After living in Europe for about three years, I have seen so. many. castles. (and cathedrals!). Sometimes I get a bit castle-d and cathedral-ed out, to be honest.
However, I’ve found so many unique castles–so many more than the ones you always hear about–and I just have to share them with all of you!
Also…some of these are ruins, some are palaces, some are fortresses…but for the purposes of this post, I’m (incorrectly) putting them in the same category of CASTLE. Capiche?
Peles Castle, Romania
Transylvania, Romania is the “Land Beyond the Forest” and evokes images of terrifying fairy tales–and that will be proven when you stumble upon Peles Castle high in the mountains of Transylvania. This castle might be one of my favorites in the entire world. It’s just…so cool and in such a gorgeous spot.
Bonus: Pelisor Castle, Romania
Right next door to Peles Castle is a smaller castle, originally a hunting getaway. It’s halfway hidden in the trees and a little gem in itself.
Bran Castle, Romania
Well, most of you have probably heard of this castle–although you might know it as Dracula’s Castle instead of Bran Castle. While not the most beautiful castle in Romania, you can certainly see why it inspired Mr. Stoker.
Spis Castle, Slovakia
Near the High Tatras in Slovakia, close to the town of Poprad, you will find the ruins of Spis Castle. I don’t know about you, but I just love wandering ruins!
Cesky Krumlov Castle, Czech Republic
Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic is fully discovered–but the castle never seems to get mentioned. I’m not sure why that is–I’m pretty sure it’s the only pink castle in Europe (although please correct me if I’m wrong). It’s so pretty that every time I’ve seen it, they’ve been filming a movie there!
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Again, Edinburgh is a hot spot, but many people forget about Scotland as they’re traversing Europe. You shouldn’t! The Edinburgh castle has been there for forever and it has a unique history–and a pretty cool museum.
Eilean Donan Castle, Highlands of Scotland
Ah, the incomparable Eilean Donan. The most iconic castle of Scotland, certainly, and perhaps one of the most iconic in the world! I stumbled upon this castle en route to the Isle of Skye, and it is definitely worth the trip.
Ross Castle, Ireland
In Killarney National Park, you’ll find the stoic Ross Castle, mostly pretty because it happens to be on one of the famous lakes of Killarney.
Karlstejn Castle, Czech Republic
Another Czech castle just a stone’s throw from Prague, Karlstejn will immediately transport you to medieval times. Approaching on the train, then walking through the village where it looms, is a moment to remember.
Predjama Castle, Slovenia
I’m pretty sure Predjama wins the “most unique castle” in Europe award because it is. literally, built into a cave on a mountainside. Oh yeah, and the Slovene Robin Hood lived here for a while. AND in 1999, they found a treasure there! Now if that isn’t a castle of dreams, I don’t know what is.
Bled Castle, Slovenia
Lake Bled is well-known as a fairy tale, and the castle that lies on a cliff above the lake is part of that experience.
Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
If you want a castle that makes you say “now THAT is what I always thought a castle would look like!”, look no further than Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland.
Schonbrunn Palace, Austria
Everyone knows about Versailles, but have you heard of the Austrian Versailles? Just outside of Vienna lies the gorgeous Schonbrunn Palace. It’s worth the price of a tour to wander the rooms–and make sure to see the expansive gardens!
Salzburg Fortress, Austria
There’s just something about fortresses set high above quaint little towns, complete with a mountainous backdrop…who’s with me??
Castle Stalker, Scotland
I had never heard of this castle until we randomly spotted it during our Scottish road trip in July. This castle is just a small building on an island, but the setting is spectacular.
Kotor Fortress, Montenegro
Above the town of Kotor lies the ruins of Kotor fortress. While the ruins are cool–and borderline dangerous–the views are what make a trip to this fortress a must.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Okay, I know I’m supposed to be talking about lesser-known castles, but I have to mention this castle! It really is just perfection.
Bonus: Hohenschwangau Castle, Germany
Next door to the famous Neuschwanstein is also another, smaller castle, Hohenschwangau, which was the original hunting castle of Ludwig II and his family (the designer of Neuschwanstein). Apparently one hunting castle in this gorgeous setting just wasn’t enough.
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
I just had to include another very famous castle–since I used to see it on a daily basis when we lived in Prague! Prague Castle’s majestic station in the city gives Prague one of the best skylines in the world. The castle itself is really a huge compound, but the cathedral is gorgeous and the small streets around said cathedral are lovingly restored.
Versailles Palace, France
Another one that is well-known, the Palace of Versailles is a must-visit partly because it is absolutely immense. It’s a great little day trip from Paris, and will transport you to another world.
Windsor Castle, England
Windsor seems very quintessentially British to me–I mean, the queen still lives there! The best thing about this castle, though, is that it’s really a giant museum, full of treasures given to/stolen by the British Empire. The town surrounding the castle is adorable, too.
Okay, your turn! Which castles are your favorites? Any I forgot to add to this list?
Linking up with Wanderful Wednesday.