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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.

Hohenzollern Castle

A castle that looks straight out of a fairy tale, the Hohenzollern is the epitome of royalty. Perched on a hilltop, the palace is the ancestral seat of the House of Hohenzollern. While cloud covers add a mystical allure to the magnificent castle, its walls are awash in a gleaming golden color on a bright sunny day. An architectural wonder, the neo-gothic castle attracts thousands of curious tourists from all over the world. In addition to its captivating construction, the jeweled items on display, impressive art collection and an open-air cinema are noteworthy attractions of the castle.

Burg Hohenzollern, Bisingen, Germany, 72379
Château de Chenonceau

As one of the most famous castles in the Loire Valley, Château de Chenonceau has seen its fair share of visitors. A castle was first thought to have been established on the site in the 11th Century, though the castle that stands today was constructed in 1514. The first structure was built for the Marques family, though it has changed hands many times over the years. Catherine de Medici made the castle her home in 1559 and put on France's first fireworks display when her son, Francis II, took the throne. The castle features a bridge with a gallery that spans the Loire river. The Gothic and early Renaissance structure is open to the public. Visitors can wander through the castle's serene gardens and take tours through the richly decorated interior.

Place de la Mairie, Chenonceaux, France, 37150
Castel del Monte

Set on a hill overlooking Andria, the Castel del Monte is universally renown for its precise octagonal layout and deeply symbolic design. Commissioned by Emperor Federico II of Svevia, the purpose of the castle remains unknown as it was abandoned shortly after its completion 1240. Enchantingly unusual, the castle reflects its founders Humanistic ideals through the merger of Middle Eastern, North European and Classical elements in its design. The fortress features a mathematically and astronomically exact octagonal structure with an octagonal tower at each corner and eight trapezoidal rooms arranged around an octagonal courtyard. A Medieval masterpiece, Castel del Monte has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Off Strada Stadale 170 dir A, Andria, Italy, 76123
Kylemore Abbey and Gardens

The Seven Pins mountain range towers majestically above the Kylemore Abbey demesne. This magnificent building and its walled Victorian garden are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region. Visitors can roam the grounds, take in the tranquil views on the wilderness walk, and examine the architecture of the main hall and the Gothic church. The Abbey was founded in 1852 and took seven years to build. Now the Abbey is governed by the Benedictine Nuns and has been an exclusive girls' school for many years, apart from being a tourist attraction. A craft shop and a restaurant are open from March to November.

Off N59, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Republic of Ireland, H91 VR90
Predjama Castle

Legend surrounds the Predjama Castle, which is constructed inside a rocky cave mouth. It is located in south-central Slovenia and dates back to the 13th Century. Renaissance-style architecture conceals its original Gothic facade after having undergone several restorations works over the centuries. Explore the hidden passageways of this castle and relive the historic siege with interesting activities on offer for visitors.

Predjama 1, Postojna, Slovenia, 6230
Château de Chambord

An army of spires atop the Chateau de Chambord's enormous structure vie for attention, while the chateau itself reflects its splendor-filled charm in the decorative moat below. A truly remarkable example of mixed architectural styles that span French Renaissance, medieval and Classical elements, the Chateau de Chambord is deemed as the largest chateau in the Loire Valley. When viewed against the sun, the dramatic silhouette of the chateau seems to go on forever, as if to contain the bevy of architectural embellishments within its imposing facade. Built at the behest of King Francis I of France in the 16th Century, the Chateau de Chambord was constructed over a period of 28 years, and its designs reflected the distinct styles of Italian architect Domenico da Cortona and Leonardo da Vinci. The fortress consists of 440 rooms, 335 fireplaces, and 12 staircases, all sprawled over an area of 15,850.6 square meters (200,000 square feet), of which the double helix staircase and vaulted hallways prominently stand out. Born of the combined brilliance of celebrated artists of the time and a unique architectural style, the Chateau de Chambord unfolds like an enigma in the thick of France's rural scenery.

Le Château, Chambord, France, 41250
Eilean Donan

The Eilean Donan castle is one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish Highlands, and rightly so. Idyllically located on its own little island, overlooking the Isle of Skye, it is at the point where three great sea-lochs meet, Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh. This castle is also the most photographed monument in the country, and its imposing architecture is simply breathtaking. Exuding charm and elegance, the castle is considered to be one of the main places to visit while in the country.

A87, Dornie, United Kingdom, IV40 8DX
Egeskov Castle

Set amid an award-winning garden's lofty expanses, the Egeskov Castle is an exemplary water castle built in a dramatic Renaissance style. The Funen countryside provides a resplendent backdrop to the castle's moated facade, while the castle regales visitors with fabled stories and glorious exhibits. The castle exudes a fairy-tale-like charm, reinforced by a life-sized doll house called Titania's Palace, one of the castle's prime attractions. This special palace was created at the behest of Sir Neville's daughter Gwendolen, and took the craftsmen all of 15 years to build. Painstakingly pieced together with 3000 components, the palace contains several art works from around the globe. Other salient features at this gigantic castle include a vintage car museum, historic gardens, and the castle's loft.

Egeskov Gade 18, Kværndrup, Faaborg-Midtfyn, Denmark, 5772
Bran Castle

With its gray stone and red turrets, Bran Castle rises from the craggy rock face, an image that has evoked spine-tingling shivers for centuries. The Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountains tower in the distance, creating a sense of menace that has haunted this medieval fortress for centuries. Built to defend important trade routes through the mountain pass, the castle has a rich history and was completed in the 14th Century under the aegis of King Louis the Great – Louis I of Anjou. The castle's most famous association was with Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, commonly mistaken as Bram Stoker's Count Dracula. It's believed that Stoker was inspired by photos and descriptions of Transylvania, and drew inspiration for his infamous castle and character from books he read about the country. However, the strong imagery still lingers, and Bran Castle is often referred to as Dracula's Castle to this day.

Strada General Traian Mosoiu 24, Braşov, Romania, 507025
Royal Alcázar of Seville

One of Spain's most striking masterpieces of Moorish-Renaissance architecture, the uniqueness of the Alcázar of Seville lies in the harmonious confluence of its architectural styles, dominated by a set of rulers who contributed to distinct additions during their respective reigns. The palace originally started out as a fortress in the 10th Century, built at the behest of Seville's Cordoban governors. Upgraded to the stately position of a palace only around the 12th Century, the Alcázar of Seville owes its astonishing Mudéjar beauty to the Almohad Caliphate that took charge of the palace. An aesthetic string of Islamic elements were added during this time, manifested in vividly meshed tiles, delicate ornamental arches, arabesque designs, and intricate geometric patterns. At the dawn of the 13th Century, the Spanish Reconquista brought about a wave of Gothic and Renaissance elements that heralded the rule of Spain's Catholic Kings. While the palace is touched by years of history that swept through its walls, some corners command more respect than others. Some of the most impressive rooms in the Alcázar of Seville are the Patio de Banderas, with the Giralda Tower forming an arresting backdrop, the Patio de las Doncellas, and the Patio de la Montería. The Salón de los Embajadores (Ambassadors' Hall) is an especially ornate addition, while the exquisite beauty of the palace spills over into its fruit-laden orchards and landscaped gardens.

Patio de Banderas, Seville, Spain, 41004
Trakai Island Castle

Studded amidst Lake Galve, Trakai Island Castle, with its unique location, is a one-of-a-kind fortress. Built between the 14th and 15th centuries, the castle is an exemplar of Gothic architecture. The spectacular view of the castle standing tall amidst the sapphire waters, lined by clusters of verdant trees, looks straight out of a fairytale. A wooden bridge leads you to this marvelous spot. Formerly serving as the abode of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, the striking fortress houses an intriguing museum. Here visitors can take a look at the archaeological findings, artifacts, and the impressive collection of artworks on display.

Kęstučio g 4, Trakų salos pilis, Trakai, Lithuania, 21104
Conwy Castle

Few castles in the world capture the imagination as immediately as this imposing fortress, perhaps among the finest built by King Edward I in the 13th Century. From its rocky promontory the castle commands breathtaking views over the medieval town and its estuary harbor, with Telford's famous bridge in the foreground and the Snowdonia mountains as a spectacular backdrop. Edward was himself besieged here in 1295, and it was from refuge at Conwy in 1399 that King Richard II was lured, to be deposed by the Duke of Lancaster (later, Henry IV.) Most of the massive edifice, built by 1,500 craftsmen in under five years, is accessible.

Rose Hill Street, Conwy, United Kingdom, LL32 8LD
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