I love castles. It’s not a secret. Whenever I can I plan on visiting a castle and learn its story and the european ones are incredibly charming. With the help of the lovely readers and fellow travelers I have prepared for you a little list of some castle you might want to visit this summer in Europe. Some of them are vastly famous, so others not so much, but all of them are worth a visit.
1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
I had heard a story once about a castle that made Walt Disney speechless. I was longing to go there ever since. Then one warm and sunny autumn me and my boyfriend packed a car for a little european road trip and Neuschanstein had to be on our way. I am finding it difficult to describe the castle. Well, it can make you forget the words.
2. Hohenschwangau, Germany
3. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
I will risk saying that it is the most romantic castle I have ever seen. It is beautiful surrounded by picturesque Scottish landscapes, it needs to be romantic. Its story though, not so much. Being destroyed and seeing many battles, Eilean Donan keeps a lot of dark secrets. Small, hidden in the Scottish Highlands, Eilean Donan Castle has been portrayed in many movies, for example Highlander. What makes the castle even more interesting is the fact that it is still being used by the family who owns it, so you can see inside the newest family photos and images of the events that are held there from time to time. If you decide to visit the castle, it would be a good idea to reserve a day or two more for visiting the green lands of the Isle of Skye.
See also: Feel the romance of Eilean Donan Castle
4. Kraków, Poland
It is a royal castle en Wawel and the biggest attraction in this beautiful city that used to be the capital of Poland many years ago. This castle however, is mostly known amongst polish children thanks to the dragon legend. It is said that the a not-so-friendly Wawel Dragon lived at the foot of the castle hill during the reign of King Krakus. As it can be predicted, the dragon was causing a lot of trouble to the town people by requiring weekly offerings of cattle. If that could not be met, he was chosing people to satisfy his hunger. After many attempts to stop the dragon, the smarter son of the king fed the dragon with a sheep stuffed with sulfur, that made the beast rather unusually thirsty. Hence the dragon kept on drinking and drinking the water from Vistula river until it his stomach was too small to take anymore liquid and the dragon exploded.
5. Kasteel Heeswijk , Holland
This castle was my recent discovery on my trip to the Netherlands. This charming castle from the 11th century, located in the North Brabant province can be certainly a nice addition to your trip to the region.
6. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
For ten years of living in Edinburgh I was privileged to see this castle nearly every day. It is one of the cities that you can never get bored with. Massively visited by tourists the castle is also a host of a highlight of the Fringe Festival, the Tatoo show. At the end of the festival all visitors are treated with an amazing fireworks show from the castle accompanied by music.
7. Hever Castle, England
Hever Castle is a double moated building that is nearly 700 years old. Built in 1270, it was primarily a medieval defensive castle and then came into the ownership of the famous Boleyn family. It subsequently became the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, who was wife of notorious king Henry VIII and mother to Elizabeth I, arguably one of Britain’s strongest queens. The castle has been kept fantastically, and is exactly how you would imagine a regal Tudor residence to be. It’s just an hour for London and always open for visitors!
Thank you Claire from Clairesfootsteps for inspiring us.
8. Leeds Castle, England
There are few castles that look as aesthetically pleasing as the prestigious Leeds Castle. It stands in the centre of a moat and still looks remarkably unspoilt despite being nearly 1000 years old! It has been a Norman stronghold, the home of medieval queens and the palace of Catherine of Aragon and Henry. Visitors to the castle can enjoy the notable blend of Medieval and Tudor history and the fascinating stories that it tells of its residents. If you’re searching for something quirky, check out the on-site dog collar museum; it’s the world’s oldest collection, some of which date back to the 15th century!
Thank you Claire from Clairesfootsteps for inspiring us.
9. Pena Castle, Portugal
Bursting with colours, the Pena Castle in Sintra easily became the highlight of my trip to Portugal. Being highly addicted to rainbow-coloured objects, this colourful 19th-century Romanticist palace was high on my bucket list. From Lisbon we took a train to Sintra. The castle is located on top of a tremendous hill with beautiful parklands surrounding it. The walk from the town center is quite steep and time-consuming, so taking a bus might be a good idea if you are visiting the place with kids or elderly. Bus fare is 3 euro. I highly recommend visiting the vintage chambers inside the castle and ending your visit by enjoying an unobstracted breathtaking view from the top of the castle.
10. Carcassonne, France
Step back into the past – or at the very least the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves film set! Spent only 1 night in Carcassonne driving to the South of France, it was worth the detour/drive, long walk to the top and definitely warrants a return. The castle is & grounds are massive, let your imagination wonder as you weave through the cobblestone streets especially as the sunsets.
11. Eltz Castle, Germany
Eltz Castle attracted my attention because it is still owned by a branch of the same Eltz family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago! In addition Bürresheim Castle, Eltz Castle and Lissingen Castle are the only castles that have never been destroyed on the left bank of the Rhine River. It is easy half a day trip from Koblenz. I had a nice stroll from the parking lot to the castle with gorgeous views on the way. For getting inside the castle you have to join a guided tour.
12. Alnwick Castle, England
13. Peles Castle, Romania
14. Predjama Grad, Slovenia
15. Alhambra, Spain
Overlooking the beautiful Andalusian town of Granada, Alhambra brings many curious tourists to visit this arabic fortress complex. Apart from the fact that Granada is absolutely stunning (and I think my favourite town in the whole Spain), Alhambra is one of those places that can put a spell on you and make you speechless…and I am not exaggerating. It is beautiful on the inside, decorated with the amount of details that is hard to apprehend and on the outside surrounded by gardens where the peacocks live. Being so beautiful and iconic, the queue is long, so book your ticket in advance.
16. Castillo Jadraque, Spain
A short drive away from the capital of Spain you enter a beautiful landscape (and if you are lucky to be there after rare rain, everything is green) with a XVth century Jadraque castle on a perfect hill.
17. Heidelberg Castle, Germany
18. Inveraray Castle, Scotland
19. Caernarfon Castle, North Wales
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