Dreams in Stone - the palaces of King Ludwig II of Bavaria
Dreams in Stone - the palaces of King Ludwig II of Bavaria: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee is part of the Tentative list of Germany in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The palaces of King Ludwig II of Bavaria comprise three palaces built between 1868 and 1886 in picturesque natural surroundings. King Ludwig II had these palaces built to escape the constraints of politics and representation and to live in the artificial world of his fantasy of ideal royalty. The famous Neuschwanstein Castle recreated a medieval knight's castle, Herrenchiemsee Palace was modelled on the Versailles of Louis XIV, and in Linderhof he created a fantasy park inspired by the Bourbon Kings and the operas by Richard Wagner.
Map of Dreams in Stone - the palaces of King Ludwig II of BavariaLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
From the three castles, all built (or let's say, tried to be) by King Ludwig II, I have only visited Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. Herrenchiemsee sounds like a great third site but is just far away from the other three so I couldn't fit it into a trip and unsure if I ever will. There is also an unsung fourth site called the King's House on Schachen which is a hunting lodge in the Alps and not easily visited, but also not that exciting from the looks of it. I would think that whenever inscribed it's probably not included.
Neuschwanstein, on the Romantic Road, is a highlight for many, many tourists. It doesn't need world heritage status and already has packed tours every 5-10 minutes in multiple languages, with hordes of Japanese and Chinese tourists making up many of them. It also gotten so bad that heaps of tax exempt shops have cropped up around the village below catering these crowds. Nonetheless the castle itself is a masterpiece. The exterior seems complete but inside you only get a few rooms and one large hall that have been completed. It's unclear how the builders worked back in the days because when you build a house now you don't decorate it room by room, do you? Anyhow, everything besides those rooms is just grey walls or used by the staff including the souvenir shop. The rooms that are complete are masterpieces though, showing Ludwig's love for Richard Wagner.
Linderhof is much smaller and as you can see in my picture was unfortunately under renovations during my visit but still open for tourists. It's a typical manor though, not as grandiose as Neuschwanstein or the site at Herrenchiemsee. It's main draw is also the park I think rather than small building.
If you are not familiar with the history, King Ludwig II pretty much spent all the money of the state on building these and ran out of money, died young, and left a huge debt behind. He still seems to be highly regarded due the legendary buildings left behind, and maybe actually making the state money with all the tourist dollars/Euros it brings it now. Go Ludwig!
I think these three castles make a very nice group for a WHT nomination. Of the three I have only visited Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee. I will certainly try to visit Lindenhof too, if only for its camp "Venusgrotte" and its further Wagnerian connections. It seems to have the most interesting park of the three.
These castles are certainly an oddity and this is part of the reason why they should be inscribed! Neuschwanstein needs the least introduction: Its exterior is iconic and its interior quite unusual in it pseudo Wagnerian pomp. A bit of a killer is the handling of the visitors: You get a time slot and a tour guide and then you get more or less chased through the castle because behind you there is already the next group approaching. You get to see only the parts of the castle where the rooms are decorated and furnished. Supposedly the larger part of the castle is unfinished and empty because Ludwig ran out of money!
While Neuschwanstein is a romanticized medieval castle, Herrenchiemsee is neobaroque and Ludwigs personal (and smaller) copy of Versailles. It is a similar visiting experience then in Neuschwanstein. It is a pity because the interiors are so sumptuous and odd that you would wish for more time to study them. It is at the same time absurd and moving that the whole castle is full of painting of Louis XIV whom Ludwig II admired. It is certainly the only castle in the world were you won't find a single image of the ruling king. There is an interesting museum adjacent and included in the price. The very best part of this visit is perhaps not the castle or the museum but the position on the island in the Chiemsee. There is a historically important, monastery that you can visit, french gardens around the castle, large woods and beautiful old trees. The changing views on the lake and the shores are very nice and you see also the sister island of Frauenchiemsee with a nunnery with an impressive church and a rare Carolingian "Torhalle" (gate hall). This is probably not part of the application but is a nice boat ride from Herrenchiemsee and should not be missed.
I visited two of the three castles in this serial property ages ago. They likely deserve full WH recognition purely on the strength of the world-wide fame of Neuschwanstein. Just type "most famous castles" into Google search - and literally the very first picture on top will be that of Neuschwanstein.
The purported inspiration for Disney does look incredibly fetching from distance, but the closer you get to it the more it feels contrived. An over-the-top concoction of a mad king who never got to enjoy his creation. Neuschwanstein is a pretty damning artifact of the royal excesses of the 19th century, but the lack of any other historic significance makes it all the more a theatrical decoration with little substance.
My friends who resided in Bavaria at the time advised me to skip interior tour of the castle, since none of the spaces inside were considered remarkable. I followed their advice, spent a bit of time in the main castle courtyard, which was accessible without a ticket, and then went to and lingered on the Marienbrücke, taking in the iconic perspective of the castle.
Afterwards I drove to Linderhof. The shortest driving route crosses into Austria and goes through delightful Alpine scenery. Linderhof is a proper royal retreat, with a large park full of impressive features, such as the Venus Grotto, a couple of elaborate fountains, and a few other structures worth checking out. The palace itself has relatively intimate dimensions and just a few rooms, sufficiently opulent to dazzle. The guided tour lasted just about half an hour and then I had free run of the park (visit to the grotto was only allowed with a timed guided group). In mid-May, on a cool weekday, arriving at Linderhof in the early afternoon, I did not encounter a large number of fellow visitors - certainly nowhere near the number of people that I had encountered that same morning at Neuschwanstein.
Even adding a possible interior guided visit of Neuschwanstein, it is entirely possible to see both it and Linderhof on a single day-trip from Munich.
The third palace on the list, Herrenchiemsee, was not on my itinerary when I toured Bavaria back then, and I have not managed to return to the area since. Its distance from the other two - and its location on an island in the middle of a lake (which obviously will require a bit more effort to reach) - suggests that seeing all 3 palaces in one day would be a stretch. Herrenchiemsee would require a separate day-trip from Munich.
Read more from Ilya Burlak here.
I finally managed to visit all 3 castles. All of them, especially Neuschwanstein, don’t really need the title for touristic reasons. About 1.5 million visit Neuschwanstein each year. The other 2 castles combined see about the same amount of visitors. Still I personally think need to be on the WH list.
It has the most spectacular location and structure. The castle was inspiration to the Disney Castle. Getting there is pretty easy. Use the highway until Füssen. It’s a short drive from there. The interior of the castle is not too spectacular. You are only allowed to enter by guided tour and no photos are allowed. You can easily visit Hohenschwangau close to the castle (not part of the T-List) and the Wies church.
Schloss Linderhof is the only place where the king actually lived. It’s rather a big house, with nice Baroque and Rococo interior. It has a nice garden and some additional features, like water plays and an artificial cave. Visit in summer. I had my second visit this March (2016) and the cave was closed, all fountains were dry and all statues hidden under massive wooden boxes. Tours only guided and no photos allowed inside. It’s about a 1 hour drive from Neuschwanstein.
The biggest of King Ludwig’s castles is an unfinished attempt to copy Versailles. Like so many others in Europe. It’s the biggest of the castles with the most impressive interior, but the Versaille-like dull exterior. The castle is built on the Herreninsel, the biggest island of the Chiemsee lake. Drive to Prien am Chiemsee and take the boat there. Prien is 1-1.5 hours by car from Munich. Water plays only work in summer. Tours only guided and no photos allowed inside.
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2015 Added to Tentative List
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