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




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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Raph

I have been to Mont Saint Michel in France and it is amazing

Mongozo

One other reason Castle Neuschwanstein looks familiar to some of us. In the computer games SimCity 3000 and SimCity4, Neuschwanstein is one of the landmark buildings featured in the game.

Voica

Wow, Romania has 2 castles in the top ten + another one! I’m so proud 😀

Cher pearce

wow they are beautiful.. its official.. i want to live in a castle!

Thanks for sharing:)

Nichtidentisches

it would be more difficult, if you would have listed europes most unpopular castles…that are situated mostly in Ghana: Elmina, Princesstown and Cape Coast.

Cole

Where’s Burg Eltz?

Bryan D

great list, I would put this bad boy at 26.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himeji_Castle

Max
brian k

It might qualify more as a “palace” than a “castle,” but Dolmabahce Sarayi in Istanbul, Turkey is STUNNING.

http://users.rowan.edu/~polikar/GIFS/dolmabahce.jpg

Camille

Being Romanian I’m excited that you put three Romanian castles in this top 25 of Europe. However I feel that the Kronborg castle in Denmark should have also been included! It’s an amazing place to visit, and it’s Hamlet’s castle. Yeah, THAT Hamlet.

Check it out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kronborg

Pedro

I’m really disappointed to see that you haven’t included any Portuguese castles. There are amazing castles in Portugal.

Yolande Pienaar

What a wonderful and informative post. It is incredible to think that these architectural wonders survived through centuries of war and turmoil. I only hope that they will be preserved for the generations to come.

e cigarette

breathtaking!

Carita

Prague Castle truly is magnificent, as is the part of Prague it’s located in, it really has a fairytaley feeling to it… I miss the Czech Republic

putue

What a beautiful panorama. they are well-maintained.

Cole

Oh, Burg Eltz is number ten. Oops 🙂

Matilda Ruffle

Crac des Chevaliers of the Crusades period in Syria is also pretty impressive (not to mention old and seeped in history).

John in Santa Fe

Now I want to go traveling. Maybe with a really good-looking History major . . .

d.

Funny how the narrator says Neuschwanstein is reminiscent of Disneyland rather than the other way round.
I wonder what continent he lives on.

Mark H

What a great spread of castles through Europe. Maybe Denmark should have an entry or two for its extensive collection but an inspiring set to try to visit.

Sir

Nice ones…but mine is missing.

shannon

i think you’ve forgotten cinderella’s castle.

Vrnjacka Banja

I have been in Czech Republic’s capital, and very beautifully.

Christine

Portugal has also a nice little colection of Castles such as:
Guimarães: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guimar%C3%A3es”
Obidos: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93bidos,_Portugal”
S. Jorge: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A3o_Jorge_Castle”
and many more…

KRK

HUNGARY,
HUNYAD (VAJDAHUNYAD VÁR)

Yuzu

you know the first castle is also the castle in chitty chitty bang bang.

rob

I think Arundel castle in West Sussex deserves more of a mention than Canterbury castle as far as England goes. Nice to see Trakai, Lithuania on the list!

As for Prague castle, it’s very difficult to know where it begins and where it ends when you’re actually there! I thought it was more a collection of buildings than a castle. Great views of the city though.

Sceeeb

There are 25 better castles in Scotland alone……………

Luis Barral

I cannot believe you did not mention the alcazar in Segovia !

Please consider.

Aaron Schubert

I can’t say I have ever had much of an interest in castles, but after seeing these pictures you have converted me! They are incredible!

Aaron

Dezso

Bran Castle… there has been a mistake. It wasn’t built by the teutonic order in 1212, but in 1377 on the order of Ladislav the 1st of Hungary the sachs begin to build the castle, so that the romanian Voievod’s would not invade transilvania, and to foresee an important trading route.
Hunyad vara was also not of romanian origin, but of Hungarian. It was built by the father of one of the greatest kings of Hungary, by Hunyadi Janos, who defeated the turks in 1496 in Bratislava, and he is the reason that the cathlic churches ring their bells at 12:00 a clock.

Daniel

how many of them are officially haunted? 🙂

Harry

Only one Scottish castle in there, and it’s not Eilean Donan?

Fail.

Zach Everson

Good list, but no Edinburgh Castle? It’s a great one–and not just because I proposed to my wife in front of it.

William Wallace

Brodick Castle is indeed a castle worth visiting, but I would have expected to have seen Edinburgh Castle on the list…..

Jan

Amazing list and spectacular photos! From the comments it seems you could make a top 50 castles post. I’d like to add this citadel in Besancon to be considered: Citadelle de Besançon

z

Hohenzollern castle should be on the list too.

calgary web design

you are missing key castles:

Carcossone : largest free standing castle there is 2 hotel in it -cars drive through it.
also the one in spain that walt disney copied

the dammes castle in southern france

Nepal expedition

wow whats nice Castles. i like to visit once

Nepal Travel

i have been “Windsor Castle in England” with my family 3 years ago. its one of the best one but i did not know. i know with your blog. thanks for sharing best Castles in europe . i have plan to visit after 1 year for my business promotion at that time definately i will visit. thanks for sharing

Best regard
Nepal travel

victor estef

U folks should read a little more attentive,it was not written that Bran and Hunyadi castle were built roumanian,it’s only listed that they are today roumanian,so better post your revanchistic literature to other forums… i personally think Mont Saint Michel should habe been number two; after all the Burg in Budapest was build by germans in the time the city was ruled german with the name of Ofen but no german wants to remind u that: this seems to be really subjektive posted by amateurs,i think the brits ,spaniards and portuguese,danish and swedes too are too low represented,so thi is only a turist guide to be enjoyed . so enjoy!!!

victor estef

i really think i just left my comment ,so enjoy everybody; in Mecklenburg -Vorpommern in germany there are so many water sited castles u ,can’t even count,or let;s say the valle de loire in france.

davey87

5 hungarian castle
Törcsvár(Bran-Transylvania-Romania) “King Sigismund of Hungary ordered the construction of a stone castle in 1377…”
Hunyad Castle (Romania) Until 1541 it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary..,The castle is a relic of the hungarian Hunyadi dynasty and Matthias Corvinus of Hungary
Szepes vára(Spis Castle-Slovakia) Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier castle. It was the political, administrative, economic and cultural centre of Szepes County of Hungary. Before 1464, it was owned by the kings of Hungary, afterwards (until 1528) by the Szapolyai family, the Thurzo family (1531-1635), the Csáky family (1638-1945)
Bajmóc (Bojnice Castle-Slovakia) Its first owner was Máté Csák, who received it in 1302 from the King Ladislaus V of Hungary. Later, in the 15th century, it was owned by King Matthias Corvinus, who gave it to his illegitimate son John Corvinus in 1489…
Eger Castle
+info
Treaty of Trianon on June 4, 1920,
Hungary lost 72% of its territory, and lost its sea ports in Croatia, 3,425,000 ethnic Hungarians found themselves separated from their motherland. Hungary lost 8 of its 10 biggest Hungarian cities.

davey87

” after all the Burg in Budapest was build by germans in the time the city was ruled german with the name of Ofen”
The first royal residence on the Castle Hill was built by King Béla IV of Hungary between 1247 and 1265 .
The Gothic palace of King Louis I of Hungary was arranged around a narrow courtyard next to Stephen’s Tower.
The last phase of grand-scale building activity happened under King Matthias Corvinus, when Italian humanists, artists and craftsmen arrived at Buda. The Hungarian capital became the first centre of Renaissance north of the Alps.
In 1791 the palace became the residence of the Habsburg Palatines of the Kingdom of Hungary. The palatinal court in Buda Castle was the centre of fashionable life and high society in the Hungarian capital…….so what?

harley mathieson

Brodick at no.5 but no Edinburgh(!!!) or Stirling… shurely shome mishtake?

Durn

Romanians were mostly nomadic sepherd people until the 16th century. They didn’t built castles. Most castles in Transylvania and Slovakia belonged to Hungary before the WW1.

Durn

I can’t understand why contains this “castle” page many romantic modern-age (19th 20.century) buildings? Forexample the kitschy Neuschwanstein, which contains modern manufactuing bricks concrete and crampoons which are covered by fake- stone-surfaces. Modern plastic buildings.

Ethan

Dezso,

John Hunyadi was actually of Romanian (Wallachian) ancestry:

Granted, he spent much of his time in the Hungarian court, but that is not exactly peculiar for the time. Nobles shifted allegiance and titles on a constant basis back then. For example, Vlad III, Dracula’s father, was a courtier in the Holy Roman Emperor’s court, Catherine the Great of Russia was actually German, Eugene of Savoy who fought for Austria against France was actually French, etc.

@theworldcalls

Very nice collection with quality photos to boot!

eldritch

Lacks too many castles that can be found in France, what about the Cathares castle or even the Chantilly Castle ? And no Loire River castles ? WTF ?

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