No matter how cynical we become, there’s just something about an ancient castle that brings out our childlike curiosity and wonder. They evoke our childhood years when we loved nothing more than a good story, whether a fairy tale, ghost story, or legends of old kings and queens.
The ancient tales of history still live and breathe within the walls of the well-preserved castles and palaces of Europe. You can’t help but feel a thrill as you view the walls, towers, and stately dining rooms that housed kings, queens, princes and princesses of ages past.
Any castle in Europe is worth a visit, but if your time is limited, there are a few must-sees.
Do any of them inspire you? Check out our website for luxury tours to the historic landmarks of this continent.
The reclusive King Ludwig II built this castle in Schwangau, Germany as his retreat from the world. After his death, it was opened to the public and now hosts thousands of visitors each day.
The Chateau of Chambord
François I constructed this chateau in the Loire Valley of France in 1519, and much of the dramatic and awe-inspiring architecture remains intact to this day.
Windsor Castle, in the UK, has the distinction of being the oldest inhabited castle in the world. The kings and queens of Great Britain have made this their home for the last 1000 years.
This castle in Chenonceau, France still retains its original architecture and collections. It also has a unique story to tell, interconnected with some of the most powerful women of France’s history.
Bran Castle in the Transylvania region of Romania, known as the “Dracula castle,” is a magnet for vampire enthusiasts. It also features the historic original collections of the last monarch who lived there, Queen Maria.
This legendary palace in Granada, Spain is listed as one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites with good reason. The gorgeous Moorish architecture, elevated on a plateau above the city, is guaranteed to stun the senses and the imagination.
This romantic park and palace in Sintra, Portugal was constructed by King Ferdinand III in the 19th century. The park boasts luxurious, exotic gardens and forest.
This castle overlooking Segovia, Spain was constructed by King Philip II in the 14th century. Shaped like the bow of a ship, its unique design has always been a draw for visitors.
The Castle of Ravadinovo
The most recent entry on this list, this castle in Bulgaria was created by architect Georgi Tumpalov to reflect the fairy tale settings of a bygone era. It is strategically located in a spot where sunshine and wind play together for a romantic effect.
This ancient fortress is set among stunning Alpine scenery in Austria which once formed the backdrop to the famous movie The Sound of Music. A discovery trail allows you to explore the way the occupants lived 900 years ago.
King Edward I built this fortress on the north coast as part of his conquest of Wales in the late thirteenth century. It is still considered one of the finest medieval examples of military architecture.
This castle, perched high atop Mount Hohenzollern in southwest Germany, was built as a memorial to the imperial Hohenzollern family in 1867. You can also find many historic artifacts here, such as the crown of King Wilhelm II and a letter to a family member from General George Washington.
This castle in Wierschem, Germany has been carefully preserved as a monument to the period when it was built, 850 years ago. The wildlife in the surrounding Eltz Forest also remains untouched.
Find out how you can unlock some of the thrilling secrets of these ancient palaces and castles on your next tour.
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