situated on the Herreninsel (yes it translates to men`s island but women are also welcome), an island in the Chiemsee the Castle was started in 1878.
Just like Neuschwanstein castle, it was never finished.
The inspiration for Herrenchiemsee Castle was drawn from the French palace of Versailles.
Ludwig II admired the French king Louis XIV (1638-1715), the sun king, and his absolutistic power. Because of his admiration for the French sun king, Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886) even called himself the Night king.
So Ludwig II built Herrenchiemsee Castle as a homage to Louis XIV. That is also the reason why the castle does not look similar to the medieval-themed Neuschwanstein castle where Ludwig II wanted to integrate his passion for heroic sagas.
Herrenchiemsee castle is built in the style of neo-baroque. In contrast to its model Versailles it had several technological advantages like for example central heating.
Just like Neuschwanstein castle, Ludwig II did not spend more than a few days in November of 1885 in Herrenchiemsee castle since both castles weren`t finished before his deposition.
In contrast to Neuschwanstein, Castle construction wasn`t continued after Ludwigs` II death in 1886. You can find out more about Ludwigs mysterious death in my article here.
The costs for Herrenchiemsee castle were enormous.
The Herrenchiemsee castle alone costed more than Neuschwanstein castle and Linderhof castle combined.
While the constructions of the castles were a boost for the local economies the expenses almost lead to the bankruptcy of the Bavarian monarch. Which by the way raised the interesting question of who would be liable for repaying the debts. After all, the king himself was sacrosanct and could not be sued…
Just like Neuschwanstein castle, Herrenchiemsee castle was also opened to the public after Ludwig II had died.
And it still is a highly recommendable destination today with not only an impressive (and in comparison to Neuschwanstein less crowded) castle but also with an interesting museum about King Ludwigs II life and work.
Check out the official website of Herrenchiemsee castle here if you want to learn more about visiting.
Linderhof Castle is situated near the village of Ettal in south-western Bavaria. The construction place was first chosen as a possible site for the building that now is known as Herrenchiemsee Castle.
While Linderhof is the smallest of Ludwig II three castles it is also the only one that was completed during the kings` lifetime.
Construction started in 1869 by enlarging the already present Königshäuschen and was finished in 1878. The castle is built in the style of Rococo and exhibits a French influence:
The castle shows Ludwigs II admiration for the absolutistic french kings like Louis XIV. Ludwig, who was a king of the late 19th. Century did not have that kind of absolutistic power created Linderhof as a place where he could at least feel like an absolutistic king.
In contrast to the French sun-king Louis XIV Bavarian king, Ludwig II saw himself as the night king.
That shows in the layout of the castle. During the absolutistic era, the bedroom was highly important for ceremonial life. The absolutistic king would give his first and his last audience in his bedroom.
While the bedroom in Versailles opens up to the south (symbolic of the sun) the bedroom at Linderhof castle opens up to the north (symbolic of the moon).
But Linderhof castle also shows some of Ludwigs’ odd behaviors. Since the king did not like to see his servants serving him during his mealtimes Linderhof castle had a special table.
That table was designed like an elevator. It could be lowered into the floor under the dining hall where servants would set the table. After everything was prepared the table would be lifted back up to the seat of the king.
In general Linderhof castle was a way smaller and more private retreat. Only four of the rooms in the castle had an actual function.
If you like to get more info about visiting Linderhof Castle you might want to check out their official homepage here.
The King`s House on the Schachten
The king`s house on the Schachten is Ludwig II most modest building. While the three already mentioned castles have impressive outsides the House on the Schachten is a wooden mountain lodge with a quite modest exterior.
The King`s house on the Schachten was built between 1869 and 1872 with breathtaking views of the Zugspitzmassif, Germanys’ highest mountain.
Ludwig II used the lodge for his birthday and name day celebrations.
The building, although modest on the outside, houses a Turkish hall on the inside. That Turkish hall is completely decorated in a lush oriental style with golden walls and a water fountain in the middle of the room.
If you should find yourself in the area of Linderhof castle I would recommend also think about visiting the king`s house on the Schachten. The combination of mountain views and the oriental interior is truly breathtaking.
Check out the official homepage here for more information.
I hope you enjoyed our short overview of the different castles King Ludwig II of Bavaria built. If you want to learn more about king Ludwigs tragic fate you might want to check out my article here.
Take care of yourself because you deserve it. You really do.
Until next time