TOP 10 MOST BEAUTIFUL CASTLES IN EUROPE
Do you ever wonder what it would be like in a real-life fairy tale castle? Wonder no more.
We give you a list of our Top 10 most beautiful castles to visit in Europe.
Sometimes romantic and beautiful, sometime harsh and sinister. Have a look for yourself and find some travel inspiration.
NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE, FUESSEN, GERMANY
A Top 10 most beautiful castles list would not be complete without Neuschwanstein Castle. Long before Walt Disney found his inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle, Neuschwanstein was a refuge for Germany’s King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The castle of the sometimes described “mad” fairy-tale king opened 7 days after his death in 1886 to the public. Ever since then it has drawn big crowds. More than 7000 visitors per day make Neuschwanstein castle the most popular tourist destination in Germany. Only 14 of the castle’s rooms were ever finished. They’re however impressive with lavish gold leaf, ornate woodcarving and massive murals. The design reflects the king’s fascination with the myths and characters of Richard Wagner’s operas. Romantic.
BRAN CASTLE, BRAŞOV, ROMANIA
Commonly known as Dracula’s castle, although Bram Stoker never visited Romania. Bran Castle still attracts many goose bump seekers, literature fans and curious visitors from all over the world. Fog covers the castle frequently. Because of that the bleak appearance already sends shivers down your spine. A ring of Transylvanian mountains guards this beautiful medieval castle while it oozes with myths and secrets. To dare is to do, go visit it! Scary.
CHAMBORD CASTLE, LOIR-ET-CHER, FRANCE
A stunning masterpiece of French Renaissance architecture. Chambord Castle is the largest Château in Loire Valley of France. First and foremost Francis I built it in 1519 as a hunting lodge and a place to host international visitors. Therefore the 440 rooms (!) have hardly ever been lived in. Secret passages, hidden rooms and dozens of staircases, including a double helix ornate the castle. These are suspected to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci. This absolutely amazing site also includes a massive park and a wild life reservoir. Magnificent.
LEEDS CASTLE, KENT, UNITED KINGDOM
First, it’s worth mentioning that Leeds Castle is not in Leeds, but in Kent. Only opened to the public in 1974, this stunning castle sits on two islands in the middle of a lake. Built by Henry I it was also the residence of six of England’s medieval queens. Ever since then the castle has the nickname “Ladies castle”. Therefore Leeds Castle is romantic, authentic, full of history and simply grand. It now hosts year-round cultural events, three restaurants, a bed-and-breakfast and a wedding venue. Pretty.
PENA PALACE, SINTRA, PORTUGAL
Pena Palace is colourful romanticist castle. It glows red and yellow above the town of Sintra. As it’s so colourful you can see it on a sunny day from 30km away Lisbon. The UNESCO World Heritage was built merging Gothic, Manueline and Moorish architecture which is unique in southern Europe. Feeling surreal at first, Sintra’s magic catches the visitors quickly. Because of that many describe it as the most beautiful place in Portugal. Quirky.
BOJNICE CASTLE, BOJNICE, SLOVAKIA
The most visited castle in Slovakia. Bojnice Castle looks like it’s coming straight out of a fantasy movie with princesses, dragons and evil dwarfs. Its foundations date back to 1113, but today’s castle was built by Count Pálffy in 1889. He admired the majestic castles of the Loire Valley. Therefore he collected a vast art collection and beautifully decorated the interior. Thrill seekers book a guided tour through the caves under the castle or go ghost hunting at night. Mysterious.
ALCAZAR OF SEGOVIA, SEGOVIA, SPAIN
The Alcazar of Segovia was built as a fortress. It almost looks like a boat stranded on a hill. But the imposing structure has an illustrious past. It used to be the royal palace (Queen Isabella I was crowned here in 1474), a state prison and a military academy. Its current role is a splendid museum of exceptional paintings and furniture. Because of that Hollywood chose it as the home of Sir Lancelot in “Camelot”. The castle also inspired Walt Disney when dreaming up Cinderella’s castle. Impressive.
HOHENZOLLERN CASTLE, BLACK FOREST, GERMANY
This little know gem sits on the periphery of the Swabian Alb. And for almost 1000 years Hohenzollern Castle has been the ancestral seat of the Prussian kings. The current residents are in direct line to the Prussian royals. As it is their home and meticulously looked after. The castle hosts a magnificent art collection and the Prussian kings crown. The current residents also host numerous events such as Open air cinema, art exhibitions and one of Germany’s most beautiful Christmas markets. All of this makes the castle a must-see on everyone’s tour to the Black Forest. Majestic.
HOHENSALZBURG CASTLE, SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
The city’s landmark, Hohensalzburg Castle is sitting majestically on a hill overlooking the city. It’s impossible to miss from anywhere in the city centre. A must-see for every visitor and our favourite of the Top 10 most beautiful castles. Considered as one of Europe’s biggest fortresses no one has ever conquered the castle since it was built in the 11th century. Take a funicular up the 506m high hill and explore its fully intact structure. Reward yourself with magnificent views of the Alps. Afterwards wander down the small alleys back to the city centre. Grand.
INVERARAY CASTLE, INVERARY, SCOTLAND
Inveraray Castle nestles beautifully by the banks of the Loch Flyne amid some of the Highland’s most impressive scenery. The producers of “Downton Abbe” choose the home of the Duke of Argyll for their “Christmas special” and called it “Duneagle”. While there tour the impressive gallery of state rooms and the vast garden with 16 of acres parkland and flower bed. To make it an even more memorable experience, stay in former gamekeeper’s cottage. Heart-warming.
So this is our list of the Top 10 most beautiful castles in Europe! If you want to visit one of them or better all get in touch:
For more travel inspiration check out our Where To Go blog. And if you love mountains and lakes as much as we do book yourself a Tailor Made Alps Tour with us.
See you in a castle!