Here are the Most Amazing Castles in Europe
Castles have always been romantic, mysterious, and alluring monuments throughout history, influencing cultures and leaving spectators in awe. There is something incredibly captivating about these massive fortresses that were once home to kings and queens, and there’s no better place to explore them than Europe. From medieval stone structures in Scotland to chateaus straight from a storybook in Germany, these European castles are the best of the best…
Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
This castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke during the early thirteenth century and played an important role in the defense of the town and surrounding area. During Oliver Cromwell’s re-conquest of Ireland, one entire side of the castle was destroyed, and it was also taken under siege during the Irish Civil War. Parts of the structure have been rebuilt over the years, resulting in many different architectural styles throughout. There are extensive lush, green gardens, and part of the National Art Gallery is on display inside. The castle is fully restored and a true piece of Irish history!
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
When you think of a fairy tale castle, Neuschwanstein Castle is the image that enters your mind. It is located in Bavaria, and was built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was also known as the ’Fairytale King’. It was built after castles were no longer used for defense purposes, so it was simply built to be a stunning work of architecture. Its position on a hilltop surrounded by a truly magnificent landscape makes this castle a must-see.
Pena Palace, Portugal
Pena Palace was commissioned for Ferdinand August Franz Anton from Austria, who became King Ferdinand II when he married into the Portuguese royal family. The palace stands out from the rest of the castles on this list because of its brightly painted façade! It is painted in cheerful shades of yellows and reds, and is striking set against the green countryside. A forested park with hidden pathways and stunning views surround the palace, making the location even more magical! It features Romantic style architecture and is a Spanish masterpiece.
Fun fact: When building the palace, Ferdinand wanted the palace to rival the Neuschwanstein castle!
Alcázar of Segovia, Spain
It’s no surprise that Alcázar of Segovia is Spain’s most famous castle! It’s rumored that it was the inspiration behind Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland. It’s estimated that the Alcazar started being built in the 1200s, with many additions being made in the 1500s. The history of the castle has changed over the years—it was first an Arab fort, then a palace that was home to many kings, then a prison, then a military academy. Now it’s a museum for all to enjoy!
Stirling Castle, Scotland
For generations, Stirling Castle was home to Scottish monarchs, and was the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. Queen Mary’s coronation even took place there! It dates back to the 11th century, and is one of the grandest castles in all of Scotland! Throughout, you’ll find many examples of Renaissance architecture, from the stunning Royal Palace to the many other buildings that make up the castle. Once you step foot inside, you’ll be transported back in time!
These incredible castles are filled with so much history and breathtaking architecture that would make any vacation even more memorable. The scenic, enchanting landscapes where they are located don’t hurt, either! If you’re looking to travel to one of these castles on your next vacation, check out some of our favorite tours below: