The Coolest Castles In the World3 min read
There’s something magical and mysterious about visiting centuries-old castles. While some would attribute that to Disney films and fairy tales, it’s virtually impossible to stand beneath the towering, ornate buildings without imagining the lives of those who lived in them. Whether you’re gazing upon old tapestries and oil paintings or walking along decaying corridors, there’s beauty and history to be found in all castles, even if the years haven’t treated them well.
While there are plenty of castles to visit in the world, there are some that must be added to your bucket list, including:
The Chateau de Versailles
Also known as the Palace of Versailles, this stunning estate is one of the grandest in the world, designed with a richness that’s unmatched by any other. Located in France, Versailles consists of the Palace (which includes the Grand Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, and more), the beautiful gardens, the Grand Trianon, and Marie Antoinette’s Estate.
As the largest castle complex in the world (according to the Guinness Book of World Records), Prague Castle has housed the Kings of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Emperors, and the presidents of the Czech Republic. Take a guided tour through the castle, visit the gardens, and catch the Changing of the Guard.
Thousands of visitors make their way to the Hohenzollern Castle in Germany, a majestic structure that once housed the Prussian royal family and the Hohenzollern Princes. Gaze upon picture galleries, collections of silver and china, and even the King’s crown. Later, you can attend a concert and stop by one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany (if visiting during early December).
A truly unique, yet picturesque castle, Predjama Castle in Slovenia was built into the side of a 400-foot cliff that served as the hideout for a rebellious knight hundreds of years ago. Visitors can view renovated rooms within the castle, including the dungeon and living quarters, which are filled with interesting artifacts such as weapons and oil paintings. If you go, don’t forget to make your way to the observation deck on the cliff for an incredible view of the countryside.
Even though Hunyad Castle in Romania is said to be haunted—it once housed Vlad the Impaler and eventually inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula—the multi-colored roofs, stone carvings, and towers make is less frightening than the stories would have you believe. The Gothic-Renaissance building underwent multiple renovations over the years and is definitely worth visiting.
Eilean Donan Castle
Located on an island where three lochs meet, Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most iconic in Scotland. Having undergone at least four different renovations over the years since its original construction in the sixth century, the castle offers a diverse history. Visitors can tour almost every part of the castle as well.
Carreg Cennen Castle
Situated on a hilltop on the mountainous farming terrain in Wales, Carreg Cennen is one of the most popular Welsh castles. Although the castle mostly lies in ruins as a result of various wars, visitors can still get a good sense of how the fortresses would have appeared. Be sure to explore the natural limestone cave that runs beneath the castle as well.