Europe’s Top 25 Castles

in Sightseeing

There is something about castles that inspires awe and at the same time touches a gentler, more romantic side in each of us. And if you want to visit and tour some of the best castles in the world, then Europe should be your destination as this continent certainly has more than its share. Here are the top 25 castles in Europe, in no particular order.

1. Castle Neuschwanstein in Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

For many of those that see this castle for the first time, they get a niggling feeling that Castle Neuschwanstein looks so familiar. The reason for this is that the castle looks so much like the Disney castle in Florida! Indeed, some have speculated that that castle was modeled after the “real thing” in Germany. One thing is for sure, this massive castle is quite breathtaking! Built in the 1800s, the castle can be found in Schwangau, in the Bavarian Alps. For the best castle tours in Germany, including a Neuschwanstein castle tour and many other awesome castle tours in Europe, we recommend our trusted tour partner Viator.

2. Peles Castle in Romania

Peles Castle

Peles Castle

Known as one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, Peles Castle can be discovered in the majestic Carpathian Mountains, near the town of Sinaia, Romania. There are 168 rooms in the castle and only 35 are accessible to the public. Recommended rooms include Holul de Onoare, Sala Mare De Arme, Sala De Teatru and Salonul Turcesc . Unfortunately, guided tours are only available of the ground and first floors. Peles Castle is a must-see destination in Romania.

3. Bojnice Castle in Slovakia

Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle is located in Bojnice, Slovakia and is one of the most delightful romantic castles in Europe. The castle dates back to the 12th century and hosts one of the most popular museums in Slovakia. The castle also offers other interesting attractions and hosts many festivals. It is also possible to get married at Bojnice Castle.

4. Castle of Coco in Spain

Castillo de Coca

Castillo de Coca

Built in the 15th century by the Archbishop of Seville, the incredible Castle of Coca or Castillo de Coca is considered to be one of the best castles in Spain. An excellent example of the Gothic and Mudéjar styles, Coca Castle can be found in the town of Coca in the Segovia province in Spain. Guided tours of the interior, exterior and museum are available and highly recommended.

5. Brodick Castle in Scotland

Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle

Situated in the Isle of Arran in Scotland, this castle is one of the oldest. Its roots can be traced back to the time of the Vikings and was in fact built as protection against them. It was the English Dukes of Hamilton that had the fortress built, and over the centuries, generations of the family added on the castle. In 1957, the last Hamilton heir gave up the castle, and visitors can now tour this historic site. Aside from the art collection, there is a rhododendron collection in the garden, which is famous worldwide.

6. Veliki Tabor Castle in Croatia

Veliki Tabor Castle

Veliki Tabor Castle

Built in the 12th century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site member, Veliki Tabor Castle is located in beautiful region of Zagorje, Croatia. The castle was once owned by the noble Ratkaj family and the painter Oton Iveković. The castle is now owned by the state and is used as a tourist site, museum, the venue for the Tabor film festival and other cultural and leisure events.

7. Ksiaz Castle in Poland

Ksiaz Castle

Ksiaz Castle

Also known as the Pearl of Lower Silesia, Ksiaz Castle was built in the 13th century by Bolko I the Strict. The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the years. It was once confiscated by the Nazis and then occupied by the Red army. Guided tours of the castle for tour groups and individual tourists are available in the spring and summer between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday.

8. Bran Castle in Romania

Bran Castle

Bran Castle

Originally built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order in 1212, Bran Castle is located just outside of Bran, in the Eastern European country of Romania. Set in the hills, this picturesque castle has close ties to the legend of Dracula, and has been converted into a museum popular with tourists visiting the area.

9. Lincoln Castle in England

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle is in Lincolnshire and was built in 1068. As with many other European castles, Lincoln Castle is steeped in history, but it has the additional distinction of being one of only two castles in the country that were originally built on two mottes. More than this, Lincoln Castle used to be the home of William the Conqueror.

10. Eltz Castle in Germany

Burg Eltz Castle

Burg Eltz Castle

Eltz Castle is situated in the hills between Koblenz and Trier in West Germany.  It is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Germany and has been owned by the same branch of family for over 800 years. Guided tours of the castle are recommended and cost € 8.00 for adults and € 5.50 for children. Eltz Castle is open from April to November and can be visited daily between 9.30am and 5.30pm.

11. Mont Saint-Michel in France

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel

Another striking European castle, Mont Saint-Michel near Normandy never fails to impress. It is actually considered to be a medieval wonder, because of the fact that it is built on a rocky peak. Mont Saint-Michel was originally an abbey and served as a popular destination for pilgrims. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France.

12. Malbork Castle in Poland

Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle

Listed as a World Heritage Site in 1997, Malbork castle was founded in Prussia in 1274 by the Teutonic Order. Today, this beautiful Gothic brick castle complex can be visited by taking a short 60 minute trip from Gdansk, Poland. Malbork Castle offers excellent guided tours, permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as archival exhibits.

13. Castle Frankenstein in Germany

Castle Frankenstein

Castle Frankenstein

This castle is so famous because of it’s the myths and stories surrounding in. More than these legends, Frankenstein’s Castle has its own real history. Discover this mysterious castle on your own, and enjoy Frankenstein come to real life.

14. Castle of Eger in Hungary

Castle of Eger

Castle of Eger

Castle Eger is one of Hungary’s most popular tourist attractions and is well worth a visit. The castle is about a 90 minute train ride from Budapest. The castle dates back to 13th century and is famous for fending off the massive Turkish army invasion in 1552.  There are four excellent museums in the castle as well as other interesting exhibitions for you to see.

15. Windsor Castle in England

Winsor Castle

Windsor Castle

Who has not heard of Windsor Castle? Located in the English county of Berkshire, Windsor Castle is one of the most perfectly maintained castles in the world. Of course, the renowned guards who do not flinch are also present here. Even better, the castle is in a quaint little town with everything “English-quaint” to be found here.

16. Trakai Castle in Lithuania

Trakai Castle

Trakai Castle

Situated in the town of Trakai in Lithuania,  Trakai Castle is a brilliant example of Gothic architecture. There are actually two castles to see at Trakai – one on an island, and one on the shore of Lake Galvė.  The castle hosts an excellent museum that is filled with Lithuanian artifacts and other interesting objects that were discovered on the castle grounds. A day trip from Vilnius to Trakai castle is recommended.

17. Spis Castle in Slovakia

Spis Castle

Spis Castle

Dating back to the 12th century, Spis Castle is one of largest medieval castles in the Central Europe and is situated above the town of Spišské Podhradie. The castle was declared a national monument in 1961 and was once owned by the Royal Family. Spis Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

18. Hohensalzburg Castle in Austria

Hohensalzburg Castle

Hohensalzburg Castle

Built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard, Hohensalzburg Castle is located in the picturesque Austrian town of Salzburg. This massive fortress sits over the city on Festungsberg hill and is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Guided tours with audio in eight languages are available or you can tour the castle at your own leisure.

19. Canterbury Castle in England

Canterbury Castle

Canterbury Castle

Another really really old castle, the Canterbury Castle was built in the 3rd century. As with other castles, Canterbury Castle was added on to over the centuries. And while the castle is not intact anymore, it still is a wonder to behold.

20. Predjama Castle in Slovenia

Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle

Built into a natural rock formation in Slovenia, Predjama Castle is a popular destination for visitors of the area. Now a museum showcasing the life of various medieval lords, Predjama Castle has been rebuilt twice, after experiencing war and natural disaster. This remarkable Renaissance castle is unassuming in its beauty, but is a must-see for enthusiasts

21. Pembroke Castle in Wales

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle

Situated on the banks of the River Estuary, Pembroke Castle has tunnels, passageways, and stairways that one can explore. Tudor buffs will also love the fact that Henry Tudor was born here. Another plus: the castle is mostly intact.

22. Hunyad Castle  in Romania

Hunyad Castle

Hunyad Castle

Said to be the home of lingering spirits, Hunyad Castle is a relic of the Hunyad dynasty, and situated in Romania. Also known as Hunedora Castle, this magnificent structure was built in the 14th Century in Gothic style, and is famous for supposedly being the home of imprisoned Vlad III for 7 years, before he was dethroned in 1462.

23. Chateau de Versailles in France

Chateau de Versailles

Chateau de Versailles

Chateau de Versailles was built as a hunting lodge by Louis the XIII. Soon after, the lodge was upgraded to a castle and became the official residence of the Court of France. Over the years, and many monarchs later, the castle evolved into what it is today.

24. Kyrenia Castle  in Cyprus

Kyrenia Castle

Kyrenia Castle

Located on the picturesque northern coast of Cyprus, Kyrenia Castle was built on the eastern side of the village’s harbour. Surviving several small sieges, and a four year long war, this 16th Century castle is one of the main tourist attractions for the area, rich in diverse history.

25. Prague Castle in the Czech Republic

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

This castle is the pride of the Czech Republic’s capital.  Prague Castle has been at the center of the country’s history for the longest time, and continues to be a symbol of its struggles.  The castle, which is known as one of the largest in the world, was built in the ninth century and stands majestic till today.  You can take a guided tour of the Prague Castle every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tours are offered in six languages: Czech, English, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish.

Book a recommended castle tour in Europe with our trusted tour partner Viator

Czech Republic

Denmark

England

France

Germany

Hungary

Italy

Ireland

Lithuania

Portugal

Poland

Scotland

Slovenia




What Next?
Follow us on Twitter
Become a fan at Facebook
Subscribe to offtoeurope.com here

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • MySpace
  • Google Bookmarks
  • del.icio.us
  • Sphinn
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Mixx
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Print

Related posts:

  1. Five Hidden Architectural Gems in Europe
  2. Transylvania by Daylight
  3. 25 Beautiful Photos of Europe
  4. Romania: What to Do and See in Romania
  5. Czech Republic: Things to Do & See in Prague

{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Turkey Traveller

Would love to visit Mont Saint Michel always remeber it from the car adverts, am going to Croatia for my summer hols so hopefully will get to check out Veliki Tabor Castle …..

Benjamin Koshkin

Well, I guess they’re not making em like they use to.
Benjamin Koshkin

Gill

They don’t make them like they used to any more, 1. Because there are few people in the world today with any taste & 2. I doubt there is anyone with sufficent money or time to built such breathtaking structures!

Samuel

these are nice castles but you just missed the most beautiful ones in France !!! this ranking is nothing but oriented….

Airport Taxi Service

very beautiful places Thanks for sharing such a nice Europe’s Castles…
hope when i will be there i like to hire a Limo car and visited the castle.. site. . :) :)

Website laten maken

WOW.. amazing !

Arnold Nagy

I hope people know that every single Castle presented under the country “ROMANIA” was actually built by us HUNGARIAN-s back when that land was ours. It became “romania” in 1914ish!

Ramos

arnold yout history sucks and it sucks a lot!the city of Sinaia and Bran where in Valachia not in the Austro-hungarian empire.Take a look on the old maps of Europe and you will see that i’m right. ;)

Transylvania, Romania

wow, Romania with 2 castles in Top 8 and 3 in Top 25! that’s great!

ami

@ Arnold Nagy

John Hunyadi was actually of Wallachian descent, but of course Transylvania being under Austro-Hungarian ocupation at the time, he is considered hungarian as he spent a lot of time at the court. Keep in mind that the rest of the castles might have been ordered by the hungarian rulers, but the people who built them and who paid for them were in fact, Romanians as they are the overwhelming majority of people in Transylvania.

Hungary historian

Arnold Nagy – You personally built all those castles in Romania? :D You should learn some history first. Hungarians (or better to say magyars) were minority in old Hungarian Empire (approx 30%, it was even less in Austria-Hungary empire). And approximately only 30% of historic buildings even in today’s Hungary (within their borders) were build by hungarians. And do you know who built most of your beautiful Budapest? Slovaks did, you big hungarian emperor.

paddy

I have to say europe may have the largest proliferation of castles, with good variety, but Krak de Chevailers immediately springs to my mind as the most impressive castle in the world, seconded by the alhambra. i havnt been to the former but there’s something romantic and exotic about the alhambra’s muslim design. The Krak has such an interesting history that it can’t but catch your imagination. European castles just fail to catch my imagination, apart from my local parke’s castle. I remember muckin around there as a young fella.

castlelover

Absolutely beautiful castles, no doubt. But not a single Japanese castle?!? There are several Japanese castles (Himeji, Matsumoto, Nagoya, Matsuyama, Kiyosu, Osaka, etc) that easily rival any in Europe for pure beauty and splendor. Also, check out Bled castle in Slovenia.

takeda

@arny nagy: we like to believe that our “castelan” heritage in is mostly german…

Scott

Uh… what about Italy? I’ve seen three on this list, but there are some in Rome and Naples that definitely rival these. Give credit where credit is due.

rockit

From 896 to 1921 Transsylvania was hungarian. The castles from Romainia was built by hungarians! (2,22, maybe 8, I dont’t know.) And whole Slovakia was the part of Hungary. (3,17)

Lee

CHECK OUT BAMBURGH CASTLE! IT’S A BEAUTY! XX

mono

@rockit: stop talking nonsense. I suggest you READ THE HISTORY OF DACIA EMPIRE AND THE CONQUIST OF THE ROMANS at the begining of the IInd Century. This period is known as the ROMANISATION OF THE DACS (when the romanians where born). Transilvania was part of Dacia; please make a short search on google, wikipedia etc to see the old map of Dacia…i’m sure you will be very surprised when you will discover that it’s very close to the map of ROMANIA TODAY!!!! in the Xth Century the magyar&the habsburgs conquisted Transilvania and there were always fights for this territory until 1918 when it became ROMANIAN as it should be!

Gerula

@ Nagy ….

Das Schloss wurde zwischen 1873 und 1883 für König Carol I. von Rumänien erbaut. Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, ab 1866 Carol I. ….war er ungarisch???

Fane

@rockit Liar. Peles was never in Hungary (always in Wallachia) as anyone could see and Transylvania with a majority of romanians (all of it’s history) was independent also, so not in Hungary under any circumstances.

Lori

Just now discovered this post and I simply loved it :) I’m proud to see that there are 2 castles from Romania (my country) mentioned here too. Lovely post and interesting selection!

Lori

Sorry – 3 castles from Romania :)

zmag

You should check Portuguese Castles like the outstanding Palácio da Pena!

dodofood

How can you make a list like this and not include the French castle of Pierrefonds? This is a gross oversight.

Neil

Some beauties in here. Loved Mont Saint-Michel in particular. Edinburgh Castle?

Pedro

Excellent list, but it’s a shame you didn’t post any Portuguese castle and you only make reference to one in Lisboa when we have amazing ones by the dozens throughout the country. :(

Guest

Amazing estates, but not the best choice of “castles”.
Castle is a fortified structure with an option for residence, but not a fancy dwelling. The purpose of a castle is defense and residence for military forces, not glamorous living. The construction of castles ended in the 17th century when a regular army and nation-states emerged.
Some of the mentioned structures are mostly 19th-century manors styled as castles, these are Neuschwanstein, Peles , Bojnice, and Coco. Chateau de Versailles and Windsor are rather stately homes, looking more like palaces. Some real former medieval castle, like Malbork, were so heavily rebuilt or restored that they look too new. Surprising, but even Carcassonne was restored (or reconstructed, because there’s no evidence that it looked like this in the Middle Ages) in the 19th century.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: