Europe is home to some of the most stunning and historically significant castles in the world. From the towering walls of Edinburgh Castle in Scotland to the romantic Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, there is something for everyone. Here are the top five European castles you need to visit.
Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany)
Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace located in southwestern Bavaria, Germany. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and is often referred to as the “fairy tale castle” due to its remarkable interior and exterior design. It is one of the most visited castles in Europe and is a popular tourist attraction.
The castle is situated on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau and is surrounded by lush green forests and the sparkling blue Alpsee lake. Its main building stands at more than 100 meters (328 feet) above the lake, and visitors can take in breathtaking views of the surrounding alpine landscape.
Edinburgh Castle (Scotland)
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Europe and should be on the top of anyone’s list of castles to visit. Located in Edinburgh, Scotland, the castle dates back to the 12th century and is perched atop a rocky crag in the heart of the city. From its lofty position, it provides stunning views of the city and the surrounding area.
Inside the castle walls, visitors can explore a variety of attractions, including:
- The Great Hall
- Crown Room
- Royal Apartments
- War Memorial
The castle also houses the Scottish National War Memorial, the National War Museum of Scotland, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum, and the One o’clock Gun, which has been fired everyday since 1861.
The castle grounds also include the Stone of Destiny, where Scottish kings and queens have been crowned for centuries, as well as the Half Moon Battery and the Prisons of War Exhibition. Additionally, there are several free entertainment events that are often held at the castle, including a traditional military tattoo, evening concerts, and fireworks displays.
Château de Chambord (France)
Château de Chambord is a magnificent 16th century castle located in the Loire Valley of France. It is the largest château in the Loire Valley and is one of the most recognizable symbols of the French Renaissance. The castle was built for King Francis I by the renowned architect, Pierre Nepveu, and was completed in 1547.
Château de Chambord is truly a sight to behold. Its grand structure stands out against the surrounding landscape, with its impressive towers, steep roofs, and intricate ornamentation. The exterior is adorned with ornate towers and steeply-pitched roofs and the interior features beautiful decorative features such as frescoes, tapestries, and sculptures. Château de Chambord is also home to a spectacular double helix staircase, believed to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
Alcázar of Segovia (Spain)
The Alcázar of Segovia is an iconic castle located in Segovia, Spain. Built in the 12th century, this castle is an incredible example of Spanish medieval architecture and is said to be an inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Sitting atop a rocky crag and surrounded by the Eresma and Clamores Rivers, this castle is a stunning sight.
The castle is composed of three parts:
- The Alcázar
- Cuesta de Aldonza Lorenzo
- The Torre de Juan II
Each part of the castle offers something unique and interesting to explore. The Alcázar is the most famous part of the castle and is home to the Royal Palace, which is filled with tapestries, sculptures, and beautiful furniture. The Cuesta de Aldonza Lorenzo is a winding path that leads to the Torre de Juan II and has stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The Torre de Juan II is the highest tower of the castle, offering a breathtaking view of the city below.
Eltz Castle (Germany)
Eltz Castle is one of the few castles in Europe that has been in the same family for over 850 years. Located in the hills of the Rhineland Palatinate in Germany, the castle is surrounded by the Elzbach River, which provides a tranquil and picturesque setting.
The castle is built in the Romanesque style, with a grand sandstone entrance. Inside, you will find a number of luxurious rooms, including a grand hall, chapel, and armory. The castle is also filled with antiques and art pieces, making it a great place to explore.
Europe is home to some of the world’s most stunning castles. These five castles are some of the most beautiful, unique, and historically significant sites in all of Europe, and they are sure to provide an unforgettable experience to any traveler. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or just looking for a unique cultural experience, a visit to one or more of these magnificent castles is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. You can also learn about the great historical monuments of Europe here.
Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace located in southwestern Bavaria, Germany. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and is often referred to as the “fairy tale castle” due to its remarkable interior and exterior design.
No one lives in Edinburgh Castle permanently. The castle is open to the public and is run by Historic Environment Scotland.