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30 Most Resplendent Castles in Europe

By: Cityseeker
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Dotted with epic medieval structures, Europe provides exhilarating opportunities to explore some of the best castles, boasting ornate throne rooms and chambers unmatched by the rest of the world. Enter the towering gates with excitement thrumming in your veins and immerse yourself in the world of Kings and Queens. Come explore our top pick of some of the most alluring European landmarks.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Located on a mountainside overlooking the Hohenschwangau valley, the Neuschwanstein Castle is a dream-like structure in an idyllic setting. Construction of the castle began in 1869 but was not completed until 1892. King Ludwig II commissioned its construction so that he could stay in a beautiful castle when he wanted to escape the royal courts. However, the king did not live to see the castle's completion. Visitors can explore the castle's Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic-inspired interior, including the third and fourth floors, which were supposed to have been the king’s residences. These floors house opulent murals and spectacular wood carvings. Tours of the castle are available throughout the day. Visitors must visit the nearby Mary's Bridge, from where the view of the castle and its surroundings is stunning.

Neuschwansteinstraße 20, Schwangau, Germany, 87645
Pena Palace

Located on the top of a hill, the Pena Palace is a prominent example of a 19th-century Romanticist structure. It is a magnificent complex that was completed in 1854 and built in a fantastic combination of Neo-Arabic and Neo-Medieval architectural styles. Classified as a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage, the palace is an imposing tourist attraction in Portugal. Intended to be used as a summer palace for the royal family, the interior of the castle features impressive stuccos, flawless statues, and painted terraces. Surrounded by forested grounds, the Pena Palace is accessible through the lush green pathway.

Estrada da Pena, Sintra, Portugal, 2710-609
Guaita Fortress

A World Heritage Site constructed on Monte Titano's peak, Guaita is one of three towers built here and it is also the oldest. Dating back to the 11th Century, this tower looks out over San Marino city and once provided strategic defense for the city below. Several modifications were made to strengthen the tower in the 1400s and 1500s like the sloping roof called Rocca Guaita and thick double walls that protected the city's people during sieges. The tower was also used as a prison during its long history. The fortress also has remnants from more modern times with World War II artillery found in the courtyard, as well as two heavy-duty canons used by the Guardians of the Rocca to celebrate national festivals, that were gifted by Vittorio Emanuele III.

Monte Titano, San Marino, San Marino, 47890
Palace of Versailles

Indisputably one of the most opulent buildings, the Palace of Versailles is the epitome of French royalty. Louis XIV commissioned architects Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin to build the Château de Versailles in 1664, on the site of his father's small hunting lodge. It became one of the largest palaces in Europe, accommodating up to 20,000 courtiers at a time. The interiors are extravagant and the highlights include the Royal Apartments and the world renowned Hall of Mirrors. The Grand Trianon (1687) and the Petit Trianon (1762) are also in the park. In the year 1919, the Hall of Mirrors played a significant role in world politics for being the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed. An outstanding exemplar of the French Baroque architecture to this day, this UNESCO World Heritage Site palace enthralls visitors with its opulence and legends.

Place d'Armes, Versailles, France, 78000
Hohenwerfen Castle

The fortress Hohenwerfen Castle stands guard over the green Salzach Valley from its hilltop perch. The Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg had the castle built in 1075 to protect the valley from Henry IV's German forces. After Gebhard's time, the castle was used by the rulers of Salzburg for various purposes, including as a hunting retreat, for military use and also at times as a prison. Today, the castle is open as an adventure castle and offers guided tours of the weaponry used during wars.

Burgstraße 2, Werfen, Austria, 5450
Alcázar of Segovia

The Alcázar of Segovia, or Segovia Castle, is one of the historic landmarks of Segovia. This old fortress shaped like the bow of a boat with its iconic central turret is certainly a strong stone fortification. Throughout its history, it has been controlled by the Arabs, the Romans and finally the Christians. For a long time the castle was a royal residence for the rulers and kings of the Kingdom of Castile and played a key role in the defense of the city. Today, visitors can witness this formidable structure and its rooms, which have been converted into art spaces. Each of the halls displays varied art forms ranging from paintings to collectibles.

Plaza Reina Victoria Eugenia, Segovia, Spain, 40003
Culzean Castle

The Culzean Castle lies in Carrick district on the coast of Ayrshire in Scotland. This magnificent castle, located inside the Culzean Country Park, lies on top of a cliff. Several amazing features are found in this castle, like the propellor from a plane that shot a German Airship in 1916, a gas house, etc. This majestic palace was home to the Marquess of Ailsa, the chief of the Kennedy Clan and now belongs to the National Trust for Scotland. Many ghost sightings have occurred at this castle

Silver Avenue, Maybole, United Kingdom, KA19 8LE
Bamburgh Castle

The magnificent coastal setting of this completely restored medieval castle, once the cradle of power of the Kings of Northumbria is perched high on a bluff overlooking the North Sea in Northumberland. It has attracted the eye of many a film director and Bamburgh Castle has been a “film set” several times over, welcoming Hollywood idols like Elizabeth Taylor. The castle is steeped in fascinating stories and features in Arthurian legend as Sir Lancelot's mythical castle, Joyous Garde. The museum housed within is a treasure trove of local history, with collections of military artifacts, paintings, china, and furniture through the ages collected by the Armstrong Empire, the castle's current owners. Standing on the edge of a steep cliff, Bamburgh Castle commands stellar views of Lindisfarne and The Farne Islands and is an iconic landmark of Britain's coastline.

Links Road/B1340, Bamburgh, United Kingdom, NE69 7DF
Castello di Miramare

Castello di Miramare was the home of Maximilian until he was forced to leave and become the Emperor of Mexico. The next resident, Duke Amedeo of Savoy, made Castello di Miramare the seat for various military commands. In 1955, it was transformed into a museum. The castle still has the original furniture commissioned by Maximilian. There is a chapel; the Japanese and Chinese rooms, rich in oriental ornaments; and the apartments where the Duke of Savoy lived. Miramare is set in an extraordinary park, which extends over 54 acres (21.8 hectares). Guided tours are available upon request.

Viale Miramare, Trieste, Italy, 34014
Corvin Castle

Having been featured in many movies and series as a typical fairytale castle, the Corvin Castle is a majestic work of beautiful architecture that features towering buttresses and showcases features of a typical Transylvanian castle. It is characterized by pointed turrets and was built in 1446 in a Gothic-Renaissance style. One of the main attractions of the town of Hunedoara, the castle was built by the order of Iancu of Hunedoara, the leading Hungarian military and political figure during the 15th Century, and can be accessed by a drawbridge over the river below. The architecture of the castle is mesmerizing for sure, but the interior, with its middle-aged artifacts and beautiful paintings, is equally amazing. A tour of the castle takes the visitor through the main Knight's hall, the dungeon, and other important sections inside. Today, the castle is accessible to the public and serves as a museum.

Strada Castelului 20, Hunedoara, Romania, 331141
Bled Castle

Constructed as early as the 11th Century, the iconic and highly picturesque Bled Castle is considered the oldest structure of its kind in Slovenia. Situated atop a rugged cliff overlooking the lake, the Castle is a true picture of a classic castle structure, with tall towers, huge ramparts, and deep moats. The terrace provides a magnificent view of the lakeside surroundings. Today, one can explore the museum collection in the palace. It takes you on a riveting journey through history. The main exhibits consist of weaponry, armor, jewelry, and carvings.

Grajska Cesta 61, Bled, Slovenia, 4260
Frederiksborg Castle (Frederiksborg Slot)

Frederiksborg Castle is located in the middle of Hillerød and contains the National History Museum. Originally built by Frederik II in 1562, it was Christian IV's idea to build the wonderful Renaissance castle we know today. The castle burned down in 1859, and only the church is left; but the castle was rebuilt in 1865, from the outside looking just like before. Brewer Carl Jacobsen invested money so that the interior could be made like the original as well. Frederiksborg Slot contains a fine collection of photographs and portraits.

Møntportvejen 10, Hillerød, Denmark, 3400
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