20 of the most beautiful castles in Europe (photo)
Built by kings and queens to protect and rule their lands, the castles not only could withstand attacks, but reflected power and wealth for all to see. As such, sturdy buildings and imposing walls were erected alongside wonderful palaces, full of rooms, halls and rooms of the throne decorated and elaborate.
The most beautiful castles in Europe
In addition to the stunning architecture on display, these castles have often been built in strategic and spectacular locations at the mouths of valleys, at the entrance to mountain passes or on the shores of lakes. Add the weight of history, and these architectural wonders set among stunning landscapes make some of them the most beautiful castles in Europe.
Hohenwerfen Castle (Austria)
Set on a rocky mountain with the Berchtesgaden Alps in the background, Hohenwerfen Castle offers an epic view. Built between 1075 and 1078, the castle and its solid walls are located in the beautiful Salzach Valley, which is just south of Salzburg, Austria.
Throughout its history, it has acted not only as an imposing fort, residence and hunting lodge for the archbishops of Salzburg, but also as a state prison. Now a museum, Hohenwerfen Castle is worth a visit for its fascinating history and stunning setting in the middle of the mountains.
Trakai Island Castle (Lithuania)
As the name suggests, this magnificent castle sits on a small island with the bright waters of Lake Galve surrounding it. Located just outside Vilnius, the imposing red brick fortification once had the greatest strategic importance for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
First built in the second half of the 1960th century, the castle and its magnificent ducal palace were restored to their original appearance and style in the XNUMXs. The Gothic and Romanesque features of Trakai Island Castle look particularly attractive when viewed. over the sparkling waters of the lake.
Miramare Castle (Italy)
Very elegant and refined, the bright white walls of Castello di Miramare stand out charmingly highlighted by the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Trieste. Located a stone's throw from Trieste, in northeastern Italy, the castle was built in the 1850s to house the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian and his wife.
Very suitable for the Habsburg family, the decor and beautiful design of the castle are perfectly complemented by magnificent gardens and a spectacular beachfront park. Now a very popular museum, Castello di Miramare attracts visitors from all over the world, who come to see its original furniture and rooms in all their splendor.
Predjama Castle (Slovenia)
Located on the side of a large and crowded rock, Predjama is certainly one of the most attractive castles in the world, at least visually. Located in the mouth of a cave, its advantageous position made it possible for possible attacks and for defenders to be able to supplement their supplies through a hidden network of cave passages.
Built and destroyed several times over the centuries, Predjama Castle can be found just a short drive from Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana. A wonderful time of year to visit is in July, when it hosts a colorful and chaotic medieval festival and a fun competition.
Kylemore Abbey (Belgium)
Originally known as Kylemore Castle, this fantastic fortification in the west of Ireland was transformed into a Benedictine monastery by Belgian nuns fleeing the battles of World War I. Built in 1868 to be the private home of a wealthy physician, the Gothic Church of the property is beautifully reflected in the waters of Pollacapall Lough.
With enchanting mountains, reflective lakes and rivers flowing around it, Kylemore Abbey has long been one of Galway's most popular attractions and many people come to stroll through its landscaped gardens.
Conwy Castle (Wales - UK)
Located in North Wales, Conwy Castle was built in 1283 by Edward I of England, who sought to conquer the territories of unruly neighbors. Situated in a strategic location on the banks of the River Conwy, the imposing castle played a crucial role in many battles and wars of the following centuries. Featuring not only two barbicani, but also eight large and impenetrable towers, the castle is considered one of the best examples of military architecture in Europe.
While the massive gray-silver stone walls and riverside location certainly offer a beautiful view, its interior is no less impressive thanks to its well-preserved medieval royal apartments.
Bamburgh Castle (England - UK)
Built on the rock of an island on the north-east coast of England, the large and huge Bamburgh Castle has a long and fascinating history that visitors can learn more about. It was the site of a British Celtic fort, a fortification that has remained remarkable in the same place since 420.
Built in the XNUMXth century by the Normans, the present castle has long acted as an important outpost for English monarchs due to its proximity to the Scottish border. Due to its romantic and desolate seaside setting, its majestic towers and collapsing battlements, the photogenic Bamburgh Castle has appeared in numerous books and movies over the years.
Chateau de Chillon (Switzerland)
Located at the eastern end of Lake Geneva, the Chateau de Chillon offers a spectacular view, especially when the Dents du Midi are covered in snow and can be seen in the background. An earlier version of the castle was first built by the Romans to guard the strategic steps through the nearby mountains.
Set on a small island, which is connected to the lake shore by a charming little bridge, the Swiss castle has an artistic and attractive architecture, which is magically reflected in the surrounding waters. A popular day trip from Geneva, the Chateau de Chillon also has some elegant rooms and courtyards for visitors, as well as an atmospheric crypt.
Windsor Castle (England)
Famous throughout the world for being one of the homes of the British royal family, Windsor Castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom. Remarkably, the castle is not only the longest-lived palace in the world, but also the largest.
The size and size of the royal residence make you dream. Luxurious and seemingly endless state apartments can be visited. Originally built in the XNUMXth century, the Georgian and Victorian design of Windsor Castle, extravagant Baroque interiors and refined Rococo furniture make it one of the most beautiful and luxurious castles on Earth.
De Haar Castle (Netherlands)
Rising from a myriad of rose gardens, the elegant turrets and towers of De Haar Castle seem all the more magical. In neo-Gothic style, the beautiful castle is located just outside the city of Utrecht, in the Netherlands, with magnificent ditches, lakes and gardens around it.
Its interior is no less impressive, as the two hundred rooms are all luxuriously decorated with priceless paintings and fabulous furniture. While the first mention of the castle is in 1391, the current romanticized version dates from 1892, when it was restored and renovated from its ruins.
Corvin Castle (Huniazilor) (Romania)
Built in a wonderful Gothic-Renaissance style, Corvin Castle in Transylvania is one of the largest castles in all of Europe. Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Zlasti River, the XNUMXth-century fortress boasts a series of tall towers, as well as impenetrable walls and a sturdy drawbridge.
Numerous myths and legends revolve around the Romanian castle. His attractive and fairytale appearance has been transposed into numerous television shows and movies.
Cochem Castle (Germany)
Set in a picturesque spot overlooking the town of Cochem and the River Moselle, the castle of the same name is surrounded by green hills with lush forests and vineyards around it. The castle has stood on the same hilltop since 1130, but the original castle was destroyed by the plundering troops of Louis IV in 1688.
Restored and rebuilt in a beautiful Gothic Revival style, the current castle is now a popular tourist attraction in German Rhineland. Cochem Castle is fascinating to explore, but the views from the castle towers as well as its towers, the town and the nearby river are just as fascinating.
Swallow's Nest (Crimea)
The castle can be found perched on the edge of a rocky peak in the Crimea. Overlooking the bright waters of the Black Sea, the carefully decorated castle was built in 1911, following romantic neo-Gothic patterns. After appearing in numerous films in the Soviet era, Swallow's Nest is now a popular place to visit among tourists who come here especially for the wonderful scenery, refined architecture and unique views.
Spis Castle (Slovakia)
Located in northeastern Slovakia, Spis Castle has dominated its surroundings since it was built in 1241. Due to its cultural, economic and political importance for the Kingdom of Hungary, the castle continued to grow in size until it became its huge fortress. today.
With impressive and imposing stone walls and towers, as well as a wonderful Romanesque palace, Spis Castle now serves as an interesting and educational museum. With beautiful views of the hills and valleys, this magnificent fort is not to be missed when in Slovakia.
Hohenzollern Castle (Germany)
Whether viewed from the tops of the surrounding trees or from the clouds that revolve around its walls, Hohenzollern Castle always offers an epic view. Situated on top of a prominent mountain of the same name, the Gothic Revival castle and palace have stunning architecture, and the halls and rooms inside are just as charmingly decorated.
While the current castle was completed only in 1867, a fortress has stood on the same mountain since the XNUMXth century. One of the most visited castles in all of Germany, Hohenzollern is still owned by the royal house of the same name.
Alcazar of Segovia (Spain)
The shape very similar to the bow of a ship, Alcazar de Segovia has long attracted tourists due to its distinctive design and stunning decor. Indeed, the magnificent castle and the thin towers of the castle look particularly hard, as they are perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the confluence of two rivers.
Located in central Spain, the well-preserved palace is full of elegant rooms and halls, covered with art and fine furniture. Now a popular museum, the Alcazar of Segovia also has a well-equipped armory and a collection of weapons for visitors.
Bran Castle (Romania)
Commonly known outside Romania as "Dracula's Castle", Bran Castle certainly seems to be the place where a dangerous vampire could live. The Forbidden Fortress is hidden in a forest in Transylvania. Despite its strange appearance, however, the castle has nothing to do with the cruel and barbaric ruler of the XNUMXth century, Vlad the Impaler, who inspired Bram Stoker's novel Dracula.
Bran Castle is definitely worth a visit for its stunning architecture and beautiful scenery, being located in a lush valley. In addition, visitors can now enjoy exploring the castle’s many rooms, which house Queen Maria’s extensive art and furniture collection.
Pena Castle (Portugal)
Definitely the brightest and boldest castle on this list, Pena Palace - as it happens more often - is as unique as it looks. Flooded with color, yellow and red, vivid colors of the walls shine from the prominent frame of the hill in the Sintra Mountains, just outside Lisbon.
Completed in 1854 in a romantic style, its imaginative design is a joy, and the views from the ramparts and gardens seem out of place with princes and princesses. Considering all its fantastic features and exotic and extravagant architectural styles, it will surely be one of the highlights of any trip to Portugal.
Eilean Donan Castle (Scotland - UK)
Located at the junction of three lakes, Eilean Donan of Scotland is truly blessed when it comes to its spectacular scenery. While it is believed that the original version of the castle was built on the small island sometime in the XNUMXth century, the current romanticized and reinvented castle dates back only to the XNUMXth century.
Although its collapsing gray walls and indistinct features may not look as impressive as many other castles, its beautiful surroundings are what really set it apart. Having appeared in countless films and television shows over the decades, Eilean Donan is certainly one of the most famous and recognized castles in all of Europe.
Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany)
Perched on top of a wooded mountain with the Bavarian Alps behind it, Bavarian Neuschwanstein Castle looks like it just came out of a children's fairy tale book. Completed only in 1886, the charming design of the castle is inspired both by the architecture of Romanticism and by the love and appreciation of Ludwig II for the works of Richard Wagner.
Appropriately, the photogenic palace, with its beautiful towers and glorious entrance, actually served as the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. Full of incredible artwork and precious paintings, the interior of the castle is no less exceptional. Visitors can take a tour of its luxurious halls and rooms. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is widely considered one of the most beautiful castles in the world due to its fabulous design and stunning scenery.
That being said, we hope that this top of the castes in Europe will inspire you in your future travels. How many of these castles did you manage to visit?