Beautiful castles in Europe: Who doesn’t love beautiful castles? And in Europe, which included dozens of feudal states, a great many of various fortifications have been preserved. In Germany alone, thanks to the total fragmentation during the time of the Holy Roman Empire, there are about 20,000 castles.
Sit back, relax and take in some of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
14 most beautiful castles in Europe
- Neuschwanstein Castle. Germany.
This castle looks like it came straight from an old fairy tale. It is known as the “Disney Castle” and Neuschwanstein was actually one of the inspirations for the Cinderella Castle at Disneyland Florida.
It was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1868, two years after the Seven Weeks’ War when Prussia conquered Bavaria and the king lost most of his power. Perhaps he was building luxurious castles to represent that he was still a real king. Sounds pretty dramatic.
Today, Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular castles in Europe, with around 1.4 million visitors annually.
- Bled Castle. Slovenia.
This stunning castle is perched on a cliff, 130 meters above Lake Bled in Slovenia. With over a thousand years of history, Bled Castle captivates visitors with its splendor, amazing location, and breathtaking views.
It’s also one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist destinations, and you can even have a castle wedding if you want to live out your fairy tale fantasies.
- Cashel Castle. Ireland.
The beautiful medieval castle of Cashel is located in County Tipperary in Ireland. It is possible that a fortification appeared on this site as early as the 4th century. The castle in its present form was completed by 1234. The reason that now the buildings are dilapidated was the English Revolution. In 1647, the Parliamentary troops of the British entered these lands, plundered, and destroyed the nearby lands and the castle itself. Since then, Cashel has been perceived by the Irish as a symbol of the cruelty of the British.
- Mont Saint Michel. France.
Mont Saint-Michel is a Ferrari from the world of castles. This is not only a majestic building in itself, but it is also located in its own medieval island village.
Mont Saint Michel is located on the northwest coast of France, in an idyllic setting with breathtaking sea views.
- Trakoschan castle. Croatia.
This charming castle in Croatia was built almost 800 years ago. However, after centuries it fell into disrepair. It wasn’t until Count Drašković took over the estate in the 19th century that the castle was transformed into what it is today.
- Kelburn Castle. Scotland.
By far, this is the most unusual castle on this list. Kelburn was built around 1143. Recently, the Castle Grafitti project has transformed a centuries-old monument into a stunning work of art.
The idea was to try Brazilian urban graffiti on the walls of an old building. The results are impressive and this is a truly unique building.
- Castle Hluboka. Czech.
This castle was built in the 13th century and has undergone many changes since then. The latest redesign was overseen by the noble Schwarzenberg family, whose diplomatic trips to Britain influenced the castle’s new look. In fact, the castle was inspired by Windsor Castle in England, where the Queen herself resides.
- Castle of Sant’Angelo. Italy.
This castle was built around 139 AD and converted into a fortress in the fifth century. It stands on the banks of the Tiber River and guards Ponte Sant’Angelo, one of the main ancient Roman bridges.
Despite its beautiful appearance, it was actually used as a prison for people on death row and was the site of many gruesome executions during those times. But now it is a wonderful museum worth visiting.
- Bellver Castle. Spain.
The Gothic-style castle is located on a hill 3 km west of the center of Palma on the island of Mallorca. The building is in excellent condition and has existed for about 700 years. Castel de Belver was also a prison and has recently been turned into a museum.
The castle was built in a very unusual style for this type of defensive structure, which distinguishes it from other European castles.
- Castle of Sammezzano. Italy.
This castle is simply breathtaking. In 2017, the castle was acquired by a new owner, and before that, after the Second World War, it worked as a luxury hotel, and in recent decades it was closed. It is located in Leccio, 30 km from Florence.
Although it also looks good from the outside, the charming architecture and design inside is what make this castle stand out. Unfortunately, it fell into some decline, because over the past 3 decades only rare public visits were allowed.
- Pena Palace. Portugal.
It may not technically be a castle, but this beautiful Portuguese palace could not be excluded from this list.
The palace stands on a hilltop in the mountains above the city of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be seen from Lisbon. The 167-year-old building is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Edinburgh castle. Scotland.
Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortifications in Europe. It stands on Castle Rock, a site that has been inhabited by humans since at least the Iron Age. A 2014 study found at least 26 sieges of this castle over its 1,100-year history, giving it the distinction of being the most besieged place in the UK and one of the most heavily attacked in the world.
It is also one of Scotland’s most visited tourist attractions with over 2 million visitors each year.
- Gravensteen. Belgium.
This beautiful fortress, also known as the “Count’s Castle”, is located in the city of Ghent. It is open to the public and boasts a unique set of medieval torture equipment on display. There is even a guillotine in the collection, which was actually used at one time.
- Peles Castle. Romania.
This Neo-Renaissance castle is located in the Carpathians. It is relatively new compared to others on this list, with construction only beginning in the late 1800s and finishing in 1914.
Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest pieces of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows, and walls upholstered in cordovan leather.