Visit any country in Europe, and you’re likely to stumble across a castle or two along your way – though some of those will be in better repair than others. Exploring crumbling castle ruins is rewarding in itself, but if you want to see a castle that’s still in all of its glory, head to one of these magnificent monuments on your European travels.
Windsor Castle, UK
Although Windsor Castle is just one of the British Royal Family’s residences, this beautiful Berkshire home is one of the most outstanding castles in the world. Sprawling out over thirteen acres, parts of Windsor Castle date as far back as the 11th century, and although it is occupied you can visit and take tours of certain parts of this estate.
Photo Credit: Patrick Breen
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
The city of Prague has numerous fabulous attractions for tourists, but none can quite top Prague Castle, which also happens to be the largest medieval castle in Europe. Since 870 AD Prague Castle has been home to the Czech Republic’s kings and rulers, and now the President. Grab cheap flights to Prague and spend hours wandering around the large courtyards, museums, art galleries, great halls and much more, all within the castle grounds.
Photo Credit: Mo Costandi
Peles Castle, Romania
Embodying the grand Neo-Renaissance architectural style, Peles Castle in Romania was completed in 1914, making it one of the newest castles in Europe and the first to have central heating and electricity. Sitting at the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, Peles Castle could be straight out of the pages of a fairytale book, particularly with its lush gardens through which babbling streams flow.
Photo Credit: jtriefen
Castle Neuschwanstein, Germany
If you’re a fan of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, you might think that Castle Neuschwanstein looks a little familiar. That’s because this is the castle that inspired the fortress in which Aurora awaited her prince, and although you won’t find any sleeping princesses here today, you will find majestic, romantic architecture, and a fascinating story about its original owner, King Ludwig II.
Photo Credit: Alberto Racatumba
Buda Castle, Hungary
Overlooking the Danube River is Buda Castle, an exquisite example of Gothic architecture that has been lovingly restored and rebuilt on numerous occasions through the centuries. It’s now an essential destination for visitors on flights to Budapest, as is the entire Castle District that surrounds Buda Castle, which has been awarded status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Photo Credit: Trys
Bran Castle, Romania
Sink your teeth into the legend of Dracula with a visit to Bran Castle, where Vlad the Impaler, the real inspiration for the fictional vampire, was said to have lived. These reports have widely been discredited but the imposing Bran Castle remains a captivating place to visit, with its many turrets and towers and pines surrounding its perimeter.
Photo Credit: Nomad Tales