Europe's top 10 castles

Photo by Dorian Mongel
Photo by Dorian Mongel

Europe's top 10 castles

by Emma Bareihs
Stripes Europe

Romance, war, fairytales, misfortune; the stories of these historical landmarks are speckled throughout Europe. Serving as charming ruins or grand tourist sites, castles are one of the main attractions in the land of kings and queens. Narrowing down the most fabulous castles can be challenging. Here are some of the best European castles you must see while living overseas!

Belvedere Castle – Vienna, Austria

Aristocratic owner and general, Prince Eugene of Savoy, built this palace as a summer residence, which turned into one of the most significant buildings of the Baroque era in Vienna. Lined with statues, the beautiful structures give way to the gardens of the Upper and Lower Belvedere. Walk the Hall of Grotesques and the Golden Room, or see the art exhibitions of the Lower Belvedere. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to 150 art pieces through exhibitions and collections dating to the medieval ages where you can even see art from Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.

Windsor Castle – Windsor, England

Royal Family enthusiasts have the opportunity to visit the home of Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle in England. When the flag is flying from the castle’s Round Tower, The Queen is in the residence! The 13-acre-sized castle is the fourth largest in the world and has been home to royalty for over 900 years.

Chenonceau Castle – Chenonceaux, France

Built over the River Cher, one of the oldest castles of France reflects in the sparkles of the water in the Loire Valley. Once attracting nobility, today the chateau attracts visitors year-round to the Gallery of Dames and the Chancery. If you’re a history lover, don’t miss out on Chenonceau. Not only was the chateau once a military hospital treating over 2,000 soldiers, but it was also a refuge to those fleeing the horror of  WWII. Explore the geometry of the garden with walls laced of roses and view hundreds of hibiscus stems in the ornamental flower beds.

Lowenburg Castle, Germany – Kassel, Germany

Magnificent in its Gothic architecture and beautiful in its fairytale ruins, Lowenburg, or the “Lion’s Castle” is a must-see amongst the many German castles. Simple on the outside, but extravagant on the inside, take the opportunity to discover the charms of the armory and chapel.

Buda Castle – Budapest, Hungary

The Buda Castle, built in the 13th century, is home to a World Heritage Site. The magical Castle Gardens of modern architecture and classical renaissance join together to bring a wondrous background for the castle. Inside the castle, tour three museums and the national gallery. The hill on which the castle sits is known as the castle district. Here, soak in history from the medieval statues and royal palace

Haar Castle – Utrecht, Netherlands

Out of a fantasy, Haar Castle maintains the imagery of fantastic towers, bridges, moats and more. A luxurious home to its royal family and special members, Haar once housed icons such as Coco Chanel. Dating back to the 13th century, the 135 acres of gardens tell stories of romance and historical impressions. Visit the Rose Garden with 70 different species, the Roman Garden or wander along the canals in the charming town of Utrecht.

Moszna Castle – Moszna, Poland

The village of Moszna, once housed an extravagant estate and grandeur castle. Linden and oak trees from centuries ago welcome you to the Moszna castle, known for its 99 towers and 365 rooms. The unique maroon rooftops line the towers and steeples of the charming castle. After being raided after WWII, the castle left behind a skeleton for a hotel to be built within the walls. Today, stay in the castle at a fair price or visit the park filled with blooming flowers and greenery for a royal escape.

Bran Castle – Bran, Romania

Overlooking the quaint town of Bran with old-style houses, the castle stands on a 200-foot-high rock. Visit the Romanian castle to dwell in the mysterious story of “Dracula”. Connected through narrow passageways are 60 timbered rooms full of collected furniture, art and weapons from when the castle served as a royal residence. The imagination of author Bran Stoker brought to life the character of Dracula amongst the dark towers and halls of Bran Castle in the Transylvanian Alps.

Bojnice Castle – Bojnice, Slovakia

Overlooking the town of Bojnice on the top of a mountain of limestone rock, stands Bojnice Castle, one of the most visited castles in Europe. Although dating back to the medieval 11th century, the reconstruction in the 1800s was based on the surge of romantic silhouettes. Visit the spectacular stalactite cave connected to the castle by a deep 26-meter castle well. In front of the castle entrance, marvel at the 600-year-old lime tree of King Matthias. Attached to the castle you’ll find a large park of greenery and wildlife.

Coca Castle – Coca, Spain

Combining the western and Moorish military style, the Coca Castle is enclosed by a moat, manicured and built with brick. Inside be impressed by the lavish décor and Gothic art. The Spanish feel of the castle is demonstrated through stucco geometric art and paintings throughout.

Discover these gems of Europe and travel back in time to experience the architecture and history of the medieval ages. Grasp your wanderlust through visiting these remarkable castles of Europe.

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