Introduction: What Makes a Castle Beautiful?
We all know that there are many different castles, and we call them beautiful for various reasons. Some people like them because they have a long and glorious history. Some people say that the castle’s architecture is fascinating and breathtaking. Some people like castles because they are mysterious with secret passages and hidden treasures.
One of the world’s richest cultural heritages may be found in Europe. Visitors to Europe’s numerous marvels, including Germany, France, the UK, and others, have one option for ensuring a historically and magically unique experience. The easiest way to do this is to take a tour of some of Europe’s most magnificent castles. There is a wealth of history to be discovered, ranging from 18th-century fortifications to palaces built in the 13th century to castles dating back to the 1st century.
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At these castles, you’ll discover all about the royal families’ history, the battles they’ve fought for their homelands, and how they’ve been linked to these castles via bloodlines that have lasted decades. Every year, tens of millions of people set out on a global quest to capture the ideal shot of a fantasy castle. But first, let’s take a look at why castles were so crucial to European life in the first place.
The reason why we love castles is unique to everyone. But one thing these castles have in common is that they all make our imaginations run wild with possibilities. Maybe it’s time to visit the most beautiful castles in Europe?
What are the Top 10 most beautiful fairytale castles in Europe? A-List of the Most Famous European Fairytale Castles That Will Take Your Breath Away
Nobility protection was a significant function of medieval castles in Europe. These magnificent castles have a lot of intriguing tidbits that you may not have known about them.
- Many of Europe’s castles were constructed throughout the Middle Ages. European castles and their ruins number more than 10,000.
- While protecting nobles, they also functioned as political hubs and government offices.
- Germany has around 25,000 castles, making it Europe’s most castle-rich country. Meerburg Castle and Wartburg Castle, two of the oldest, are still standing.
- Many of these historical landmarks were converted into military forts during the Renaissance era.
- Windsor Castle is Europe’s oldest inhabited castle. But there’s more to come.
1. Bran Castle, Romania
Even though Vlad Tepes never called Bran Castle his home, it is widely referred to as Dracula’s Castle. As a fortification against the Ottomans in 1378, the castle’s later role as a customs station on the mountain pass between Transylvanian and Wallachian provinces was noteworthy. Even though Bram Stoker’s vampire novel’s historical hero, Vlad Tepes, did not dwell in Bran Castle, he did spend two days imprisoned there while the Ottomans ruled Transylvania.
2. Eilean Donan, Scotland
Most people automatically think of Eilean Donan when discussing Scottish castles. One of the most famous castles in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom as a whole. The beautiful surroundings of this medieval fortress further enhance its spectacular aspect. Eilean Donan, a tiny island in the Scottish Highlands surrounded by three sea lochs, is a sight to behold.
James Bond films like The World Is Not Enough and Highlander have helped popularize this castle. Like that of many British castles, Eilean Donan’s history has seen its share of upheaval. Even though the castle was initially erected in the 13th century, it was destroyed in the 17th century and rebuilt in the 20th century on its remains. The Mackenzie and Macrae families held sway in Eilean Donan.
3.Corvin Castle, Romania
The history of Transylvania is heavily influenced by its castles. Known as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the legendary king of Wallachia, this region of Romania has a long and storied history with the vampire legend. Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle, is one of the most important Romanian and European castles, and we’ve previously covered Bran Castle, renowned as Dracula’s Castle.
Corvin Castle, built in the late Middle Ages in the Gothic-Renaissance architectural style, is an important Romanian landmark and one of Europe’s largest castles. Since its construction, the castle has undergone several renovations. It was also subjected to several fires that did extensive damage after being abandoned for an extended time. The castle has appeared in several films, video games, and television shows because of its magnificent Gothic aspect.
4. Moszna Castle, Poland
Baroque, Neo-Gothic, and Neo-Renaissance architectural styles may be seen in Moszna Castle in the southern Polish settlement of Moszna. The Silesian Tiele-Winckler family lived in the castle, which looks like something out of a fairy tale. There are a whopping 99 turrets on the castle. There are 365 rooms in the castle, which is equally impressive. The castle’s owner changed multiple times, and it formerly housed a psychiatric and neurologic medical facility.
5.Burg Kreuzenstein , Austria
Although Burg Kreuzenstein is sometimes confused with Burg Lichtenstein, which was used as a location for filming The Three Musketeers, it is a castle that appears to have been built from the ground up. The castle is only a few kilometers north of Vienna, making it one of its most famous tourist destinations. As a result of the renovation, elements from other medieval constructions from throughout Europe were obtained and integrated into the construction of this castle. The castle has been used as a backdrop for several feature films and television shows.
6. The Alcázar of Seville, Spain
Among the most popular tourist destinations in Spain and Seville, the Alcázar of Seville has become even more well-known thanks to films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Kingdom of Heaven, and the cult television series “Game of Thrones.” Christian king Peter of Castile had the Alcazar erected on a Muslim residential castle called the Abbadid fortress. Stronghold Alcázar de Segovia, like this fortress, is a fine example of Mudéjar architecture.
In the Alcazar, the Patio de las Doncellas courtyard, with its stunningly exquisite tiled plinths, is one of the most noticeable elements. The Salón de Audiencias, a 14th-century receiving hall, is still used by the king and is available to the public on guided tours. As one of the world’s oldest royal residences, the Alcazar is still used today.
7.De Haar Castle, Netherlands
Castle de Haar is a must-see when visiting the Dutch province of Utrecht. The castle, Holland’s most considerable, can be reached from Amsterdam in around half an hour by car. The castle, which has a medieval appearance, was erected over the ruins of an earlier structure in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Wood sculptures abound in every room of the house. The Rothschild family’s artifacts may be found throughout the site, as the family restored the castle. A lovely castle park with antique trees, gardens, and ponds surrounds the castle.
8.Chateau de Chambord, France
As a result of its peculiar French Renaissance design that merges medieval and classical features, the Château de Chambord in Chambord, France, is one of the most well-known châteaux in the world. Chambord was built in 1519 by King Francois I, on swampy territory near the Cosson River, in the center of a hunting forest. He demanded an “extremely vast, gorgeous, and opulent building” that would allow him to indulge his passion for hunting and high life. Italian arts and artists inspired him to build this castle, mixing French and Italian styles.
9.Orava Castle – Oravský Podzámok , Slovakia
Wasn’t it interesting to learn that the Orava Castle in Slovakia was also the 1922’s Nosferatu? It was built in the 13th century following the Mongol invasion and served as the residence of prominent Hungarian magnates like György Thurzó, the judge who condemned Countess Elizabeth Báthory, the most prolific female murderer in the history of the world, to death in this fortress.
Due to its 5 meter high walls, the Orava Castle has persisted through the ages, displaying a variety of architectural styles, from Romanesque to Renaissance. There is a collection of archaeological artifacts and a gallery of paintings in the castle’s rooms that you will learn about throughout the trip. The knight’s quarters are also included in the tour.
10. Castle of the Moors, Sintra, Portugal
If you’re planning a trip to Sintra, Portugal, don’t forget to check out the Castle of the Moors. Built on an isolated rock outcrop, the fortified castle served as a defensive measure throughout the Moorish era, which lasted from around the 8th century to about the 12th century. Christian soldiers captured the stronghold in 1147, and Ferdinand Saxe Coburg-Gotha, King Consort of Queen Maria II, purchased it in 1838. It’s still one of the most popular tourist sites in Sintra. Sintra’s hills, Pena Palace, and the ocean may be seen from the Castle of the Moors, which has an erratic layout.
UK’s Top 5 Most Beautiful Fairytale Castles
1. Conwy Castle, Wales
During King Edward I’s second expedition in North Wales, Conwy Castle was constructed between 1283 and 1289. Six years later, the last native Prince of Wales assaulted the castle. The city was under siege for several months, and supplies were running low. However, neither the castle nor the town was taken. The castle and the town’s defenses cost an estimated £15,000 (or $162 million in 2009 dollars). All five of his great Welsh castles came to roughly £60,000 in total. Edward spent around a third of a million pounds on his Welsh expeditions and the construction of castles. Tens of thousands of dollars.
2. Dunrobin Castle, Scotland
A beautiful Scottish castle, Dunrobin Castle in Sutherland is the ancestral home of the Earl of Sutherland and the Sutherland Clan. It is located in the Highlands of Scotland. It has a stunning view of the Dornoch Firth and is just a mile north of Golspie and about five miles south of Brora. Dunrobin Castle, which dates back to the early 1300s, is also one of Britain’s oldest continually occupied buildings. Spectacularly stunning.
3. Leeds Castle, England
Among the best-preserved castles in South East England, Leeds Castle has served as a Norman fortress, a country mansion, the home of King Henry VIII, and a 20th-century rural hideaway for wealthy English families. Over 500 acres of parkland surround the structure, making it a popular tourist destination. The restored Stable Courtyard Bedrooms have been converted into a bed & breakfast for overnight guests. As a bonus for visitors visiting Leeds Castle, the 2,400-yew tree maze and the Princess Alexandra Gardens, located alongside the River Len, are well worth a visit.
4. Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England
Windsor Castle in Berkshire, England, is undoubtedly one of the most famous castles in the world. Since Henry I, this castle, with its more than a century of architectural history, has served as the official residence of the British royal family. It is Europe’s longest-running palace. In addition to being the official residence of the Queen of England, Windsor Castle is located approximately one hour outside of central London. Fun fact: Windsor Castle is the final resting place for ten kings, including Henry VIII.
5. Balmoral, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
It’s only fitting that we begin our list with a royal home. Since Prince Albert bought Balmoral in 1852, the estate has been a property of the British Royal Family. As a baronial structure in the Scottish style, the turrets and narrow windows of the building give it a look reminiscent of medieval castles and châteaux.
Seeing that it is not part of the Crown Estate, the public’s access to Balmoral is somewhat restricted by its nature. So, if you’d like to feel like royalty for a day but can only go to the ballroom, you’ll have to roam the grounds or rent one of the castle’s cottages. Balmoral is one of the most well-known Gothic castles in the United Kingdom because of its illustrious past as a home to royalty.
Germany’s Top 5 Most Beautiful Fairytale Castles
For centuries, this 19th-century Romanesque Revival-style castle has been Germany’s most popular and one of the world’s most beautiful. Neuschwanstein Castle is a real-life fairytale castle since it was the basis for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II, whose reign was marked by an inability to connect with the outside world, and this fortress was a live testament to it. The castle’s construction was delayed due to unrealistic timelines and an ambitious design. In the beginning, the project was planned to take just three years. Only 172 days were spent at the castle by King Ludwig II. Many thousands of people visit this castle every day during the peak tourist season in the Bavarian province of Bavaria. The castle and its surroundings are both breathtaking. While looking out over the surrounding forests and mountains, it is easy to imagine that you have stepped back in time.
2. Hohenzollern Castle
Located in Baden-Württemberg, Germany’s southwest, the Hohenzollern Castle is a prominent landmark. Mount Hohenzollern’s present castle was built in 1850, following the demise of the two previous castles that had stood there.
The massive castle complex perched atop the mountain seems like something straight out of a fantasy novel, with its slew of turrets and other structures begging to be explored. As a result, the castle features everything from fortifications to palace facilities, churches, and gardens. The castle’s elevation of 855 meters above sea level gives it a commanding view of the surrounding area. On a clear day, you may see as far as 100 kilometers away.
3. Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz, a medieval castle located above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany, is a popular tourist destination. Thirty-three generations ago, a branch of the Eltz family that occupied the land still owns it. Open to the public are the houses of the Rübenach and Rodendorf families; the Kempenich family utilizes the rest of the castle.
4. Heidelberg Castle
Atop a slope in Heidelberg, Germany, the castle rises 80 meters (260 ft) above the city’s historic core. One of Europe’s most notable Renaissance castle remains may be found here. Since the first castle construction was completed in the 13th century, it has had a tumultuous history. In 1764, the castle was hit by lightning, and its stones were used to build new residences in Heidelberg. A variety of architectural styles can be found throughout the castle, which contributes to its appeal.
5. Schloss Drachenburg
Private home Schloss Drachenburg was built in the late 19th century in the manner of a castle. The Drachenfels hill in Königswinter, a German town on the Rhine near Bonn, was made in two years. This majestic castle and its gardens have been restored to their former glory after a long period.
Conclusion: The Importance of Preservation for Some of the Most Beautiful European Castles
The condition of the castles is being threatened because of a lack of preservation efforts. The European Union has already recognized that some castles are in dire need of preservation. The EU has funded many projects to help preserve these iconic landmarks. There are various ways you can help preserve some of the most most beautiful fairytale castles. These include volunteering, donating, and encouraging others to do so as well.