Top 10 Fairy-Tale-Like Palaces

Top 10 Fairy-Tale-Like Palaces

Once castles used to symbolize overwhelming power of minority. However today these buildings are favorite tourist attractions. Visually compelling, of an impressive size, having historic and cultural value, castles around the world never cease to amaze. See our list of ten beautiful castles. Which one would you like to visit?

10. Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California, USA

Built in 1919 by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the castle was donated to the state of California after his death. Since then the castle is open for the public and is considered to be a historic park. The art exhibition includes copies of ancient sculptures, specially made to blend in with the eclectic design. The castle definitely reaches rare heights of luxury.

When to go there?

Anytime – the castle is open daily, except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.

How to get there?

By car. It is a four hour drive from San Francisco or Los Angeles, via Highway 1.

Top 10 Castles-Hearst

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Castles-Hearst-Photo by Ellen Yeates

Photo by Ellen Yeates

Top 10 Castles-Hearst-Photo by Mike Nicholson

Photo by Mike Nicholson

Top 10 Castles-Hearst-Photo by Job Jao

Photo by Job Jao

9. Vischering Castle, Lüdinghausen, Germany

The building is a beautiful moat castle example – it stands in the middle of a deep ditch, filled with water. It was built commissioned by Bischop Gerhard von der Mark in 1271. The ensemble includes a sandstone castle and a chapel. The trees grow around the ditch, adding a beautiful aura to the landscape. Today a museum and a restaurant are open to visitors.

When to go there?

All year round.

How to get there?

Get there by train or bus from North Rhine-Westfalia. Also there is a big parking lot for a car.

Top 10 Castles-Vischering

Photo by Unknown

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Photo by Unknown

8. Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

The Romanticist castle stands on the top of the hill, approaches the historic city and looks stunning. It is enlisted as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and often is in a tourists’ route, who come here from Lisbon, that is adjacent to Sintra. Besides the amazing architecture, Pena park and panorama, that opens from the hill, the interior is fully furnished, preserved and open for the visitors to view.

When to go there?

Anytime – the palace is open all year round except December 25 and January 1.

How to get there?

Get to Sintra from Lisbon by train. Get around Sintra by bus.

Top 10 Castles-Pena-Photo by Thomas Muller

Photo by Thomas Muller

Top 10 Castles-Pena-Photo by Rossella Polloni

Photo by Rossella Polloni

Top 10 Castles-Pena

Photo by Unknown

7. Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

Built on the Mount Hohenzollern, 855 m above sea level, the castle is one of the most beautiful in the country. Built by the Hohenzollerns, who emerged in the Medieval era later to become the emperors of Germany. Besides the amazing scenery and historic architecture, today the visitors get to explore the luxurious interiors and a museum.

When to go there?

All year round. The royal chambers are open on particular dates – always check before going.

How to get there?

The castle is only 50 km of Stuttgart. The shuttle bus takes off from the parking lot and takes visitors up the mountain.

Top 10 Castles-Hohenzollern Castle (3)

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Castles-Hohenzollern Castle-Photo by Alex Gaflig

Photo by Alex Gaflig

Top 10 Castles-Hohenzollern Castle-Photo by Berthold Steinhilber

Photo by Berthold Steinhilber

6. Château de Chenonceau, Loire Valley, France

Located in a small French village Chenonceaux, the palace is built on the River Cher. Today it belongs to Menier family, who owns a famous chocolate company. The family has restored the palace and its gardens. Today it is open for the public and Château de Chenonceau is the second most visited palace in France after Versailles.

When to go there?

The best time to visit is spring and summer, when the gardens blossom with colorful flowers.

How to get there?

Get there by train or drive taking A10 motorway. It is about 2.5 hour drive from Paris.

Top 10 Castles-Château

Photo by Unknown

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Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Castles-Château-Photo by Kos Tas

Photo by Kos Tas

5. Lichtenstein Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The castle is situated on a cliff in the beautiful Swabian Alps. The present palace is a 19th century compound of a hunting lodge of King Frederick I of Württemberg. It was inspired by eponymous Wilhelm Hauff’s novel “Lichtenstein”. On the guided tours visitors can explore palatial rooms, filled with Medieval paintings, armoury, murals, stained glass and admire great panoramic views.

When to go there?

All year round except December and January when the castle is closed.

How to get there?

By train to Reutlingen Hbf. from Stuttgart. Then take a bus to Honau. From here you can reach the castle in 20 min.

Top 10 Castles-Lichtenstein Castle-Photo by Steve Swope2

Photo by Steve Swope

Top 10 Castles-Lichtenstein Castle-Photo by Ariovist

Photo by Ariovist

4. Eilean Donan, Loch Duich Island, Scotland

Built in the 13th century, the castle belonged to the Clan Mackenzie. It was exposed to a lot of aristocratic dramas and finally fully destroyed by the Jacobites in the 18th century. The castle’s renovation started in 1919 and was finished in 1932, making it one of the most popular castles in Scotland today.

When to go there?

All year round.

How to get there?

Get there by bus or car. There is a free parking lot.

Top 10 Castles-Eilean Donan-Photo by Mark Nicol

Photo by Mark Nicol

Top 10 Castles-Eilean Donan Castle (11)

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Castles-Eilean Donan Castle (9)

Photo by Unknown

3. Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan

Commissioned by powerful dimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century, the castle has been a symbol of the city ever since. Incredibly luxurious, the palace features gold decorations inside and out – a result of Toyotomi’s obsession with the precious metal. A witness to many dramatic events, today the reconstructed building attracts visitors from around the world.

When to go there?

All year round. It is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom festival from March to April.

How to get there?

Easy access by train from Kansai International Airport, Nara and Kyoto.

Top 10 Castles-Osaka

Photo by Unknown

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Photo by Unknown

2. Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Bavaria, Germany

The glorious and most famous European castle is a jewel of Bavaria. It was built in the 19th century by the personal fortune of Ludwig II of Bavaria. The Neo-Romanesque palace’s interior design often adopts the themes and characters from Wagner’s operas. And the landscape is breathtaking: situated in the Bavarian Alps, the amazing panorama of the mountains and Hohenschwangau valley opens from the palace.

When to go there?

The castle is open all year round, except 1 January and 24/25/31 December.

How to get there?

Go to Hohenschwangau from Munich by train – it is about 1,5 hour drive. From the village hike to the castle, go there by bus or by horse-drawn carriage.

Top 10 Castles-Neuschwanstein-Photo by Alina Gladkovska

Photo by Alina Gladkovska

Top 10 Castles-Neuschwanstein-Photo by Pasquale Di Pilato

Photo by Pasquale Di Pilato

Top 10 Castles-Neuschwanstein-Photo by Craig Weatherford

Photo by Craig Weatherford

Top 10 Castles-Neuschwanstein-Photo by Dmitry Samsonov

Photo by Dmitry Samsonov

1. The Palace of Versailles, France

The 18th century complex is one of the most beautiful and iconic palaces in the world. An evidence of a lavish lifestyle of Louis XIV, today it is one of the most visited sites in the country. The royal palace is found in the suburbs of Paris and is an important historic as well as a remarkable architectural site. The gardens of Versailles are one of the finest examples of French Garden design.

When to go there?

The palace is open every day except Mondays.

How to get there?

Easy access by train or bus from Paris.

Top 10 Castles-Versailles

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Castles-Versailles3

Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Castles-Versailles2

Photo by Unknown