Travel back in time and discover some of the greatest structures left for us by history. Step inside these fairytale castles and discover wonderful stories about their kings, queens, wars and nations, their secret dungeons and passageways, walk around the blooming gardens and admire the stunning architecture and craftsmanship of the imposing facades and ornate interiors.
1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Built among breathtaking scenery, atop a picturesque hill in the middle of the forest, Neuschwanstein is one of the most recognizable castles in Europe. This Bavarian gem attracts over 1.4 million visitors per year, and has inspired countless tales of beautiful princesses and brave knights (as well as several Disney movies).
2. Buda Castle, Budapest
Buda Castle is the magnificent palace of the Hungarian kings of old. The complex has been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage site, housing several fascinating museums among its narrow alleys and grand churches, including the Ludwig Museum, the National Gallery and the Budapest Historical Museum.
3. Mont Saint-Michel, France
Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most exceptional sights. Located about a kilometer off shore in a breathtaking gulf, this island fortress, complete with its medieval monastery and charming village below, has long inspired wonder in all who set eyes upon it.
4. Windsor Castle, England
Dating back to the 11th century, England’s largest castle (and the largest inhabited castle in the world, with over 500 people living at working there) has long served as a royal residence of Britain’s kings and queens, and it still does to this day. The castle’s imposing stature invokes royalty and history on a grand scale.
5. Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark
The dazzling Frederiksborg Castle, which sits atop three small islands on a shimmering lake, is the largest Renaissance residence in Scandinavia. The impressive structure, idyllic lake and stunning baroque gardens are enough to take your breath away. Today it houses the Danish Museum of National History, which contains an astonishing collection of portrait paintings.
6. Pena Palace, Portugal
The municipality of Sintra, with its fairytale landscape of mist-soaked forests, turreted palaces and awe-inspiring castles, seems a world away from the heat and hubbub of Lisbon. Sintra’s Pena Palace towers over the surrounding landscape as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is used today by the President and other officials for matters of state, but visitors are still welcome to explore the complex and be marveled at its unique beauty.
7. Örebro Castle, Sweden
In the center of the quiet town of Örebro, surrounded by a protective moat, stands this majestic castle, the gathering point in the city for more than 700 years. Once a simple structure, it was rebuilt during the Vasa era into the magnificent royal castle we see today, and through the years has been used as a prison, military base and royal residence. Now a popular tourist attraction, it offers visitors fascinating tours and exhibitions.
8. Corvin Castle, Romania
Though not as widely publicized as some of Romania’s other castles (Bran Castle springs to mind), this is without a doubt one of the most impressive medieval constructions in the country. Contributing to the legendary status of this impressive Gothic-Renaissance structure, there are rumours that Vlad the Impaler (yes, the actual Count Dracula) was imprisoned in the dungeons deep below the castle.
9. Balmoral Castle, Scotland
Balmoral castle has been one of the preferred holiday homes of the British Royal Family since the estate was purchased by Prince Albert as a gift for Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century. It is a beautiful example of Scots Baronial architecture, and its vine-draped façade has captured the imagination of countless visitors.
10. Castelo di Miramare, Italy
Miramare Castle juts out majestically into the Adriatic Sea, standing out in all its magnificence from the beautiful surroundings. This former residence of the Habsburg emperors is surrounded by fantastic scenery of lush tropical flora, but the real allure is within the castle walls, where the perfectly preserved interiors are on display for all to be astounded.
You can find more information and fully packed destination guides with bookable tickets and accommodation at www.arrivalguides.com.