Top 10 Incredible European Castles

Top 10 Incredible European Castles

Europe is rich with castles and palaces, that have witnessed centuries of dramatic historic events. Some of them were important political centers, some – the residencies of those in power. We have picked ten beautiful castles for you to see.

10. The Swallow’s Nest, Ukraine

The stunning castle balancing on a precipitous cliff is located in the resort town of Gaspra, on the Crimean Peninsula, recently claimed by Russia. The structure was built in 1912 on the Aurora Cliff, which is of impressive 40 m (130 ft) height. The castle overlooking the Black Sea is a popular tourist attraction. The Neo-Gothic design makes it look majestic and yet elegant. Hopefully this architectural wonder will survive these currently turbulent times.

Why to go there?

Crimea is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the region. Meanwhile the castle is a nice site to visit while there, promising great views and an insight into the history.

Swallows-Nest

Photo by the Unknown

Swallows-Nest4

Photo by the Unknown

Swallows-Nest-Photo by ArtLook

Photo by ArtLook

9. Trakai Island Castle, Lithuania

The historic Gothic Palace was built by the Lithuanian dukes in XIV century and served as their residence, since the city was a capital at the time. It is the only island castle in Eastern Europe. Today the Palace is open for tourists. The museum has a wide display of Medieval exhibits. Many concerts and various events are organized in this gorgeous place. The Knight Competition attracts many local enthusiasts and from abroad.

Why to go there?

Many water activities are possible in the lake. From water cycling, boating to yachting. A lot of cozy restaurants are found in the city, that serve national Tatar dishes, since it is the historical habitat for this ethnic group.

Trakai

Photo by the Unknown

Trakai2

Photo by the Unknown

8. The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England

The Indo-Saracenic style residence was built in the 18th century for George, Prince of Wales, the future king. At the time Brighton was a popular seaside town and its fame kept on growing due to the patronage of the royalty. The palace looked really outstanding and exotic in a typical British city.

Why to go there?

Today visitors are welcome to explore the spacious rooms, art collections and splendid gardens. After a tour they are invited to have a cup of tea and sweets at the cafe, overlooking the royal gardens.

Royal-Pavilion

Photo by the Unknown

7. Carcassonne, France

The historic town is defined by the impressive Medieval citadel, which was reconstructed in the 19th century. One of the towers even used to house the Catholic Inquisition in the 13th century. The fortified city in south-west France attracts over 3 million tourists each year.

Why to go there?

Carcassonne is definitely one of the most exciting Medieval city’s in the world.

carcassonne

Photo by the Unknown

carcassonne2

Photo by the Unknown

carcassonne-Photo by Alexander Sysuev

Photo by Alexander Sysuev

6. Rock of Cashel, Ireland

The striking ensemble is one of the finest examples of Celtic and Medieval architecture in Europe. Founded in the 12th century, the castle served as the seat of the kings of Munster for hundreds of years. The complex on the top of the hill encompasses the Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral and 15th century Castle.

Why to go there?

This is regarded as one of the most beautiful castles in the country. Guided tours are available and access by bus makes it easy to visit the site if you don’t own a car.

Cashel

Photo by the Unknown

Cashel2

Photo by the Unknown

Cashel3

Photo by the Unknown

5. Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

Built on the Mount Hohenzollern, 855 m above sea level, the castle is one of the most beautiful in the country. Just as the name suggests, the castle once was the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollerns, who emerged in the Medieval era later to become the emperors of Germany. In the 19th century King Frederick William IV of Prussia took over and rebuild the destroyed palace.

Why to go there?

Today the castle is a popular tourist destination. Besides the amazing scenery and historic architecture, the visitors get to explore the luxurious interiors and a museum. Its collection features such exhibits like a letter from George Washington and various artifacts of Prussian history.

Hohenzollern-Castle-Photo by Berthold Steinhilber

Photo by Berthold Steinhilber

Hohenzollern-Castle-3

Photo by the Unknown

Hohenzollern-Castle

Photo by the Unknown

4. Eilean Donan, Loch Duich Island, Scotland

The castle is named after Celtic saint Donnan of Eigg, who established a church here first in 617. The castle has witnessed a lot of aristocratic dramas and attacks from the Mackenzie’s enemies. The castle’s renovation started in 1919 and was finished in 1932. Today it is one of the most popular castles in Scotland. Its dramatic exterior attracts many visitors, photographers and filmmakers, as well as advertisers.

Why to go there?

Eilean Donan’s beauty has made it an iconic Scottish symbol. It is historically and culturally significant site, the most popular and photographed Scottish castle.

Eilean-Photo by Mark Nicol

Photo by Mark Nicol

Eilean-Photo by Dirk Sachse

Photo by Dirk Sachse

Eilean

Photo by the Unknown

3. 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.

Why to go there?

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.

Pena

Photo by the Unknown

Pena-Photo by Fernanda Magalhães

Photo by Fernanda Magalhães

Pena2

Photo by the Unknown

2. Neuschwanstein Castle, 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 castle looks like from a fairytale from the inside out! The Neo-Romanesque palace’s interior design often adopts the themes and characters from Wagner’s operas.

Why to go there?

The palace has become the main German attraction and the most recognizable structure in the world. And the landscape is breathtaking: situated in the Bavarian Alps, the amazing panorama of the Alps and Hohenschwangau valley opens from the palace.

Neuschwanstein4

Photo by the Unknown

Neuschwanstein3

Photo by the Unknown

Neuschwanstein2

Photo by the Unknown

Neuschwanstein

Photo by the Unknown

1. Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome

Among many architectural treasures in Rome, this castle is less known worldwide. Commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the castle, built in 139 AD, served as his mausoleum. Later it was used by the popes. Today it is a tourist attraction, valued as an architectural and historic monument.

Why to go there?

The castle houses a museum: a collection of historic artifacts, works of art, sculptures, ceramics from various eras is being exhibited. The papal apartments are among the most impressive and favorite. Visitors are also very pleased to admire the panoramic views of central Rome, that open from the top of the castle.

Castel-Photo by Domingo Leiva

Photo by Domingo Leiva

Castel-Photo by David Curry

Photo by David Curry

Castel-Photo by Ioan Balasanu

Photo by Ioan Balasanu