Europe is home to hundreds of castles, built centuries ago to serve as bastions and social centers for lords and nobles. Years later, while their purpose may have changed and their value diminished, these castles remain a picture of beauty. Now, instead of being a symbol of repression, they’ve become famous tourist attractions people flock to to get a glimpse of the old times.
10 Most Beautiful Castles in the World
If you want to go castle hopping but don’t know where to start, here are ten of the world’s most beautiful castles you would think were straight out of a fairy tale.
1. Windsor Castle, England
The Windsor Castle has been home to generations of British monarchy since the 11th century, making it the oldest and largest occupied palace in the world. The Queen also spends her leisure weekends in the Castle, if not for political affairs and official matters.
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2. Riegersburg Castle, Austria
The centuries-old Riegersburg Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in the world that’s built on an uncanny spot—atop a dormant stratovolcano. Unlike other kingdoms, Riegersburg is dominated by wealthy and powerful baroness in Styria. Currently, the Princely Family of Liechtenstein owns the castle after buying it in 1822.
3. Le Mont-Saint-Michel, France
Saint Michael’s Mount is a prominent spot in France recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It also serves as a religious village to 55 monks and nuns, that’s why tourists are obliged to observe silence inside the premises. Interestingly, the castle is also built on an island, which made it inaccessible during high tides until 1879, when an elevated causeway was constructed.
4. Osaka Castle, Japan
The Osaka castle played an important part in Japan’s unification in 1600. In later years, the castle withstood a series of bouts, particularly during World War II. Today, the palace serves as a national site to commemorate the country’s history.
5. Walzin Castle, Belgium
High on a wide mountainous foreland above the Lesse River, Walzin is one of the most beautiful castles in the world and was loved dearly by painter Victor Hugo, who made a portrait of it in 1863. Today, the castle still stands in Namur, Belgium. It has undergone several restorations since the French army burned it down in 1955.
6. Bodiam Castle, England
Built in 1385, the Bodiam Castle initially served as a defensive fortress against French invaders during the Hundred Year’s War, a chain of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by England’s and France’s rulers. Because of its historical contribution, the castle is considered as a Scheduled Monument, an important archaeological site in the United Kingdom.
7. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Also known as New Swanstone Castle, the Neuschwanstein was built in 1869 intended as a fortified residence for King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Shortly after his death in 1886, the castle opened to the public and receives 6,000 tourists per day.
8. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Castle Edinburgh is situated on the Castle Rock, a volcanic neck in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a historic fortress that played an important role in many conflicts, including the war leading to the country’s independence in the 1400s. At present, the castle is one of Scotland’s top destinations with over 2 million visitors annually.
9. Lichtenstein Castle, Germany
The 1826 Lichtenstein novel by Wilhelm Hauff is the inspiration behind the castle’s construction in the early 1840s. It is dubbed as the fairy-tale castle of Württemberg, as it sits on the edge of the steep cliff of the Swabian Jura. The spot offers a picturesque view of the Ehaz Valley and the town of Honaw.
10. Uchisar Castle, Turkey
Uchisar is a weird-looking castle that can be found in Cappadocia, Turkey. But it’s the castle’s rather odd appearance that makes it one of the most beautiful castles in the world. It boasts sculpted open-air rooms and towers out of a rock massif. Historically, the castle-mountain served as a refuge and a defensive fortress.
There are tons of castles out there, but be sure to prioritize these ten most beautiful castles in the world for a more worthwhile trip.