Sleep in these budget-friendly European castles
Have you always dreamed of sleeping like a king? Been discouraged by the fact that many castle hotels come with price tags only royalty can afford? Though not easy to find, there are alternatives out there for budget-conscious military families. Here is a starter list to inspire your travels.
Chateau Krasna Lipa — Krásná Lípa, Czech Republic
Price: Double rooms from 70 euros per night with breakfast; taxes not included in the quoted price
Perk: Entire property can be rented for the day or week
Nearby: The hotel is a perfect break during a Czech Republic road trip. Krásná Lípa is just across the border from Dresden and Meissen (home of porcelain), Germany.
Prague is two hours south, and Karlovy Vary is three hours southwest.
The late 19th-century chateau is a grown-ups’ sanctuary with gleaming crystal chandeliers, ornate period furniture and original oil paintings. Area activities range from hiking, rafting and fishing in summer to skiing and spa days in winter. Children must be age 12 or older to stay.
Schlosshotel Kommende — Bonn, Germany
Price: 105 euros per night with breakfast
Perk: Dogs allowed for 5 euros per pet per night
Nearby: Bonn is a popular stop on Rhine River cruises and the birthplace of Beethoven.
With sweeping views of Bonn, this 13th-century stronghold is an affordable alternative to traditional hotels in the city center and only a 30-minute scenic walk away. Dinner is served daily in the onsite restaurant, and lunch is offered Sundays and holidays.
Chateau d’Isenbourg — Rouffach, France
Price: Double rooms from 125 euros per night; one child age 12 and under stays for free
Perk: Half-board includes a breakfast buffet and three-course dinner for 70 euros extra per adult (20 euros for children); dogs allowed for 20 euros per night; full-service spa and indoor pool
Nearby: Chateau Isenbourg is in the heart of the romantic Alsace region of France, known for food, wine and quaint villages with canals, cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses.
Chateau d’Isenbourg’s rooms are decorated with a tasteful elegance, and the gourmet restaurant offers artfully plated French cuisine. Despite the posh surroundings, little touches, like daily snack time, coloring books and stuffed animals ensure children feel at home, too.
Sommersdorf Castle — Sommersdorf, Germany
Price: from 105 euros, minimum 3-night stay
Perk: Furnished apartments
Nearby: The castle is in the Black Forest, 30 minutes from Rothenburg ob der Tauber and 60 minutes from Nuremberg.
The 800-year-old Sommersdorf Castle survived the Thirty Years’ War and still has a functional water-filled moat. Most chambers have vintage furnishings, beamed ceilings and kitchenettes. Make Sommersdorf your starting point for a trip along the Romantic Road.
Castello di Ripa d’Orcia — Ripa d’Orcia, Italy
Price: Double rooms with breakfast from 90 euros per night; apartments from 110 euros per night (breakfast extra)
Perk: Agritourism property with outdoor pool and in-house winery and olive oil production
Nearby: The heart of Tuscany is at your doorstep. Siena is one hour north, Florence two.
On a hilltop overlooking vineyards is a peaceful Tuscan retreat dating from the 13th century. The owners go out of their way to ensure guests are taken care of, and the castle restaurant offers simple Tuscan fare, highlighting locally sourced ingredients. The castle is open April through October, and children ages 13 and over are welcome. Because of its remote location, a car rental is recommended.
Nebra Castle — Nebra (Unstrut), Germany
Price: 99 euros for an economy double room with breakfast
Perk: Half board 19 euros more per person per night; dogs allowed for 5 euros per pet per night
Nearby: Nebra is within the Saale-Unstrut Nature Park and 100 kilometers from Leipzig.
Nebra Castle is in the middle of wine country, located next to vineyards. Upgrades range from spa packages and candlelit dinners to canoe trips and sightseeing excursions.
Chateau De Hodbomont, — Theux, Belgium
Price: Double rooms from 95 euros, apartments from 155 euros
Perk: You can hire the castle’s horse-drawn carriage (with driver)
Nearby: Theux is 10 minutes from Spa, Belgium; 45 kilometers from Aachen, Germany; and 55 kilometers from Maastricht, Netherlands.
Once a destination for European aristocracy, the chateau’s current owners are a couple with a love for antiques. With just four guest rooms, this adults’ only home away from home provides a quiet place to relax and rejuvenate. The closest restaurant is 350 meters from the estate.
Sababurg Castle — Hofgeismar (Sababurg), Germany
Price: Room rates start at 100 euros on weeknights, 140 on weekends with breakfast
Perk: Dogs allowed for 20 euros per night; gourmet restaurant and animal preserve on site
Nearby: Romantic Road, Route of 1,000 Castles, Fairy Tale Route
Tucked within a national park, Sababurg is called the “sleeping beauty castle” because it inspired the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The grounds are situated within the oldest nature sanctuary in Hessen and first forestry preserve in Germany, so the land has been virtually unaltered for centuries. The 1,000-year-old oaks with sprawling branches and four-foot-high ferns look like something straight from a Disney film. All that’s missing are a few talking animals and fluttering fairies.
Leeds Castle, — Kent, England
Perk: Lots of activities and accommodation choices
Nearby: Explore medieval England with stops in Canterbury, Dover and Maidstone.
First a Norman citadel and later Henry VIII’s residence, Leeds Castle is a legacy of England’s royalty. Glamour camping (glamping) in furnished knights’ tents (spring to summer only), cottage apartments that can accommodate large groups, and B&B-style lodging in the Stable Courtyard and Maiden’s Tower are available. The bustling grounds feature the Squire’s Courtyard and Knight’s Realm playgrounds, gardens, mazes, museum exhibits, a golf course and ropes course. Events are held throughout the year, including Halloween festivities in late October, a fireworks exhibition in November and Christmas market from late November to mid-December.
Stayokay Hostel Heemskerk — Heemskerk, the Netherlands
Price: Dorm-style rooms from 20 euros per person, double room with private bath from 55 euros; breakfast included
Perk: Single and family rooms for up to six people are inexpensive
Nearby: Amsterdam is 45 minutes away by car, an hour by public transport.
By far the best bargain on this list, Stayokay Heemskerk is not your average hostel. Built in the Middle Ages, Slot Assumburg castle was converted into a hostel in the 1930s. Heemskerk is a great option for single travelers eager to meet people from around the globe.
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